Synch sound engineer Jamie D’Silva insists he is an aural rather than a visual person

Jamie D’Silva was always fascinated by sound. “From childhood I was always interested in recording things. I come from a musical background, but I didn’t think of it as a career choice as I didn’t know what I could do with my interest. Growing up in Udupi, with no cable and stuff, I had no idea of options,” he comments candidly.

The youngster did a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Manipal. A friend told me about this course at the School of Audio Engineering in Chennai. That information was stewing in my brain. After my degree I worked in Mysore. One day while sitting in a cubicle at work, the realisation hit me that this is not what I want to do. I remembered the audio engineering course my friend had told me about. Convincing my parents was tough, but I did it.”

The 27-year-old, who has done the sound for the quirky indie film Mere Houle Dost, talks of how he came to be attached to the project. “The director, Nitin Raghunath, saw my ad online and got in touch with me. He wanted to see my earlier work. I didn’t have a portfolio as the films I had worked on were not released yet. I told Nitin to talk to my directors. I suppose they had nice things to say about me as Nitin told me I was on board. I met the cast and crew on set.”

In 2010, after the one-year course, which costs Rs. 3 lakh, Jamie was on the lookout for work. “I planned to get into music, but after a few gigs, there was a Tamil film being shot and I helped out.” Jamie found his first brush with films “Unpleasant. I was again cooped in a cubicle, and I also had communication problems.”

That was when Jamie decided to get in touch with directors “mainly in Bangalore. Prem Chawla, who makes corporate films, mentored me. I moved to Bangalore once business picked up.” Synch sound is when the dialogues are recorded during shoot as opposed being dubbed later. Of how he got interested in synch sound, Jamie says: “I did some research. Bollywood is slowly opening to the concept. Indian cities are very noisy, so I like the challenge of discipline that synch sound calls for. There is an option of creativity—where you fix your mikes, the boom away from the camera… with all these variables, you use your imagination to get the best possible sound. Also synch sound calls for outdoor shoots—no being confined in a cubicle for hours on end!”

Despite being an “aural rather than visual person” and not very fond of cinema, Jamie’s work is mostly in film—feature, shorts, documentaries and corporate films. Apart from Mere Houle Dost, Jamie has also worked on the “very different Kannada film, BE (Mech).”

While Jamie admits the film industry in Bangalore is small, Mumbai is not an option he is seriously considering. “I started out here; I would like to do something here. Synch sound is picking up and I am positive there will be work as the demand for synch sound technicians goes up.”