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Viscount Omega

Sound of Rosemary's Baby (1967)

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Hey Guys--

I've been reading at this site and others about sound recording in films and was wondering if
any of you pros knew anything or had opinions about how the sound in Rosemary's Baby was done.
 I can't find any info.

Some scenes sound like obvious ADR but others I'm not sure.  I read somewhere that the NYC
apt. was created in Los Angeles on a sound stage.  If so, it would be easier to do ADR
convincingly using the same rooms as the picture was shot, right?

Looking at the film again today, I'm wondering if the entire film wasn't done with ADR and Foley
added later or not.

I know it's trendy nowadays to spend a lot of time and money eliminating reverb in rooms but I
really love the sound perspective in this movie. It sounds "alive" and real.

Any idea what type of mic(s) might have been used?

I put together a short clip of some scenes in case you haven't seen the movie.

Thanks,

Omega

 

 

 

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Highly unlikely there was very much ADR in the movie. The majority of the interiors were shot on sound stages at Paramount and listening to the clips (thank you for that) it sounds very much like typical and traditional production sound work --- probably all boom mics on Fisher or Mole Richardson booms. The sets beautifully done by Dick Sylbert I'm sure were designed properly and of course built to accommodate both camera and sound. The perspective that is apparent as people walk away from or up to camera is what gives the dialog recording a sense of realism and honesty, things that are quite difficult to produce with ADR or mixing dialog that has been close miked with lavaliers.

Please that you appreciate these things while listening to the dialog --- it is the sort of sound that most of us old guys used to be able to achieve relatively easily as most of the other movie-making procedures made it all possible.

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Some behind the scenes pictures confirm that Fisher Boom was in use, interior and exterior, and this is what I would expect for a studio feature film shooting in 1967. There was significant departures from traditional camera styles, more use of hand-held camera (often with un-blimped Arriflex as shown in one of the still photos) and for those scenes it is quite possible there was some ADR required to deal with camera noise.

full_rosemary_and_baby_polanski_east_news_232__770.jpg

short fishpole with Electro-Voice microphone

John Cassavetes and Roman Polanski.png

notice the boom behind the camera --- also on an exterior

boom-exterior.jpg

the boom, again

boom-arri-adr.jpg

un-blimped, hand-held camera --- noisy!

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Thank you so much for the info and pics.  Great stuff.  I'm glad it was mostly boomed because that's the way I want to work, ADR being such a hassle.

When the couple is walking down the hallway in the clip, I wonder if 2 boom mics were used at each end or 1 tracked them the whole way.

Certain lines in the film sound "off" to me like they were added later though--the scenes with "Hutch" taking the lamb out of the oven for example. (not in my clip.)  Some outdoor stuff sounds ADR.

Also, in the shot below, Sydney Blackmer's voice sounds closer than a boom mic could get (to me)--I see a lot of headroom above him.  One reason I thought it must be ADR.  Maybe just good reach with the mic.

 

 

Image1.jpg

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I think one reason this film "gets away with" having so much room reverb is that Polanski is using a lot of wide-angle lenses that, even in close-ups, show some of the room.   The viewer knows we're in a place that has a lot of reflections.  

 

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I didn't say that every boom pictured in use was a Fisher. One of the exterior shots it does appear to be a Fisher. 

most probably a Fisher.jpg

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Mirror   
17 hours ago, Laurence said:

2Q==

Not a Fisher.

But it is a perambulator boom..

Fisher is like Kleenex. It's synonymous with perambulator booms these days.

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But back then a lot of studios had Mole perambulator mic booms too.  When I was a kid in Hollywood (60s) the smaller stages might have a Mole, since I think you could own it, unlike Fisher, and they were much less imposing size-wise (but didn't have as long a reach).  Smaller TV studios too.

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11 minutes ago, Mirror said:

But it is a perambulator boom..

Fisher is like Kleenex. It's synonymous with perambulator booms these days.

I try and be a little bit more precise when discussing the equipment we use today and the gear that was used historically. I think it is a disservice to say "Fisher is like Kleenex" --- I do agree with you that this is probably the case but I would rather not participate in this perpetuation. Also, the word "perambulator" refers only to the wheeled base that both the Mole-Richardson and the Fisher booms used. Both Fisher and Mole-Richardson produced booms that did not have the perambulator wheeled base.

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Yes, Philip, there was a mic boom made by Moviola (also Moviola made a camera dolly). I was looking for a picture before mentioning this but I wasn't able to find anything. Regarding the original post, Paramount had both Mole-Richardson and Fisher booms but the point I was trying to make to Viscount Omega is that use of a boom for the majority of shooting was standard procedure at the time Rosemary's Baby was made. I started out in 1970 and we used to carry a Fisher Boom on the truck on just about every movie. I can't really pin point the exact year when the Fisher began to fall out of favor, but somewhere around 1984 it became much more difficult to use the Fisher Boom so we pretty much gave up on having it with us all the time.

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The last film I was on with one all the time was in 1980.   After that I would see them sitting in the corner of CineRentWest in disrepair, until Fisher took them all back. 

