Radio mics were secret of ‘Les Mis’ recording

Eye on the Oscars: Vfx, Sound & Editing

When ‘Les Miserables’ helmer Tom Hooper fixed on recording his actors’ performances live on set, with no dubbing later, production sound mixer Simon Hayes knew what he’d have to use to get the job done – radio microphones.

Just recently the mics became sophisticated enough to be used to capture the raw emotion Hooper wanted.

“They’re the size of a fingernail now and that was crucial because Tom shot with as many cameras as he could to get the performances in as many ways as he could,” says Hayes. “The boom could never get close enough in that situation to record the performances properly.”

This also freed the actors’ movement, making it possible for them to go where the emotion of the songs took them.

“Tom (Hooper) wanted the acting to drive the music and the performance,” says Hayes. “So their vocals set the tempo of the music and everything else.”

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