DPA Microphones Leads Ellen’s Design Challenge

Furniture building isn’t the only demanding aspect of Ellen’s Design Challenge, a four-week-long HGTV reality show produced by Ellen DeGeneres, which began airing on January 26.
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LOS ANGELES, FEBRUARY 3, 2015 – Furniture building isn’t the only demanding aspect of Ellen’s Design Challenge, a four-week-long HGTV reality show produced by Ellen DeGeneres, which began airing on January 26. In addition to the six competitors who are trying to make it to the end – using saws, drills and welders, among other noisy tools, to complete the weekly tasks – the audio team faced the daunting task of providing clear, crisp audio that is not interrupted by the hum of the machines. The solution was found with DPA d:screet™ 4061 Omnidirectional Miniature Microphones.

Selected by the show’s sound supervisor, Daniel McCoy, CAS, a longtime DPA supporter, the d:screet 4061s are used by the entire 16-member cast, which includes a host and three judges as well as six designers and the carpenters with whom they are partnered. “I’ve had a lot of experience doing build shows,” he explains. “I’ve been around enough shops to know that I needed mics that could handle extreme SPL – whether from saws, CNC machines, drills or welding. In fact, one of the builders is a blacksmith and she used an electronic anvil power hammer that would shake the building. To make matters worse, we had to film in the heart of downtown LA, so the RF was insane. But, the DPA mics paired with the Wisycom transmitters really saved the day.”

Shot in two very different locations – a smaller warehouse in the heart of Los Angeles and massive 100-acre junk/scrap yard in the city of Downey, California – McCoy needed to ensure that he had a reliable setup. For the outdoor shoots, he arranged three different bags, each with its own Sound Devices 633 mixer, to dial different frequencies from the mics and track them as they split up the sound. Since the conditions in the warehouse were frequently unpredictable, McCoy also brought along the DPA d:dicate™ 4017B Shotgun mic as a backup solution, but rarely needed to bring it out during production.

“When you’re working with leather aprons and lots of tools, you always run the risk of clothes rubbing or mechanical noise,” he mentions as the reason for having the d:dicate on hand. “But that didn’t really happen with the DPA mics. Throughout the four weeks of intense building, torching, cutting, burning and hammering, I didn’t have a single d:screet go down. These were some really harsh conditions for any microphone, we literally had to clean the mics off every night because they were caked with sawdust and debris, but the 4061s always performed flawlessly.”

In addition to the 4061’s ability to physically withstand the harsh conditions of the shop, McCoy also gives credit to its unwavering sound quality. “We placed all of the mics in a usual placement – centered on the chest – and that gave us amazing dynamic range over the background noise,” he explains. “The 4061 has great separation – we were able to separate the voices of each designer from the background noise and headroom to allow for really nice articulation. Even the producers with ear buds could hear people across the field of noise. It was interesting seeing them perform with such extreme background noise and still have the freedom to mix. The performance of the 4061s really made the show more than a noisy, fatiguing sound environment.”


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DPA Microphones Has a Laugh with Conan O’Brien

Every night, comedian Conan O’Brien entertains a television and studio audience with monologues, comedy skits, guests interviews and musical performances on his late night TBS show, aptly self-titled Conan. To ensure the audience never misses the punch line, Mike Stock, senior audio mixer for the show, depends on DPA Microphones’ d:screet™ 4061 Omnidirectional Miniature Microphones which he uses on O’Brien, his sidekick Andy Richter and their guests, to overcome the sound challenges on set.

DPA Microphones Keeps Pace with Dancing With the Stars

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 show’s broadcast, which ended its season on May 20.

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Mistresses Has a Love Affair with DPA Microphones

ABC’s Mistresses is a primetime soap opera starring Alyssa Milano that is based on the lives of four girlfriends living in Hollywood who are involved in an array of illicit and complex relationships, but it is the show’s miking solution that is far from complicated. A longtime DPA Microphones user, Sound Mixer Joe Michalski relies on the company’s d:dicate™ 4017 Shotgun Mic in conjunction with several d:screet™ 4071 Omnidirectional Miniature Mics to achieve a pristine sound that requires almost no editing in post.