SlumDog Millionaire Production Audio

There is a very interesting article here about the production sound recordist for the hit movie SlumDog Millionaire by Danny Boyle.

Heres a little excerpt – I am (nearly) always very impressed with the great work production sound people do; while there are close to a hundred people on set making the visual side happen there are often only two or three there for sound….

‘The way they were shooting was completely mad for Indian conditions,’ he explains. ‘Things were going haywire. They were not shooting shots, but complete scenes, all in one go. Danny had decided to adopt this approach for the film so, unlike a traditional shoot, where we have one film camera on set, or location, here we had multiple cameras rolling, and entire scenes were being shot over and over again. Danny also decided that he would not shoot using just one type of medium, but use different media. So he had film cameras, high-definition cameras and still cameras modified for motion picture capture on memory sticks. He had a whole bunch of cameras on location and he would use any camera at any time.’

This meant that, as a production sound engineer, Mr Pookutty had to adapt his techniques accordingly. Multiple cameras on location meant close-ups and wide-angle shots being canned simultaneously, which required the boom mics to be positioned in such a way that they were not visible in the wide shots, nor in the frame of any of the cameras. And when there were multiple takes of the same scene, the cameras in a second take would not necessarily give the same frame or the same magnification as in the previous take, so every retake was actually like a new shot. The boom men really had their work cut out.

‘Covering a complete scene on location [read that as noisy Mumbai streets during the peak summer season with a huge crowd of onlookers] with four cameras simultaneously, posed its own set of challenges,’ Mr Pookutty recalls. ‘I had a team of more than 10 people with me at times, because I needed a ton of gear to get the job done.’

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