Sound mixer uses company’s d:screet™ 4071 Miniature Microphones for critical pilot scenes
Veteran Sound Mixer Joe Michalski was recently tasked with capturing the audio for A to Z, NBC’s new fall romantic comedy series. A longtime DPA microphones user, Michalski looked to his d:screet™ 4071 Miniature Microphones to play integral roles in the filming of the pilot episode.

The production team and director, began to fall in love with the audio qualities of DPA’s d:screet™ 4071 lavalier mics during several multi-actor, dialog-heavy pilot scenes. Typically each set of actors would be shot separately, but for one particular scene the crew was running out of natural daylight, so a different approach needed to be taken.

“The director (Michael Patrick Jann) decided to shoot both portions at the same time, with two side-by-side cameras pointed 180 degrees from one another,” says Michalski. “Instead of using a traditional booming setup for this shot, I miked all four actors with the d:screet™ 4071 lavaliers, which allowed me to perfectly isolate all four voices in the recording. Everyone thought they were going to have to go back for ADR, but when I played back the audio, the director and producer were pleasantly surprised to have two completely separate sets of dialogue.”

An avid DPA user, Michalski made sure to mic the actors with d:screet™ 4071s for every scene, which further ensured that the production team would always have a backup to the boomed audio. This proved especially useful during the closing scene of the pilot episode, which was shot in front of running fountains, a specific request from the director of photography. The fountains created a challenge for the boom operators, as the mics were picking up the sound of the water. It was also difficult to hide the boom operator in the 360 degree scene; the d:screet™ 4071s once again rose to the occasion.

“Everyone was worried that the sound of the fountains would overpower the intimate dialogue of the scene and that they’d certainly have to ADR,” continues Michalski. “This was especially of concern to the actors, who felt it would be hard to recreate the emotional performance in the studio. We again used the d:screet™ 4071s – this time, we put them as high up on their costumes as possible, pointed directly at their mouths. It really was the perfect solution.”

According to Michalski, the d:screet™ 4071 lavaliers had a big hand in getting A to Z in front of the networks in time for it to shine through for fall premieres. “I saw Ben Queen, the show’s writer, a month after we wrapped and he told me that, other than two lines that were added after they wrapped, the editing team didn’t have to do one bit of ADR on the entire episode,” adds Michalski. “He said they were able to immediately get their cuts together without having to replace dialogue, which got it to the studios in time for them to consider it for fall.”

Michalski, who has used several microphone brands over the years, says his collection of 10 DPA mics, which includes the DPA d:dicate™ 4017B Shotgun Microphone, serves as his primary mic of choice. “I’ve heard a lot of competitor mics and DPA mics just sound more natural,” concludes Michalski. “You don’t have to worry about any of the problems you see with other brands, even the sheer physical difference is noticeable.”

A to Z follows the lives of Andrew Lofland (Ben Feldman), an employee at an Internet dating site looking for the girl of his dreams, and Zelda Vasco (Cristin Millioti), a no-nonsense lawyer with a rebellious streak, who fall in love after Zelda’s bad experience with the site. With actress Katey Sagal serving as narrator, the show aims to chronicle Andrew and Zelda’s relationship timeline “from A to Z.”

Kansas City born, Michalski has worked as a boom operator and sound production mixer on various projects for more than 20 years. His recent work includes, Jane By Design, Sons of Anarchy, Suburgatory, Mistresses, The Mindy Project, Without a Trace, Shameless and Grey’s Anatomy.


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