A Birmingham audio company has shared in the Oscar glory of Speilberg epic Lincoln after it was drafted in to improve the film’s sound quality.
The Audio Suite, based in Moseley, helped with post production on Lincoln, which saw Daniel Day-Lewis take a record third Oscar for best actor.
Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios hired the firm, which employs three people, to re-dub actors’ lines to improve audio quality, in a process called automated dialogue replacement (ADR).
The company worked with Birmingham-based child actor Gulliver McGrath, who plays Lincoln’s son Tad.
“As we tend to not widely advertise our facilities and services it seemed incredible when the initial call came from the US out of the blue,” said Neil Hillman, Audio Suite’s managing director and sound designer.
“Skywalker Sound is one of the biggest and most-respected audio post-production companies in the industry, having been engaged on all of Pixar’s brilliant animated features, as well as other titles such as Iron Man, The Dark Knight series, and the Jurassic Park films.
“It seems DreamWorks was happy to choose us because they knew that the quality of the work that we deliver is top notch, with the added bonus that with us being located in the provinces, we could also maintain a high level of discretion around the project.”
The Audio Suite has provided sound services for several major films, as well as soundtracks for television and advertising companies from its two studios for more than ten years.
Its soundtrack work has reached an estimated estimated 500 million people with clients including the BBC, ITV, National Geographic and Discovery channels.
Its latest project is sound design and mixing work for British film Here and Now.
Mark Graziano, vice president of post-production for DreamWorks, said: “We were pleased with their contribution to the film and impressed with the ease in which The Audio Suite studios and our sound team at Skywalker Sound were able to work together, linking the two studios together in real time to accomplish the necessary work.”
Mr Hillman spent 10 years working for Central Television and 10 years freelancing mostly for the BBC before setting up on his own.
He said: “We were in quite a large studio set-up in the city, but we’ve had to respond to the market by recognising what people want, so we went from seven to three people.
“We’ve looked after about 250 Gadget Shows, which are made in Birmingham, and around 150 episodes of Fifth Gear.
“We’re trying to move more up market and see the future in the feature film industry and work as a consultancy outside of the region.”
Although it had 12 nominations, Lincoln’s only other Oscar was for production design – which included carpets made by Kidderminster’s Grosvenor Wilton and watches by Jewellery Quarter film Chainlynk.
Grosvenor Wilton’s intricate green and gold design can clearly be seen in the film, the newly-made carpet based on a real design from the 19th century.
Jewellery Quarter craftsman Roy Nicholas was asked to make four watch chains for the film. Mr Nicholas was approached 14 months ago by a Gloucester specialist, recruited to produce ‘fobs’ for the epic.
Initially, the 55-year-old boss of Chainlynk, in Erdington, was asked to craft two solid silver pieces, at a cost of £180.
“I had the call on Monday and they had to be in America by the Friday,” the father-of-two said.
"At first I was just told it was for a film. It was only after they asked for a further two, for promotional purposes, that I was informed it was a Steven Spielberg film.
"Then I realised the customer was Daniel Day-Lewis.”