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Sennheiser RF Systems Capture 79th Academy Awards

Ellen DeGeneres, host of the 79th Academy Awards ceremony, took a Sennheiser SKM 5200 wireless handheld mic into the audience to interview Martin Scorsese. Photo credit: WireImage.

This year’s 79th annual Academy Awards, broadcast live by ABC on Sunday, February 25, relied almost exclusively on Sennheiser wireless microphone systems for the red carpet arrival segments and awards presentation ceremony, as well as Oprah’s After-Oscar Party 2007, from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood the following day. Soundtronics Wireless deployed Sennheiser RF systems inside and outside the theater.

Soundtronics Wireless owner David Bellamy has worked with production sound specialists ATK AudioTek on the Academy Awards telecast for the past 10 years. “Each year we’ve been getting more and more Sennheiser involved with the show, in key places where I feel comfortable with it,” says Bellamy, who this year had 14 channels of Sennheiser RF microphones on the red carpet and 16 channels inside the Kodak Theatre. Bellamy adds that Soundtronics Wireless now has almost $1.5 million worth of Sennheiser RF equipment in inventory at its Burbank, Calif. facility.

This year, Bellamy employed Sennheiser SKM 5012 and SKM 5212 bodypack transmitters for all of the lavalier and podium mics used during the awards broadcast. In addition, first-time Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres took a Sennheiser SKM 5200 handheld mic into the audience for several informal interview segments.

Onstage, during performances of some of the Oscar-nominated songs, Beyoncé and Celine Dion also made use of Sennheiser RF mics. “Beyoncé was on an SKM 5200 in the 900MHz range,” explains Bellamy. “Celine brought her own mic, an SKM 5000, and we put a channel in our antenna system to accommodate her receiver, which was backstage in our rack.” Both singers combine the Sennheiser handheld transmitter with a Neumann KK 105-S capsule. Dion also used her preferred Sennheiser RF IEM system.

Soundtronics installed a single Sennheiser receiver system, comprising principally EM 3532 and EM 3032 dual-channel, true diversity units to cover the 500 feet of red carpet from Highland Avenue all the way up the Kodak Theatre steps. In the past, multiple receivers and antenna systems, and multiple power sources, made it difficult to guarantee clean audio to the broadcast truck, says Bellamy. “So I said, let’s use our Phoenix Phase One antenna system and one set of Sennheiser receivers for the entire red carpet area.”

For Oprah’s After-Oscar Party, which broadcasts live the afternoon following the awards ceremony from the Kodak Theatre, Bellamy says, “I had two Sennheiser bodypack transmitters, one a 900MHz SKM 5212 and the other an SKM 5012 in a lower frequency range.”

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