When Nico Ruderman, president and owner of Spinrad Sound, was named audio supervisor for the History Channel’s reality documentary, The Selection: Special Operations Experiment, he knew he was about to take on a grueling and demanding job.
The new series challenges 30 men and women with no military background through the most intense physical and mental challenge of their lives, under the training of veteran Navy SEALs, Green Berets and Army Rangers.
Ruderman would have 42 wireless lavs on a large campus and in a variety of extreme elements. In order to deliver unrivaled audio throughout the rigorous production, Ruderman relied on DPA Microphones d:screet™ 4061 Necklace and d:screet™ 4061 Miniature Ominidirectional Microphones.
“In looking at microphones, we needed a solution that would allow us to be hands off with the 30 participants,” says Ruderman. “Due to the nature of the show, we had zero access to them. They had to be able to mic themselves quickly. We also needed something extremely durable and DPA necklace mics were the best solution for this. Since we wanted the microphones to easily blend in with the participants’ uniforms, we selected DPA’s all black d:screet™ 4061 Necklace mics. The director, Grant Kahler, and I love the sleek look of the mics and, of course, I love how they sound. With the instructors, we had to hide the lav, so we used the d:screet™ 4061 omnidirectional mic to match the necklace mics. DPA was a great solution and I was happy to convince the producers to use them.”
One of Ruderman’s biggest challenges in capturing high-quality audio was the fact that the participants were under extremely harsh conditions and wearing the necklace mics 24 hours a day for two weeks straight.
“From our desert location where temperatures reached sweltering triple digits, to the water and sand of the beach and ocean, they were almost always miked, even when they were sleeping,” adds Ruderman. “The DPA necklace mic’s resilience was impressive. Most of the mics were wet at one point or another during the show, but dried out and worked just fine.”
Another challenge Ruderman faced when capturing the audio was the instructors’ varying vocal ranges. “The instructors would be whispering one minute, and screaming the next. The d:screet™ Necklace mics handled the varying levels of the instructors’ audio incredibly well,” says Ruderman. “We never had any clipping on the mics and, overall, they handled remarkably well. The DPA mics definitely have a great range.”
“This production presented huge challenges and thanks to DPA, we were able to deliver fantastic audio for what turned out to be a really great show."