Recording The Great Apes

Sound Designer Craig Carter has recently undertaken 15 weeks of filming in the jungles of Africa, Indonesia, Sumatra and Borneo for The Last of the Great Apes, a 3D film covering all six species of great apes. Carter chose to use a DPA 5100 mobile surround microphone for surround ambience, while using a DPA 4017B shotgun microphone with a Rycote windshield on a long boom to capture the sounds he wanted without disturbing the apes. “I chose the DPA 5100 surround microphone for its sound pressure capabilities and its ease of use in the conditions I was working in,” said Carter. “Thanks to its compact size and extreme portability, it was ideally suited to these very challenging conditions. Also, it only has one multicore cable, which was an important consideration because I was mainly recording and booming on my own.” The shotgun microphone was very responsive, Carter said, adding: “it was easy to mount quickly and had an excellent signal to noise ration. Because it is very directional it was easy to eliminate unwanted sounds and was certainly my first choice of microphone when there was a lot of background noise. It’s also very light.”

The Last of the Great Apes is a feature-length documentary that will be released in cinemas and supported by a six-part TV series. “With this project I took a drama approach to the audio recording by trying to capture ‘edge of frame’ dialogue, and wherever possible, taking a multi-track approach to FX/atmosphere recording,” explained Carter. “My main microphone was the DPA 5100 but I also linked two Sound Devices eight-track recorders at times, which allowed me to include other microphones, such as the DPA 4017B, in the set-up as well.”