One of the vexing issues for post-production on the third season of Star Trek: Discovery during the pandemic lockdown appears to have been solved by composer Jeff Russo and his team.
Russo: remote recording is working
Production wrapped on the third season of Star Trek: Discovery shortly before the coronavirus lockdown began, moving post-production work to be done remotely. However, there was one element that seemed impossible: Early last month composer Jeff Russo told TrekMovie he couldn’t begin to record the score until he could get the large group of musicians he needs back onto a recording stage. But later in April, we reported that Russo had joined some other Hollywood composers by recording musicians remotely. Russo’s first attempt at this “jigsaw” recording method was for the Netflix series Umbrella Academy.
Russo now confirms he has begun applying this method of recording musicians remotely for the third season of Discovery. In a Facebook Live chat last week, the composer explained how he has been scaling up his efforts to get to the larger orchestra he needs:
What we are doing is recording individual session players from here in Los Angeles. They are fantastic and most of the people I have used on the Star Trek scores and Picard scores and Umbrella Academy scores. So we will record each individual in their home and then combine all of it to make the orchestra, so we don’t have to put everybody in the same room.
It is not an ideal situation, but it is working. We were very hopeful at the beginning that it is going to work and started small. We started with 4 and then went got to 8 people and went to 10. And now we are about to go up to 26 people and then hopefully we will get to 35 or 40.
Indications from social media indicate recording with a larger group of musicians for Star Trek: Discovery began yesterday.
Just like the real thing, but might sound slightly different
Russo also explained how Emmy-nominated sound engineer Michael Perfitt has been working with the musicians to make this remote recording possible:
Michael Perfitt, who is my recording engineer and mixer, is and has been working diligently with the players to make sure they have the right microphones and the right mic pre-amps and where to put the mic in conjunction to the instrument. And then it is literally his mission to figure out how to take all these players and put them together and make it sound like it is at the Warner Brothers or Fox scoring stage, or wherever we record these things.
The composer also gave his impression on the results:
We have made it sound great. So when you ask will the soundtrack for [Star Trek: Discovery] season three sound okay, I say it will sound great. It will sound as good as it ever has sounded. It may sound slightly different. I am not sure it will sound too much different. I think we are going to do everything we can to make it sound as close to it as possible. We are working under a situation that is unprecedented… But it has been working really well.
Season 3 score will not change (much) due to the new setting
The big change in season three of Discovery is jumping the setting forward in time almost 1000 years. When asked if he sees this having a big impact on the show, Russo said that fundamentally the answer was “no,” noting they will not be trying to create music “that sounds like a thousand years in the future.” However, the composer did briefly discuss how the new setting will introduce some new elements:
There are new characters, there are new situations, so there will new musical motifs. There will be new themes. There will be new things musically to do. But will it change in a tone or tonality or sound? No. We are still Star Trek: Discovery. We are still Star Trek. I think that is the sound of it. The sound I created in season one and season two is going to make it into season three. Obviously, there are changes, but it is not going to be a significant departure for it. It will be a natural progression.
Season 3 still coming soon?
When the first season of Star Trek: Picard concluded at the end of March, CBS released a promo saying the third season of Discovery was “coming soon.” On that same day, executive producer Alex Kurtzman tweeted out a message that “Starfleet embarks on a new mission soon – Star Trek Discovery season 3 is on its way.” Today in their official announcement regarding the new series Strange New Worlds, CBS All Access stated that Discovery was “returning with season three later this year.” Earlier in the week CBS All Access set June 25th for the premiere of the second season of The Twilight Zone. and today they released a promo for what’s coming in the rest of May which made no mention of Discovery. Based on all of that, a good guess for when the show will premiere would be later in the summer. But as of now, there is no official date.
— Alex Kurtzman (@Alex_Kurtzman) March 26, 2020
Watch Russo talk Picard, Discovery and more
You can watch the full Facebook Live event below, which includes Russo performing some of his Picard music on the piano.
Posted by Jeff Russo on Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.com.