Music

The art of sound

Karthik Mohan.

Karthik Mohan. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

One feedback that young filmmaker Karthik Mohan constantly heard was that the sound quality in his projects was just not good enough. It got him thinking. So, he spent hours surfing the net to find ways to achieve that perfect texture of sound in the short films that he was dabbling in then.

“The initial aim was simple: that the dialogue should be audible to audiences,” he says.

From there it was a steady upward journey. Cut to 2022, and Karthik is a sound editor today. His current projects include a web series titled A Grunt’s Life and Tamil film Iravin Nizhal. He’s also the sound designer for the animated series ‘Haisley’, directed by Miranda Spigener Sapon.

Like everyone else, Chennai boy Karthik, who is now in Orange County in the U.S., was also enamoured by the idea of shorts. “After Pizza, everyone I knew wanted to make short films,” he recalls.

Karthik realised his true calling when he attended a workshop by Randy Thom, director of Skywalker Sound, in Mumbai. “It opened a whole new world to me. I realised how important sound was to films, and how it’s going to be the future.”

Current projects

Karthik Mohan working on a project.

Karthik Mohan working on a project. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Karthik is happy to note the importance given to acoustics by young filmmakers across the globe. “With many audiences consuming content using headphones, it becomes vital to have the right kind of sound. Every filmmaker wants to enhance the visual appeal of their films using sound,” says Karthik.

The young techie got an opportunity to explore that aspect in the recent Vikram starrer Mahaan, where he worked with well-known sound designer Kunal Rajan’s team. “The scene conceived by director Karthik Subbaraj was shot inside a godown, and we wanted to pep it up by adding sound effects to make the whole sequence gripping. The sound of bottles clanking against each other was a minor addition, but it enhanced the general mood of the situation.”

In the post-pandemic world, many thriving OTT platforms are looking for high-quality content and ‘sound’ is of utmost importance, he says. “With Dolby Atmos becoming the industry standard, filmmakers now demand the best sound effects,” says Karthik, who recently won an Honorary Mention at the Los Angeles Film Awards for his work on an experimental short titled Saudade. He has also been nominated twice for the Cinema Audio Society Recognition Award in 2019 and 2021.

So, what are his future goals? “To work on big action films. I love watching projects like Jack Ryan and Reacher, and hope to work on something in that space soon.”


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Printable version | Jun 27, 2022 5:53:44 am | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/the-art-of-sound/article65258507.ece