Production sound mixer Chris Polczinski, who specializes in the horror and thriller genres, works with an audio cart equipped with a wide range of Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless gear on all of his projects.
Some of Polczinski’s credits include the Eli Roth-produced “Haunt,” “Better Start Running,” “The Art of Self-Defense,” “The Strangers: Prey at Night,” and most recently “The Big Ugly” starring Ron Perlman. His Lectrosonic kit is outfitted with beltpack transmitters that include the SMWB wideband, compact SSM, SMV and SMQV, and UHF-band LMb, supplemented by an HMa plug-on transmitter for use with boom mics. Meanwhile, receivers comprise a wideband-low version of the Venue modular system, SRb and SRc dual-channel slot-mount units, as well as several UCR411a. Polczinski also recently made the jump to a Lectrosonics digital D2 system, including a DSQD four-channel receiver and DBu beltpack transmitters.
“After graduating Ohio University with a degree in post-production sound, I landed a promising job as a Foley artist,” says Polczinski. “But I wanted to stretch my legs and not be in the studio 12 hours a day, so I got into production sound after a referral about seven years ago. Being new, I felt I needed the best and most trusted gear to put producers at ease — and that was possible with equipment from brands like Lectrosonics and Sound Devices. I went to Location Sound to buy whatever my wallet would allow, which back then was a few UCR100 receivers and LMa transmitters. When I got a UCR411a, I finally felt like a real pro. The user interface was easy and the range was insane. Later, I upped my game with some SMVs, which are still the biggest workhorse in my rig.”
On shoots that involved hot weather and scant wardrobe, the micro size of the SSM has been more than just a convenience. “Being that small and wideband is a big deal,” notes Polczinski. “On one film in Kentucky. an actress was wearing next to nothing. My female boom operator grabbed the SSM and ushered her into the bathroom. When she came out and was ready for the take, everyone was like, ‘How did you mic her wearing that?’ She simply replied, ‘Don’t worry about it.’
“Also, on ‘Strangers,’ we used a technique we named the ‘Bailee’ because we first used it on actress Bailee Madison, who for one scene wore a bare-midriff top so you couldn’t have a wire showing. You put the transmitter in a baby’s sock and she tucks it into the side of her bra, underneath her arm. It’s totally invisible, and you can’t pull this off with anything bigger than an SSM or SMV. This method is also social distance friendly because we don’t have to touch the talent — we just beep the transmitter with the LectroRM app and it’s on in less than four seconds.
He adds that the frequency handling capability of the Lectrosonics systems has made his job easier. “Spectrum availability is crucial to me given how much I travel and like to use lots of plant mics for scenes that require it,” he explains. “For example, on The Big Ugly, we had seven people delivering dialogue during a backwards-tracking Steadicam shot while gunshots, explosions, and squibs were in the mix. I had everyone miked, a wireless boom with an HMa plug-on following, a distant cardioid for ambient sound, and some dynamic mics as close in as I could get them. It was a lot of wireless channels and a lot of remote control of transmitters to fine-tune dialogue levels in relation to effects. The post department was delighted with what I gave them, and I couldn’t have done it without Lectrosonics transmitters and the LectroRM remote app.”
Hardware performance is important, but Polczinski cites the people behind the brand as equally so. “A crucial quality is Lectro’s customer support,” he concludes. “Every time I reach out to Karl [Winkler, VP of sales and marketing] or Gordon [Moore, company president], they respond promptly with detail and kindness. I don’t think I’ve had that experience with any other brand, either within the pro audio industry or outside of it. I fell in love with their solid products first and then their people. That’s all I need to be completely sold.”