Mad Max ReDesign

ReDesign: Mad Max Fury Road

Audio Desing Desk
By Gabe Cowan

After more than 15 years of being stuck in development hell, George Miller was finally able to shoot and release the fourth film in the Mad Max series, Mad Max: Fury Road. Although considered a box-office failure, it was a major critical success commended for screenplay, direction, acting, costuming, and cinematography. The film would receive 10 Academy Award nominations and win 6 of them, including: Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. The audio post team managing to snag both Oscars for sound is one of the reasons we love this film so much at Audio Design Desk.

But what did the team have to do in order to create its award-winning sound? Well, sound designer Mark Mangini perceives Fury Road’s War Rig as Moby Dick, and Immortan Joe as Captain Ahab. This isn’t purely metaphorical—Mangini even layers in whale sounds to give the rig “life.” And when the rig is destroyed at the end of the film, Mangini uses slowed-down bear sounds to create its “death.”

Then there’s the extensive use of “Eye Tracing,” in which motion is used to draw attention to critical focal points. So rather than an arrow shooting by, the camera quickly pans in on an arrow that’s already stuck in the center of the shot. This meant the sound editing had to be very quick and precise in order to sell the perceived action to the audience. This also leaves plenty of room for creativity; since the action technically isn’t shown on screen, the editors and designers are allowed to create the unique sound they wish the audience could hear.

In today’s You Design scene—edited by artist Jared Otto—Immortan Joe’s chase after the renegade War Rig has just begun, but there’s already trouble from a third party. Notice the use of “Eye Tracing” once Charlize Theron’s character shoots at the enemy vehicle. Rather than explicitly showing a special type of shot flying across the screen at the vehicle, the camera quickly pans to the vehicle already blowing up. Have fun with this project, and don’t be afraid to use some animal sounds to give your War Rig life as well. We look forward to hearing what you create! Feel free to send your pass to us here or tag us on socials.