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Laurence   

Most studios built their own booms, different on every lot.  A few individuals tried, as well, including Local 695 member Jim Fisher.  At the time he was working in the sound shop at Republic Studios (now CBS Radford.)  From a rented a space across the street, he set out to build a better boom.  Other than for period movies, that boom is virtually the only one in use today.  Below is a link to a 2012 Local 695 quarterly magazine with a reprint of an article from an earlier 695 magazine, published 1953, about the history of "the mike boom."  At that time, a "boom" was something with a form factor of a Fisher, not the collapsible hand-held "stick" you use.  I believe those didn't exist until the 70's, like the re-purposed painter's poles we used at Warner Bros, but that's a digression.  Read the 2012 article here http://www.local695.com/Quarterly/4-4/4-4-november-1953-microphone-booms/ and be sure to click the link to the scanned version of the 1953 article.  The image below shows two booms built by Republic, the ones J.L. worked on by day while developing the Model 2 Fisher at night.

Capture.PNG

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Thank you, Laurence, for the link top the wonderful article in L695 Quarterly that sites an earlier article on the history of the boom. I was going to extract some of that article and a picture or two for this topic but I felt that most people had already gotten all the information they needed and this topic had sort of run its course. I find it all totally fascinating, the history and all, maybe because I am old enough to have seen a lot of this stuff first hand.

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19 hours ago, Jeff Wexler said:

 I can't really pin point the exact year when the Fisher began to fall out of favor, but somewhere around 1984 it became much more difficult to use the Fisher Boom so we pretty much gave up on having it with us all the time.

Jeff, dou you know if there is a particular reason for this? Did movies change locations more often than before that time? Or did "new" filmmaking approaches (Coppola, Scorsese etc.) of around that time facilitate that kind of change?

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I wouldn't say Coppola and Scorsese introduced much "new filmmaking approaches" except to the extent that they were both very much at the forefront of the whole independent filmmaking era. I would say that the increase in use of more and more practical locations rather than studio sound stages certainly was a factor --- the set, being a real room in a real building, produced challenges for all departments, but on many movies that were done outside the studio system, sound stages were not an option. Another factor, I believe, was more and more young people coming into the business with no personal experience with a boom, and assuming that use of a boom was something that was only done on big studio movies in Hollywood --- it was sort of a self-fulfilling thing since these young crew members found themselves, not on big studio movies but rather on lower budget, independent movies with no major studio. Lots of factors going on here --- I have only mentioned a few prominent ones.

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A lot of the generation of soundies that came up thru indie movies of that time started as doco or news recordists, and the directors wanted that kind of more fluid shooting style ("Easy Rider", Cassavetes et al) and saw dropping as much hardware as possible as helpful to what they were trying to do, while doing scenes in practical locations that were possible w/o the reach of a Fisher.  Then there was the advent of the very influential Altman all-wireless style, also partly due to a distaste for studio booms and their requirements, and then the lack of good studio boom ops due to there not being a lot of situations to get trained up on them anymore.  Also,  the reduction in the size of grip trucks over time to carry them in (in my time standard grip trucks have dropped from 10 to 5 to 3 to 2ish tons except for the biggest jobs).

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On 4/22/2017 at 1:36 AM, Jeff Wexler said:

Highly unlikely there was very much ADR in the movie. The majority of the interiors were shot on sound stages at Paramount and listening to the clips (thank you for that) it sounds very much like typical and traditional production sound work --- probably all boom mics on Fisher or Mole Richardson booms. The sets beautifully done by Dick Sylbert I'm sure were designed properly and of course built to accommodate both camera and sound. The perspective that is apparent as people walk away from or up to camera is what gives the dialog recording a sense of realism and honesty, things that are quite difficult to produce with ADR or mixing dialog that has been close miked with lavaliers.

Please that you appreciate these things while listening to the dialog --- it is the sort of sound that most of us old guys used to be able to achieve relatively easily as most of the other movie-making procedures made it all possible.

+ 111

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Laurence   

Jeff and Philip offered a good list of reasons that the Fisher was becoming used less going into the 90's.  Not mentioned yet as contributors to the increase in location shooting and the need for more nimble production crews with less gear were... faster film stocks (requiring fewer lighting instruments), HMI lighting (which drastically minimized the size of the lighting package by eliminating arc lamps), and perhaps more than anything, the 70's generation of lightweight sound cameras (Panaflex, Arri, etc.)  The sound department response to all that was to make more use of early radio mics, spurring that technology to go through significant advancement, too.  Add it up you get a lot few Fishers on location and a generation who sound people entering the business with the impression that the Fisher's time has gone.  Which it has not.  Only it's application has changed.

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Lynne T   

Love the info in this post. Thanks so much to all for sharing! Jeff, am curious as to which model of Electro-Voice mics or others would have been in use during those years? They do indeed to have wonderful reach in some of those wider shots. 

 

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The most common EV microphone at that time was the EV 668 and the DL42 --- both were dynamic microphones and both were designed for use on a boom. The EV 668 was a cardioid pickup pattern that also has built in EQ settings (accessed by removing the back portion of the microphone housing and setting little jumper wires). The DL42 was a hypercardioid with more reach than the 668. Another microphone that was still in use at this time was the RCA 10000A, a ribbon microphone suitable for use on the boom. Regarding the "reach" of these microphones in wider shots, much of that is due to the nature of the recording environment, very quiet sets on very quiet sound stages, and the nature of the actor's voices, many of the most talented actors had learned to speak properly so that they could be recorded properly.

668big.jpg

EV 668 with its integrated shockmount for boom use

RCA-10000A-Misfits-1961.jpg

RCA 10000A on the boom, "The Misfits", 1961 (previously posted on JWSOUND in another topic thread)

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