Commercial with Lebron James for Ladder
It was great working with D’Marie Productions as the production sound mixer on a commercial shoot with Lebron James for Ladder Sports. On this shoot wardrobe and action were some of the biggest challanges from the perspective of the sound department.
Difficult Wardrobe To Hide Mics
While Lebron’s wardrobe wasn’t too difficult, the other talent, Steph Chung, was wearing only a sports bra and shorts with 360º of visibility and fast paced shooting alongside framing that wasn’t optimal for booming. When I first went to mic Steph with a Lectronsonic SMWB and saw her wardrobe I knew that was going to be a problem. Stepping back to my cart I immediately grabbed a subminiature transmitter, the Lectrosonics SSM with a DPA 4060. We were able to affix the lav directly to her sports bra and tuck the transmitter body in the webbing under her armpit with the antenna following the bra strap as it goes backwards from there. Over the course of filming, we had to move sides the transmitter was tucked under a couple times depending on framing. The transmitter was invisible to camera the majority of the time while delivering fantastic audio.
Working Out On Video
Since talent were working out in the video, a lot of consideration needed to be taken to what’s going to keep clothing noise down so they can exercise while delivering lines cleanly. Additionally the placement of the transmitter needs to be considered so as they are working out they are never laying on top of it for both their comfort and my equipments sake.
For Lebron I opted for a Viviana Extreme waist strap to hold the transmitter. The Viviana Extremes have a silicon dot pattern on them that prevents them from slipping keeping the transmitter securely on him while actively exercising. The Vivianas also uses a fabric that keeps sweat away from the transmitter. Having a waist strap meant for secure mounting and comfortable mounting of the transmitter for talent.
Leaning on Lavs for Wide Framing
For this commercial they were shooting both vertical and horizontal framing at once on a single Red Raptor shooting 8k and cropping later. This meant a lot of wider framing and leaning on lavs more than I would prefer. In order to get good audio from lavs, placement and strain relief is everything; Fortunately both Lebron and Steph had wardrobe on that yielded a very natural transparent sound with next to no noise. Considering they are in motion while working out…even while delivering lines, it was important to have an extra layer of protection to prevent clothing rub. I’ll often sandwich a bent piece of a paperclip to create a barrier that keeps clothing and skin from coming into contact with the mic’s capsule. While the transmitter placement was very different on Lebron & Steph, the way the lavs themselves were attached were neirly identical. Considering sweat as a factor, I’ve had very good luck with the Rycote Advanced Stickies holding up well sticking to moist fabric.
Check out article on WavReport.com showing how to use a paperclip as a lavalier spacer!
Working with Celebrity Talent
When working with celebrity talent like Lebron James, you typically only have a limited window with them and there are additional considerations made when micing them. Having been mic’d so often they may even have preferences about where they like the transmitter to be.
Having a limited window means things need to go right the first time and not eat up time making continual adjustments. Lebron has fortunately done this a million times and is easy to work with as far as micing him and working with him to find a placement that works well for sound and is comfortable for him. I additionally opted for the reliability of lithium batteries for his transmitter so that a battery change would’t be necessary during the course of filming.
IFBs for Director & Clients
When not directly on set it can be hard to hear what people are saying from video village. Having wireless IFB headsets for the director and agency creative director are valuable tools to make sure they are getting the content they need. Additionally IFBs go a long way towards client experience just as a client monitor does.
Voice Of God
During the sections of filming without sync sound, they opted to play music while filming workout b roll. Having a PA system with wireless mics for a voice of god setup allowed for direction above music playback.