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From Start to Finnish

Paul Jyrälä

Text 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."

This 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 crucially.

     " 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 
        wire them. So when the director shouts 'ACTION', I'm ready."

In 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".

      " As 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 possibility 
        of choice for every take to use either boom or wireless or the mix of 
        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 through the 
        mixer and mix them on tracks 3 and 4."

        (diagram to follow)

Hooked 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 right. 
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. The next 
        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 have 
        more time now for other things in post".

Mr. 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 done.

      " On location I practically only monitor the wireless. It is not until the 
        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".

Jyrälä 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 of traffic 
         on the air, or some other interference".

The 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 how 
          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".

When 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".

The 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
          volume automation with the traditional use of faders. For that I
          use nowadays Mackie's HUI (human interface). Then I use a 
          'normal' 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".

Jyrälä 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 has 
           gone through the Nagra's A/D converters, it stays a 24 bit digital
           signal all the way through the whole chain until the final mix.
           There are no extra D/A - A/D conversions which easily can affect
           the sound, nor are there digital resolution changes to different
           word lengths which also degenerate the sound quality if you are
           not careful with dithering and such things".





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