Berlin, Germany (January 29, 2021)—Berlin-based sound mixer Roland Winke’s recording rig helped immerse viewers in the world of chess for Netflix’s record-breaking mini-series, The Queen’s Gambit.
The series follows orphaned chess prodigy Beth as she rises to become world champion while struggling with addiction. Winke’s rig comprises Lectrosonics SMB and SMDB transmitters and HMa plug-on transmitters for boom mics, UCR411a receivers and a Venue2 modular field receiver.
“If anything makes my work more complicated, it’s that I like to capture as much sound as I can from as many places as I can,” says Winke. “The chess clock, the pieces on the board, the ambience of the room, the sound of Beth’s shoes as she walks into a hotel or chess match for the first time. To make the viewing experience immersive, we wanted to record as much of this on set as possible, as basis for the post-production. For this, we used a Decca tree miking technique with three omnidirectional mics and the HMa transmitters.”
Lectrosonics’ channel isolation and tracking filters allowed Winke to set up discrete systems for actors’ dialogue and ambient sounds during the production. “The actors have lav mics and either SMB or SMDB transmitters, received by my Venue system. In addition to the Decca trees, there were always two or three booms, fitted with Sennheiser MKH mics. All these mics used the HMa, paired with the UCR411a. There was absolutely no overlap or crosstalk between the two systems.”
Winke is a go-to call for productions filming internationally. Highlights of his career include 2016’s A Hologram for the King starring Tom Hanks, the 2011 spy thriller Hanna with Cate Blanchett and Saoirse Ronan, the sci-fi epic Cloud Atlas, and the 2004 historical drama Downfall, which spawned the well-known “Hitler Reacts” parodies on YouTube.
His next production, with shooting done in Germany, is the upcoming Inventing Anna, a Netflix drama series about con artist Anna Delvey, who convinced New York City’s social elite that she was an heiress. For this, Winke says, he’s looking to Lectrosonics’ next generation of all-digital wireless. “I am specifically interested in the DCR822 receiver to start, because it can double as a MicroSD card recorder,” he says.
“So, if I have a car scene but can’t be in the car, for example, I can put one receiver in the car in recorder mode and have another in my bag tuned to the same frequency. If the car goes out of range, I know I’ll still get the audio. It also fits into the same space as a UCR411a and is compatible with my current transmitters. I intend to hold onto the SMB and also the SSM for a while, in part because they’re so small.”
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