Production Sound & Video

Fall 2018

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36 "It could have easily become quite a noisy scene, but my phi- losophy at any given moment in any film is that there is one sound that needs to be in the forefront," says Fleischman. "We needed to balance the scene in a way that made sure every line was intelligible so that the underlying track sounded real to the audience and not like they were hearing something in a vacuum. The whole idea for me is story and keeping the audience involved and not letting them be distracted by any sound element." If you listen closely to the scene, you will hear a "boom shaka- laka" from the crowd. That's actually Lee's voice. During the mix, the director asked Fleischman to grab a mic so he could record the audio and found spots for it in the scene. After that initial assignment, Stallworth starts his own under- cover operation after stumbling across a newspaper ad from the Ku Klux Klan seeking new members. Stallworth calls the number on the notice and David Duke (Topher Grace), the leader of the hate group, actually picks up the line. Disguising his voice, Duke thinks Stallworth is a racist white man and invites him in the inner circle. To shoot these scenes, Production Designer Curt Beech built two sets outfitted with period-appropriate props on NY stages so production could shoot Stallworth and Duke simultane- ously. Sound recorded both actors' dialog simultaneously as well. "We placed mics overhead on both ends, plus we tapped the telephone line on a separate track for editorial to play with," says Kunin, whose cart setup is based around a Sonosax mixer and an Aaton Cantar X-3 recorder. All Fleischman had to do was "filter down the track a little" to make it sound more like it was coming from a phone. Stallworth, now a member of the KKK, has one problem: he's black. To be the face of the operation, he asks fellow detective Flip (Adam Driver) to pose as Ron, where he meets the leader of the local chapter, Walter (Ryan Eggold). Stallworth asks Flip to wear a wire and Kunin was able to find a few in the style of the old BCM 30 to put on camera, which added to the complexity of lav placement. Costumes from designer Marci Rodgers posed a different chal- lenge as they lauded the fashion of the time. Stallworth wore lush colors, jazzy prints, and mixed textures of denim, velvet shirts, silky button-downs, suede vests, and leather jackets. To lav Washington, center chest became the default position to avoid material movement leaking into the track. For Patrice, she was dressed in long leather jackets, dark turtlenecks, mini-dresses, and knee-high boots, among oth- ers. "Laura was a little tricky to mic," admits Kunin. "Not because of the material she was wearing but because it was hard to hide a mic. Marsha worked with wardrobe to sew in special compartment to place in the bodypacks." Sound had to pay close attention during the nightclub scenes Ron and Patrice go to hang, talk, and dance. For dialog to be From top: John David Washington as Ron Stallworth with Laura Harrier. Spike Lee with Topher Grace as David Duke and Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman. Duke and Flip meet for the first time.

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