Game of Thrones sound mixer on using DPA to capture audio for season 7

Production sound mixer Daniel Crowley used a large selection of DPA microphones to record Game of Thrones season 7, with plans to use them again on the upcoming eighth and final season of the popular HBO series.

Crowley uses a total of six different DPA mics on set. For lavaliers, he uses DPA d:screet 4063 Miniature Omnidirectional with Lo-Sens & DC and d:screet 4080 Miniature Lavalier Cardioid Microphones. On boom, Crowley uses d:dicate 4011A and 4011C Cardioid and d:dicate 4017B and 4017C Shotgun Microphones.

Game of Thrones season 7 was shot across various regions and in a wide range of temperatures. “We shot on location in a few different countries and landscapes,” explained Crowley. “DPA’s are used in temperatures from -4 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The fact that we can rely on the DPA’s to perform just as well after traveling all over different countries and in any temperature, speaks to the mics’ robustness and reliability. All scenes demand the same attentiveness to the dialogue and my DPA’s deliver every time.”

According to Crowley, DPA lavs are preferred by all location sound crews on Game of Thrones and post production demands them, while they often become compulsory on large multi-camera shoots. “Ten years ago, mixing lavs and booms could be ugly and jarring. With my DPA’s I can provide a mix that compliments a performance,” he said. “On Thrones, eight to 10 speaking cast members in a scene is a regular occurrence. Mixing DPA boom mics with DPA lavs allows me to get the best of each actor’s unique voice.”

“My favorite mic is the 4011C on the boom for interiors,” continued Crowley. “After years of use, it still amazes me how much detail is captured, even when pushed out by lighting or some other extraneous force. In the most recent episode, Jon Snow pledged his allegiance to Dany, a scene where every word is important. Jon had no shirt on, which meant no lavs could be used, and the ‘morning sun’ lighting on top of the small four poster bed gave me mere centimetres above Jon and Dany’s heads. I could barely squeeze the 4011’s on poles over the actors, but even with limited space the results were astounding. This scene was mostly whispered but with my DPA’s the viewers didn’t miss a word.”

The crews are also thankful for the DPA’s when it comes to the extravagant costumes used on the show. “The costumes in the Game of Thrones world are so varied; with the DPA mics, we can sew, glue, stick and staple lavs in every conceivable fashion through the costumes. It is astounding how much battering the mics can take and they still sound just as good as when they were fresh out of the box,” said Crowley, who is looking forward to taking his DPA’s on more adventures for the final season of Game of Thrones and beyond. “Season 8 is going to be massive and I can’t wait to get started again. My DPA’s will be right beside me and I look forward to using them on many different projects moving forward.”

The seventh season of the American fantasy drama television series ended on 27 August, 2017.

(Photo credit: Macall B. Polay / HBO)