Without a villain, water is the unhealthy man in ‘Thirteen Lives’

A hurricane ushered in the summertime of 2018 in northern Thailand, triggering a catastrophe that captured the world’s consideration. Thirteen members of a boys soccer group have been trapped by rising water within the Tham Luang cave. A rescue effort was led by cave divers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen who anesthetized and extracted the boys unconscious underwater via the two 1/2 mile cavern, dropping none however fellow volunteer Saman Kunan, a former Thai navy SEAL.

The occasion was captured in quite a few documentaries and have become a characteristic movie from Prime Video, “Thirteen Lives,” directed by Ron Howard and starring Viggo Mortensen as Stanton and Colin Farrell as Volanthen. Up to now, Howard has delivered such technically compelling titles as “Apollo 13,” an Oscar winner for sound, and “Backdraft,” additionally nominated for its sound design and execution. So on “Thirteen Lives,” the director got here with the abilities wanted to work with A-list sound editor Rachael Tate and supervising sound editor/sound designer Oliver Tarney.

Within the film, audio represents three worlds — underwater, contained in the cave and out of doors the cave.

“The sound in the cave is very mid-centric,” Tate says. “If anyone’s ever been diving, you know that sound. It’s very closed off and that expresses the isolation down there where you have all this solid rock.”

In a film with out a villain, water is the unhealthy man. It has no face however a voice as wide-ranging because the philharmonic. In water, sound travels 4 to 5 instances quicker, definition and element are dulled and the power to triangulate its supply is compromised, which gave Tate and Tarney a number of disorienting potentialities to work with.

“It almost feels like a two-hander with the divers against the water. So, we tried to give the water as much character as possible in designing it,” says Tarney. “Even just the currents, the silt, everything building up against them, you feel it coming in large waves like it’s attacking them.”

Thira “Aum” Chutikul, left, and Viggo Mortensen within the film “Thirteen Lives.”

(Vince Valitutti / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Photos)

The group used manufacturing audio once they might, however discovered that underwater recordings made with hydrophones on the Australia movie set have been generally tainted with buzzing or the sound of pumps and filtration. So, late within the course of Tate and Tarney accompanied real-life rescue diver Volanthen to a cave system within the U.Ok. the place they spent a day recording audio. The sound of Farrell respiratory underwater is definitely Volanthen.

“They couldn’t even see their hand in front of their face at times,” Tate says. “It goes to show how much they relied on sound. Their memories of that time were really sound based. And if you can try to swim a mile in their flippers, then you can begin to understand this is the closest we can get people to the experience without flooding the cinemas.”

Facial expressions are restricted behind diving masks, so character is usually expressed via motion and the sound of respiratory. Skilled divers breathe at an everyday tempo. In a good tunnel, they management their breath. The much less skilled are prone to have nervousness.

“We tried to make this as personal as possible. We were shooting and editing the dives in different ways to feature different characters,” says Howard, noting how vital audio is to the scene by which the youngsters are anesthetized and transported underwater out of the cave, the sound of their breath the one indicator of life. “When you’re diving, you’re aware of your breathing. We had to put the audience in the diver’s head. It’s not what you’d hear if you were in the cave with them, it’s what you’d hear if you were them.”

Foley work was important to constructing the observe, however results have been recorded dry after which run via Kyma, a program that may simulate underwater sound. “If we did everything underwater, everything would sound identical,” says Tarney explaining his use of the utility that permits him to alter pitch, lengthen and shorten pictures.

In distinction to the sound of the cave is the skin world, captured primarily in northern Thailand the place the sound group assiduously differentiated between the nation’s quite a few dialects. Audio was collected at busy markets, soccer video games and gatherings of anxious villagers.

“There are thousands of people, scooters and mud, we tried to use the full spectrum of sound outside,” Tate says. “And it all boils down to a small story inside the cave. You really feel how alone these two [divers] are.”

Tate and Tarney have two irons within the hearth this awards season, “Thirteen Lives” and Sam Mendes’ “Empire of Light.” They teamed on Mendes’ earlier effort, greatest image winner “1917,” for which each have been nominated. That was Tarney’s fourth nomination, after “Captain Phillips,” “The Martian” and “No Time to Die.”

“You’re always happy to get some recognition from your peers. It’s incredibly humbling,” he says.

“I’ve only got my meager one to his four,” Tate jokes. “But of course it’s amazing. We’d feel lucky to be involved. It’s a great honor.”