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Lectrosonics Venue Wireless System Used in ‘Bobby’

Production sound mixer Coleman Metts (pictured) used a Lectrosonics Venue wireless system to capture audio in one particularly challenging scene in the movie Bobby, an MGM/Weinstein Company film that chronicles the events of the June 6, 1968, assassination of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Bobby was written and directed by Emilio Estevez, and stars Martin Sheen, Helen Hunt, Anthony Hopkins, William H. Macy and others.

Metts’ system comprises six VRT receiver modules, which carry an auto-tuning front-end RF filter scheme. “There’s a scene where Helen Hunt and Martin Sheen are playing tennis and their game is interrupted by stray balls wandering into their court,” Metts explains. “Clearly annoyed by this intrusion, the focus shifts to an adjacent court, where two guys in business suits [played by Brian Geraghty and Shia LaBeouf] are high on drugs, goofing around and being generally obnoxious. This leads to one of the men collapsing over the net while fumbling for the ball and, in short order, the two are falling over one another, laughing and being extremely rude.”

Metts reports that this scene was captured late in the day, so the cast and crew were rapidly losing daylight, and a school across the street was just letting out—and there was an abundance of peripheral noise. “Recognizing we were likely to get only one take,” said Metts, “the DP [director of photography] decided to place one camera up high on a 15-foot step ladder and the other one at ground level on a dolly while I wired the actors and placed the transmitters in their pants pockets—it was time to go.

“Throughout this scene,” Metts continues, “I was not only concerned about the quality of audio I might get; I was extremely anxious about the ability of my transmitters to endure this. All four actors were speaking at once and there was all this commotion—not to mention the noise from the nearby school. When the scene was over, I checked my recording and the sound quality was great. When I went to see what condition my transmitters were in, the actors told me they had forgotten they were even wearing them. Much to my surprise, the transmitters held up really well, with just a few minor scratches.”

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