Walter Murch (Murch, 1981) compares the relationship between sound and image to a dance. If the image leads, the sound follows, or--on the opposite side of the spectrum--it is the sound that suggests what is going to happen on screen. They coexist in a juxtaposition that lets the audience come up with the third idea, one that is composed of image and sound and resolves their superficial differences.
While it is relatively easy to define the role of a composer in traditional film, the general term “sound” usually refers to the sound team that comprises many people with distinct disciplines, whose combined voices define the final product (LoBrutto, 1994).
In this thesis we’re going to look closely at the workflow behind the creation of the HBO mini-series “Chernobyl”. It is a historical drama about a nuclear disaster that took place in Soviet Ukraine in 1986, written and produced by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. It received over 13 film awards for sound design and composing (IMDB, 2020) and was highly acclaimed for the soundtrack album that was released along with the mini-series.
For this research we interviewed post production supervisor, Stefan Henrix; sound designer, Joe Beal and score producer, Sam Salter. Through the interviews, we investigated the creative journey, challenges and decisions of the production process. The primary goal of the research was in pinpointing the moment where the line between the sound design and composing started to blur and how it affected the outcome.