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Unveiling the Sonic Spell: Crafting the Sound of Disney Descendants: The Rise of Red

3 min read

Apr 24

China Anne McClain reprises her role as Uma in Descendents 4: The Rise of Red

Get ready to return to Auradon with 'Descendants: The Rise of Red,' - marking the fourth movie in the Descendants franchise. The spinoff movie follows a new group of storybook characters, with the inclusion of a few memorable faces. China Anne McClain returns in the role of Uma, who has now become the Principal of Auradon Prep. Joining her from the original cast is Melanie Paxson, who will reprise her role as Fairy Godmother.

Kylie Cantrell as Red in Descendents 4: The Rise of Red

Along with the teaser, which also features Kylie Cantrell as the principal character Red, China opened up about returning to the franchise. 'I was apprehensive to revisit the Descendants world at first because losing Cam was the first heartbreak I’ve ever experienced. But once I saw how excited the new generation of kids were, it reminded me of myself when we created the original movies.'

'Everything came together beautifully,' she added. 'There’s one scene that is very special to me. I’m sure the audience will be able to guess which one it is once they see the movie. Stepping back into Uma was very fulfilling and healing for me.'

Promising to shake things up in her new role, she reveals that she’ll be opening Auradon Prep to 'all the kingdoms,' including Wonderland.


While Kenny Ortega directed the first three movies, the upcoming movie will be helmed by Jennifer Phang, whose credits include 'The Flight Attendant,' 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,' and 'The Boys.' Suzanne Todd and Gary Marsh are serving as executive producers. Dan Frey and Russell Sommer are the co-writers on the script. Stephen Bowman co-produced the project and supervised post-production. Picture editing was done by Katie Ennis, who worked out of New York, but was able to attend the mix at Smart Post Sound.

Music and audio post-production crew for Disney Descendants: The Rise of Red final lunch

The movie was mixed in Dolby Atmos at Smart Post Sound in Burbank by re-recording mixers David Fluhr and Brian Harman. Mark Friedgen is the supervising sound editor, and the music editing was handled by Amber Funk of Create Harmony Media.


Mark and Amber’s collaboration on Disney musicals goes back to 2006 for 'High School Musical.' Together, they have completed most of the Disney musicals over the past 18 years, including all three previous Descendant movies, 'Camp Rock,' 'The Cheetah Girls,' and many others. At this point, they have a workflow that includes Amber sending her music stems to Smart Post prior to the mix. This is done to ensure all the sound effects work properly with all the musical elements before delivering to the mix stage. 'This is a very important step,' says Friedgen, 'in the end, the sound effects should work in perfect harmony with the music; otherwise, the viewer is taken out of the scene, which is of course the last thing we want.'

Amber then delivers a very large music session to the mix stage - sometimes containing hundreds of units. In order to have the control he needs, David will have all the song lyrics split out, both dry and wet versions, along with each instrument track as well. It is not unusual to have over 160 tracks of music alone! The purpose of this is to provide David the option of remixing the songs and each of their parts ensuring they sound like they belong in the movie and not just a reprint of the album versions.


David starts with a song(s) pre-dub, taking about 2 days of mixing to get the songs in shape. There are usually 12 or so songs in each of the musicals. He then moves to the Dialogue and ADR pre-dubs, taking 2 additional days for this process. At the same time, on another mix stage, Brian will start the SFX pre-dubs. He spends 4 days to complete a general blend of all the SFX elements - including backgrounds, Foley, and all hard effects.

The sound of Disney Descendants: The Rise of Red has a HUGE SFX build with all the supporting sound design for the songs, and in this case, a lot of ‘magical’ 🦄 sound design, culminating together for an extremely exciting moment in the movie we can't wait for you all to hear!

Once David and Brian have a chance to finish their pre-dubs, we move onto one dub stage with everyone all together and ‘lock up’ to begin the final mix. This normally takes an additional 2 weeks and usually includes multiple playbacks for all the Disney executives attending - both in-person and remote.

During this process, the mix gets further refined. 'This is where the creative juices really start flowing,' says Friedgen, 'with the Disney creatives giving us their input, we are able to adjust the various mix elements to achieve a soundtrack that properly serves the project's needs.'

Audio post-production team wrap photo for Disney's Descendants: The Rise of Red streaming on Disney+

The movie will be released on Disney+ and can be streamed HERE July 12, 2024.

<< Also, you check out the trailer below >>

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