It's nearly time for the second Marvel offering from Fox this year, X-Men: Apocalypse, which has a lot to live up to after the timeline-warping events of X-Men: Days of Future Past and the well-received X-Men: First Class.
The next installment in the movie series sees the formation and gathering of the young X-Men team as they face their greatest threat yet, the oldest and most powerful mutant of them all: En Sabah Nur, better known as Apocalypse. Which leads us to this:
Give a fan on the internet an image of a purple-fied Oscar Isaac and they'll overreact for a day. Give them a trailer featuring the unedited gravitas of his voice, and they'll overreact for a lifetime, so said Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (we're paraphrasing a little, we admit).
Not that we're judging — we weren't immediately taken with the new aesthetic either when the first promo pictures dropped. I suppose the majority of us thought that Apocalypse looked ridiculous, but then, his comic book counterpart isn't exactly the most handsome fellow to begin with.
The first image didn't look great, sure, but it's important to keep in mind that this was a pre-production still featuring Isaac wearing only makeup, with no SFX, filters, post-processing, or the like. And the reason he looked so weirdly purple? As director Bryan Singer told IGN, it's glaringly obvious: There was a pink light on him.
"There was an image released on Entertainment Weekly, where the effect hadn't been put in yet, so everyone was — the effect has a pink light on it, and everyone got lit up pink, so people thought Apocalypse was going to be pink. I was like, 'No, no, they're all pink. Take a look. Everyone in the picture is pink. It's a pink picture.'"
In the comic books, Apocalypse is of course possessing of a unique gray-blue skin tone, and later promo stills and trailers showed that the post-processing En Sabah Nur looks a lot better in his true colors, white-eyed and all.
But then when the first trailer released, the titular villain was again criticized for the use of the unaltered voice — as if somehow Isaac's gravitas wasn't good enough for the iconic X-Men villain. Singer addressed this too, explaining again that Apocalypse will sound very different in the finished product.
For X-Men: Apocalypse, Singer and the sound team are using a method that he describes as "unique" in order to render Apocalypse's commanding, god-like voice. The method involves weaving together multiple recordings of Isaac's voice taken from his live performance — one standard recording, and two bass microphones drawing and recording sound from each of his cheeks.
"These two microphones have the ability to pull vocal range out of his voice that the human ear cannot hear. And I can take that vocal range that I've now recorded, and I can pull it and use it to augment his voice -- and that with a little digital magic can create a voice that's both completely governed by his performance but is not natural."
By weaving together multiple layers of the same voice, the filmmakers have created something new from the one recording, and that's before the other digital post-production effects come into play.
Hear his voice in action in the final — and most impressive — trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse below.
X-Men: Apocalypse lands May 27, 2016.
What's your take on the Apocalypse design? Tell us in the comments below!