I have had a production question about Breaking Bad that I’ve had for almost a decade.  And here’s how the question evolved.

I had occasion to watch many of the Breaking Bad episodes while I took care of my daughter when she was just a baby.  In order not to wake her, I would watch the show while listening with headphones.

Listening with headphones is a whole new world.  There are so many subtle sounds that aren’t loud enough to hear clearly, if at all, when listening through television speakers.  Even a sophisticated Dolby 7.1 surround sound system won’t be able to produce all of the softer sounds so one can hear it.  It isn’t the fault of the sound system, but rather our ears.

I was watching a scene that took place in the living room of the White household.  I don’t specifically remember which episode it was, because there were so many in this location.  As I was watching, I heard the sound of a garbage truck outside.  I could actually hear it drive up, pick up a trash can, dump it, then drive to the next house.

I couldn’t help but think what a nice touch it was that the sound engineers had gone to the trouble of adding that in.  But then I paused.  I had made the assumption interior scenes were shot on a sound stage.  I began to wonder if they shot on location.  If they shot on location, that would mean it was a real garbage truck, not a sound engineer adding in during post production.

Well today I got my answer.  And it was during a phone conversation with Bank of America.  I know…  How does that happen?  Well here’s the story;

I was on hold for about 20 minutes (they warned about extended hold times because they were very busy).  I spoke to one person that then said they had to transfer me to someone else.  So they did.  The person that answered said their name and they were in the Albaqurqi Office in New Mexico.  So naturally I thought of Breaking Bad and Better call Saul with some of the back ground shots of downtown that had what I thought was a Bank of America building.  The nice representative pointed out it was a different back.  But I’d swear it said Bank of America.

I asked her if she worked in that building and she responded that everyone was working remotely from home, but that she knew of the building.  She went on to mention her dad worked on a production crew building sets.  My old question immediately came to mind.  So I asked my question (after explaining the whole interior White Household thing).

She knew for a fact they shot interior scenes in the house because she had been there and seen it.

That means interior shots of the White household were not shot on a sound stage.  That also means the sound engineers didn’t have to add the sound of a garbage truck in post production as it was a real garbage truck that just happened to be going by when they shot that scene.  Of course it is still possible they added it in later.  But the odds go down.

FINALLY!  One of many questions about movie and television production that I’ve has been answered.


Categories: Thoughts