New Shure Lavalier, Wireless System Play Roles in Live ‘All in the Family’ Redux

CHICAGO—ABC’s May 22 live performance of Norman Lear’s classic “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” sitcoms may have harkened back to a bygone era of television, but at least as far as the technology—especially the audio gear—is concerned the production of “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’” was as modern as it gets.

Jimmy Kimmel and Norman Lear, producers of the special, opened the broadcast to viewers nationwide using Shure’s TwinPlex performance microphone.

Paul Wittman, production mixer for the Kimmel and Lear portions of the ABC special, selected the TwinPlex lavalier microphones and Shure’s Axient Digital wireless system for the show because of their “very clean, dynamic sound” and “absolute reliability,” he said.

Jennifer Hudson, who performed a live version of “Movin’ On Up,” the theme song of “The Jeffersons,” relied on the Axient Digital wireless system, which frequently is used during award shows, halftime performances, music festivals and Broadway productions, as did Kimmel and Lear.

The wireless systems for the Kimmel and Lear portions were provided by ATK, with Andres Arango handling monitors and Ian Gutierrez as the RF tech.

“TwinPlex is a very natural sounding mic to me,” said Wittman. “It has a rich warmth to it that doesn’t sound muddy and doesn’t require much equalization no matter where it is located on the actor.”

“I knew that I would only get one chance to hear both Jimmy and Norman, and that would be at dress rehearsal, so I didn’t have time to mess around to find a solution, I had to know it would work no matter where the mic was pinned. Jimmy and Norman couldn’t have more different sounding voices and, as I suspected, I didn’t need to make many adjustments to make them sound how I would like.”

TwinPlex is Shure’s new line of subminiature (5 mm) omnidirectional lavalier and headset microphones.

More information is available on the Shure website.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.