DPA Mics Rev ‘Counting Cars’ Audio Engine

DPA d:screet 4063 omnidirectional miniature microphones

LAS VEGAS—“Counting Cars” is a reality show airing on the History network that chronicles the daily activities of Danny “The Count” Koker and his team at Count’s Kustoms, a car and motorcycle restoration and customization company in Las Vegas.

We usually shoot in some pretty unique places such as the middle of the Nevada dessert, where Danny test drives vehicles, or in his paint shop, where the staff spray paints them. These aren’t the easiest conditions for recording and sound mixing, but DPA Microphones’ d:screet 4063s models have stood up to the challenges.

Sound mixing proved to be difficult for the first few episodes of the show, as the production team had to cope with “booming��� situations in which the mics would get caked with paint or where the action van couldn’t keep up with the speed of the vehicles.

I joined the show in the middle of its first season and began using my unique “no booming” approach to mixing which solved a lot of problems. This consisted of DPA d:screet 4063 omnidirectional miniature microphones and Zaxcom wireless transmitters and recorders.

The DPA miniatures sound exactly like boom mic pickups, with the added advantage that I can plant them directly on the talent or in vehicle engine compartments and interiors. This is especially helpful during test drive scenes, allowing me to record driver/passenger dialog and also the hum and roar of the muscle cars or motorcycles that are on set.

A big advantage of the DPA mics is that they can handle a high sound pressure level, taking extremely loud sound sources in stride without distorting as we go from very low dialog sound levels to very noisy car and bike sounds. Due to my mic-ing style, digital wireless capabilities are essential to this production. A lot of other mics I’ve used had connection problems with my Zaxcom digital wireless system, but not the DPA d:screets. DPA provides an adapter that fits perfectly with my existing setup, so I didn’t have to deal with rewiring the mics. This wireless technology guarantees that I never have to “boom,” thus allowing me to focus all my attention on creating the perfect mix. It also helps the directors and camera crew, as I’m situated off the set and out of the way of their shots.

Perhaps the best thing about the DPA mics is their ability to withstand the extreme conditions of our set. In one scene, they might be in the shop being blasted with high-velocity spray paint or dust from buffing and metal fabrication. In another, they may be under the hood of a car racing down the Nevada dessert in the middle of the summer. Not only do these mics continue to hold up to the heat, but they are the only mics that can be opened and cleaned to remove the paint and dust particles, which is ideal for the unique conditions of this show. I can’t think of a better way to record this show than with the DPA d:screets.

Rado Stefanov is a sound mixer for ITV Studios, the production arm of London broadcaster ITV. He may be contacted at soundmixer@outlook.com

For additional information, contact DPA Microphones at 303-485-1025 or visit www.dpamicrophones.com.