Sound Devices and DPA provide for first full-length 5.1 film in Middle East

Produced by Dubai-based production company Veritas Films, Champ of the Camp follows a massive Bollywood signing and trivia competition that searches for a winner amongst contestants from 70 labour camps throughout the country.

When Sound Recordist David Thirion was hired to capture the sound and voices of the competition he decided to opt for 5.1 full surround.

“I have been using Sound Devices equipment for some time now and knowing that I could trust the quality of the 788T was one of the main factors that pushed me to stay with the company on this project,” says Thirion. “The second important factor was when we made the decision to use the DPA 5100 Surround Mobile Microphone for the film.”

In order to capture the dynamic audio for the film, Thirion divided his crew into two sound teams, with a third unit joining toward the end of production for the event finals. Thirion recorded 5.1 for most of the musical events in the camps and another unit recorded four iso tracks from the stage and judges’ panel.

As the DPA 5100 needs to be as transparent as possible to allow him to record the reality of the environment and not premix anything, Thirion decided to use Sound Devices’ CL-8 mixing control surface to add extra controls for each channel.

“One of the main challenges was that my headphones were stereo, so I could not monitor the 5.1 through them, which took some getting used to,” adds Thirion. “Fortunately, the flexibility of the 788T allowed me to create my own headphone routing and monitoring, which was a great help to me.

"I had to take a brand-new approach with this project, as I was constantly trying to keep the 5.1 coherent between scenes for post-production purposes. Since we were on a certain budget, we couldn’t afford to experiment a lot and I had to get it right from the start. Also, since we were recording the musical events live, everything had to be done that night; there was no chance for a second take.”

Another useful benefit of the 788T for Thirion is its time code master clock. “At the beginning of each day, we would synch the time code with the 788T as the master,” adds Thirion.

“This feature turned out to be very reliable and useful, and the editor was very happy with it. The reliability of the 788T allowed me to concentrate on the singing competition instead of wondering if the recorder and battery would cope with the heat and less-than-ideal environment. Sound Devices has always been extremely reliable and the 788T is a great recorder. It can reach 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the Dubai summer, but the 788T always kept its cool.”