Host Chris Rock used a Sennheiser SMK5000 wireless system during the Oscars.
Photo: Getty Images
At the 77th Annual Academy Awards Show, broadcast live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on February 27, 2005, numerous performers relied on Sennheiser microphones. RF systems provider and frequency coordinator for the show, David Bellamy, whose Burbank, Calif.–based Soundtronics Wireless company specializes in RF equipment rental, supplied the majority of the Sennheiser microphones and RF gear for the telecast. “We had SK5012 beltpack transmitters and SKM5000-N handhelds, plus EM3032 receivers,” Bellamy said. Beyonce, however, brought in her standard Sennheiser RF mic, which pairs an SKM5000-N handheld transmitter with a Neumann KK 105-S capsule.
This year, veteran show producer Gil Cates arranged for a number of awards to be presented in the audience, rather than from the stage. According to Bellamy, those presenters not at the stage podium mics used Sennheiser’s miniature bodypack transmitter. “All the ladies were wearing the 5012s because they are very touchy about their gowns,” he says. “Plus,” he notes, “they’re film people, so they’re not used to wearing microphones. The SK5012s were worn by any female who was on a lavalier mic: the presenters out in the house and the presenters onstage who weren’t at the podium, as well as the gal up in Box 8.”
Bellamy set up two Soundtronics antenna systems using Sennheiser SAS432 distribution amps and Sennheiser AB400 antenna line amps. “That gold ‘curtain’ behind Chris Rock was a solid wall of steel pipe painted gold. The way I do the Kodak generally is hang my antennas upstage from the catwalk about 35 feet off the floor, looking down at the stage. This time, I had a duplicate antenna system out in the house because of the presenters, the lavs and the podiums that were out in the house.
“The podiums are my least favorite thing anyway,” he continues, “because the transmitters are on the floor. The antennas are always laid down and out of polarity with the receive antennas, so I wanted as much gain as I could get and not have to worry about it. As it turned out, when they closed that steel ‘curtain,’ the antennas in the house were getting a reflection off of that. It was like a parabolic reflector—it worked really well! I spent the overwhelming majority of the show on the antennas in the house.”
For more information on the Sennheiser gear used, visit www.sennheiserusa.com.