Audio Mixer Rick Alexander recently joined the team at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, an award-winning production company based in California, at the Rolex 24, a 24-hour-long endurance sports car race at Daytona International Speedway, for work on a promotional documentary about the new Ford GT. For this project, which is currently in production, director Erich Joiner details life on the American Gran Turismo racing circuit. To ensure clear, crisp capture of dialogue in especially noisy environments, Alexander selected DPA Microphones' d:screet 4071 Miniature and d:dicate 4017B Shotgun Microphones.
With vehicles speeding around the track at upwards of 250 miles per hour, the Daytona International Speedway is known by fans and racers for its loud sounds, and the environment for the Rolex 24 was no different. "We started shooting the trials at Daytona and the sound pressure level there is off the charts," explains Alexander. "The garage, which is a couple-hundred feet away from the track, is around 105 dB and it's hard to talk. You can have a conversation, but it's really noisy. The DPA d:screet 4071 mics were just phenomenal for capturing audio in this environment."
In addition to facing the unique sound challenges of the recording location, Alexander also had to ensure that his audio told a story. He relied on the d:dicate 4017B Shotgun mic to capture the unique sounds of the pit row, filming the drivers while they were revving the gas. Alexander also mounted the d:screet 4071 mics in pit row and added a d:screet 4098 Supercardioid Microphone as well.
"The sound pressure level is unbelievably loud, especially when the cars come in," says Alexander. Lastly, Alexander "jam-synched the  lavs to two other cameras, which were roaming around capturing footage." In addition to pit row, Alexander also used several d:dicate(tm) 4017B Shotgun mics to capture dialog.
Initially, Joiner was worried about the audio and how the mics would capture the conversations with all of the obstacles. "When I asked him what his final thoughts were, he was thrilled," says Alexander. "I was able to record the behind-the-scenes conversations beautifully, which in turn, gave him the story that he was looking for."
Alexander also used DPAs to record Joiner interviewing the owner of the Ford GT team outside the garage. "Originally Joiner was using mics from other brands and couldn't hear any part of the interview due to the noisy environment. I hooked him up with the d:screet 4071 and also used the d:dicate 4017B; from those two mics I was able to hear every word."
Since the race was 24-hours-long, the production team relied on a secondary crew who started around 2:45a.m. The audio tech that relieved Alexander was using a different mic. "I thought it would be a good experiment to see how the sound lined up against my d:screet 4071 mics," said Alexander. "The levels received from the competitor mics did not quite make the cut, while I was able to get full conversations using the DPA mics."
For Alexander, DPA is his go-to microphone company. "I've never had an issue with using my d:screet 4071s," he adds. "Even in horrible situations; they've taken some incredible sound pressure levels and still provided excellent dialog."
Other recent projects for which Alexander has implemented a variety of DPA microphones include various Philharmonic concerts, location shoots of the PGA tour on behalf of the Golf Channel and La Voz Kids, the Spanish-language version of The Voice, which airs on Telemundo.
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