Los Angeles, CA… Released on Christmas Day 2015, the 20th Century Fox film Joy is a story of a family across four generations, centered on the girl who becomes the woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. The film was one of the big hits of this past holiday season and capturing the various performances that form the music score was a huge undertaking. That’s precisely why, when it came to the microphones used to capture the performances, a sizeable selection of ribbon microphones drawn from the catalog of Burbank, CA-based Royer Labs were placed into service.
Recording engineer and scoring mixer Jason LaRocca of Los Angeles was brought into the project by music arranger / composer David Campbell, who was scoring the film with composer West Dylan Thordson. With a track record that includes recording and mixing the music scores for films such as Paddington, Focus, The Longest Ride, and the upcoming Paramount Pictures film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, LaRocca certainly knows how to choose the best equipment for any given recording project. He discussed his use of Royer Labs ribbon microphones.
“In addition to recording and mixing the music score for Joy,” LaRocca explained, “there were also a number of on-screen performances that were sung by Jennifer Lawrence and other cast members. Hence, we were dealing with multiple music styles throughout the film, which was a lot of fun. We recorded the score at the end of October 2015 at the FOX Newman Scoring Stage in Los Angeles. There were also a number of piano and other instrument overdub sessions that took place at Capitol Studios as well as David Campbell's living room. I used quite a few Royer ribbons for these various sessions, including an R-121, three R-122V’s, four SF-1’s (the predecessor to the SF-2), and an SF-24 stereo ribbon.”
“I used three Royer 122V’s as a Decca Tree (a spaced microphone array) to capture the overall sound of the orchestra,” LaRocca continued. “I used the SF-1’s as string spot mics and an R-121 as a single overhead microphone above the woodwind section. I also used a Royer SF-24 over the vibraphone player. One very specific challenge on this project was that, on certain parts of the score, we needed a particularly ‘warm, vintage’ sound. To accomplish this, I set up two sets of microphones on almost all of the instruments in the orchestra—both ribbons, as well as condensers—so that I could change the sound of the orchestra simply by changing my microphone choices in the mix, depending on what mood we wanted for the scene.”
LaRocca reports there is one scene in Joy where Jennifer Lawrence and Edgar Ramirez sing Something Stupid over a wonderful arrangement by David Campbell. “What the audience hears in the entire opening sequence of the scene are the Royer R-122V microphones from the Decca Tree over the orchestra. Those mics and the sound they captured gave the scene a very intimate and unique sound quality.”
While LaRocca is a true enthusiast of several Royer ribbons, he is particularly fond of the popular Royer SF-24 Stereo Active Ribbon microphone. “The SF-24 is one of the most stunning microphones available,” he says. “I used the SF-24 on various mallet instruments on Joy and, for that matter, the award-winning TV show American Crime. The SF-24 is one of my ‘go-to’ mics for use on percussion instruments. I love how it imparts a very realistic and wide stereo image. The mic helps smooth out the top end of an instrument that is being struck with a stick or a hard mallet in a way that I feel is very pleasing to the ear.”
Even though LaRocca certainly knows what it takes to capture sound for TV and film, that doesn’t mean he isn’t open to suggestions when it comes to microphone selection and placement. In this regard, he considers Royer Labs customer service to be best in class. “It has been a real pleasure getting to know the Royer team,” LaRocca notes. “They have been nothing but super helpful—providing me with information about their new products and tips on how best to use their microphones.”
Before shifting his focus to an upcoming project, LaRocca offered these parting thoughts, “Royer microphones are essential to my business. The ‘bottom line’ is this: Royer ribbons encompass the perfect blend of old and new technology, with a design that is quite rare in a microphone. These mics are so easy and effortless to use. They look and sound amazing. Simply put: Royer ribbons rule!”
To learn more about the services of Jason LaRocca, visit his website at www.jasonlarocca.com.
About Royer Labs
Located in Burbank, California, Royer Labs’ microphones are a staple of leading recording and broadcast facilities. Additional information on the products referenced in this document and all Royer microphones can be found at www.royerlabs.com.
Photo Information: Jason LaRocca