Sound Mixer Chris Duesterdiek Brings Sound Design to 'The Mountains Between Us'

Sound mixer Chris Duesterdiek's first introduction to Sound Devices was when he used a 664 mixer/recorder on the film 'The Revenant.'
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Sound mixer Chris Duesterdiek's first introduction to Sound Devices was when he used a 664 mixer/recorder on the film 'The Revenant.'

Sound mixer Chris Duesterdiek's first introduction to Sound Devices was when he used a 664 mixer/recorder on the film The Revenant. "I basically took it out of the box, started working with it, and did the movie. It performed great. We spent nine months in nature. It worked in the cold, in the moisture, in the dust and the wind. I was quite happy with the 664. Fantastic first experience."

Based on such positive results, Duesterdiek returned to Sound Devices when upgrading his cart, selecting a 688 mixer/recorder and CL-12 linear fader controller.

Duesterdiek relied on his 688's Dugan automixing feature when, in a tight scene within the fuselage of a small bush plane for the upcoming film The Mountains Between Us, there was no room for booms, and he used eight plants for three characters instead.

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Chris Duesterdiek on the set of The Mountains Between Us
Photos by Kimberly French

"Dugan automix was extremely helpful—and it was very intuitive and easy to adjust. At the end of the day, all of the mics sounded like one microphone, which is the goal. Production was happy, I was happy. Success all around at that point."

For bag work on location in the frigid Canadian mountains, Duesterdiek added Sound Devices' compact 633 mixer/recorder.

"I'm working in these extreme conditions and I don't have to use any heaters. I put it in the bag, strap it on and it works," he says. "If it gets so cold that gear stops working, it's not going to be mine that stops first—it will be the cameras. The cameras will die before my gear dies, and that's always a good thing."

The Mountains Between Us is scheduled for release in theaters in October.

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