NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: Principal photography for the upcoming William Friedkin-directed psychological thriller, "Bug," presented some major challenges for location sound mixer, Jeffrey Haupt and his wife, boom operator, Ruby Haupt and the great work of Gregory Black, utility sound technician/second boom. Armed with an arsenal of Lectrosonics wireless microphone transmitters and receivers, the Haupts overcame the obstacles to deliver a soundtrack that Friedkin described as one of his career's best.
Haupt reveals that the thriller, which stars Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Shannon, takes place almost exclusively in a small motel-type apartment and deals with the psychological motivations of a paranoid Gulf War veteran. "The only way to pull off a film like this was with wireless. The Lectrosonics equipment was a lifesaver in such a tiny set, especially with the multi-camera, tight shooting schedule."
The results greatly impressed the veteran director, confides Haupt. "Friedkin is a very demanding director, but when you hit a homerun he's the first to acknowledge it."
He continues, "We encountered every possible sound nightmare that you could in this setting. The motel scenario is made up of three interconnected rooms - bathroom, kitchenette and living room - all with interconnecting doors, and irregular vaulted and beamed ceilings. At different times in the movie, the room is full of fly strips hanging from the ceiling, dozens and dozens of them, including some tied to the bottom of the ceiling fan, being flung around in circles making the set a boom operator's nightmare. Later on, the plot determined the entire room was to be covered from floor to ceiling in tinfoil with bug zappers hanging around making it RF hell."
Haupt comments, "This whole wireless thing is really empowering. We use Lectrosonics exclusively for lavaliers, but there's no substitute for that overhead mic, so we try our damnedest to get it in there for every shot. But with wireless booms, you really have to get the whole communication thing worked out."
Haupt and his wife most certainly have their communications worked out. "Ruby, who is my boom operator, wears a special all-wireless belt that we designed. It has a remote audio boom box on it that we custom wired into a Lectrosonics UCR411a receiver and an UM400 belt-pack transmitter. She can push a button to talk to me at any time, and she wears a wireless headphone feed. We don't have to sacrifice any of our personal communication, which allows us to do a better job of getting the microphone closer to the scene. It can make the difference between getting a shot and having to do ADR and looping."
Also making their jobs more efficient is an all-wireless microphone boom pole, he continues. "We used to have a regular transmitter with a cable to the boom pole, but we've been going with the UH400a plug-on. This gives her total autonomy to go anywhere on the set and move around through lighting changes and camera changes and not have to deal with all these cables. "Bug" involved a whole lot of second boom and overlapping. The second boom also ran wirelessly."
"Every word in that movie is going through some form of Lectrosonics transmitter or receiver, whether it be the UH400A plug-on transmitter or the UCR411A compact receiver," commented Haupt. "We have Lectrosonics going back to the 185 series.
The Haupts recently finished working on "Factory Girl," about Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol's famous New York studio hangout. "There was a lot of Lectrosonics equipment used on that movie, too. It was set in New York City, but shot in Shreveport, Louisiana," reveals Haupt. "Before that, we worked on the 'Elvis' mini-series. There was a lot of playback. We had music cues every day. And we used Lectrosonics transmitters to transmit wirelessly to speakers, as well as to record the sound with lavalier mics and wireless booms."
Since its formation in 1971, Lectrosonics has grown to become a premier firm specializing in the design and creation of professional audio technologies. Alongside creating audio processing gear such as the DM Series, Lectrosonics is a leading innovator of wireless audio technology with many professionals as ardent fans within the broadcasting, motion picture, and television industries.
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.