Action Scene From 'Everest' Without Sound Effects Reminds Us of the Importance of Great Sound

While the original source couldn't be independently confirmed, the studio behind the recently released movie, "Everest," apparently sent BBC a clip of the still unreleased film without audio effects. Instead, throughout the entire otherwise hair-raising scene, the actors speak to each other in a tone seemingly more appropriate for a focus group discussion between amateurs trying to solve a Rubik's cube than for a life-threatening situation climbing Mount Everest.

I will admit I know little about climbing, but another point I found interesting was the use of the term (or command) "on belay" and the flustered response, "On belay" in the clip. In my experience, the reply should be ordered the other way, as in, "Belay on." But perhaps either is acceptable. Hopefully, some serious mountain climbers can put that question to rest (leave a comment).

Of course, for a comparison to the final product, check out this scene in the theatrical trailer, which includes the beginning part of the scene in question (start at 1:30 to skip to the relevant portion, or start from the beginning to enjoy the full trailer):

Have you seen "Everest"? What were your thoughts on the film (with the sound effects that you heard, of course)?

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5 Comments

Chuck Eggen's picture

I keep telling aspiring videographers, invest as much in sound as you do in lenses.

Michael Kormos's picture

I don't know Chuck. Having been brought-up in a family full of musicians, I can tell you that sound recording, mixing, editing and mastering is an art all its own. It requires the focus, dedication, experience, and certainly financial investment which is out of reach for most videographers, who have their hands more than full with other tasks.

At fstoppers for example, the team of highly experienced videographers are normally busy providing us with in-depth comparisons and raves about the latest iPhone video capabilities :-)

Lee Christiansen's picture

Speaking as an ex broadcast sound recordist and studio owner, (yes I've had an interesting career...) I found it interesting to hear the acoustic properties. Some of the initial dialogue seemed to have a reverberation of a studio with other dialogue sounding different. Subtleties like that get lost when there's all that FX going on... just as well...!

Mike Pianka's picture

Only because you asked. As a long time climber in my younger life, the technically correct response is, in fact, "belay on". However, either way is fine as the exchange is intended to ensure the person belaying is aware that the climber is about to start ascending. You might also hear "climbing", with "climb on" as a response.

Rob Watts's picture

No sound f/x because I'm guessing most all of it is CG.