As the microphones needed to stick out but at the same time blend into the design or the ruff, Bucher and Bériot decided to make them look like an intercom between the spacesuits.
“We tried various options,” Bucher says, “At first we had the microphone sticking out of the ruff but that didn’t work, so then we tried a d:screet™ 4060
with a high boost grid, which was chosen for aesthetic reasons. We didn’t worry about high frequencies because we thought we could bring them down in post production, but when we heard the sound we realised it didn’t work because the high frequency was way too powerful and was bouncing off the surface of the grid in an unacceptable way. Finally we swapped to a soft boost grid, which gave us a much more balanced sound. By adding a small rubber joint and lifting the mic capsule completely clear of the ruff, we were also able to reduce vibration noise.”
Valerian and Laureline each had three ruffs so that spares were immediately available. The microphones were left in position, which meant that all the sound crew had to do was plug in the wireless transmitter. DPA d:screet™ 4060
microphones were also used on the motion capture costumes that the actors wore when shooting CGI scenes.
“To reduce noise, we put the microphones on the costumes with a semi rigid surface that we built with a 3D printer,” Bucher explains. “For the main actors who were wearing camera helmets, we positioned one mic on the helmet and one on their chest in case Luc wanted them to take the helmet off for a close up.”
Besson’s decision to keep ADR to a minimum put additional pressure on the sound team to capture great audio on set.
“The good thing about Luc is that he really understands sound so he was able to get involved when we were debating microphone positions and what would work best,” Bucher says. “He expects you to find solutions and that pressure does make you raise your game. In the end, the audio we recorded with our DPA microphones was fantastic and everyone was impressed, especially the post production team who said the richness and clarity of the sound gave them many more options to play with.”
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opens in cinemas at the end of July. To see a preview, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNrK7xVG3PM
Photo Credit: Lou Faulon