DPA wins plaudits for Women’s World Cup coverage

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, presented by Fox Sports, drew to a close earlier this month, with a total of 26.7 million viewers tuning in to watch the month-long tournament.

Kicking off its studio coverage in Vancouver, the network selected DPA Microphones’ d:fine Headset Microphones to capture the sound for broadcasts from the field and remote studios. The tournament began on 6 June, with the final match taking place on 5 July at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium where the USA defeated Japan to take home the trophy.

This year’s event marked the seventh FIFA Women’s World Cup – the first held in Canada and the third to take place in North America. Matches were played in six cities across the country, spanning five time zones. Expanding the tournament this year to include a total of 24 teams – up from the original 16 – provided an extra set of challenges, with many of the early series requiring 12 hours of coverage, seven days per week.

Using outdoor remote studios in each of the cities made equipment selection essential, as Fox Sports’ technical director for the World Cup, Kevin Callahan, explained: “The environments that we were in were very loud, especially at home base, which had an active sea plane terminal directly behind it,” he said.

“We selected the dual-ear d:fine first and foremost for its excellent wind and noise rejection. The versatility of the mic was also important as there were many instances when the presenters, many of whom are former professional soccer players, would give on-screen soccer demonstrations.”

In order to adequately cover the increased number of matches, in a mainly outdoor environment, a d:fine mic was used for each of the 16 presenters to capture the audio commentary. In addition to the live broadcast, the event was also recorded for playback on the FIFA and FOX websites.

Additionally, the overall design of the d:fine allowed Callahan and his team to more effectively hide the mics on the presenters. “The d:fines are very small and come in a variety of colors, so those both proved useful to concealing them on the presenters,” he added.

“The small form-factor of the d:fines also provided added comfort during the grinding production schedule. This lightweight and intuitive design was critical to our broadcast schedule, which, particularly in the very beginning, had us on the air for 90 hours per week, which meant the talent was wearing them that entire time. This was the first time many of them had worn a microphone like this, so they weren’t used to it, but they thought they were very comfortable. Our regular presenters thought that they were better than the other solutions that they’ve worn in the past.”

The DPA d:fine Headset Microphones are ideal for broadcast professionals requiring superior voice reproduction, comfort, easy setup and a discreet look, the company says. Available in single- or dual-ear mounts to cover a broad range of applications, the mics are also available in several colours, two different pickup patterns and with different boom designs and lengths to match the various applications. The ear mounts will fit any head and ear size, while a short boom is available for louder speakers or situations where the mic needs to be less obtrusive.