NBC Universal is using Audio-Technica microphones for the broadcast of the XX Olympic Winter Games (February 10 to 26, 2006) in Torino, Italy. Audio-Technica’s AT815ST stereo shotgun, which was designed specifically for the Games in 2000, was selected by the NBC team “to capture the intimate moments that are such a big part of what we want to bring to our viewers, with a sense of depth and a feeling of place,” says Bob Dixon, manager, sound design for NBC Olympics. Other models chosen include the AT4050 multipattern condenser and AT4047/SV cardioid condenser microphones.
“Prior to Salt Lake [City] in 2002, Audio-Technica arranged for independent environmental testing of the microphones under severe winter operating conditions,” says Audio-Technica product manager Michael Edwards. “The technicians need to know that the microphones will be able to withstand the conditions they’ll be subjected to and provide a clean, clear signal without fail.”
This year, NBC selected the AT4050 to capture the audio signal for 5.1 surround sound. “We are using the AT4050 to capture the ambience at virtually every venue,” says Dixon. “Any sport that will go on the NBC standard-def network and, as a result, the NBC high-def network will have AT4050s employed to capture the feeling of the place.”
Audio-Technica microphones are also in use to capture stereo sound. “We have a lot of handheld cameras that get close in to some very dramatic moments—for example, a coach with the skaters as they come off the ice,” says Dixon. “The drama at those moments is wonderful. An AT815ST on top of the camera gives us a very nice feeling of what’s going on. We get to hear their soft-spoken words, but with a sense of place. I can’t imagine ever using mono shotgun microphones on handheld cameras any more. The built-in X/Y converter of the M/S stereo makes using the microphone so simple and easy.”