DPA on Shameless

DPA Microphones’ 4071 d:screet Miniature Omnidirectional Microphones shone on set and on location while shooting Season 4 of Showtime’s hit comedy-drama series, Shameless.

With the majority of Shameless shot on set at the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, when the time came to start shooting Season 4 of the series, Joe Michalski, the production sound mixer for Shameless, and Mike Riner, head of production sound at the studio, felt it was time for an audio change, especially with regards to the microphones. While Warner Bros. Studios provides all the gear necessary for TV production through an in-studio rental department, the duo decided to turn to DPA Microphones.

Despite the frequent use of the d:screets, they continued to shine as an ideal solution by standing up to the heavy wear and tear. Additionally, since Shameless is shot with two handheld cameras at cross-angles, there is a large dependence on wide-angle shots. Due to the increase in speed at which the camera lenses are moved, the light that is captured during shooting can come from any direction, which would result in shadows being cast by traditional boom microphones. To overcome this obstacle, the production team decided early on to use lavalier mics during filming. With the DPA d:screet, the crew has a very adaptable mic that can be hidden in every scene, while still shooting without challenge of shadows.

In order to conceal the microphones, yet still have a similar benefit as using a boom mic, the d:screet 4071s were usually hidden on a piece of the actors’ clothing. This is possible because of the thin diameter of the mics’ cables. Designed for use as a placement mic, the d:screet 4071 has a low-cut acoustical quality incorporated into the capsule to serve as a built-in pre-amp. It also has a built-in boost to compensate for the loss of vocals when placed at an angle on the actors’ chests.

In addition to dependable sound from various placements of the microphones in-studio, the d:screet, built with a resistance to moisture and extreme temperature change, performed strongly on location in the cold, windy and loud setting of Chicago.

To protect the d:screet from the wind, the sound crew would cover up the mic heads, but the audio performed consistently in the extreme weather conditions.