We’ve all heard it a million times. Nothing cues amateur filmmaking faster than bad sound. And a good dialogue recording mostly comes down to the proximity of the mic to the actor.
On Down and Dangerous, we didn’t have the money to hire a sound department like we’ve had in the past. And we didn’t have wireless mics at our disposal. This created a dilemma in shots composed with a lot of headroom.
On our other movies, we had settled for “good enough” when framing didn’t allow the mic to get as close as it should. But here, I was committed to finding solutions that would enable us to capture the best location sound we could.
Faced with a location like you see below, you have traffic outside. So getting the mic in good and close is paramount, especially in a single camera production. You editors and sound mixers know what I mean.
So what did we do? We let the mics and even the boom operators into the frame.
And by shooting a “plate” (an empty version of the shot sans actors and mics), we could use the top part of that frame to matte out the mics.
There are probably a dozen or so shots like this in the movie. And no one would ever know if it weren’t for this article.