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Wireless equipment on Justin Timberlake's new music video?

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Shout out to the astounding (and huge) production sound team who achieved an amazing feat on Justin Timberlake's new music video for "Say Something"! This marvel was filmed in one take, and on the first try, featuring a live performance with a 60 person choir and about 20 other various musicians (among a 200 person crew), facilitated by top-notch production sound. I'm curious if anyone on the 6+ person sound team is on this forum and would be interested in talking about all the coordination required to pull this off, especially the wrangling of all the wireless gear, which apparently required a dedicated 3 person RF team to manage. Great job to everyone who contributed to this work of art! It even got me to like JT's music a little bit  (:

 

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Wow! 

btw, I noticed at 4:10 into the video you can spot the transmitter pack on the back of the guitar strap. 

Plus the performers have IEMs.

I'm a little surprised that ancient lift isn't nosier, the one in my building would create a racket. 

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This could totally be done, given a multitrack record and a mix in post.  Really only JT and Stapleton are moving, the other players are more or less parked as is the chorus.   Both singers are wearing hats--so theatrical style head micing would be possible.  Their guitars have pickups, etc.   Maybe the lift wasn't that noisy, or maybe they overdubbed just that part if it was.   A nice feat of RF distro for sure, but not really more than a big pro sports event anymore.   The song is short enough that they could have done some rehearsals and then....

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I might've heard a bit of thinning on that more country-western style singer on the lift part, so there could have been noise reduction involved, hard to say. I'm guessing the lead vocalists' mics would have been hidden on the torso as usual, which to me seems like a bit of a lost opportunity, knowing how good especially singing can sound with a 4060 on the forehead. The only cables I'm seeing going up to the head are for the IEMs and I can't see a mic on the cowboy hat even though we get to see the underside of it.

Very impressive in any case, sounded great. The only mics I saw were the pickups on the guitars and the only cables I saw were for the IEMs, at least the first time watching. I'd love to hear about how it was done!

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Members of La Blogotheque is here. All videos from La Blogotheque is being recorded live.

I think, this is best work from La Blogotheque sound team overall; if we take account the scale and difficulty level.

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I can believe that filming was done in one take, but would be very surprised if live take audio was all that was used. The IEMs used would be necessary to sync to studio audio and to receive music and choreography cues. I couldn't spot any audio rigging and the fact that there is no lift, footsteps, etc. noise in such a reverberant room. 

 

I could be wrong, but I am a Capricorn, so I doubt it. ;)

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I can believe that filming was done in one take, but would be very surprised if live take audio was all that was used. The IEMs used would be necessary to sync to studio audio and to receive music and choreography cues. I couldn't spot any audio rigging and the fact that there is no lift, footsteps, etc. noise in such a reverberant room. 
 
I could be wrong, but I am a Capricorn, so I doubt it.

My thoughts as well. 1 live take then overdubbing in the studio with use of some of the live elements.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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From video credits:

 

Production sound

Sound Directors: Guillaume de la Villéon (@Guillaume V?), Henri d’Armancourt (@HenZ)

Additional Boom Operator: Craig Littleton

Lead RF Coordinator: Gary Vhaling (@Gary V)

RF Assistant: Doug Pearson

RF Utility: Lovely Hammet

Additional Sound Engineer: John E. Walker (@John E. Walker?)

Equipment: Socal Rentals, Hollywood Sound Systems, Clair Brothers, Audio Masterpiece (Gary Vhaling)

 

Post sound

Mix: Guillaume de la Villéon, Henri d’Armancourt

Mastering: Chab Mastering (Antoine Chabert)

Edited by Daniel Ignacio
Added more credits.

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I recently recorded a big Broadway-level musical with a full-up sound crew that had all the best toys avail to multitrack, so I was able to solo and monitor any of 32+ feeds from FOH.  They all sounded fabulous.   I can say that these guys could have made this happen all-live if they wanted to.  Yeah, maybe touch up the EQ and mix in post, but just maybe.  Big live show mixers on Broadway, in Las Vegas etc do this kind of thing live every night.   While this piece is on a big scale, I actually think some of the smaller "mobile" Blogo films might have been more challenging to get good sound on.  Props to them!

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Hello all and thank you for your kind words. With Guillaume de la Villeon, I was one of the two sound directors on this shoot (conception, recording, post mixing) and it is quite a story. Perhaps too long and boring to tell here so I'll just answer a couple of precise questions asked here.

 

There were 6 takes in total: 5 day takes and 1 night take. This last night take is the only one that was done with this lighting. You can actually see a lot more of the unhidden mics and wiring in the day version.

 

All of the sound is from live sources. There are no studio overdubs. It is a mix of wired microphones (drums, electric guitar, piano, horns...), wired and wireless DIs (Bass, Rhodes, drum pads, acoustic guitars...), wireless lav mics (lead singers, backing vocals, percussionist, acoustic guitar...) and wired or wireless ambient mics (stereo AB, stereo ORTF, Ambeo, elevator roof, ORTF stereo boom mics...).

In post, of course, there is some editing (as in cleaning the tracks of that one take from bleed, hums, crew footsteps...) to have only the active tracks in use.

Then there is a phase of studio mixing to make sure everything sounds nice.

 

Besides the first room which has a pretty gritty surface, the footsteps aren't heard because: 1) they don't make much noise while walking and they wear soft sole shoes. 2) The music covers most of it.

 

The lifts weren't noisy at all. Except for the doors that you can clearly hear (we really liked that sound - makes it sound more real and is characteristic to the Bradbury Building's sound print).

 

About the vocal lav mics on the leads, we did think of having one in Chris' hat as a plan B. The guy has a huge beard and is quite a viril man. But it didn't rustle at all and sounded good on the chest. The "thinning" of the sound that you perceive is the acoustics of the elevator i believe, that make it sound little and roomy. We liked that and enhanced this effect in the mix as it had a immersive purpose with the image but also a musical purpose as it builds up and gets bigger when they get out.

 

It was quite a challenge. The RF coverage was also a big concern but Gary and his team nailed it: we're talking about 5 floors, around 50 meters in length, 25 meters wide, with two steel cages and railings, covering 16 transmitters, around 17 or 18 stereo IEM receivers and god who knows IFBs for the clients.

 

Thank you all for bringing this up. We're very happy to know our work is noticed and appreciated out there by nice folks such as you guys here.

All the best,

Henri 

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Thank you for these insights, Henri !

 

Not knowing what you just wrote, I would have guessed at least half of the tracks were recorded in studio.

- Pretty impressive, both in terms of the performances, as well as the recording. Well done!

 

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Thank you very much for this background information! Great piece of work! I listened to it several times, even on monitor boxes and with monitor headphones. 

I didn't expect every instrument being played really live cause I thought that this would have been too complicated. 

From my experience also the crosstalk from vocals and acoustic guitars must have been quite challenging. 

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Hey, thank you all for the nice feedback. If some of you are interested into a in depth interview and view of how it was made on our end, Sound On Sound made a lengthly article about it. It's a dollar online to access the full article apparently but it will be free in a couple months I believe.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/inside-track-justin-timberlakes-say-something

 

Also, in the pictures SoS miscredited the incredible steadycamer Ari Robbins with the director Arturo Perez Jr. But hey: they're sound guys! ;)   

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