Recording location sound is difficult in the best of circumstances but in India the challenges can be daunting and lead to many complications in the post. For these reasons the Bollywood mainstream traditionally stayed away from recording location sound despite its fidelity and hence superior quality. The parallel cinema with its lower budgets had little option but to embrace the risks and record sound on location. Since the 80s, recordists like Dileep Subramaniam and Indrajit Neogi on documentaries and Vikramjit Jogekar and later P.M Satheesh and Resul P for feature films have been navigating the technical and logistical complexity of location sound many times inventing and reinventing the wheel.
P.M Satheesh established Scuba Location Sound in 1993, painstakingly putting together high end location sound equipment and a dozen freelance sound recordists working under his guidance. This set up allowed Scuba to record location sound for documentaries and television where there was hardly any time for post dubbing.
Frustrated that bulk of the sounds live on location never got the attention during edit or track laying, Fireflys post sound studio was born and took ownership of the sound design from location to post. They soon established a reputation for sound designing and location sound clean up and were recognized as the sole studio capable of doing that. As the demand for location sound grew, Fireflys started to open up the facilities for other film productions.
Slowly the mainstream caught on, and when the Oscar nominated Lagaan became the first Bollywood film to use location sound others quickly followed.
Braving all logistical nightmares P.M Satheesh used Protools on location in the Himalayas for a multi track hard disk based recording for the Tibetan feature film Dreaming Lhasa.
This work captured the attention of professionals and was featured in Pro Sound in June 2004.