SANTA FE, MARCH 2, 2022―Described as a study in sound, Eminent Domain, an Audible Original, is told entirely from the main character Loretta’s point-of-view through a fully immersive, first-person audio recording. Set and recorded in New Mexico, the contemporary Sci-Fi drama recounts the experiences of Loretta, a sound scientist for an auto manufacturer, after a car crash that leaves her hearing strange voices. Written and produced by Victoriano Cardenas and Warren Langford, of Galisteo Production, the audiobook captures all the conversations, background sounds and other audio nuances surrounding Loretta, portrayed by Ama Zathura.
To ensure pristine immersive audio, the production team selected DPA Microphones’ 4560 Binaural Headset Microphone. “We found that DPA’s binaural mics sound the closest to human hearing,” explains Langford, who also served as the story’s writer and director. “We really wanted to capture the environment as naturally as possible. When we tested the mics online, with the 3Dio, we said, ‘this sounds the same as walking into a room and hearing exactly what it sounds like.’ So, we knew we needed to find those exact mics for our immersive audio projects.”
While searching for the right solution, Langford even considered building his own. Before discovering the DPA 4560, the idea of a headset mic was appealing to Langford as it solved the question of how to deploy the solution. With the DPA binaural mic, not only was Zathura able to wear the mic, but it captured the sound exactly from her perspective. Comprised of a stereo pair of DPA 4060s, selected on sensitivity within ±1.5 dB, the 4560 Binaural Mic features DPA’s legendary sound performance and flexibility. With these benefits in mind, Langford says he knew he found the best solution, which also saved him a lot of time and money.
The natural sound that the mics provided was crucial in the telling of the story, which relied heavily on Zathura’s performance. They also held up and captured ambient sounds beyond the speech elements, such as a car crash and a restaurant scene. As the story is heard from Zathura’s perspective, she performed roughly two-thirds of the dialogue of the three-and-a-half-hour-long audiobook, which meant she needed to wear the headset for long periods of time. In addition to the mic, Zathura also wore a Sound Devices MixPre-3 II recorder, so comfort and reliability was key to the long-term use.
“My on-set sound people would put the recorder and DPA 4560 headset on Ama, very carefully pinning the mic to her clothing to ensure it didn’t catch on anything,” says Langford. “The setup continually performed great. The sound from every single environment is perfect.”
For the restaurant scene, Langford “used the headset mic to capture additional sound in a restaurant for laying down in post. We wanted to record in a restaurant, so I sat there by myself, recording with the mics. We just layered that sound into our story, which worked extremely well.”
The combination of the DPA 4560 and the MixPre-3 recorder, which provided a 32-bit float option with high-quality files, meant the team did not have to monitor levels on-site. “We were able to set the level that we liked and not worry about making any changes in post-production,” Langford adds. “It was such a timesaver and incredibly simplistic. It freed everyone up to move around, work with blocking and go between environments without having to touch the recorder ever, except to affix and remove it each day.”
Langford says he was thrilled with the final recording and how well the DPA 4560 mic performed, and that he would recommend them to other audio designers who are recording a lot of environmental sounds for a project.
A behind-the-scenes look at this production can be found here: