Directed by Jonathan Glazer, the film Under the Skin is a science fiction thriller starring Scarlett Johansson. Part road movie, part science fiction, it’s a film about seeing our world through alien eyes. While the visuals are certainly haunting, the audio really adds to the suspense— much to the credit of the Digital Hybrid Wireless microphone technology Lectrosonics.
Nigel Albermaniche served as the film’s production sound mixer. With over 50 feature films to his credit, Albermaniche certainly knows the ins and outs of location sound.
For the filiming of Under the Skin he used two Octopack portable multicouplers outfitted with SRb dual channel slot mount ENG receivers, multiple SMQV and UM400a transmitters, UCR411a receivers, two T4 IFB transmitters, and twenty-two R1a IFB receivers—all of which was augmented by the use of four ALP500 log periodic dipole array antennas.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Lectrosonics equipment and have used a lot of their equipment over the past eight years,” Albermaniche reports. “I’ve used their gear on over 50 feature films and am always impressed with the equipment’s sound quality, compact form factor, durability, and range.
“Even when the fins are squished in a bag, the range of this equipment holds up incredibly well, with no dropouts at all.”
“The quality of audio of this equipment is phenomenal and, no matter how difficult the circumstances were, everything worked without a hitch,” he continued. “In one case, Jonathan [Glazer] was in a building close to the street where we were shooting and I was at the traffic light— the midpoint between the director and the action—while Scarlett was another building away getting ready to come ‘round a corner.
“Using the IFBs, he managed to communicate to her without any dropouts. All the while, I was in the middle getting perfect range on her SMQV. The ALP500s where squashed in a sports bag and yet, they performed just as they should. The audio quality, range… everything, it all worked beautifully. Simply sensational! I’ve never been happier! I have the utmost trust in this equipment.”
While Albermaniche clearly likes all of his Lectrosonics gear, he was particularly fond of the performance from the SMQV and UM400A transmitters as well as the UM400a receiver.
The Lectrosonics SMQV’s have terrific battery life and also maintain range when recording motorbikes and a van in sync. The UM400a were responsible for sending signal to where the director was and he never lost range – ever.
“Also, playback sound through the UCR411a was sensational. For the whole shoot, nothing went wrong, the gear was incredible in these circumstances.”
“In all honesty, my Lectrosonics kit has been incredible. No matter what crazy situation I find myself in, it never ceases to amaze me how magnificent the performance is! Combine this with the brilliant customer support and wonderfully family-orientated atmosphere the company provides and I ask you… Why would I ever go anywhere else?”