DPA Microphones d:screet™ Miniature Microphones overcome audio challenges during filming of action-packed movie Mad Max: Fury Road
After a wait of 30 years, Mad Max fans are reveling in the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth installment of the action adventure film series, which stars Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult, and was directed, produced and co-written by George Miller. During filming, award-winning Production Sound Mixer Ben Osmo chose DPA Microphones’ d:screet™ 4063 Miniature Microphones with low-sensitivity and low-voltage to record dialogue during the action scenes that involved fast, furious and bumpy chases across the Namibian desert. He also used DPA’s d:screet 4062 Miniature Microphones with extra-low-sensitivity, magnetically mounted inside various vehicles to pickup additional sounds.
As production ran the risk of having the actors’ dialogue drowned out from vehicle noise during filming Fury Road— particularly if actors were in the vehicles or standing near them—they decided a close-mike solution would provide the most usable guide tracks. The choice of DPA Microphones was an easy one to make, as Osmo has always been happy with the mics’ durability and sound quality.
“I love DPA microphones because they have a transparent sound and are the best for wind noise, the most of any lapel mic currently on the market,” says Osmo. “I have been using DPA lapel mics for many years. For this film, Leon Hart [at DPA’s Australian distributor Amber Technology], suggested I use the d:screet 4063 Miniature Microphones because they matched the voltage outputs of my Lectrosonics SMV and SMVQ transmitters.”
The team used the low-sensitivity d:screet 4063s for the eight principle cast members who were inside the War Rig cabin, which captured all dialogue and transmitted sound FX. “We simultaneously placed several hidden d:screet 4063s in the cabin for FX and for catching the action,” explains Osmo. We also positioned them around the engine bay, near the exhausts and transmission, on top of the War Rig, in additional vehicles and on the supporting cast.”
Costume ‘genius’ Andrea Hood was responsible for placing the DPA Miniatures inside the actors’ costumes so they remained invisible. “Andrea was an immense help because she sewed the mics into costumes and made small pouches on the key costumes, especially those worn by the wives and Furiosa,” continues Osmo. “We came up with a couple of interesting positions to place them in Max’s jacket and inside his t-shirt. We couldn’t tape them to his outfit because it was covered in oil and dirt, so Andrea sewed them into the back of his shirt. She and Location Assistant Brendan Allen came up with suggestions of where we could place the DPAs in his jacket and we trialed them all, with me listening for rustle and wind noise. Finally, we decided to place two miniature mics on each side of his jacket, so that when he turned around, he would still be on the mic. The high-windscreen were also used, and these were instrumental in keeping the wind at bay.”
Filming an action movie in a place as inhospitable as the Namibian desert did present some issues for the sound equipment, but Osmo got around this by placing most of the hardware in temperature-controlled road cases or inside his van. But the radio mic transmitters and DPA mics were always out in the elements, hidden inside costumes or blimps.
“We never lost a mic due to the environmental conditions – they performed very well,” adds Osmo. “Overall, the DPA 4063s were definitely the best choice for dialogue. I’ve been using them for a few years and they are fantastic. In fact, since finishing Fury Road I have used DPA mics to record two television mini-series in Australia – Return to the Devil’s Playground and The Kettering Incident. Both of these projects have required minimal ADR. The other feature film I worked on, The Sapphires, also had live vocals blended with playback, and the mics worked very well at capturing this.”
With his recent hectic film schedule, Osmo is currently happy to be working on TV commercials before he gets started on his next project later this year.
ABOUT DPA MICROPHONES:
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high-quality condenser microphone solutions for professional applications. DPA’s 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, DPA’s products are globally praised for their exceptional clarity and transparency, unparalleled specifications, supreme reliability and, above all, pure, uncolored and undistorted sound.
For more information on DPA Microphones, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com