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Production sound mixer Michael Wynne working on location with Lectrosonics wireless gear.

Production Mixer Michael Wynne Catches Quality Sound With Lectrosonics

Atlanta-based veteran currently at work on new Hulu series "Tell Me Lies" utilizes SMQV beltpack and IFBT4 transmitters as well as SRc dual-channel slot mount, UCR411a and Venue modular receivers, and more.

Production sound mixer Michael Wynne, CAS is currently at work on the new Hulu series “Tell Me Lies” using his extensive collection of Lectrosonics wireless gear, including SMQV dual battery beltpack and IFBT4 transmitters as well as SRc dual-channel slot mount, UCR411a compact and Venue modular receivers, and units from the D² Series such as the DPR plug-on transmitter and DCR822 dual-channel compact and DSQD 4-channel receivers.

Wynne began his career in the late 1990s recording and mixing independent artists at Atlanta-based APC studios. As a musician, he initially begun working with picture as a film composer, landing his first feature film in 2004, “Sandtown” with writer/producer Danny Fendley. On this film he was introduced to Atlanta based post house White Dog Studios, where he was mentored by re-recording mixer Curt Bush, working as an independent composer and sound designer at his facility on commercials, short films and independent features. It was here that Michael that he got the opportunity to start production mixing on short films and commercials on set, and in addition to “Tell Me Lies,” he’s worked on hit TV shows such as “Atlanta,” “P Valley,” “Raising Dion” and “American Soul.”

For the booms on the series, Wynne opts for a full D2 digital stream with two DPR digital plug on transmitter units and two DSQD four-channel digital receivers. The D2 system transmits the 24-bit/48 kHz digital audio bitstream using digital RF transmission technology that includes digital-only functions such as encryption. He adds that the onboard recording and time code jam sync capabilities of the digital transmitters also allow them to do things like occasionally record a wild line as needed.

For interiors, he typically deploys the Schoeps Colette CMC141 (MK41 supercardioid condenser capsule with a CMC 1 U amplifier and CUT60 low-cut filter). On each boom, the DPR transmitter simply plugs into the CineLa suspension mount, for what he says is “an extremely low-profile, lightweight solution that the boom operators love.”

He always works with two booms when possible. The boom mic, he explains, is one of the most important on the set because it provides the most natural, picture-matching experience for the viewer. That said, bodypack wireless with lav mics are also vital because many scenes are shot with multiple cameras where it may be difficult or even impossible to put the booms where they would need to be and still keep them out of the frame. Wynne says, “The Lectrosonics wireless equipment we use is just cornerstone to our success on a film set.”

Wynne also points to Lectrosonics for making their new digital products backwards compatible with the digital hybrid products. He currently has 16 legacy digital hybrid transmitters in various blocks, and his new D2 receivers work with all of them. He bought his first digital receiver, the DCR822, before he had bought his DPR digital transmitters, but the receiver could receive all of the UHF TV spectrum and was compatible with both his existing transmitters and the ones he planned to buy in the future. Therefore, he has been able to use all his Lectrosonics gear as needed and keep within the same ecosystem without having to redesign his systems when adding something new.

The DCR822 resides in Wynne’s smaller sound cart with an Aaton CantarMini 16-track portable digital mixer-recorder, while the DSQD receivers are in his larger main cart. The DSQDs connect to the Cantar mixer-recorder via Dante, for a full digital path with no conversions necessary. The difference in clarity with this configuration, he says, is like listening to a high-resolution playback versus an MP3. The performances in “Tell Me Lies,” he explains, are very dynamic; the actors can range from a whisper to a scream, and the clarity and low noise of the Lectrosonics digital transmission path was paramount to capturing dialog that was going to translate well in post. Formosa groups dialog editor Jason W. Freeman for “Tell Me Lies+ reached out to Wynne to remark on the quality of the boom sound in post, and how remarkably clear and good the sound was.

A film set, he adds, is a hostile, less-than-optimal RF environment. A robust wireless system that can survive and deliver is a must. In a major market like Atlanta, on a large-scale film set like this one, the RF environment is often congested, with Teradek camera transmitters operating in 5G, Preston focus systems operating on 2.4 GHz, all the personal mobile phones and Bluetooth devices, plus all the UHF TV channels occupied by broadcasters in Atlanta. He states that the Lectrosonics gear met the challenge.

On the other extreme, the show also had a shoot on the water, on Georgia’s Lake Oconee. The RF environment was quiet and they were able to connect boat-to-boat at distances Wynne estimated were up to 300 meters, or about 1000 feet. In this scenario, he also deployed Lectrosonics waterproof digital hybrid transmitters with DPA 4060 lavs hidden in the life jackets with the help of the wardrobe department seamsters.

Wynne has set up his main and small sound cart in a way that allows him to quickly change from one to the other, critical in fast-paced narrative work. In the main cart: Lectrosonics Venue six-channel modular receiver and two Lectrosonics DSQD four-channel digital receivers, for a total of 14 wireless channels; a Lectrosonics IFBT4 IFB transmitter; and an Aaton Cantar X mixer-recorder. In the small cart: a Lectrosonics DCR822 dual-channel digital receiver and three Lectrosonics SRc dual-channel digital hybrid receivers, a Lectrosonics SMQV transmitter operating in IFB mode, and an Aaton CantarMini mixer-recorder.

Wynne’s upcoming projects include a Disney+ TV anthology series, with principal work starting soon.


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