On Mi:6, Munro also used DPA’s D5100 Surround Microphone
, a relative newcomer to his microphone arsenal. “I first used it on Wonder Woman to capture 5.1 ambience,” he says. “By using it with a Zoom F8, I get a very compact and convenient package that allows me to constantly record ambience in 5.1 surround. On Mi:6 I mounted the D5100 inside cars and inside helicopters. Its practical shape and small footprint meant I could mount it on the inside roof of a helicopter where it looked like part of the helicopter and not a microphone, even if a camera caught a glimpse of it.”
With films like Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Mission: Impossible- Fallout, Wonder Woman, Captain Phillips, The Mummy, five James Bond movies, Spider-Man, Ready Player One and the Oscar-winning 2014 space adventure Gravity to his credit, Chris Munro is undoubtedly film sound royalty – a man whose talents are greatly appreciated by directors such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Guy Ritchie, Paul Greengrass, Ron Howard, and Alfonso Cuaron.
The evolution of new technology has expanded the role of the Production Sound Mixer and led to some interesting experimentation to achieve the best sound. Mi:6 is a good example of this, with Munro designing the communications system that allowed Tom Cruise to fly a helicopter without a visible headset or microphone.
“I adapted bone conduction technology that was designed for military use and interfaced with the helicopter avionics,” he explains. “I used the same technology to record Tom Cruise during the HALO (high altitude low opening) jump and skydive sequence, which was filmed in Abu Dhabi. With Mi:6, I particularly wanted to go for sound that was real, so I was not opposed to occasional wind or higher background noise that wouldn’t be acceptable in a period movie, for example. The whole MI concept involves real stunts and not heavy computer graphics and visual FX. Many of the stunts and FX could have been computer generated but would then have been devoid of reality. Capturing original sound preserves the feeling of reality. Using radio mics and lavaliers is always a compromise but they often mean the difference between getting a scene and not getting it. Much of the new technology I used in the film involved leaps of faith, but I always felt secure with the DPA mics because I knew and trusted them.”
Chris Munro is currently working on the next Spider-Man film and he has also just completed The Voyage of Dr Dolittle, starring Robert Downey Jr, which is due for release in 2019.