Documentarian travels to Tokyo seeking surround sounds of sushi

When Austin, TX-based Sakana Film Productions organized a trip to Tokyo to shoot part of its documentary on sushi, “FISH: Sushi as a Global Cuisine,” the crew took along a Holophone H4 SuperMINI camera-mountable surround microphone to capture sounds from Tsukiji, the world’s largest fish market.

For several sequences in the documentary, the Sakana crew was on location at the fish market to record the natural sounds of the environment to be used as part of the musical soundtrack for “FISH” as well as for supplemental ambient sounds.

According to co-producer Mark Hall, sounds from the market are rhythmic, reminiscent of chants. The crew wanted to capture every nuance of the market’s fish auctioneers and bidders, he said. The H4 SuperMINI was able to get in with the crowd to provide fully immersive audio pickup.

The H4 SuperMINI’s 2.5in x 1.5in mic head is compact enough to be used in crowded environments while still housing six separate mic elements that allow the mic to capture a balanced surround mix from a single point.

The microphone also features an encoder equipped with Dolby Laboratories’ Dolby Pro Logic II encoding technology, which converts the mic’s six channels to two so it can be recorded to any standard broadcast camera or stereo recording device. The recordings can later be decoded to six channels in post.

For “FISH,” the H4 SuperMINI was placed on the crew’s B camera, a Panasonic HPX-2000, and used to capture ambient sounds. It was also connected to a Zaxcom Fusion digital audio recorder and used independently of the camera. With a crew of eight, Hall also found the H4 SuperMINI’s ability to easily be adapted to an interview setup a resource as well as a timesaver.

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