Capturing pre-recorded materials for a fast-paced reality production, like the 20th anniversary season of Dancing With the Stars (DWTS), is never short of challenging. When Production Sound Mixer/Supervisor Daniel McCoy, CAS, owner of California-based audio production company ToneMesa, Inc., was given the task, he turned to DPA Microphones. Calling on 28 Heavy Duty d:screet¢ 4060 Omnidirectional Miniature Microphones, one of the first applications in the U.S., and his tried and trusted d:dicate¢ 4017B Shotgun Microphones, McCoy utilized the mics to record the audio seamlessly amidst the contestants frenetic pace during rehearsals, a critical component of the shows broadcast, which ended its season on May 20.
Based on the British BBC series Strictly Come Dancing, DWTS is a popular competition-style show that pairs celebrities with professional ballroom dancers. Each week, the show challenges the celebrities to learn various dances, such as the fox trot, samba and waltz, in six-days time. The contestants then perform these dances live before a panel of judges. Tom Bergeron and former contestant Erin Andrews host, while Carrie Ann Inoba, Len Goodman, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli were this seasons judges.
Due to the physicality of the routines, whenever the celebrities and professional dancers were rehearsing off the lot, the audio equipment would frequently be handled by both the cast members and audio crew. Throughout the entire season, which began in February, we had zero loss and damage for any of the DPA 4060s, explains McCoy. Not a single record of any damage at all. For previous seasons, McCoy was provided with a competitor microphone for the production and can recall having mic heads pop off and connectors break, which ultimately led to audio cable failure. Often, the crew was left with up to 40 percent of the mics being destroyed.
McCoy also says that during this season period he noticed much better fidelity to his ear while using the mics. I thought that DWTS was a really good demonstration of the DPA d:screet 4060s ability and consistency, he explains. There are often things that you cant control. A lot of the time, I couldnt personally be present for every contestant rehearsal, so I had producers and talent micing themselves. Thats always a red flag and prediction for disaster. In this case, with the steel housing jacket of the DPA 4060s, the production was flawless.
Another reason McCoy chose the 4060s was that the output impedance of the mics has a higher sensitivity. This feature proved beneficial when the producers, who are not trained audio technicians or engineers, were traveling all over the country with the contestants during rehearsals, he explains. In those cases, the 4060s provided the producers with maximum audio output so they didnt have to tinker with the gain stages.
In addition to the 28 d:screet 4060s, which were supplied direct from DPAs Denmark HQ through collaboration with Location Sound Corporation, McCoy also used his DPA 4017B Shotgun Microphones with CMB amplifiers to capture the behind-the-scenes action and interviews. All materials were recorded using Sound Devices 633 and 688 Production Sound Mixers. I primarily used the Sound Devices 633s because its usually just a couple of wires and a boom, he adds. All of the rehearsals, packages and interviews were captured by lavs and a boom, so the 633s and DPA 4017s covered that amply.
Overall, McCoy says that due to the performance of the DPA mics, the shows senior field producers were ecstatic with the quality that they were able to bring to the shows edit. They were very happy to receive consistent audio, he adds. I felt like I was giving them the best possible sound without having the usually-required six mixers in every rehearsal room all of the time. Im going to use the DPA d:screet 4060s on every show of this nature that Im involved with from now on. They are ToneMesas new standard for any show that has consideration of possible equipment damage.
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DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high-quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPAs ultimate goal is to always provide its customers with the absolute finest possible microphone solutions for all its markets, which include live sound, installation, recording, theatre and broadcast. When it comes to the design process, DPA takes no shortcuts. Nor does the company compromise on its manufacturing process, which is done at the DPA factory in Denmark. As a result, DPAs products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability and, above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
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