Tarrytown, NY (February 10, 2016)—Production sound mixer Thomas Varga, with nearly 100 films to his credit, used his Sound Devices gear recently on the comedy Sisters.
Varga’s portfolio from the last 30 years includes Blue Jasmine, Cedar Rapids, Precious, We Own the Night, The Immigrant, The Woodsman and Secretary. One of his career highlights was an Academy Award nomination for his work on Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which also earned him a Cinema Audio Society award for best sound mixing.
Varga equipment on Birdman and other projects included a Sound Devices 744T recorder for on-the-go shots, two 788T recorders for his main cart, and a 664 mixer/recorder. “The 788T was really great during the famous scene where Michael Keaton is running down Broadway in Times Square with no clothes on,” says Varga. “I was able to take my 788T, throw it in my bag with a CL-8 attached to it, and go. We wired the six actors that were in the scene, threw a boom over Michael Keaton, and I ran down the street for several blocks with him.
“I would not have been able to accomplish this working from a cart. We were in Times Square on a Sunday night, and there were thousands of RF units working the area at that time. The 788T gave me the flexibility to throw it on my shoulder and, along with my boom operator, run with him. If I had a bigger machine, I would not have been able to pull that shot off.”
Varga has two 788Ts permanently installed on his sound cart. “Every job I do, I use two 788Ts,” he says. “I’ve been using the 788T as my main recorder for several years and more recently upgraded my rig to include two 788Ts, and I’ve never had one fail. People say having two of them is redundant, but you’re only as good as your last shot—you need to have backups.”