The ‘Revolution’ Will Be Televised

Apr 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Matt Hurwitz


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revolution film still

Life is full of noise, most of it produced by all things electric. But what does a world without electricity sound like? Fans of NBC’s Revolution hear it every week—though they have to use their electric televisions to find out. Created by Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and produced by Warner Bros. Television and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, the show takes place 15 years in the future, following an unusual—and apparently permanent—worldwide blackout, in which all forms of electricity cease to exist. No lights, computers or telephones; no cars, trains or planes, regardless of whether they were moving when the blackout occurred, as seen in the show’s apocalyptic pilot episode (and in flashbacks throughout the series).

The show is mixed at Todd-AO Burbank Stage E by veteran re-recording mixers Yuri Reese and Bill Smith. Editorial and sound design are done by Atomic Sound Post Production Services, under the guidance of supervising sound editor and president Tom deGorter, and co-supervising sound editor Brett Hinton.

revolution film still

So what does a sparkless world sound like? “We spent a lot of time with Eric and Jon Favreau, who directed the pilot, really honing in on some broad strokes to use throughout the show,” Hinton recalls. “There’s no humming of cars and planes and electronics throughout the air. Strip those things away, and you’re left with a really interesting sonic landscape.”

The usual ambience heard throughout our daily lives—and on every other television show—isn’t there. “We had to break it down,” notes deGorter, “’Okay, what elements are not there?’ Of course, no electronics. No humming or buzzing. Nothing other than natural ambiences: winds, birds, crickets, nature.”

Those sounds, though, aren’t heard the way we would hear them out in the woods today, notes series associate producer Geoff Garrett. “We’re in a world that’s been 15 years without power, so nature is taking back the planet, and it’s more accentuated. The human population would have been decimated by the blackout, so there are fewer people. The natural world is more pronounced, maybe even a little over-exaggerated. Birds and cicadas are heard more frequently because you have more of them.”

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