Lectro Captures Drama’s Every Breath

Publish date:

London, England (March 1, 2017)—Armed with an arsenal of Lectrosonics wireless equipment, production sound mixer Nigel Albermaniche was part of the creative team on TV mini-series National Treasure.

During production of the acclaimed television mini-series that aired on Channel 4 in the UK in late 2016, Albermaniche captured hours of close-up breath sounds from the leading actors, including Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, Andrea Riseborough and Tim McInnerny. The drama was inspired by the sexual abuse allegations dating back decades that were levelled against various British celebrities over recent years.

Director Marc Munden picked up on Coltrane’s labored breathing during weeks of rehearsal for the drama and was excited to capture it to communicate the character’s stress, Albermaniche relates. “We spoke with the writer, Jack Thorne, and he added the influence of the breaths, the fact that Robbie is quite a big man and struggles to get up and walk, into the script.”

He continues, “We needed to build a system to capture every splutter, breath and sigh possible.” The costume department sewed Sanken COS11 lavalier microphones in combination with Lectrosonics SMQV transmitters into Coltrane’s clothes. “We recorded over four and a half hours of Robbie’s breaths, in sync, naturally on the shoot. We used them all the way through, to create an additional layer of detail.”

He also hid Lectrosonics transmitters and Sanken mics in the costumes worn by Andrea Riseborough, who plays Coltrane’s daughter.

For a crowd scene filmed at the annual BAFTA Awards ceremony, Albermaniche deployed his full complement of Lectrosonics equipment, including an Octopack and a pair of Venue receivers plus SMV, SMQV and HM transmitters. “I had 12 channels running on two Venue receivers, and then we also ran an Octopack receiver to get all 16. When you hear the crowd, it’s not Foley or library sounds.”