ADX History – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Mar 20, 2015ADX History, Blog

In 2011, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson returned to the big screen to take on the criminal mastermind James Moriarty in the box-office smash Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The sequel to 2009’s Sherlock Holmes finds the detective, his sidekick (and a band of gypsies) traveling through Paris, Germany, and the Swiss Alps to foil Moriarty’s plans to terrorize Europe.

Hans Zimmer also returned to compose the score alongside Lorne Balfe.  We’ve had the pleasure of working with Hans Zimmer before, isolating elements from Edith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” for use in his score for Inception.



Composer Hans Zimmer, looking dapper indeed.

The Game of Shadows score mirrors the characters’ travels across Europe by utilizing traditional instrumentation from the various regions. Roma folk music is heavily featured, complemented by and combined with classical motifs. Midway through the film, Holmes and Watson travel to the Paris Opera during a performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The scene takes place during Act II of the opera, as Don Giovanni is visited by the revenge-seeking statue of the Commendatore, one of his previous victims. In order to elevate the tension of the scene, Zimmer sought to blend elements of his favorite recorded performance of “L’ultima Prova” and “Don Giovanni, a Cenar Teco” into his score, a cue later titled “To the Opera!”. A brilliant idea, but one that would require control of the volume and pan position of the vocals within the original recordings, something not possible with only the stereo master. Enter Audionamix.


Not pictured, Audionamix. (Stage left)

Our challenge for Game of Shadows was to isolate three separate singing voices from Don Giovanni using our source separation technology. Extracting these elements would provide the composer’s production team with the ability to re-position and manipulate each voice in space to match the perspective of the actors on screen. Our work also allowed the re-recording mixers to adjust the volume of each individual voice to direct viewers’ attention and complement the on-screen action. The resulting separation allowed Hans Zimmer to fully realize his creative vision when the heroes head “To the Opera!”

It’s always exciting to work with such a talented composer like Hans Zimmer, who was one of the first to recognize the potential of our technology and use it to push the boundaries of what’s possible in music and audio.

Watch the opera scene below to see the results! If you’d like to learn more about our technology and making your creative vision come alive, please visit our Services page.