While it’s true in the entertainment industry that exceptional talent gets you in the room, it’s versatility that keeps you in it. No description is more fitting for Albert Huang who has utilized his skill as a sound editor, dialogue editor, rerecording mixer, and a plethora of aspects which provide the extraordinary sonic personality for the productions he works on. While all these situations stem from his mastery of audible stylings, Albert’s talent is applied with equal benefit to many different types of projects. From feature films to Apps, Albert Huang is exhibiting that his specific knack and know-how has made him one of the most in-demand of his peer group. His greatest challenge is deciding which project and platform to undertake next rather than how long to wait for the next one to start. It’s not surprising that Albert’s work has been sighted as the perfect counterpoint to the visual tone of many of the productions he has worked on because Huang began his journey as a guitarist before falling in love with film. He reveals, “I found that sound in film is as interesting as music and I fell in love with it. No matter music or film sound, both of them are entertaining and elicit strong emotions in the human spirit. That connection is my ultimate pursuit.”
The Curse of Chopsticks is a mind-bending Horror/Thriller courtesy of writer/director Yu Ji. As with U.S. audiences, this feature film was enthusiastically embraced by Horror fans in China. The genre certainly has its own tone and pacing, which requires a great deal from professionals like Albert Huang. Director Yu Ji expressed a preference for keeping all of the production audio unless there were no options other than ADR. While conceding that this approach is cumbersome, Albert notes, “I honestly enjoy being pushed to find a way to make things work; it’s how I continue to evolve in my career. When I edited the dialogue of a fight scene, I’d have to be careful about the production effect sounds and use an ambience match function to smooth things out. There was one particularly difficult scene where bug sounds had been captured on the dialogue mics. I had to go back and forth between boom mics and lav mics, utilizing a de-noise function to clear the dialogue up enough for use.”
Director Xiaowei Tian recognized Albert’s superior work on The Curse of Chopsticks as well as the documentary Go Together and requested he help solve a problem for Tian’s television series Dating High. The strength of one’s work in TV and film is the best promotional tool available. The skill and wisdom of Huang were equally beneficial to this production as Albert informs, “The dialogue for the indoor scenes which had been filmed were fine but the outdoor ones were a nightmare. I used an Izotope Rx to fix the audio clips and an EQ match function of Fabfilter Q2 to adjust the sound of lav mics but in some cases there was no getting around the need for ADR. Sometimes the best thing you can do to help the production is to let them know what is fixable and what must be redone.” The romantic story which is the nucleus of this series relies upon the varied emotional inflections found in its dialogue. Dating High’s immense popularity and success is evident in its 21.76 million plays on China’s Tencent Video and more than three hundred forty thousand times on YouTube.
The ease with which his skill can be applied to different mediums allows Albert a diversification that keeps him fresh and constantly occupied. Streaming platforms and increasingly digitally based content is as dependent on talented professionals like Huang as traditional TV and film. Clarity of dialogue is the paramount element of “King of Vocabulary”, an English language learning app developed by Perfect World Co., Ltd. As the dialogue editor for “King of Vocabulary”, the very success of this app is dependent on the high quality of Albert’s work. While apps may not result in film festival awards or praise from the industry, it requires the same premier proficiency from those creating it. Albert describes, “The world is increasingly interconnected across geographic and cultural lines. Having a skill as well as being multilingual like myself has become increasingly advantageous in terms of both getting work and being good at it. I have the perspective of someone who has learned another language as well as the understanding of how tone and inflection is interpreted differently. This comes in handy even at a purely professional level. For example, there is a big difference between Mandarin and English, which is that Mandarin’s pronunciation is tone based but English’s is not. Thus the dynamic of a Mandarin dialogue track is bigger than one in English. As a result, if I do dialogue editing for a Mandarin project, I will use the clip gain line function in Pro Tools to adjust the dynamic a little by hand. That will make the mixer’s work easier. There are many of these subtle facets which give me an extra edge.” That edge is apparent whether in a film like Director Zhe Zhang’s missing-memory thriller Lies, Oblivion, Veracity, Evocation or an app like “King of Vocabulary” which hinges on Albert’s work more than any other axpect. With his industry accolades and a host of new productions which seek to make use of his mastery of the sonic approach to storytelling and scene setting, Albert Huang is a role model for making the modern entertainment and information world appear more encouraging than ever.
Writer: Arlen Gann