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Veteran Award-Winning Mixer Offers Perspectives on RF Mics

Geoffrey Patterson offers some perspectives on the evolution of wireless and sound-for-picture.

Geoffrey Patterson
Geoffrey Patterson

Los Angeles, CA (November 17, 2022)—Geoffrey Patterson’s history in the Hollywood production community has landed him in a good position to offer some perspectives on the evolution of wireless and sound-for-picture.

Over 40 years, Patterson’s work has made him a two-time Academy Award nominee, a nine-time Emmy nominee, and a 12-time nominee and three-time winner of the Cinema Audio Society Award for Best Sound. He has mixed films including Twister, The Usual Suspects, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Wedding Planner, Friends with Benefits, Along Came Polly, Apt Pupi, and many more. A sampling of his TV credits comprises Westworld, Deadwood, True Detective, Perry Mason and Bosch. At the end of 2021, he traded field work for mentorship, becoming professor of production sound at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Throughout his career, Patterson has used Lectrosonics exclusively, including SMQV transmitters, the Venue receiver series, and many other members of the Digital Hybrid Wireless family for recent work. In fact, he has used almost every generation of Lectrosonics wireless, as his stable began with the original VHF Quad Box, then the UHF Six-Pack, then the first generation of SM-series transmitters, and almost every product thereafter.

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Patterson says that nothing serves his technique of “forcing perspective” better than Lectrosonics. “Camera angles can bounce all over the place, but the sound needs to be one continuous thread that cuts like butter,” he explains. “In other words, audiences expect everything to sound like a close-up. Nothing takes an audience out of a story faster than bad sound.

“First and foremost, it’s all about reception. I don’t care how good a radio transmitter/receiver pairing sound if their transmission distance and reliability are not the best. Lectrosonics always gave me the best reception. Second, they sounded great.”

Patterson recounts from an unforgettable shoot: “Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation is a film about child soldiers in Ghana,” he says. “I would run the SMQV at audio level 4. That is not a typo. I never had to alter the level. We would repeatedly shoot scenes that involved full-load bursts from an AK47, followed by whispered dialogue, followed by more gunfire. I was able to get all the dialogue without any noise, and the transmitters still held up distortion-free to the thunderous automatic rifle bursts.”