Mac Smith and Tim Farrell interview: ‘Moon Knight’ sound

“It was such a huge episode with so much going on,” declares sound effects editor Tim Farrell on why he chose the “Moon Knight” season finale as the highlight of his work on the series. Farrell worked closely with supervising sound designer and editor Mac Smith on the fantasy spectacle, both of whom agreed that the explosive season finale was the best showcase for their work. For our recent webchat with the duo, Farrell adds “we were doing this ballet of handing off back and forth to each other and not having too many sounds that might crowd, and trying to find the right sound that would cut through, that you could hear and grab your attention and get your ear, and then get out of the way!” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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“Moon Knight” was created by Jeremy Slater (“The Umbrella Academy”), based on the Marvel comics featuring the character of the same name. Slater collaborated with Egyptian helmer Mohammed Diab (who shepherded four of the six episodes) on the Disney Plus limited series, the sixth TV production in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki,” “What If…?” and “Hawkeye.”

Oscar Isaac stars as Marc Spector (a.k.a. Moon Knight) and Steven Grant (a.k.a. Mr. Knight), two alters of a man with dissociative identity disorder (who we eventually learn is joined by a third alter, the mysterious Jake Lockley). Marc is a ruthless mercenary who becomes Moon Knight, the avatar (i.e. the manifestation of a deity in bodily form on earth) for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, with his alter Steven, a mild-mannered British gift-shop employee who becomes Mr. Knight, Steven’s persona when he is Khonshu’s avatar. The series co-stars May Calamawy as Spector’s estranged wife Layla El-Faouly (who later becomes the Scarlet Scarab), Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke as villain Harrow and Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham, who voices the moon god Khonshu. “Moon Knight” premiered March 30 to critical acclaim and strong word-of-mouth, scoring an impressive “fresh” rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics reserving special praise for Isaac and the show’s impressive production values and darker tone.

Smith recently posted on social media that “sound designers, editors and re-recording mixers are really ‘sound collage illusionists’ — we take audio from different sources, timeframes, geographical locations, weave them together in seamless ways and create new sonic tapestries to tell stories.” The sound maestro effusively agrees that his statement held true for “Moon Knight,” likening their work to a chef in a prestige kitchen. “Think of a sound designer as a sous chef where they’re working in their home kitchen, but they have access to the pantry that has a million ingredients they don’t just have one kind of salt, they have 35 kinds of salt, they have every kind of variation and if we don’t have it, we can go grow it or we can go farm it,” he explains. “Then we’re building these dishes like the scene in a show. We build the recipe of the dish and we’re building out of our home kitchen and once we’re happy with it we organize it in very specific, you know here the spices, here the starches, here are the proteins, and then we put it aside and we work on the next scene. So then, when it comes time to the mix, we’re presenting that recipe to the mixer, well now they’re not in their home kitchen, they’re in the fancy restaurant kitchen with the best appliances, the best cookware, the best tools and they’re taking our recipe and they’re fine tuning it and deciding which ingredients,” he says, adding that “they’re refining it and making it just right and then that’s the final version that you hear and in whatever the movie or TV show.”

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UPLOADED Jul 12, 2022 11:00 am