T : +44 797 212 9854
E : creative@reelangels.tv

We interviewed Nina about her time on BARBIE:


1) How did the job come about?

I’d been a huge fan of Greta Gerwigs work, first seeing her performance in Frances Ha and then through her own films Ladybird and Little Women. When I found out she was about to make a Barbie film with a script written by herself and Noah Baumbach, I called my agent to see if there was any way I could get an interview for the film, knowing this was a long shot as it would be a huge step up in my career to get this opportunity.

The day of the interview came! We immediately hit it off and we each wore jumpsuits and chatted about them. That broke the ice quite quickly. Greta then went on to tell me her plan for ‘Barbie’ and the big dance numbers and singing. I made a lot of notes whilst in my head I’m thinking how do we approach it from a sound perspective. I brought up one of the films I had worked on ( called  ‘I Used to Be Famous) which had quite a lot of live music, recording band set ups, masses of playback work etc. I could tell she felt at ease that this was something I had done in the past. We chatted more about Barbie world and the plastic void and how she wanted the real world and Barbie world to sound different. It was super exciting! We also chatted about being mums and having young children around the same age and the challenges of working in the industry as a mum. 

The interview must have gone as well as I thought it had and by the end of the day, I was offered the job. There was a lot of pressure on me to step up to mixing such a large studio feature, but I felt I was able to rise to the occasion, mostly due to the fact I surrounded myself with an incredibly talented sound crew. 

2)Do tell us more about choosing your team..…

I chose Steve Hancock as my key boom Op, I actually knew Steve from assisting him on The Netflix show ‘The Crown’ a few years before my mixing career took off. Steve is an incredible boom Op; I learned a lot while assisting him about the inside industry tips and techniques. I do believe you need a strong person to run the floor. Someone you don’t have to worry about. This was a big job for me and it was essential that I felt at ease with my key boom op.

Of course when it came to the rest of the team, I wanted female representation for many reasons but it was vital they were all the right people for the job and we would stick together as a team. My second boom Operator was Sarah Howe. This was an easy choice, Sarah and I had worked together a lot. She has been my boom Op since I became a mixer. Sarah and Steve running the floor was a dream team for me.

Now to find my 2nd assistant, I wanted to find someone who had great radio mic skills, someone who had a quiet presence for the actors, someone I could get along with of course and would fit into our team. Laura Clough joined. She was perfect! Great organizing skills, Laura did all the radio mics for Barbie and if you’ve already seen it you will understand some costumes were very tricky. Laura had great sewing skills. If she had to run in and change a mic she did so quickly and calmly.


3) How was all the pink?

 So you probably heard that every Wednesday we had to wear something pink. It was a fun thing to do: Helping to bring out lighthearted fun in everyone. We all looked forward to it, from ties to socks. It’s safe to say I have more pink in my wardrobe now. It was basically a pink obsessed shoot to say the least: pink lanyards, pink face masks, I even got some barbie crew tees etc. The sets were surreal, it all had such a fun feeling. I can say it was a completely escapist environment for us all!

4) How did you keep track of all the Kens and barbies? 

There are so many!! Especially with the opening scene of Barbie saying ‘Hi Barbie, Hi Ken’ to everyone. We had 18 of them mic’d up. But we did have ID photos, with names and abbreviations because otherwise it would have been chaos. It was still very surreal to have so many cast who were all so similar. It kept us on our toes. With the house sets being so open we thought ‘how are we going to boom this?’ So we had Steve harnessed in just in case we lost him over the edge!

5) Tell us about the big dance numbers?

First, we brought in a separate playback operator – James Cooper for the dance and singing numbers. These are like live music videos but with dialogue woven in, We worked closely with the choreography department, who’d broken down the routine into parts, The dance routines were very prepared and we had lots of info ahead so we could key it all up in advance, We made sure we had plenty of channels and in-ear monitors to make sure we were covered and again – it’s all about organization. Then I was super focused on the day. It was so Important to get the dialogue parts totally clean (for example when the party music stops and Barbie says ‘Do you guys ever think about dying?’) 

6) Lets talk tech…

As with all films one of our main concerns was dealing with those difficult to mic costumes. Luckily my very talented 2nd AS Laura Clough was able to come up with inventive ways to solve these problems. For example, Ryan Gosling’s Ken. During one sequence he was topless except for a large open fur coat and an open waist coat underneath. With some forward planning Laura negotiated with the costume department to sew his transmitters into the lining of these two pieces. The microphone was threaded into the fur on the outside and in the waist coat we made a loop so the mic could sit in vision under the leather tassle. This allowed us to capture a wonderful opening sounding dialogue while he was wearing this potentially troublesome outfit.

Working with Margot was a delight. She was so easy to work with and really didn’t mind where we put the mics. In her hair or down her back. Her amazing ease made such a big difference to us

The DOP also had to use powerful lights called soft suns to light the perpetually sunny Barbie land set. These very particular lights have loud fans on them to prevent overheating, so the floor team had to be aware when it was possible to request turning any lights off where they were not in use to ensure the fan noise wasn’t picked up too much on the boom microphones.

Greta also likes to have actors sometimes overlap their dialogue to create fast pacing in her scenes, so I had to make her aware of when this could potentially cause an issue during the edit. Luckily, she is a very understanding director. She was happy to have my input and was a wonderful collaborator.

‘Everything Audio’ was a great support too, You need a good reliable hire company to have your back with immediate replacements and last minute hires.


So the Premiere, What did you wear?

I wore a gorgeous pink patterned suit by House of Holland, which I had especially bought, I had my hair and nails done, I arrived by uber and was met with all these LED screens and deafening screams, As I walked out I was incredibly nervous , this was my first premiere and didn’t know what to expect. I did take my time on the carpet as I wanted to get some good pics but then we were ushered in. We had the screening and Greta did an intro to the film (and she did mention my name!)  I just got overwhelmed with emotions when the film started… First time I saw Barbie and HEARING BARBIE. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time . The after party was at Tate Modern. One floor was Barbie land, one floor was Ken land, I saw some cast members who had become good friends, Sharon Rooney and Ana Cruz Kayne. We danced and partied with everyone looking so great, and of course just wonderful seeing Margot again!

T : +44 797 212 9854
E : creative@ra-agency.online