RIO RANCHO, NEW MEXICO: A Lectrosonics wireless user for many years, production sound mixer David Daniel had never really stopped to consider where exactly the company's headquarters were located. That was, until an on-set mishap during the first ten days of filming "The Flock," an upcoming movie starring Richard Gere and Claire Danes, left Daniel short of transmitters while shooting on location in Albuquerque.
"Rio Rancho could have been anywhere," says Daniel. "It didn't occur to me until I was into the shoot and Claire goes to the restroom and drops her transmitter into the toilet that the Lectrosonics plant was around here somewhere. Thankfully, it turned out to be a suburb of Albuquerque. I called and, before I left the set that day, Karl Winkler from Lectrosonics was on the set with two replacement transmitters including one of the new SM "Super Mini" units."
The SM super-miniature transmitter was quite welcome on the set, he continues. "In this world, the wardrobe department always complains about transmitters causing big lumps. Using the new SM transmitter certainly reduced the amount of moans from wardrobe." The unit also caught the eye of actor Richard Gere, who plays a public safety agent in the film. "Richard saw the tiny SM and fell in love with it."
Gere originally had been wearing an older Lectrosonics RF transmitter, but it was hard to rig it on his ankle as the role involved a lot of running, says Daniel. "The first day, Gere said, 'I like this transmitter on my ankle but there's just not enough meat around his ankle to hold it in place.' Then, some time within the first week Gere whacked his shin. We couldn't swap the transmitter to the other side because the role required him to have a gun down there, which he goes to with a certain frequency. So the prop department gave me a leather holster. We lined it, put the tiny SM inside, and tapped it to his ankle to solve the problem."
Like many other contemporary productions, this shoot relied very heavily on wireless sound equipment. "Just about everything that I did on this show went through Lectrosonics. A couple of car mounts were hard-wired, but the booms were wireless." And although some scenes only featured two actors, the wireless receivers were lit up for most of the shoot, Daniel reports. "Every set of LEDs was going off on damn near every scene. I had six radio mics, and I had to have them ready at any moment. If the actors had lines on the page then they walked onto the set with a transmitter on them."
The reliance on wireless mics systems for a lot of the sound was due, in no small part, to this being the first American feature by renowned Chinese director Andrew (Wai Keung) Lau. "More importantly, it was our first movie with Lau!" noted Daniel. "He does four movies a year - run and gun - all over Hong Kong. He likes to move fast. And when he shoots in Hong Kong, it's so noisy they end up replacing the sound afterwards, so it's a different technique altogether. This was a tough assignment and we didn't miss a production beat. Of course, it's very convenient to have your wireless system manufacturer right down the road just in case you need them."
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.