ITVs long running detective series Midsomer Murders is among the first television shows in the UK to record dialogue using DPAs new d:screet¢ Slim Miniature Microphone, which was launched last year to huge critical acclaim.
Developed in response to demands from the film industry for an even smaller lavalier mic that could not to be seen, even if it was in shot, the super-tiny d:screet¢ 4060 hi-sens and 4061 lo-sens Slim Microphones have a flat capsule, making them ideal for concealed applications. They also come with a unique new Button-hole Mount featuring a small side entry pipe that allows sound to enter the microphones diaphragm through the actors button hole. The microphone cable runs perpendicular to this pipe, making it easy to secure the Slim mic capsules behind clothing or to conceal them in the seam of a shirt.
Production sound mixer Jonathan Wyatt, who has worked on Midsomer Murders for the last three years, now has a collection of 14 d:screet¢ 4060 and 4061 Miniature Microphones including four of the new d:screet¢ 4061 Slim mics, which have added hugely to the versatility of his mic collection.
I have been using DPA microphones since about 2003 when I phased out my old Trams, Wyatt says. I particularly like the d:screet¢ 4060, which I tend to use on everyone because its open sound blends so nicely with a boom. It is also a favourite with my sound team because they really like its concealer. The new 4061 Slim sounds great, too, although it doesnt offer as much in the way of wind protection. I didnt buy them to solve a specific problem it was more a case of wanting as much diversity as possible. Being a sound professional, its just good to have a wide selection of microphones available.
Jonathan Wyatt has been working in audio for nearly 20 years, mainly recording sound for TV drama series but occasionally venturing into feature films. He is also a musician and has two d:screet¢ 4061 mics in a stereo set that he uses for music projects.
Ill be shooting Midsomer Murders until November, although we are on a production break at the moment, he says. The series shoots between Pinewood and Oxford and is entirely a location drama. We do get to work in some lovely locations, although they are often on a flight path. As with any TV drama, the directors dont want to do any sound post sync unless really necessary so we do have to work hard to get the sound right first time, even with planes flying over!
Given that Midsomer Murders has been running for 20 years, it is hard to believe there is anyone left in the western world who hasnt seen it. However, for those who need enlightening, it is based on the crime-novel series by author Caroline Graham and follows Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnabys efforts to solve crimes that occur in the wealthy, isolated and entirely fictional English county of Midsomer. Picturesque and peaceful on the outside, Midsomer is filled with amoral and snobbish eccentrics with all kinds of vices. Murders happen here so frequently that it has laughingly been described as Britains most dangerous place to live.
Corpses, however, are a lot easier to spot than microphones, especially when the mics in question are tiny DPA Slims. In any case, Wyatt always makes sure they are kept out of sight.
They are always hidden, he says, often in a gentlemans tie or a ladys bra. Artistes are pretty used to having them fitted because working with personal mics is the norm these days. You do still get the occasional actor who is resistant but mainly the feedback is about wanting smaller [wireless] transmitter packs rather than tiny bodyworn mics.