07/30/15

RICK ALEXANDER TAKES ON AUDIO WITH DPA MICROPHONES

Company’s d:screet™ 4071 Miniature Omnidirectional Microphone is the audio champion for miking star athletes like Bubba Watson and Richie Browne
A 30-year industry veteran, Rick Alexander has learned the vital importance of carrying DPA Microphones’ products in his audio kit. As an audio engineer for both broadcast and live events, Alexander trusts the company’s mics to combat any auditory challenges he faces during a project. Whether environmental noise arises while filming on location, or the visibility of a mic is problematic, the company’s d:screet™ 4071 Miniature Omnidirectional Microphone has always been his go-to ‘secret audio weapon.’

Alexander first discovered DPA Microphones five years ago while searching for a lavalier, and found that the quality of the d:screet™ 4071 was unmatched by any other mic he’d tested. “We were checking different microphones and kept returning back to the 4071,” he explains. “When you’re in the field, you’re going to be in horrible audio environments with traffic around you, an airplane flying over, a truck coming by and people talking. You never know what’s going to happen. I found that the best place to pick a mic is always at NAB, where about 10,000 people are speaking at once. While testing the 4071 at the show a few years ago, we noticed how the background noise dropped out significantly.”

The d:screet™ 4071 rejects other unwanted environmental noises as well; from weather conditions to cars, trains and airplanes. “The 4071 is very impressive. In fact, we were shooting near the ocean for the first project I ever worked on with the DPAs,” he recalls. “The wind was loud, we had a crow that wouldn’t go away. My client called me up the next week and he said, ‘man, what did you do?’ and I thought I was in trouble, but then he said, ‘My God, remember that crow and the wind issues we had? We barely even hear it in the background.’ That just sold me on the mics even more. Now when I have a client with a challenging audio situation and they’re nervous about filming, I can reassure them to trust me and the mics. Sure enough, I get that call, ‘you were right, we don’t hear the trucks as much, we don’t hear the plane as much, etc.’”
Rick Alexander Takes On Audio with DPA Microphones
In addition to potential environmental challenges on set, Alexander must also be prepared for the aesthetic obstacles of a shoot. When the talent needs to be close-miked without using a visible solution, the d:screet™ 4071 can be concealed perfectly underneath wardrobe. Recently, during two days of filming a docu-series with Richie Browne, who earned a 2012 bronze medal through the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships, Alexander needed a mic that could be hidden during exterior shots of Browne at the track.

I strapped a 4071 around Browne’s chest, with a windscreen on it to kill the noise from his running, and it sounded great,” says Alexander. “It was a lot of long shots and even some footage from drone shots, and he was sweating the entire time, but the mic didn’t fail once.” The established audio engineer discovered the true benefit of taping the d:screet 4071 underneath clothing during what he recalls his most demanding project, doing a behind-the-scenes shoot with Bubba Watson just after he won the Masters. “The catch was that he’d need to change outfits 40 times without us being able to keep miking him,” says Alexander. “Since we were shooting with a wide shot, [booming] wasn’t an option. When Bubba showed up, I taped the mic to his chest, gave a lot of slack to the cable underneath and strapped the transmitter on his thigh. Bubba said it didn’t bother him at all, he changed so many times and it was windy and raining, but the audio turned out great.”

Over the years, Alexander has shared his knowledge from working in the field as a Lab Specialist of audio at Full Sail University and by serving on the Board of Directors for Women in Film, an international organization.

“My advice to other professionals is to spend the extra money on DPA to get the quality results they desire,” Alexander adds. “A lot of people don’t understand that if you can get that first source of audio to sound good, it makes your job, and that of your post team, so much easier. You don’t have to worry about background noise or proper mic placement. I say that to them and see the light bulbs go off. I just trust my mics and love the results.”

On top of DPA’s d:screet™ 4071, Alexander occasionally turns to a variety of the company’s other mics to fit the wide range of productions he works on, including a major network singing competition show, international commercials and documentaries. Some of the industry veteran’s other production experience includes serving as a booming operator on Magic City and Graceland as well as freelance work as the A1 for The Golf Channel.

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