Pictured on location is production sound mixer Darren Brisker.
Photo by Trig Singer.
Production Sound Mixer Darren Brisker Goes All Sanken Completes first project to solely use Sanken microphones (July 18,2005)
Production sound mixer Darren Brisker, a longtime Sanken fan, completed his first project to solely use microphones from the innovative Japanese manufacturer. Are We There Yet?, starring Ice Cube and shot on location in British Columbia, presented Brisker with a number of audio challenges.
“I first became aware of Sanken when I was working on the show Viper and I tried out the COS-11s lavaliers,” he recalls. “It changed my whole approach to radio miking. Suddenly, I didn’t have to EQ the mics, clothing noise was much easier to eliminate, and the COS-11’s natural sound allowed them to blend seamlessly with my boom mics. I used to dread miking actors in suits and ties, but with the COS-11s you can just stick it in the knot of the tie and get great sound. I’ve never bought another brand since.”
For the sci-fi thriller The Core, Brisker added the Sanken CUB-01 boundary microphones to his collection. “A large portion of the film took place in a subterranean version of a space ship, a life-size vehicle mounted on a gigantic rig that would shake it, and turn it sideways, and spin it in every direction. As it simulated tunnelling through the Earth, the vibrations were extensive so we needed a mic that could deal with that as well as not be shaken out of it’s mounting hardware. The cameras were remote controlled, there was limited headroom, and there was no room for crew inside, so we had to hide the mics all over in the interior of the set. The CUB-01 was a lifesaver.”
The CUB-01 has become a mainstay of Brisker’s interior work, especially in vehicles. “When I did the film Connie and Carla, the girls were jumping all over the car — even wrestling and arguing while jumping between the front and back seats. What I really like about the CUB-01 is that if the actors do go off mic, they sound more natural. Similar to the way it sounds to the human ear when someone moves — it’s not that completely off mic sound you get with a regular condenser .”
The next Sanken to find it’s way into Brisker’s kit was the CS-3e short shotgun mic. “I demo-ed this mic on The Lizzie McGuire Movie and have used it ever since. We were shooting in the Vancouver airport, which was fully operational with regular passengers, PA systems and lots of ambient noise. I thought I was going to have to use six radio mics, which didn’t appeal to me. We tried the Sanken shotgun and it proved to have an exceptional ability for capturing the dialogue and sound we needed while pretty much nearly eliminating all the background noise. Needless to say, we didn’t use the radio mics.”
Brisker’s first all-Sanken film was Ice Cube’s hit, Are We There Yet? “All the lavaliers were Sanken. Because of the horrendously loud practical locations with railroad yards, etc. and scenes such as Ice Cube riding on horseback, all the boomed shots were done with the CS-3e shotgun mics. Also, we had three CUB-01 mics in the Lincoln Navigator, where much of the film takes place. The results were uniformly exceptional.”
“All in all,” Brisker concludes, “Sanken microphones have made my job a little easier and a lot less stressful, and the resulting sound is far better than it would be without them. I hope that Sanken continues to surprise me with new products.”