“Can movies like this please hire music people who know what they’re doing?”: Musician claims that an on-set photo from the forthcoming Bob Dylan biopic shows the star singing into the “wrong microphone”

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez
The actual Bob Dylan singing with Joan Baez at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1963. (Image credit: Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images)

Given the legendary singer-songwriter’s fervent fanbase, you’d have thought that the makers of the new Bob Dylan biopic would have done everything in their power to ensure that their movie - believed to be called A Complete Unknown - is historically accurate. However, if an on-set photograph of star Timothée Chalamet is to be believed, the props team may have dropped a boo-boo in the mic department.

Responding to the photo, which shows Dylan/Chalamet singing and playing a guitar in a scene that he believes may be set in the early ‘60s, musician Will Stratton (@columnatedrunes) wrote on Twitter: “That microphone [a Sony C38] wasn’t introduced until 1965. Can movies like this please hire music people who know what they’re doing??”

Anticipating that some would point out that it could simply be that the scene shown in the photo is set in or after 1965, Stratton added: “Then the costuming is wrong, and he is still singing into the wrong microphone. I know these details don't matter to a lot of people, and that's fine! I like a well-researched film, especially if it's about a pivotal cultural figure.”

In further Tweets, Stratton also argues that, as a phantom-powered mic, the Sony C38 wouldn’t have been used in a live situation until much later than 1965 anyway, and that Dylan was never photographed singing into one.

Inevitably, the musician’s comments sparked some lively debate, with some agreeing with his analysis and others claiming not to care. There were the inevitable jokes, too - that the movie will feature Dylan making a beat in Ableton Live and using a modelling amp, for example.

On the plus side, Stratton says that the mic being used on Dylan’s acoustic guitar is “period accurate”, which makes any oversight on the vocal mic seem even more strange.

Of course, we’ll have to reserve judgement until we see the finished film. We’re no after-the-event editing experts, but we’re guessing that, if the mic is wrong, its appearance could easily be tweaked in post-production.

A Complete Unknown is expected to be released in 2025.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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