» H.F microphones bring presence on the dialogues. But the ambient sound, the air, the movements of the actors are captured by the boom microphone. « 

Guillaume Sciama is an experienced sound engineer for film.

Whispers and booms

Guillaume Sciama’s world of sound in the movies

a film by Alain Le Kim

He masters this extremely demanding job with the utmost professional attitude. Nothing comparable with the studio work for music recording. The methods are different. The tools are also very different. Guillaume explains how he works. « With multitracks, you have access to the separate tracks during the editing and the mix-down, which enables corrections on each track during post-production, in case of phase problems or necessary EQ. » His experience ranges from Regis Wargnier’s Indochine, with french star Catherine Deneuve, shot in Vietnam in the early 90′s, to Patrick Chereau’s Reine Margot, Michael Hanecke’s La pianiste, Michel Gondry’s La science des rêves. His job is to capture subtle nuances of dialogue, the sound of the rain on tropical leaves, the noise of a Paris street, or the ambient noise of a room where the film is shot. The microphones have to remain nimble. The recording machine noiseless, highly sensitive and faithful. Not to mention the essential mobility of all the gear. Battery operation is a must that demands a lot of discipline. « If we are in a situation where we can’t charge batteries at night, I can still still be functional the next day, because I have a reserve. »

Guillaume Sciama is ready for all circumstances. Before a shooting, he meticulously checks all the items in his numerous, highly resistant suitcases of equipment, from the extremely delicate surround microphones array, to the basic soldering iron and the pair of scissors. He carrys in his sophisticated « cartwheel » – in fact a high-tech location recording system – a small pouch with a mini tool-kit, « The camera assistants come to me and use it many times, it’s a job where solidarity is paramount ». Above all, in such a sensitive environment, the film audio engineer must think of all the sounds that will be necessary to reconstruct reality. A fascinating prospect. Contact with the film director and the actors is paramount to the success of the final sound-track.

Guillaume Sciama sometimes has to impose reshootings, because he heard an unwanted background noise the team did not even notice. With him, we will enter the world of sound on film.

booms1 DVD /104′ / soon available : 29 €

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