Brice Carrington: The Sound "Go To" Guy
By Deardra Shuler
What does a dinosaur sound like? Since no one has actually heard a dinosaur roar one would have to find its genesis in the imagination of the sound engineer. Before George Lucas, the original creator of sound in space, there was no sound associated with space. After Lucas simulated sound in space everyone had to follow suit.
Brice Carrington, who was born and raised in South Central in Los Angeles, California, is occasionally called the sound “It Man” in Hollywood. “Although sound is creative, it’s more a technical experience,” stated Brice. “Careers in sound entail: the field recorder/boom operator who uses a microphone on a long stick and records sound into a dat machine as it happens in a live production. A foley artist mimics sound to screen in order to create continuity. ADR (Dialogue Replacement) enables actors to return to the studio and re-voice their lines to replace broken dialog. Mixing entails setting the levels of volume for best continuity of sound effects, music, and dialog in a film. Editors create sounds using a series of other sounds,” stated the sound editor. “To simulate water running, I could use actual water running or the sound of a car driving on pavement. To create the Batmobile sound for instance, I might use a flame thrower, fire crackling, a lion, water bubbling, jet turbines, wind, and a fuse.”
Mr. Carrington owned a record store with his partner after his stint in the Navy. The two entrepreneurs became known for their concert promotions which led to Carrington’s hiring at Sony. Brice started in the music department and later transferred to the film department. It was Brice who created an original interpretation of some of the most exciting films of our time. Brice does NOT actually edit the sounds in the films he creates the original interpretation of specific characters in films and sells them to the studios through his brand Ultimate FX. Brice’s introduction of these original ideas have included King Kong’s roar, the T-Rex and other dinosaurs heard in the movie Jurassic Park, the hiss in Snakes on a Plane, the swoosh in Superman’s flight and the swirling sound in Spiderman’s web-shooting. Carrington has created the pops, bangs, booms, and blasts of the firepower in Miami Vice, True Lies, The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Transformers, and Night at the Museum, et al.
“To create the roar of a T-Rex or of a T-Rex eating, I thought of using a lion; a male lion’s growl, a lion eating a bone, a lion breathing, an elephant roar and a lion tearing flesh. I combine all this together to come up with the sound of a T-Rex,” stated the audio mastermind. “In order to make it authentic to the audience, I did research and spoke to a paleontologist and archeologist to learn about the origins of the animal. I learned the range of a T-Rex voice could be heard for up to 25 miles under the right conditions. So, I thought of reverberation. The T-Rex had membranes in his mouth so I looked at the head and jawbone of the T-Rex and thought of the amount of reverberation wielded when it vocalized. I realized a 3 year old male African lion can be heard for 5 miles relative to sea level. Sound can be obstructed very easily so I had to determine what time of day the male lion’s voice is the strongest. Thus, I determined a male African lion roaring early in the morning might best mimic the sound of a T-Rex,” informed Brice.
Carrington works with a male lion named Joseph on virtually all his sound effects. 12-year-old Joseph is the current MGM lion that does much of the promotion work involving Hollywood lions. Joseph has a full mane which wraps around his head, across his shoulder blades, down through his legs, on his belly, and all the way up through his rear. “Joseph is sweet but still scary because he is huge. His head is 3 times the size of a human head and his paws are bigger than your face. His roar is intimidating. They get him to roar by putting meat on a stick. His handler gives him a command to roar, Joseph roars, and then they feed him. Raised in captivity, Joseph is trained to know that the louder he roars, the bigger the piece of meat he gets,” says Brice of his secret sound weapon. “To create the voice of King Kong, I used Siberian tigers, lions, a monkey, and a Silverback gorilla and bubbling water out of a straw,” Carrington explained. Mr. Carrington’s sound adaptation of Godzilla is based on animal sounds and elephant trumpets.
“All of my sound effects include real animals because they give my sounds more resonance and more texture. No synthetic sounds are used. I design and build my sound packages. It’s a very complicated process. Because I often work with animals to make sounds, I worked with Siegfried & Roy at their private habitat in Las Vegas. Roy had a stroke while on stage but is now undergoing rehabilitation,” remarked Carrington. Roy’s tiger, Montecore, realized Roy had a stroke so attempted to carry Roy off stage. As a result, Montecore unwittingly bit into Roy’s shoulder causing massive blood loss.
Carrington received 3 commemorative Oscars for “King Kong,” “Ghost and the Darkness,” and “Jurassic Park.” He has created sound effects for over 50 blockbuster films, including Jurassic Park 3, Blade, The Blood Hunt, Van Helsing, Superman Returns, Spiderman, the Mummy, Transformers, Night at the Museum, and Shrek 3, etc.
Carrington has been in the sound business for nearly 20 years. He is the first African American to obtain a worldwide distribution deal for his sound library with BMG. Interested parties can pay to use his effects in music, film, TV, multimedia and software via his company Ultimate FX. He is also producing a TV project currently in development with Buena Vista entitled “Preacher Man.”
To learn more about sound see resonatingfx.com
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