From feature films to 360-degree video to an official state visit of Justin Trudeau, this sound-for-picture pro finds there’s no situation Lectrosonics can’t handle.
London, U.K. (August 1, 2017) — Much-hired location recordist Matt Price has a simple philosophy: Record it right the first time. His website states, “You can do it all later at much greater expense with less quality, but why would you?” To maintain these high standards in the face of the ever-changing demands of film and TV shoots, he relies on Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless® for trouble-free wireless audio, including SMb and SMDb UHF transmitters, designed specifically for the frequency spectrum of the European market, as well as SMV and SMQV UHF belt-pack transmitters with SRb dual-channel and IFB-1RA UHF belt-pack receivers.
“I just finished location work on a new independent feature called Relentless, which is due out in January 2018,” he explains. “For this feature we had a boom mic operator budgeted for just a few days, so the Lectrosonics wireless systems were critical for overall coverage. They are always indispensable any time you start out with a wide shot that also has dialogue.” In particular, Price praises the R1a UHF IFB belt-pack receivers used on the set of Relentless, which he explains are “purpose-built for headphone monitoring by the director and other management. If I send my mix there, they can hear the program audio as well as on-set communications.”
“I also use the SMVs, which are the very tiny ones, then the SMQV, which are the dual-battery version of that. Receivers are mainly the SRb dual-channel units.” The SRb can mount in a slot on camera, and up to three of them can share a cradle atop an industry-standard recorder such as the Sound Devices 688.”
Price describes a challenge from a previous film he worked on for the same director and production company, in which it proved crucial to place a Lectrosonics wireless transmitter on each actor: “We’re looking down on this house. The bad guys are coming up a long driveway. They have this five-minute interaction with our hero. Since I do all the audio post-production for films I’ve recorded, when I use Lectrosonics wireless system, I know that whether someone goes on-camera or off in the course of a scene, I’ll have their dialogue to work with.”
The freedom of movement that Lectrosonics wireless systems allow each actor also facilitates the improvisation that Price often encounters in independent film. “There’s the shell of the script, obviously, but once the scene is in progress, the director and actors may start playing around with it, so I don’t know who’s going to say what. It’s not practical to be chasing all that improv around with a boom mic.”
On film shoots, you can usually shoot another take if something goes wrong. But what about a one-time opportunity involving “talent” the director can’t actually direct? Price’s Lectrosonics gear was a lifesaver in just such a case, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Queen of England. “We were filming Mr. Trudeau walking around Green Park at Buckingham Palace,” he recalls, “and we had a boom as backup, but of course you can’t be intrusive with it.” However, with Lectrosonics wireless packs on Trudeau and the show’s host, every bit of conversation was able to be captured for later editing into the final product.
Less stressful than meeting heads of state, but perhaps more technologically challenging, is the relatively limited frequency spectrum available in the U.K. Price therefore relies on Lectrosonics’ legendary ability to zero in surgically on unused frequencies. “We’ve basically got block 606, which covers frequencies from there up to around 631.500. I once did a documentary on the Chelsea Flower Show. We needed to mic up six guys, and a boom wouldn’t work because they’re all moving around building a garden. Then the media days started and there’s even more demand for spectrum -- so it became even more important to be able to grab whatever individual frequencies were open.” Price relates that his Lectrosonics gear did so “with no glitches, dropouts, crosstalk, or any problems whatsoever.”
In addition to his film and interview work, Price also records sound for the cutting-edge worlds of 360-degree video and virtual reality. “With 360 video, wireless is essential because there’s really nowhere to hide anything,” he says. “In terms of post-production, though you may have some kind of surround-sound mic recording overall atmosphere, it’s really more useful for mixing to have a lot of mono point-sources, and delivery to post takes the form of a bunch of those mono tracks. As more VR products come forward, there will be more and more places we’ll need to hide the Lectrosonics transmitters in order to capture those point-sources – moving objects such as a car that’s driving by, for example. The more of those tracks you have, the more realistic and immersive a listening experience you’ll have once the whole thing is put into a game engine.”
Asked what gear he’d like to see that Lectrosonics doesn’t yet make, Price laughs: “Other than perhaps some magical device to get more frequency bandwidth in the U.K., I don’t think I’m wanting for anything!”
Visit Matt Price’s educational blog about location sound at his website: www.soundrolling.com
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theatre 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.
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