Once Upon A Time In Mexico was one of the most fun times that I have ever had working on a movie. It was done all “in the box” meaning that we did everything in Pro Tools. The biggest lesson that we learned and applied to this movie was that trying to emulate a traditional film console and traditional audio post workflow didn’t make sense. Pro Tools isn’t traditional and once we let go of that concept, things got not only easier, but a LOT faster. To this end, we stopped trying to use Pec/Direct or record as you go, and instead made the mix virtual. This proved very useful not only because we were making Pro Tools do something that it really wasn’t designed to do, it also made it very easy to conform the automation as it was all tied to the elements. To put this in simpler terms, all the sounds have volume and pad information imbedded, so when the picture is changed, we just match the sounds to the new picture and our mix follows along. At the time this was really something that was new as previously you’d have to conform the console’s automation separate from the sound elements. Of course today, its totally standard. The second thing that made everything easier was the new version of Pro Tools HD hardware that made each system able to playback 128 tracks rather than 64. When we got Pro Tools HD it was like a whole new world opened up to us.
As I said, this mix was a barrel of laughs. The pressure had been lifted and Sergio, Robert and I joked all day and night. This was also the first mix that we had print mastered at Troublemaker’s stage. Coach (nickname but few know his real name and far from me to divulge it here) came out and after setup it all went down without a hitch. I still remember the obscene amount of BBQ that they brought out that day.
To this day this is one of the mixes that we are all very proud of. If you haven’t seen it in a while, check it out. I think its one of the funniest movies that Robert has ever made and Johnny Depp is fantastic! Also it was Robert’s first time to shoot on HD so it marked the beginning of a new era.
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