Mr Selfridge



Grant Bridgeman is a sound recordist working in TV Drama, Documentary and Feature Film. His credits as sound mixer include Accused (series 2), Bert & Dickie, and Best Laid Plans. He is also an Associate member of AMPS and IPS

His latest job is ITV's smash hit, Mr Selfridge. Jeremy Piven plays the title role of the 'Mile-a-minute' Harry Selfridge and Grant Bridgeman was the Sound Recordist on blocks 1, 2 and 4. We asked Grant how it was made.....




When and where did you film Mr Selfridge?

Mr Selfridge was filmed in 2012 from April through October at an amazing set in Neasden (London), and on location around London, and down at Chatham Docks for some of the exterior shots of Oxford Street and the like. The set build was huge and beautiful, the whole of the interior of the Selfridges Shop was one massive space that had chameleon-like qualities to change to different floors, or different  departments - also the interior of the Selfridges House was a great multilevel build.


What was the most challenging aspect of mixing Mr Selfridge?

The large scale of the sets themselves: With the sets being so large, it naturally had a large reverberation to it, which meant that loud and especially transient sounds became even "bigger". The result of this was two-fold - firstly, meant that it became a priority to try and eliminate (or at the very least dampen) transient sounds such as footsteps (which were also an issue, because the floors often needed to sound like marble but were wooden), doors, and trollies etc, all of which became particularly tricky during the bigger scenes with so many extras in the back of the shop, walking round, shopping etc. And secondly an increased need to use radio microphones to tighten up the sound, as the booms mics would sometimes sound "too" big - even though it was an accurate representation of the sound on the sound stage.


Can you describe how you record and mix all the channels while on set?

I provide a mix to the editors of the dialogue on set. I follow the script such that only the character speaking has their microphone fully open, this helps reduce the background noise and the additional set sounds. The dialogue is the key thing, so all other on set noises have to be minimised - whether in front or behind the camera - and often particularly when in shot (a door shutting, a sign being put up etc). These mix levels have to be balanced so that the sound matches from shot to shot, so that the edit will work, whilst also giving the capability to match the sound with the camera perspective (but generally dialogue is only ever used from a close audio perspective, even if the shot is very wide) - and primarily I have to get the best sound possible without compromising the camera shot or artist performance. I also provide post production with a full set of isolated feeds from each independent microphone.


What equipment did you use on this project and did you acquire anything new specifically?

The heart of the sound trolley is the Sound Devices 788T recorder with the CL9 fader panel, and CL8 controller for when I need to move off of the trolley and into a handbag - which I do quite frequently. I have a core of 4 micron radio mics, but often had 6 running, and in extreme cases 8; these were with Sanken Cos 11s or Tram TR50s dependent on the costume / situation. For boom mics: Sennheiser MKH60 and MKH50s - but I also purchased a Schoeps CCM41 for this job specifically for its small size and pickup pattern (a beautiful sounding mic) - particularly made the very reverberant loading bay sound very natural. I also ended up increasing the colour range of my lavalier microphones, to match in with some of the ladies costumes. I also bought a lot of carpet and tessa tape (to deaden the sound of the shoes) and sound blankets, to help deaden the overall sound where possible.


What is your favourite memory from filming?

Sounds twee I know, but I have to say my core sound team of Sarah Howe (Boom Op) and Nina Rice (Sound Assistant) - we had a great time and a great working relationship.


What’s coming up for you this year?

Immediately I've got a project called Snodgrass with Director David Blair, which I'm looking forward to - as I've worked with David both on Accused, Bert and Dickie and Best Laid Plans, and I know that even though it's quite a short job, that it will be good. After that - nothing is confirmed yet, but it's certainly looking like it could be an interesting year


Grant Bridgeman is a member of AMPS and Members can view his online profile here, his own website here and follow him on Twitter.