They are seven partners united like the fingers on one hand. . . to tell the truth, given the time they spend at their computers, having seven fingers would actually be a plus for them.
Capable of doing everything as far as capturing and mixing sound for television is concerned, they decided to create Easys, a tool designed to meet the specific needs of reality TV and all of its derivatives. Let's visit these fellows, who definitely have brains between their ears.
SLU : When was Les Gens Du Son founded, and who was behind it?
Frédéric Filhol : We started in 2006 under the impulse of four partners: one with a background as a mixing engineer and the other three coming from shooting broadcast TV, some of them veterans of permanent positions in large structures. I, myself, worked for 11 years in VCF, which has now become Euromedia Group.
We started out intermittently in the early days of reality TV and we immediately perceived the demands of productions keen to go beyond the traditional reportage technique – with a mic boom, field mixer, and portable transmitter – and move towards much more sophisticated services with global coverage, multitracking, and expanded monitoring solutions.
We also quickly realized that we would spend days and sometimes even an entire week racking our brains to find innovative solutions for the big national chains. . . for free. Full-blown pre-production sessions. We had to organize all this quickly, develop it as much as possible and, most importantly, also follow our work in post-production. In short, we had to offer global solutions.
It was becoming clear that releasing audio and video files into the wild, with the only common reference being timecode, complicated the work terribly for the people in post-production, not to mention the endless search for sound that was supposedly missing but was there all the time and simply not clearly marked.
Three of the seven LGDS associates at their facilities in Malakoff. On the left is Vincent Givarch, sound engineer specialized in reality TV, in stars (you can't have one without the other) and, especially, the "project manager" of Easys. In the center is Fred Filhol, sound engineer and driving force behind LGDS, and on the right is David Cerf, another sound engineer, master of fixed and mobile studios
SLU : So you had ideas and people. What about equipment then?
Frédéric Filhol : Tapages. They still supply us today.
SLU : But how did you get your foot in the door of reality TV?
Frédéric Filhol : That was through VCF, who was asked to provide a technical infrastructure that went well beyond the simple on-location reporter setup, which would not have been sufficient for a new program that was about to begin: "l’Ile de la Tentation" (The Island of Temptation).
I was in charge of planning and handling it. After that, we worked on "Queer" for Glem, with one of the technicians who would go on to become one of our partners. Antenna coupling was brought in, the multiplicity of reception antennas, the dematerialization of media in the era of DVD-Ram...
A working day for LGDS reduced to its simplest expression and now held in a 512 GB SSD, in a Delock enclosure!
SLU : Oh, that medium is not the most comprehensive insurance.
Frédéric Filhol : Exactly. I can still see myself with our Fostex PD6 recorders, where you press stop and they start a spinning loop displaying "writing"... Audio people sometimes have sound in their hearts that they do not have in their recorders (laughs!). The rack-mount DV 824 Fostex brought us 8 tracks easily, but also sometimes a few problems...
Then came portable direct-to-disk configurations and now CF memory cards and for us, we have chosen the Sound Devices 788 or 664 recorders.