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Hackenbacker Gives Sound To Life On Mars

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With the BBC screening a second series of the hit drama Life On Mars, Soho-based post production facility Hackenbacker has just completed the four month schedule of sound editing and mixing the series.
Production company Kudos Film and Television chose Hackenbacker to deliver the audio because it enjoyed such a successful working relationship with Hackenbacker during the making of the first series, which was screened last year on BBC One and repeated at the beginning of this year on BBC Four.
The Life on Mars format mixes time travel with police drama and stars John Simm as the central character, Sam Tyler, a modern-day policeman who finds himself back in 1973 after being hit by a car in 2006.
Hackenbacker's James Feltham was appointed Dubbing Mixer for the series, with Darren Banks as Sound FX Editor and Alex Sawyer as Dialogue/ADR Editor. The eight 60-minute episodes were mixed on Hackenbacker's AMS Neve Libra Post console and sound edited on Pro Tools.
The audio was also a key element. Hackenbacker's team were able to use the mixing process to make a soundtrack with impact, while still retaining a 1970s analogue feel.
Car chases have always been a feature of Life On Mars and this continues in series two, giving sound FX editor Darren Banks plenty of enjoyable challenges to contend with. He also worked hard to incorporate subtle background FX and atmospheres to ensure that the series captured the nostalgic feel of the 1970s that proved such a hit with viewers during series one.
"We encountered many of the same location sound problems that we had during series one in terms of trying to create a 1973 soundscape whilst filming in Manchester in 2006," Feltham commented. "This was everything from jet planes to motorways - all of these issues had to be taken into account by the Dialogue Editor when deciding what had to be ADR and what could be saved in during the mix."
Last but not least was the music, which, as indicated by the title, is such an integral part of the programme's atmosphere.
Cassette machines, record players, tube radios and AM receivers all feature in series two, which gave the Hackenbacker team a chance to try a mixture of analogue treatments and digital convolution FX.
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