Holophone H2-PRO used on Slumdog Millionaire


As far as independent films go, Slumdog Millionaire has certainly hit the jackpot, garnering eight Oscars including one for “Best Sound Mixing”. Contributing to the movie’s triumphant soundscape is Holophone’s H2-PRO surround microphone, which award-winning Sound Mixer Resul Pookutty used to capture ambient sounds for some of the film’s most essential scenes. The Film has grossed over $292 million worldwide since its release earlier this year.
Slumdog Millionaire chronicles Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is just one answer away from winning 20 million rupees on Kaun Banega Crorepati, India's version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" When the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating. To prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up. Each story helps to reveal where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible questions.
With the game show at the heart of the plot, obtaining accurate visual and audio elements was of the utmost importance to director Danny Boyle. In fact an exact replica of the real-life game show set was recreated and the TV shoot was duplicated in all details. Having used the H2-PRO on the Bollywood action feature film Ghajni, a Hindi remake of the classic Tamil film, Pookutty knew that the H2-PRO would work equally as well to capture the reaction of the game show audience for Slumdog Millionaire.
“I’m a great lover of natural sound and enjoy using the ambient sounds available from each location when I’m cutting the final product,” Pookutty explains. “In Bombay when recording audio for Ghajni, the H2-PRO followed the camera on the protagonist as he walked through the city streets. That way I was able to get dramatic 5.1 sound images when the camera made a swish pan — a sound I would otherwise have had to have recreated in the edit stages. Here, I get it naturally.”
Using a patented design which mimics how a human head receives and interprets sound, Holophone’s H2-PRO is able to capture a balanced surround recording from a single point with no signal manipulation or signal processing required. The H2-PRO’s elliptical head features eight omni-directional mic elements arranged to correspond with a 7.1 speaker setup found in a studio or home theater, ensuring a sonically-authentic recording every time. Holophone Products are specifically designed to take cost and complexity out of the equation for capturing surround sound, and to simply and instantly provide a sonic three-dimensional feeling of "being there" as the end result to the viewer.
Since the film’s game show scenes were shot using 10 different cameras covering the “TV broadcast” and eight other film cameras capturing footage for the non-broadcast scenes, keeping the H2-PRO out of the shot was difficult, but Pookutty came up with a unique setup. He devised a pulley system that allowed him to suspend the mic just below the lighting truss. With the pulley, he could quietly swing the H2-PRO down to an appropriate position when required. Any time there was a wide-angle Jimmy jib shot to establish the scene, the H2-PRO would be right up near the lighting truss. Once the shot was done and the cameras moved in for closer perspective shots, he would have the surround mic swung lower again to capture the surround from the right spot.
“I have used all kinds of stereo mics, made XY patterns with various shotguns, and used Double M-S mikes for surround recordings, but I have never heard such clean, wide images as the ones I get from the H2-PRO,” says Pookutty. “It’s easy to record surround sound on-location with the H2-PRO because it’s just one mic with all discrete outputs and no confusion.”
Holophone has also been used by Oliver Stone (feat. Al Pacino), the BBC, American SuperBowl, Fox News, CNBC, Sir Paul McCartney, U2 and Madonna.
In addition to their 7.1 H2 Pro Microphone, the Holophone range also includes a standalone 5.1 microphone - the H3-D, and the worlds first Camera Mounted 5.1 Microphone with an in-built Dolby Pro Logic II Encoder, the H4 SuperMINI.

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