Iron Man 3 Sound Department Goes to Toys R Us

Post production, which is the process of adding sound effects, music and dialogue to a movie, is an incredibly fun job duty. Most of the audio you hear in a movie was recorded and synced to the video after the initial video was recorded. While some of the originally recorded elements may still exist in the final product, there is an incredible amount of time put into the re-recording process. Sometimes the location that they are recording the video footage may not have the best audio presence, or a line  was skipped, or the sound effects needed better processing to give the desired effect.

So in these cases post production engineers spend time doing ADR and foley to maximize the quality of the aural experience. During the filming process of Iron Man 3, the sound team got a couple neat field trips – one to a firing range and one to a Toys R Us store.

“The most important sound of the movie is going to be the sound of the suit because it’s Iron Man,” says supervising sound editor Mark Stoeckinger, a three-time Oscar nominee for Face/Off, Star Trek, and Unstoppable. “Metal is usually harsh and grates on people’s nerves, but the fact is, there’s a lot of it in Iron Man, so you’ve got to find a way to make that interesting. So we just recorded a lot of various metal objects and mic’d them in certain ways, filtered and processed those recordings so they weren’t just bright and edgy, and used all sorts of plug-ins to help make a lot of different notes like a musical instrument.”

“Our first foray into that,” he admits, “was going into a Toys ‘R’ Us late at night when nobody was paying attention and recording some of them on the display wall, just to get an idea of what we wanted. Some of those sounds were more for the leg sounds — the legs of Iron Patriot. You just record a whole palette of that, like, ‘Ah, I think that will be good for that.’ ‘Yeah, that might be good for this.’ There was a lot of trial and error.”