TTOU: Sound Notes – France
After the success of the London leg, I was very excited about recording sound in France; a country I know and love. I travelled down in my car with our very talented stills photographer Mathew Hodgkin, who kept me amused all the way down!
We set up a “kit room” which was the dining room of a beautiful Chateau , our home for 3 weeks. The Chateau is an imposing French mansion, complete with a tree lined driveway and moat.
The electricity supply was typically rural French and fragile. Jack Shelbourn our esteemed DOP, set up a rota and system to avoid any unsolicited power failures. This worked very well even though the kettle was rendered useless most of the day!
I used the same kit as I used in London, with the addition of a second back-up Zoom H4N recorder and extra SD cards. So, I was armed and ready to roll as long as I remembered to charge my batteries every night…….which I did.
We shot inside and around the Chateau, car scenes, bicycle scenes, guerilla style car scenes in the local town (which attracted the attention of the local Gendarmes), scenes in a local cafe bar and all manner of excitement and wonderfulness!
Different locations threw up different challenges. We shot a memorable scene next to a beautiful river and waterfall. Apart from having to combat the sound of the waterfall (I used a combination of boom mic and lav mics), I was getting “drop outs” from my wireless kit. I still don’t know why, but a couple of quick alterations to frequencies and lav mics, seemed to fix the problem. It was either French Goblins or maybe the sit-down mower working away in the parklands next door. I favour the Goblins!
As far as microphones go, I always used a combination of my Sennheiser Lavs and Rode Shotgun, or AKG Short Shotgun for indoors. There were only a couple of times I had to rely on lavs only. These were car interiors and wide shots.
Overall, from a sound perspective, the whole shoot went well. My kit performed excellently and everyday was a new set of challenges. Mostly, the usual challenges for sound; getting the boom in without casting that long unmistakable shadow that makes any sound guy very unpopular, along with that heart sinking shout of……”boom in shot”! Ha Ha.
So, this was a very successful shoot with a small friendly crew that bonded very well and we all made new friends for life. Maybe my crowning glory will be that we wrapped in France on “roomtone”………..Tres Bon!!!!
Thanks for reading,