To ensure that his original recordings were as pristine as possible, Emmy Award winning Production Sound Mixer Ronan Hill employed DPA 4071 lavalier microphones to capture the on-location dialogue while filming the third series of HBO's medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones.
"As someone who was brought up to "get it on the boom" and only use radio mics when there was no other way, I have become a convert to them when used with DPA’s 4071 lavalier microphones," he says. "The DPA 4071 is great when used outside. They give really good isolation from environmental conditions, while still retaining a natural vocal quality. They are also good when recording inside as they offer reinforcement to the boom. It is a rare occasion when they aren't included in the mix. The DPA 4071 microphones have really helped to keep ADR on Game of Thrones to a minimum and have contributed to the show receiving a Primetime Emmy for Best Sound."
Game of Thrones, an adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire, was created for HBO by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. The plot revolves around a violent dynastic struggle among several noble families for control of the Iron Throne. Since first airing in 2010, the show has been a huge critical success and has won numerous awards for the quality of its production.
"The show is filmed in many remote and hard to get to locations – and in all kinds of weather conditions," Ronan Hill says. “In Series One we were shooting in temperatures of -17º C, while in Series Two we had to contend with a hurricane. Every day is an adventure in sound."
Replacing poorly recorded dialogue during post production may be an intrinsic part of making a film or television programme, but it certainly saves production companies time and money if ADR can be kept to a minimum. DPA’s 4071 mics became the lavalier microphone of choice on Game of Thrones at the start of Series Two having been recommended by supervising sound editor Stefan Henrix.
"You soon appreciate how good they sound" Hill explains. "They are available with well thought out accessories to aid fitting, and we fitted them to all cast with dialogue. Thankfully, the cast appreciate that the costumes are difficult for sound so they are tolerant to tweaks that will save the need for ADR."
With three series of the programme now under his belt, Ronan Hill still maintains that his favourite shooting experience was Blackwater (Episode 9 in Series Two).
"With large battle scenes in addition to the great dialogue, it had real potential for sound," he explains. "There was so much texture to record and then the challenge to isolate the dialogue from it. Game of Thrones has a character count of over 300. Scenes can have more than 10 principal characters speaking and there is always the professional pressure to capture the dialogue on location and keep ADR to a minimum. I wanted to give a presence to the big action scenes and burst the old myth that no scripted dialogue means no sound. I also tried to ensure rehearsal for any songs to be sung live."
Hill's familiarity with DPA microphone technology has, to date, been limited to DPA 4071s but he hopes to expand on this in the future.
"As a result of my good experiences with the DPA 4071s and the positive feedback I have heard about DPA’s other microphones, I can’t wait to try more of them," he says.
DPA Microphones is the leading Danish Professional Audio manufacturer of high quality condenser microphones and microphone solutions for professional applications in studio, broadcast, theatre, video/film and sound reinforcement environments. All DPA microphones and components are manufactured at the company’s purpose-built factory in Denmark.
For more information on DPA Microphones, please visit www.dpamicrophones.com