Start to Finnish
by Jokke Heikkila,
Edited by Mia Hamalainen.
Writers have worked as assistants for Paul Jyrälä.
It was 1993 and I was talking with director Billie August about the next
movie, 'Jerusalem', that I was going to do with him. At that point all I
knew about the Nagra-D was that it had four tracks, nothing else.
I asked Mr. August what camera
they were going to use and he replied
'ArriFlex 535'. Then he continued and
asked what recorder I was going
to use. All I could answer to that was 'Nagra
Digital, of course'.
So I became a Nagra-D owner."
is how Paul Jyrala describes his move to the world of the digital four
track Nagra-D, about five years ago. Mr. Jyrälä has worked as a sound mixer
all over the world for almost 38 years. He has always insisted doing the whole
production chain by himself, from the first location recording to the
final mix. Mr. Jyrälä jumped on the digital bandwagon in 1988 with
Sony's PCM 2000, but it was the Nagra-D that changed his way of working
Biggest thing for me was going from 2 track to 4 track recording. Now I
could record on location both the boom and wireless on separate tracks.
There are many situations when the boom is useless and wireless is the
only way to go. The way I do it is that I have all the actors on wireless
all the time. The minute they get on location and in costume I go and
them. So when the director shouts 'ACTION', I'm ready."
every film Mr. Jyrälä does, he is production sound mixer and also
re-recording mixer and the supervising sound editor. Many have wondered
how can one man
handle the whole postproduction by himself?
To me that's the only way. If I want to have good results I need to be
on every stage. Left hand must know what
the right hand does. As a
sound mixer I
am responsible to myself how good (of a) quality I
record on location and as
a re-recording mixer I know exactly what's
on those tapes.
In the postproduction stage ADR is not needed nearly
as much as usually. If a part of the line is bad, I know where to look
for a good replacement one, since I was there when it was recorded.
Using this working method and Nagra-D, I made the films 'Jerusalem'
and 'Beck' (crime film series), altogether about 10 hours
of final film
without hardly any ADR".
I said earlier, my basic philosophy is that every actor who has lines
is wired when doing a take. Then,
during post I have the
of choice for every take to use either boom or wireless or the
those two. I use Nagra-D's tracks so that track 1 is boom, track 2 is
either the second boom or the wireless,
and track 3 & 4 are also for
the wireless. If I have to use more wireless, I route them
mixer and mix them on tracks 3 and 4."
(diagram to follow)
up with the Nagra-D, Paul has a Fostex PD-4 DAT. It has three inputs and a
little mixer built in, which enables you to pan the inputs either left or
Paul uses the Fostex so that the boom goes on track 1 (L) and all the
wireless stuff goes on track 2 (R). The DAT tape is meant for the dailies.
Another method of working Mr. Jyrälä has used is to transfer all the
day's material into ProTools at the end of the day.
I clean up, EQ and compress and do all the things needed to come up
with the finished dialogue. Film editors like it very much when they
get a chance
to edit with the final dialogue sound and the producers
are impressed and pleased by the results they see and hear.
day I give this finished material to the AVID editor as files, and he can
edit the picture with the final dialogue. This is a very good method,
but it requires long days. Of course, I end up doing some extra work
since obviously not all the takes are used, but on the other hand I
more time now for other things in post".
Jyrälä's crew consists of himself, a boom operator and a cable man. Paul
takes care of the wireless, the recording and equipment, he doesn't
interfere almost at all with the boom operator's work. He relies on
professional boom operators and their capabilities to get the job well
" On location I practically only monitor the wireless. It is not until
post stage when I listen to what is
exactly on the boom track".
" It is absolutely imperative for me that I am the person who attaches
the wireless mikes on actors. When
I hear noise on my headphones
that is caused by poor attaching or bad
placement, I can quickly fix it,
since I know where and how the mike is
on the actor. Wireless has to
work full proof all the time, since quite
a lot of the final dialog is made
with the wireless as the main sound.
There's also a psychological aspect.
From the actors point of view, when
it is always the same person who
is 'under your clothes', it is easier to
build up a trust for that person and
its not necessarily so nasty for the
actors all the time".
uses Sennheiser SK-50 transmitters, Sennheiser EK 4015-UHF receivers, both
tunable with 16 different frequencies.
" It's a very good feature, if you are in places where there is a lot
on the air, or some other
Lavalier microphones that Paul uses are Sanken COS-11, Sennheiser MKE-2
and sometimes B&K DPA 4061.
" The equipment needs to be such that the results depend on only
good you are. This is the
reason I use the Nagra-D and Sennheiser
wireless. These are
products that do not limit my work in any way".
the shooting is over and Jyrälä receives the edited picture, he starts
working with the dialog, if it is not done simultaneously while shooting.
" I build up the dialogue track using both, wireless and boom.
For example, if I
have a scene with big dynamics, whispering which
goes into shouting
and then whispering, I can use the wireless for
the first part,
then mix the boom for the loud part and then go back
to the wireless
again. Usually I use the wireless with a small delay
as the main sound
and mix a little bit of the boom to give some air
to the sound. This
usually saves from doing ADR".
dialog fixing also takes place at this point. One screwed word or even a
phoneme can be fixed by taking that same part from another take or from
another track. All this, like the other sound work apart from the final
mix, takes place in Pro Tools.
" Pro Tools is the best thing in post I know. It's very flexible and
easy to use. I
compress the dialogue track by hand, by using the
with the traditional use of faders. For that I
Mackie's HUI (human interface). Then I use a
compressor, something like a Waves C1 in Pro Tools,
to raise the
beginnings and endings of words. After I finish the
dialogue work I
move on to the sound F/Xs".
notes that usually the producers can't understand why it takes so much
time to transfer the sound and edit the dialogue. But after hearing the
end result they are always happy.
" One thing worth to note is also the fact that once the sound
the Nagra's A/D converters, it stays a 24 bit digital
the way through the whole chain until the final mix.
There are no
extra D/A - A/D conversions which easily can affect
nor are there digital resolution changes to different
which also degenerate the sound quality if you are
with dithering and such things".
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