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Production Sound Mixer Captures the Sound of the Demon

Production sound mixer Lawrence Chick used his RF gear to capture the paranormal instigations of 'Don’t Look at the Demon,' reportedly the first Malaysia-made movie to enter the U.S. feature film market.

Production sound mixer Lawrence Chick.
Production sound mixer Lawrence Chick.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (November 30, 2022)—Production sound mixer Lawrence Chick wrangled his very real collection of Lectrosonics RF gear to capture the paranormal instigations of Don’t Look at the Demon, reportedly the first Malaysia-made movie to enter the U.S. feature film market.

In writer-director Brando Lee’s latest film, an American team of paranormal investigators visits an opulent house in the highlands of Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia. The team first suspects the resident couple of publicity seeking, but quickly learns otherwise as the spiral of malevolent apparitions and violent possessions reaches a fever pitch.

To scare audiences out of their seats with sound every bit as riveting as the visuals, Chick made use of his collection of Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid wireless. His transmitters included four SMQV, two watertight WM, and the plug-on HMa for boom work; receivers comprised five UCR411a and an SRb, all supplemented by ALP650 amplified directional antennas. IFB was handled by an IFBT4 transmitter and three R1a receivers.

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Starting off by mimicking the familiar “ghost hunter” reality TV show format, DLATD follows an ensemble cast through tight interiors as the scares mount. “Some of the sets were so cramped that there was no room for my boom operator to move around,” Chick explains, “so, of course, we had packs on the talent. They’re normally speaking quietly or even whispering, but when there’s a jump scare, there’s a lot of screaming. I adjusted the gain on the transmitters for the maximum peaks I knew I’d be getting, and the system was able to pick up all the normal-level dialogue clearly as well.”

For more frenetic scenes, transmitters including the HMa plug-on made their way from actors’ bodies to microphones planted around the set. “There were some rather violent stunts,” says Chick. “If you’ve seen the trailer, there’s this scene where one of the characters is floating off the ground and banging her head against the wall. For such scenes, we didn’t want to put a transmitter on the actor in case they fell on it — we were worried about the person getting hurt, not the gear! So, we switched to plant mics and Lectrosonics still captured all the sounds beautifully.”