Film production continues on the next full length feature from Running Wild Films and 5J Media, LLC, The Men Who Robbed the Bank. Now that principal photography of the “Safe House” scenes has wrapped, we are filming the first of many flashback scenes which tell the story of the character Michael’s marital struggles.  These scenes set the background for his mental state during the film and created unique challenges.

Men Who Robbed the Bank Production Photos

Film Production “Shooting the Scenes”

The scenes we shot were short and simple, but required some creative solutions.  First off, we shot a bedroom scene where Michael wakes up in bed and turns affectionately to his wife but is turned down.  I used a (Sennheiser 416) shotgun mic to record foley and the one line of dialogue.  Only two shots were required so we quickly moved on.

Next we moved on to Michael attempting to join his wife in the shower, and getting denied once again. The biggest audio issue was getting clean dialogue with a shower running.  We ran an OTS (over the shoulder) shot with Michael that ends with a close up of his wife saying her line in the shower.  While the shower was running, I boomed from above, standing on the adjacent bathtub, which is out of frame.  I tried to get as close as possible without getting the mic wet but I was also concerned about steam from the shower condensing in my mic.  Luckily our skilled actors took the scene to completion quickly and saved my equipment.  The rest of the scene is close up shots of Michael opening and closing the shower door.  Since the shower doors were opaque glass, and viewers can’t see the water from our angle, we decided to turn off the shower.  I was able to get clean audio of the dialogue and will be able to add the sound of the shower in post-production.

Men Who Robbed the Bank Production Photos

The final scene we shot that night is a short conversation between Michael and his wife as she is coming home. We did this as well in two shots with close-ups. Since I used a shotgun mic and a lav, I was able to get very clean audio of her lines as well as foley at the same time.  The lav was required because we were shooting a wide full-body shot of her coming in the door. The character is wearing a dress, which made tucking a wireless receiver into a pocket or belt loop difficult. I was forced to hook it to her bra strap, which honestly is not ideal. Not only did the transmitter light shine through her dress, but it was noticeable from behind.  I had to improvise and cover the little LED light with black electrical tape, and we did our best to avoid seeing the transmitter in each shot. I really need to invest in NeoPax velcro straps, which are perfect in these situations.

Men Who Robbed the Bank Production Photos

Michael’s shots were closer, so I was able to get away with just the shotgun mic. The first issue I had for these shots was that cars kept driving past during filming and seemed exceptionally loud that night.  It took a few shots, but we eventually got clean audio. When doing independent films, rarely do you get a closed set, so we get creative and work with what is available. The other issue was a tone shift in the room ambience.  When shooting Michael’s takes, something turned off and changed the room tone. I had to troubleshoot by making the fridge and the air conditioning run to see what changed. Once I found the culprit, I was able to get tone from it to use during editing.

We continue filming more flashbacks in early November. These scenes are probably the easiest of the flashbacks, so I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

Blog Edited by Holly Foreman

Post Written by James Alire

An accomplished musician and consummate professional, James Alire brings education, passion, and a wide range of experiences to the sound table. He has functioned as an IT specialist, recording engineer, and sound mixer/ editor in many arenas. He lives in Chandler, AZ, where he is expanding his company, 5J Media, to include web design and audio/sound services for musicians and filmmakers. For quotes or to hire James for audio and web services contact 5J Media.