LOS ANGELES– When Production Sound Mixer George Flores, CAS, was asked to lead audio production on the final season of the hit NBC comedy, Parks and Recreation, he turned to DPA Microphones’ d:screet™ 4071 and 4060 Omnidirectional Miniature Microphones to capture all of the hysterical dialogue. With an interview-based production style similar to reality television, these mics provided the ideal solution for recording individual dialogue while events played out behind the actors.
An ensemble comedy starring Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana, Parks and Recreation focuses on Knope’s tireless efforts to celebrate her quintessential American town’s historical idiocies. Developed by the producers of The Office (both English and American), Parks and Recreation follows its predecessors’ model of filmmaking, a pseudo-reality/interview approach.
“This style of show presents its own unique set of challenges,” explains Flores. “It’s not a conventional situation, where you shoot the wide shot with everyone in it and then you go in for the mediums followed by the close ups. In this pseudo interview-type show, you have to mic each actor and we have a multitude of actors to wire. We try our best to be diligent about mic placement and getting the best quality that you can, and that’s why microphone selection is so critically important. In choosing DPA microphones, we knew we are getting a reliable, high-quality microphone right off the bat. Even if the microphone is moved a little bit or being covered by something, they still sound great.”
Flores first became familiar with DPA Microphones’ full collection of production mics about 10 years ago and has continued to use them on many of his projects, including his recent work on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Southland. For the seventh season of Parks and Recreation, Flores chose to use his tried-and-trusted DPA d:screet 4071s and 4060s, along with his Lectrosonics wireless system and Sound Devices multi-track recorders.
“The DPA miniatures have been great on this project,” continues Flores. “For most wireless lavalier microphone situations, quality is dependent on isolation from clothing or jewelry. We usually place a lav on an actor in a spot that sounds good, and then five minutes later it’s not so good. The combination of the built-in ‘low-cut/soft-boost’ feature gives these DPAs a huge advantage over other manufacturers in that, once a lav is placed, it needs very minor, if any, adjustments to keep it sounding consistently on-axis. The d:screet 4071, in particular, is very important in attaining the entire voice range in an equal, full way for delivery to post production.”
In order to record the audio for Parks and Recreation, Flores and his crew miked the cast using the DPA d:screet 4071 lavaliers with radio transmitters. He also supported the production using a collection of overhead booms. Additionally, for situations when they needed to plant a microphone somewhere on set, he would use the d:screet 4071s or 4060s with a boundary layer concealer to capture ambient sounds.
“The DPA microphones were vital to our success on the show,” adds Flores. “Parksand Recreation was very challenging from an audio point-of-view, but the DPA mics allowed us to consistently overcome all problems that came our way. It was very reassuring to know the equipment we chose to use could handle whatever we threw at it. I think you would be hard-pressed to find another microphone that, in similar situations, can outperform the DPAs.”