Production Sound Mixer Whit Norris, CAS, used company’s d:screet™ 4098 and d:dicate™ 4017 on the set of 2016 Warner Bros. movie starring Ben Affleck.
Sometimes a microphone’s versatility is just as important as the sound quality, especially on a movie set where anything can happen. In order to capture the dialogue of the upcoming Warner Bros. film, The Accountant, freelance production sound mixer Whit Norris, CAS, decided to plant a variety of DPA Microphones’ d:screet™ 4098 Supercardioid Microphones
near the actors and within the environment for different scenes. He also used the d:dicate™ 4017B Shotgun Microphone
as his main boom microphone.
Scheduled for a 2016 release, The Accountant is a thriller written by Bill Dubuque and directed by Gavin O’Connor. The story centers on a mild-mannered accountant who moonlights as an assassin, played by Ben Affleck. Since the film is heavily based on dialogue, Norris and his team, boom operator Doug Cameron and sound utility/second boom operator Alana Knutson, utilized the d:screet™ 4098 mics with a Lectrosonics transmitter in order to plant them in various scenarios. With their low profile, courtesy of a nearly invisible cable and integrated gooseneck, the 4098s provided Norris and his team with the ability to properly and easily aim the mics into any required position.
“For example, when we were shooting actors in cars, we would put the d:screet™ 4098 mics up in the visor and hide them, or we’d plant them low,” explains Norris. “In one scene, in a very large car, the actor playing the passenger kept moving closer to the driver and then backing away. With just two hidden d:screet™ 4098 microphones, we were able to effortlessly cover the audio for both characters. We also used one of the d:screet™ 4098 mics on-camera as a podium mic during a press conference scene, and it sounded great for that, too.”
Norris, a first-time user of DPA, selected the DPA d:screet™ 4098 mics following a demo, of which he says, he was very impressed for several reasons. “In addition to the mics’ incredible sound, I was impressed with the very wide pickup pattern, especially for a mic that long,” he says of the d:screet™ 4098, which measures approximately 9.8 inches long, including the gooseneck. “Following that demo, I purchased four d:screet™ 4098 microphones, which were all used on the film’s set at one time or another, depending on what the application was and what was needed at the time. The DPA d:screet™ 4098 mics really changed our workflow. On earlier shoots, we didn’t have the reach or quality that the DPA mics have. A lot of times, the previous mics wouldn’t work in situations because they didn’t have the supercardioid polar pattern and off-axis response that these do. Since the d:screet™4098 is small, it makes it easy to get into tight spots in order to hide it or affix it in different places.”
Besides being impressed with the d:screet™ 4098, Norris also enjoyed using the d:dicate™ 4017 as well. “I used the 4017 as my main boom microphone and found it to be exceptional. It had great rejection and incredible sonic quality. The d:dicate™ 4017 may be the lightest microphone in its class of boom mics. My team was also impressed with the sound quality, rejection and reach of the d:dicate™ 4017,” he comments.
In addition to the DPA microphones and Lectrosonics transmitters, Norris also used a Deva 16 as his main recorder, a Sound Devices 970 as a backup recorder and a Sonosax ST8D mixer. Moving forward, Norris, who has also worked on film projects for Marvel and Universal, says he will not only share his positive DPA experience with other sound mixers, but has purchased a total of six d:screet™ 4098 microphones as well as two of the company’s d:dicate™ 4017B Shotguns.
The DPA d:screet™ 4098 microphones are not typically employed in this type of on-location production setting, as the microphone was designed for use in applications such as churches, performing arts centers and television studios due to its clear and natural sound for both recording and sound reinforcement. This unique application of the microphones, on set of a feature film, showcases the diversity and flexibility of DPA microphones.
“When you find equipment that changes your day-to-day work and recording on a film set, you want to make sure the rest of the industry knows about it as well,” he says. “From now on, whenever my team and I need to plant a microphone, the DPA d:screet™ 4098 is our go-to solution. The sonic quality and the versatility of the d:screet™ 4098 and the d:dicate™ 4017 have made it a very easy choice to use these microphones on my next project.”