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November 2012

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At press time, Les Miserables was getting its pre-mix at Goldcrest in London. Production sound mixer Simon Hayes is shown. cellation feature of the Schoeps SuperCMIT proved invaluable. It eliminated extraneous on-set noise, allowing Hayes to capture remarkably clean vocals. He also hid Scho- eps MK 41 hyper-cardioid capsule mics in the ceiling of carriages, for example, when he needed a high quality, low profile mic. While two boom operators used the SuperCMITs to focus on the solo perfor- Another challenge on Heartland is the weather. Since most of the show is shot out- side, wind and rain can make the production dialogue unusable. When replacing large sec- tions of dialogue with ADR, you also end up dropping out the production sound, including saddle creaks, footsteps on gravel, livestock, and clothing movements. To fill these sound voids, a moves track of Foley is created. "Foley does work as a really good bandage," explains Foster. "You also need to dirty-up the Foley, just like you would the ADR. When you're working with production sound, it's somewhat compromised in pick-up, and you can't have the Foley sounding pristine. The challenge is to try and make the scene feel real when we've had to replace most of the dialogue with ADR." LES MISERABLES Before the cameras started rolling on the musical Les Miserables, director Tom Hooper knew he wanted to create a film that felt like a live musical. He wanted to use the on-set vocal performances as the masters for the final movie soundtrack. To achieve this, he had the production sound team, the audio post team and the music department collaborate from the very beginning. "Tom Hooper feels the original performances hold a truth and energy that can be lost during a re-record," says produc- tion sound mixer Simon Hayes (www.simon- From the outset, the whole movie was planned to avoid re-records and ADR, from set design to special effects." While Post doesn't typically do these kinds of production audio stories, we made an exception here, because it's pretty cool. After extensive conversations with the music department at Abbey Road Studios in London, Hayes carefully selected a variety of boom mics and lavalieres. He then tested those mics with the engineers at Abbey Road, who would eventually be working with the vocals. They wanted to find the best possible production mics, ones that would deliver a sound compa- rable to vocal mics found in a music studio. "The boom microphones that we chose were the digital Schoeps Super- CMITs," says Hayes. "These mics are very new and use DSP noise canceling technology to reject off-axis background noise. I first used these mics on X-Men: First Class. They allowed me to get high-quality dialogue amongst all the special effects on that movie and helped us achieve a soundtrack where the dialogue was 98 percent production sound." Hayes found the Super- CMIT mics could compete with music studio mics if the SuperCMITs were in an opti- mum position during the record. One consideration was the off-axis noise cancellation. "The mic needs to be abso- lutely aimed and kept on the mouth. The slightest head turn that isn't reacted to will sound awful as the DSP sees the off- axis sound as 'background' and tries to reject it. I am 100 per- cent confident using the mics because both my boom oper- ators have been working with me for many years and I con- sider them to be the very best at what they do." Hayes used three boom operators at all times, who were part of a seven-person production sound team. With proper mic place- ment, the off-axis noise can- Post฀•฀November฀2012฀ 39 continued on page 46

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