Lectrosonics on location with ‘Marley & Me’

The systems’ compact form factors, long battery lives and remote-control access facilitated field recording
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In the high-pressure world of location sound, there is little room for, “Oops, I missed that.” For production sound mixer Joe Foglia, this type of challenge is an almost daily occurrence. From his days with NBC’s “Miami Vice” and “Scrubs” to his latest project, the Fox 2000 Pictures film “Marley & Me,” Foglia relies extensively on Lectrosonics wireless systems.

As owner of Southeast Audio Services, a firm that specializes in production and location sound as well as some ADR sound services, Foglia has been a longtime Lectrosonics fan. For “Marley & Me,” Foglia used an assortment of Lectrosonics products, including his fully stocked Venue Field receiver with VRT receiver modules and his Venue rackmount receiver system. For transmitters, Foglia’s arsenal includes an assortment of Lectrosonics UM450 high-power miniature beltpack transmitters, SMa Super Miniature beltpack transmitters and MM400C watertight miniature beltpack transmitters. Each piece of gear incorporates Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless technology, which uses an algorithm to encode 24-bit digital audio information with no compression and low distortion into an analog format that can be transmitted in a robust manner over an analog FM wireless link.

“While I was usually running two to three channels at any given time during this shoot,” Foglia said, “I was prepared for anything upward of 12 channels. I used several transmitters on this project depending upon the nature of the task before me. Owen Wilson wore a UM450 almost exclusively throughout this project. The transmitter was strapped to his ankle, with the microphone wire running down his leg on the inside of his trousers.”

Jennifer Anniston had other plans. “I was all set to wire her up with a UM450,” Foglia said, “but Ms. Anniston preferred the SMa Super-Miniature transmitter. Apparently, she was introduced to that model on a previous project and became very fond of its diminutive size. The SMa actually worked out very well for her, since we ended up attaching the transmitter to the back of her bra. I also used the Lectrosonics RM remote with her transmitter, as she was very concerned about maintaining her privacy. This way, I could easily silence her mic every time she finished on the set so that nobody would be able to pick up her conversations with a scanner.”

Foglia also commented on the ease of using the Lectrosonics equipment in an RF rich environment. “A set is typically a very crowded space in terms of wireless equipment” Foglia said, “so being able to identify and lock in open frequencies is very important, and this is an area where the Lectrosonics gear really excels. I love the fact that I can connect my computer to my Venue rack and, using the [Intermodulation Analysis Software from Lectrosonics’ partner Professional Wireless Systems], identify an open frequency. Identifying open frequencies with the system is extremely easy. I frequently enter the postal Zip code for the area where I’ll be working and set the equipment before I ever get to the shoot.”

For more information, visit www.southeastaudio.com and www.lectrosonics.com.