The Bear may be one of the noisiest shows on television. Its many layers of audio swirl together to create a cacophony of music, dialogue, and sound effects.
Knives against cutting boards. Meal tickets being printed. Pots and pans banging together.
The Bear leverages its use of sound to simulate the chaos of the kitchen for its viewers, but what is perhaps most surprising about the show is just how coherent and legible the sound remains. That delicate balance is attributed in large part to supervising sound editor Steve “Major” Giammaria, as well as collaborators Evan Benjamin and Scott Smith, who respectively serve as dialogue editor and sound mixer.
The trio spoke with Awards Radar about their work on both season one and season two of The Bear. They offer up some excellent technical insights into what it is like to make such an intricately detailed soundscape, and even offer their perspective on the increasing prominence of subtitles in streaming television today.
“Let me soapbox for a minute,” begins Giammaria when asked about subtitles.
“You’re in his wheelhouse now,” quips Smith.
“I’m a dialogue-first mixer,” Giammaria explains. “Less dynamic range. You got to mix for television. 72% of people still watch streaming shows on a TV, so you got to mix for that.”
Benjamin notes that many writers and creators know their dialogue almost too well, so it takes a dialogue or sound editor to recognize how that dialogue can be made clearer.
All three collaborators bring a perspective to The Bear that champions clarity and inventiveness amidst such a sophisticated soundscape.
Listen to the full interview below: