Emmy-winning sitcom “Modern Family” makes vital connections with Phonak’s invisity
Show’s iPhone-powered episode ‘Connection Lost’ couldn’t have been done without invisity in-ear prompters, says award-winning sound engineer Stephen Tibbo, C.A.S.
Watch Stephen Tibbo discuss the sound production behind ‘Connection Lost’ >
LOS ANGELES, CA, March, 8th 2015: Award-winning sitcom Modern Family made waves in February with ‘Connection Lost’, presented entirely from the perspective of a laptop screen, and shot using Apple iPads, iPhones and laptops. But behind the scenes, the episode’s live shoots across four different sets meant actors would need to hear each other in real-time in order to interact over simulated FaceTime conversations.
To make this happen, Emmy and C.A.S. award-winning sound engineer Stephen Tibbo turned to Phonak’s invisity, the world’s smallest in-ear RF prompter. Tibbo had previously used invisity on Jake In Progress, as well as for musical or dance numbers on Modern Family, which is produced by Twentieth Century Fox, and airs on ABC.
He said: “The biggest challenge, at least for sound was, when the producers presented the episode, they said we’re going to try and shoot the whole thing in one day, and we want to do it live. As I read the script I said ok, wow, this will be challenging.
“I don’t think we would have been able to do it without Phonak invisity,” Tibbo added, saying alternatives would have included setting up cumbersome, time-consuming induction loops round the sets, or using speakers, which would have caused problems when mixing.
“When you watch it, you may not notice it was so technically challenging, but by the way we shot it, it was,” Tibbo explained. “But I suppose if you’ve done your job well, the viewer doesn’t notice. And the technology worked for us – it was one of those episodes where, if invisity had failed us, we would have been looking pretty bad, or looking for another job. You have to rely on it.”