Call Me By Your Name is a breath-taking story about falling in love with someone you know you’re not supposed to, and being open to believing that doesn’t have to matter. Directed by Luca Guadagnino and based on the critically acclaimed novel by Andre Aciman, Call Me By Your Name leaves audience members sympathizing with the main character, Elio, while revisiting his or her own forbidden love story. Production Sound Mixer, Yves-Marie Omnes, longtime friend and collaborator of Guadagnino, explained some of the challenges and triumphs of capturing the sound during production.
Omnes had just finished working on Guadagnino’s 2015 film A Bigger Splash, when he was first brought on to Call Me By Your Name. He had and also recently worked on Guadagnino’s film, Suspiria, which will be released in 2018. Omnes typically works on a small, but efficient team of himself and one boom operator. The production was finished in less than six weeks, and Omnes noted that this was primarily because the majority of the film took place inside Elio’s home. Omnes began working on the film a mere five days before production started.
“On A Bigger Splash, there were some important pre-production challenges to overcome before shooting because it was a complicated location with the wind, and the actors were naked in many scenes…in situations like this, Luca gives me the chance to be involved earlier in the pre-production. On Call Me By Your Name, it was a shorter and smaller movie with a small crew. A lot of the movie takes place around music though, with the piano and guitar. The scene around the fountain turned out to be a bit complicated too, but all of that I tested and figured out the best way to capture before the shooting began.”
Omnes explained, “One of the challenges was there were a lot of scenes where the actors were naked and you can’t mic the actor, so you must find a solution to hide the microphone on the set, and that requires you to work with your boomer to capture the most accurate sound. A second difficulty, is that you’ll notice when you watch the movie, the framing is peculiar, and not classical framing, because we shot with one camera and most of the time, it didn’t move. That means some of the actors are in the front of the frame, and some are in the background, a good distance away from the camera.” An example Omnes gave in particular was illustrated in the scene in which Elio, played by Timothee Chalamet, is playing piano shirtless, and Oliver, played by Armie Hammer, walks into the room and stands in the doorway while Elio continues to play. “Obviously you can’t say, ‘Put a shirt on him, the sound will be better!’ but then it became my job to very quickly find another solution. It’s very important to be tactical, versatile and a problem solver while on set.”
While Omnes’ is only contracted to work on the production sound, he feels it is important to be involved in post-production as well. “On Call Me By Your Name, the dialogue editor and I had worked together three times in the past, and we work well together. During post, we had phone calls and often talked about specific scenes, and how did you record that, and how can we arrange that, etc. I enjoy getting to be in the editing room just for pleasure and just to see what is going on. It’s my way to be involved even though it’s not my primary job.”
Omnes offered a final statement about what he learned working on this film. “Each movie is a product. It’s always the same job description, but it’s always different. You must always be proactive, always finding a solution and of course, each movie is always a new experience. You take each experience with you to the next project which helps you create your own solutions. So yes, each movie is a lesson…that teaches you something different, and that’s why this job is so interesting.”