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In one particular Bridgerton season two sequence, Viscount Anthony Bridgerton confesses — right before an intimately breathy, yet maddeningly nearly touchless tangle — that Kate Sharma is dually the “bane” of his existence and the “object” of all his desire.
The line easily whipped up a frenzy among fans of the couple, the utterance seemingly capturing the entire energy of the duo’s push-pull love story. But there is, in fact, another moment that may speak to the nature of Kate and Anthony’s love story better; a rare exhibit of emotional vulnerability under an outdoor canopy that sees Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) admitting that when it comes to Kate (Simone Ashley), “all I find myself being able to breathe for is you.”
And breathe for her he does with the help of the show’s sound team, who delivered all those exquisitely panty moments that defined the couple’s romantic journey across eight episodes. It was a different sound journey than season one, supervising sound editor Ulrika Akander and rerecording mixer Deb Adair tell The Hollywood Reporter.
“Their relationship was steamier in a different way — it took up a bigger place earlier on in the season,” Akander said of the Duke of Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton’s story. “With Kate and Anthony, it takes pretty much the entire season for them to finally connect.”
That meant much of the season two couple’s romantic desire played out through the growing interest and decreasing distance between them, portrayed through the bated (and otherwise) breath performances of Bailey and Simone. To capture their slow-building entanglement, production sound, ADR, music and sound effects — like added heartbeats, breaths, swooshing and the buzzing of a bee — all worked together to increase the intensity of a scene or intensify as the episodes went on.
“One thing that definitely played a huge part was [composer] Kris Bowers’ music,” Adair said. “When they first meet on horseback, it’s kind of flirty, but then it gets more intense over time through all these scenes where they end up in the same room together. And as [their relationship] gets more and more intense, the music gets more and more intense.”
To create the duo’s romantic arc, they sound creates an aural bubble around the couple. While the sound theme for the Bridgerton family features a wild track (or an audio recording synchronized with the film but recorded separately) of laughs, banter and joking so “they’re always alive in the background,” the sound supervisor said, the team stifled background noise in Kate and Anthony’s moments.
The foundation of these tracks was the production sound, led by production sound mixer Tim Surrey. The team used a range of sound recording techniques including booms and lavaliers.
Having audio tracks from each ensemble member became particularly important in scenes where Bailey and Ashley were physically close, like the scene with the bee and their steamy confessions in the library at Aubrey Hall and Lady Danbury’s estate.
Many of the decisions around shaping the “bubble” would happen during the spotting sessions and multiple playbacks, which could include notes from the director, picture editor, music editor, producers and showrunner on how to get Anthony and Kate’s love story just right.
“The team applied its bubble technique to a wide range of moments, emphasizing sound details as subtle as when Kate walks by Anthony and “he has like a little sniff,” the supervising sound editor said.
Sometimes it would be let’s have music carry the scene more or let’s lower the sound effects — or vice versa, let’s have the sound effects really play a role here,” Akander said of the process. “With Kate and Anthony, it’s let’s have half a breath take over. Let’s pinpoint that bee. Let’s make sure we hear that horse whinny in the background, interrupting them in the middle of the whole thing, bringing us back to reality. And as we bring it back to reality, we hear people talking coming back up because now that magic is broken.”
For their love scenes, music was elevated while their mic audio and sound effects were brought down. “The choice typically and more often was to have the music driving it. They didn’t want to do it too breathy because then it could be a fine line with where you put it.”
“The scene in the last episode where Anthony and Kate dance together — that at one point became just music. The crowd falls away, the footsteps fall away, everything falls away and it’s just the two of them,” Akander explained. “When Anthony is walking in [to meet the Queen with Edwina] and Kate is standing there and their hands nearly brush, it’s pretty stripped away, too, and again it’s to create a kind of bubble. Then the moment right after the pinky scene, we’re back to reality.”
July 11, 1:15 p.m. Updated to include the name of production sound mixer Tim Surrey as well as additional sound elements.
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