Birdsong and other sounds at LipSync

The eagerly awaited television adaptation of the best-selling novel Birdsong begins on BBC One this Sunday (22 January), featuring a sound design with layers of ADR and Foley that help recreate the claustrophobic conditions of the trenches during World War I, writes Kevin Hilton.
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The eagerly awaited television adaptation of the best-selling novel Birdsong begins on BBC One this Sunday (22 January), featuring a sound design with layers of ADR and Foley that help recreate the claustrophobic conditions of the trenches during World War I, writes Kevin Hilton. The two 90-minute films star Eddie Redmayne (pictured, photograph by Giles Keyte) and Clemence Poesy and were directed by Philip Martin from a script by Abi Morgan, who adapted Sebastian Faulks' 1993 novel. Paul Cotterell and Rob Hughes mixed each part on the 256-channel AMS Neve DFC in Theatre 1 at LipSync Post. Cotterell says the challenge was to create and then bring together two different worlds; the love story between Redmayne and Poesy's characters in the French city of Amiens in 1910 and the mud and blood of the Somme. To prepare for the mix Cotterell and the sound team visited a disused mine to make recordings and experience the acoustics first hand. Tunnels feature heavily in Birdsong and this called for a lot of work in both ADR and Foley. Most of the ADR was recorded at LipSync by Cotterell, Hughes and Robert Farr. Dialogue and Foley supervisor Ian Wilkinson says there were different approaches to the re-recording by some actors; while Redmayne re-voiced his lines for the tunnel scenes at a lectern in the traditional way, Joseph Mawle crawled around on the studio floor while an engineer followed him with a mic. Crowd scenes of soldiers impersonated by drama students were recorded at Northhampton University by Wilkinson and sound editor Andy Kennedy on two Sound Devices machines, one for stereo, the other taking two mono feeds. Foley was staged at Cherokee Sound, with footsteps artists Rowena Wilkinson and Sue Harding recorded by Robert Brazier. Sounds from army webbing, an authentic WWI helmet and a Lee-Enfield rifle were picked up by a variety of mics, including Sennheiser 416s, miniature DPAs and Neumann U87s, and fed into a Pro Tools DAW. Other members of the sound team on Birdsong were effects editor Lee Critchlow and production sound recordist Mac Ruth. www.lipsyncpost.co.uk

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