CAS Quarterly

Spring 2019

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Page 27 of 79

28 S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 C A S Q U A R T E R L Y beautiful places on the planet, document what's there and work at the same time. The rest of the crew really helped, too. The camera guys were super-smart, and you can imagine starting off the day at 4:30 a.m. to hike up to the base of the cliff. There were a lot of times when Alex was maybe going to try it, so getting timecode to all of the cameras on the wall was a pretty cool process. I trained all the guys on the wall how to use the Zaxcom receivers and monitor as he goes by so I'd have an RX200 (AA run forever) on the cameras, so if there was anything wrong with his mic, they could pick up on it. I taught them everything I knew about the lavalieres and the transmitters because, since it took place over two years, I couldn't be there all the time, so those guys could cover me. We used the TRX LA2.5, I ran a 633, then a bunch of Sennheisers, MKH 8060s on the cameras, with low cut, and that was pretty much it. I used the Dugan Automixer when I could, for the most part recorded ISOs and spent a lot of time wandering around the park trying to get cool sounds from the park. We did an early-morning timecode jam and then leap- frogging, using Tentacles because they're very lightweight. We were shooting on C300 MkIIs, an Amira, and an Alexa Mini and it's really easy to have 10 of those in a bag and instantly take a cord and jump it from one to the other. They last 24 hours. Tell me about the production crew. They had two camera crews, one on the wall and another when they came back in the evening for all the footage of interaction with Alex in the van, and they didn't have two sound crews, I was solo sound! A lot of my days were 4:30 a.m. to close to midnight a lot of days in a row. I'm one of the few people who can do that kind of stuff because I've been climbing pretty much my entire life and so if I need to be somewhere on the wall, I can get there, fixed lines or free soloing to get there. I felt a little guilty at the CAS Awards because I got the job that's got a lot of extra bling to it, where there are people who are way better than me at mixing audio. For me, it has more to do with my ability to access risk and operate in dangerous situations and be physically fit enough to do it. It was a really stressful job. There's a lot of life-or-death-type things that that kind of filmmaking involves because you're basically risking your life to tell the story. It's great, it's fun, I don't think about the money or anything, it's kind of an addiction to telling the story and being part of telling the story. Jim is currently prepping for a film climbing the north face of Everest. RIC SCHNUPP: FX and Foley Re-recording Mixer Our Foley was done in Portugal. It's not the kind of documentary where we were doing for anything heightened, it all had to feel very real. One of the more interesting parts about what I had to do was just get the Foley sounds for his climbing to be very real- sounding, as if you're floating right in front of him, so we did two hands and two feet and his chalk bag for the Foley and for any of the close-up climbing scenes, and even the farther away CAS Award Winner – Documentary MEET THE WINNERS Free Solo by G. John Garrett CAS Free Solo is the story of professional climber Alex Honnold and his extraordinary ascent of El Capitan's 900-meter vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park without fall protection. Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin and distributed by National Geographic, this documentary not only grossed almost $22 million at the box office, but took home this year's Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, and our CAS Award for Excellence in Sound Mixing for a documentary film. It is a truly exceptional work of art and a real example of mastery in sound mixing for documentaries. Here we catch a glimpse into the experience of mixing Free Solo. JIM HURST: Production Sound Mixer Were the Zaxcom wireless getting beaten up? Oh yeah. They got absolutely hammered. Alex had one in his chalk bag during the free solo. I had him wired during the free solo, which is kind of crazy because if I screwed it up, it could potentially kill him if the mic came free ... and the real trick is that the chalk bag he's wearing slides back-and-forth, so you have to leave the right amount of slack in the cable. I used a B6 for that just to be as thin and small as possible. It was a ton of work. I've worked with DP Jimmy Chin for many years and we have a common friend that we go climbing with and I spent a bunch of years filming climbers who were free soloing. My background is in camera, so I'm a DP also. I specialize in non-specialization for places where a large crew would be impractical or intrusive. I've done a few cultural films. If you send a crew to do that kind of thing, it changes the subject. I have no interest in working in LA or the city or anything like that. I live in Southwest Colorado and I'm kind of a wilderness junkie. I've been lucky enough to see the most Daring climber Alex Honnold with presenter Jesse Dodd CAS at the 55th CAS Awards.

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