When the sound crew has to contend with action-packed car chases and shoot outs, recording comprehensible audio becomes a complex challenge.
This was the situation French sound engineer Stéphane Bucher found himself in when he started working on Taken 3, the third and final instalment of the Taken film trilogy starring Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker and Maggie Grace.
"I knew we had a lot of dialogue taking place in difficult conditions where using a boom mic just wasn't going to work, so there was only one thing for it," said Bucher. "I reached for my stock of DPA d:screet 4060 miniature microphones and asked the wardrobe team to help me figure out where we could hide them."
Bucher is no stranger to the versatility and exceptional sound quality afforded by these tiny DPA mics as he used them to great effect last year on the Luc Besson film Lucy, which starred Scarlett Johansson.
"When we were filming Lucy, Luc Besson only used one camera so we did have the option of using a boom mic for some scenes," Bucher continued. "The big difference with Taken 3 was that Olivier Megaton [the director] used three cameras at the same time so that he could capture numerous different angles. In tight situations, such as inside the police station, we couldn’t use only a boom because of the wide and tight angles. That was when the DPA mics became so indispensable. Their sound matched perfectly when the boom couldn’t be used. We recorded fantastic audio that came across loud and clear in the mix. By the end of the film I'd say that 80% of the audio was recorded using these mics."
Bucher believes that good preparation was key to the success of the audio in Taken 3. Before shooting started in the USA, he spent four days with wardrobe staff figuring out the best places to hide the DPA d:screet 4060 mics.
"Hiding microphones in clothing only works if you can avoid scratching or chaffing noises,” Bucher explained. “We did pretty well with most of the costumes until we came up against a waterproof jacket that Liam wore in a few scenes. This was made from really noisy fabric, so the wardrobe department put a noiseless soft tissue into the jacket to prevent the mic from picking up the crackling of the cloth. Luckily the 4060 was sufficiently sensitive to be able to pick up the sound we did want without any problems."
Pictured: Stéphane Bucher on set