SFP: Pixar's Vince Caro

Sep 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Barbara Schultz

CAPTURING THE VOICES OF ANIMATION

Polls


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The one thing that we always tell people when they start on a project is, “Please don't get annoyed if we ask you to do another one or many more.” For animation, you have to overact and do things louder and faster than you normally would do when you're acting a line. So for someone like Holly Hunter [in The Incredibles], it took her a couple of sessions before she was at ease doing this. Or Christopher Plummer, who was Charles Munce [in Up] — he is a classically trained actor. When he says, “That's the one,” he doesn't want to do another one, but you have to tell them, “It might be annoying if I ask you to do another one, but a lot of times it's because of a noise or we need it a little bit faster.” Other times, we'll ask them to push over the emotion because we don't have your face or your eyes to tell the story like a live-action director would have.

Now that you are on staff at Pixar, are you pigeonholed as a voice recordist or do you also participate in any of the music recording?

I do occasionally help with other things. There's a short film tied to Wall-E called Presto. It's about a little bunny who is the partner of a magician, and it takes place in an old-time theater. I got to record all the music and all of the vocalizations. I say vocalizations, not dialog, because nobody talks in our short films. We went to the scoring stage at Skywalker and Scott Stafford, the composer, and Doug Sweetland, the director, said this is really an homage to the old Warner Bros. cartoons. So we want it to have that kind of sound when it starts — kind of small and mono — and then when the score really kicks in, it should sound big and modern. So what I did was to double up everything with old ribbon mics and I also used modern condensers and tube mics. Then we mixed it both ways — with the ribbon mics in mono, smaller panning, then panning out to the modern microphones — and we mixed every cue as both a modern 5.1 mix and smaller, with the old ribbon mics. Then the music editor was able to mix and match.

In Pixar's feature films, are characters written and animated with specific actors in mind?

There's not usually just one actor in mind. Sometimes what they'll do is they'll take dialog from movies or TV shows that a few actors have done and they'll animate a character to that voice to get a test. That's how they chose Ed Asner as the voice of Carl Fredricksen for Up. Once they did that and saw Ed Asner's voice with this character, they said, “We have to get Ed Asner.”

Is it true that you are getting a new studio soon?

We're building a new building with a whole new studio, a bigger room, which is nice because this room is a little small, and it's nice to get a little air between the mic and the performer. In a small room, you really have to mike tight or you start hearing the room. It's almost too much for an animated feature to have it so close-miked; it becomes difficult to create any kind of natural ambience.






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