Martin Beresford, Production Sound Mixer

Martin Beresford, Production Sound Mixer

In just a few lines, what was your path into film and TV?

I became interested in sound through playing in a punk band at school. I wanted to be a music studio engineer/producer but was offered a job as a sound trainee on the soap Brookside for C4. Later I became freelance and then a sound recordist/mixer.

What are some recent projects that you've worked on in Yorkshire?

Recently I have worked on the Roger Michell film The Duke which used Leeds and Bradford for external locations. Before that I have worked on Hope Gap, Lucky Cow, Dads Army, Swallows and Amazons, Get Santa, Red Riding: 1983 and The Damned United amongst others.

Tell us about any particular highlights and any notable challenges that you have overcome during your career in the industry?

There have been so many highlights. I really love working on movies like Misbehaviour and The Duke that contain historically accurate situations. I enjoy watching the archive footage and matching and sourcing any practical microphones and cables used.

Some other highlights would be:

  • Working on British comedy movies with directors like Richard Ayoade, Stephen Merchant and Armando Iannucci.
  • Watching the sun rise after a night shoot in Cuba.
  • Working with different nationalities and adapting to their techniques.
  • Shooting at Pinewood ‘Dominican Republic’ with local crew and Americans.
  • Shooting all across Europe although shooting abroad can be very challenging.

The biggest technical challenges were on Richard Ayoade’s The Double, where Jessie Eisenberg played the two main characters. We shot with a motion control camera and playback through ear pieces. Another challenge is that Armando Iannucci likes all his actors to be radio miked. On The Death of Stalin we had up to 14 radio mics and on Avenue 5 we got up to 16 – and usually with no rehearsal! The scenes with the four children in the sailing boat on Swallows and Amazons were also difficult. Recording dialogue in the middle of a lake and not picking up the sound of the camera, sound and safety boat engines was tricky.

Jim Broadbent and Hele Mirren in 'The Duke'

What do you love about working in Yorkshire? What makes it different to filming in other regions?

Obviously we have such beautiful locations in Yorkshire and soon we’ll have a quality studio too. That’s something that has let the region down in the past. It’s logistically so much easier than working around London, and quieter too. We have good quality friendly crew and it’s good to get home every night.

Do you have any advice for people starting out in your department?

It’s tough getting started. There are many sound trainee schemes to get your foot in the door but then finding enough properly paid work beyond that can be challenging. If you have a real passion for sound and music then stick with it and you may have a fantastic and rewarding career as I have. If you’re in sound because at college no one else wanted to do it, then you’re going to find it tough. I would advise contacting your local sound mixers and asking for a set visit/work experience. There’s a fine balance between keeping in touch and being a pest and there is an element of being in the right place at the right time. But making contact and keeping in touch with your local sound crew is definitely a good thing to do.

How do you think the production landscape has changed in the region over the past 5 years?

In the last 5 years, in this region and nationally, there have been less British Indie features and more high end TV shows shooting. With the investment in HETV there is now less difference between film and TV and crews can jump between the two easily.

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    Olivia is the first point of call for Screen Yorkshire's Crew Service. She is part of the Film Office team and advises on filming enquiries, including locations, crew, facilities and permitting and also maintains our film locations and crew and facilities databases.