Film’s location sound mixer receives prestigious award
Mumbai, India – May 2009… Written and directed by Abhishek Kapoor and produced by Farhan Akhtar and Riteish Sidhwani, Excel Entertainment’s hit film Rock On! is a story is about four friends who start a rock band in college. They almost make it big, but egos clash and they go their separate ways until ten years later when they re-group to perform on stage once again. Released in August of 2008, Rock On! has been highly successful—so much in fact, that at the recent 54th Filmfare Awards (India’s equivalent of the Oscars), Vinod Subramanian, the film’s location sound mixer, received the award for Best Sound. For a film of this nature, capturing high quality sound is more essential than ever, and helping him make it all come together was his wireless microphone equipment from Lectrosonics.
Known as Vin to his friends and colleagues, Vinod Subramanian attended the Film and Television Institute of India to launch his film sound career. In addition to his success with Rock On!, Vin’s credits include the 2007 release of the Italian film La Mia India and the independent film Patang (The Kite - in post-production). He also worked with sound mixer Pawel Wdowczak on Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited and his current project is Delhi Belly—now in post production. With credits like these, Subramanian knows what it takes to achieve great film sound.
For Rock On!, Vin used a potent arsenal of Lectrosonics equipment that included a SIXPACK high performance, 6-channel receiver multi-coupler, which provides antenna and power distribution for up to six Lectrosonics compact diversity receivers. This was paired with three SNA dipole antennas, four UCR 411 UHF receivers, two UM400 UHF beltpack transmitters, and two LM UHF beltpack transmitters—all of which employ Lectrosonics’ legendary Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology.
Today’s film and TV sets typically use a lot of wireless equipment and these crowded RF environments can be extremely challenging when it comes to finding open frequencies and avoiding the dreaded dropout. Thanks to Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless technology, Vin went about his work without a single hitch. “Rock On! was a dialog-intensive film,” he notes. “With the combination of the UCR411A receivers in the SIXPACK using the SNA dipoles, I didn’t experience a single dropout throughout the entire shoot.”
Vin is very fond of his SIXPACK, as it resolves a number of location sound challenges. “One of my best investments in location sound gear was the SIXPACK,” he explains. “It removed all the hassles of trying to power individual receivers and provide RF signal to them. With the SIXPACK, I can run six Lectrosonics receivers for a 16-hour period, which pretty much covers a very long day at a shoot. My entire wireless receiver system is active by turning just one switch on, and charging the unit overnight is extremely simple—just one XLR connector in and that’s it. No messing around with NP batteries, DC distribution, and so forth. If I need more than four wireless systems, I can rent one or two more and easily incorporate them into my SIXPACK.”
“I have added a fifth UCR411A wireless system and a Lectrosonics UH400a plug-on transmitter to my kit since Rock On!” he adds. In Delhi Belly, Vin had to rely a lot on making his principal boom go wireless. “Shooting in the old ramparts of Delhi, in narrow lanes with a Steadicam being used most of the time, it was imperative for us to be able to drop the umbilical cable to the boom microphone. The UH400A plug-on worked beautifully, even though it was under duress most of the time”, he explains.
Thus far, Subramanian has completed three feature films and more than 200 shooting days with his Lectrosonics gear and he reports it’s been smooth sailing the entire time. For this, he credits Lectrosonics build quality and the company’s President, Larry Fisher. “When I was making my equipment selections, I had to weigh numerous options against the money I had,” says Subramanian. “Larry’s personal guidance during this process was an enormous help and I have reaped the advantages of having a SIXPACK every working day. In all the time I’ve been handling location sound, I have not had a single issue with my wireless systems and I’m confident of the further mileage I’ll get on future projects.”
About Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless Technology
Lectrosonics’ Digital Hybrid Wireless technology uses a proprietary algorithm to encode 24-bit digital audio information with no compression and low distortion into an analog format that can be transmitted in a robust manner over an analog FM wireless link. The result is much higher dynamic range—free from sonic artifacts— than wireless systems using a compandor are able to offer. Digital Hybrid Wireless technology delivers long operating range, graceful signal decay, and a small spectral footprint, facilitating more channels to be operated simultaneously.
For additional information about Vinod Subramanian, visit him online at www.soundtrane.com.
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theater technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.