Sound designer Craig Carter captures ape sounds with DPA mics

Recording audio on film shoots in extreme locations always presents technical issues, but when Great Apes are your subject matter, you really can’t afford to get too close without upsetting the animals or putting yourself at risk. This was the situation that sound designer Craig Carter faced when he spent 15 weeks filming in the jungles of Africa, Indonesia, Sumatra and Borneo for "The Last of the Great Apes," a 3-D film covering all six species of Great Apes. His microphone of choice for capturing surround ambience was a DPA 5100 mobile surround microphone. 

Carter chose the DPA 5100 for its sound pressure capabilities and its ease of use in the conditions he was working in. Thanks to its compact size and extreme portability, it was ideally suited to the challenging conditions. The DPA 5100 also has only one multicore cable, which was an important consideration because he was mainly recording and booming by himself. Having lots of cables to worry about would have made the task way too difficult.

Carter also selected a DPA 4017B shotgun microphone with a Rycote Windshield solution to avoid unwanted extraneous noise. He affixed the 4017B to a long boom in order to capture the sounds he wanted without disturbing the animals. The DPA shotgun microphone proved very responsive for Carter and, thanks to its highly directional supercardiod pickup pattern, it gave him good, clear sound.

Produced by Australian film company Visionquest Entertainment, "The Last of the Great Apes" is a feature-length documentary that will be released in cinemas and supported by a six-part TV series.