Game of Thrones Production Sound Mixer Daniel Crowley uses a wide array of DPA Microphones to capture every word in Westeros for the HBO mega-hit. With six different DPA models in constant use on set, he takes no chances in making sure every sound eventuality is catered for.
The fate of Westeros hanging by a thread as the White Walkers head south of The Wall, leaving Game of Thrones fans all over the world waiting with bated breath. Every word is as crucial as the next and Daniel Crowley ensures viewers hear it all with crystal clarity.
“My first encounter with DPA was in music recording studios and I was drawn to the transparency of the sound the mics captured,” says Crowley.
When DPA started to develop its film and broadcast offerings, I was instantly a fan. Having been a boom operator for 15 years, I know how important a microphone and boom op are to the quality of what we deliver on a production. DPA lavs are preferred by all location sound crews on Game of Thrones and post production demands them. To me, no other microphone captures an actor’s performance with as much integrity and authenticity as DPA. I believe the mic quality has a direct impact on how much an audience engages with an actor’s performance, which is why I exclusively use DPA for Thrones.
Lavaliers have become compulsory on large multi-camera shoots, where they are heavily relied upon to mix well with the boom mics to capture dialogue clearly. According to Crowley, “Ten years ago, mixing lavs and booms could be ugly and jarring. With my DPA’s I can provide a mix that compliments a performance. On Thrones, eight to 10 speaking cast members in a scene is a regular occurrence. Mixing DPA boom mics with DPA lavs allows me to get the best of each actor’s unique voice.”
(Main photo credit: Helen Sloan)
(Photo courtesy of HBO)
In total, Crowley uses six different DPA mics on set. For lavaliers, he uses DPA d:screet™ 4063 Miniature Omnidirectional lavaliers with Lo-Sens & DC and d:screet™ 4080 Miniature Lavalier Cardioid Microphones. On boom, Crowley uses d:dicate™ 4011A and 4011C Cardioid and d:dicate™ 4017B and 4017C Shotgun Microphones.
“My favorite mic is the 4011C on the boom for interiors,” continues Crowley.
After years of use, it still amazes me how much detail is captured, even when pushed out by lighting or some other extraneous force. In the most recent episode, Jon Snow pledged his allegiance to Dany, a scene where every word is important. Jon had no shirt on, which meant no lavs could be used, and the ‘morning sun’ lighting on top of the small four poster bed gave me mere centimeters above Jon and Dany’s heads. I could barely squeeze the 4011’s on poles over the actors, but even with limited space the results were astounding. This scene was mostly whispered but with my DPA’s the viewers didn’t miss a word.
Game of Thrones Season 7 was shot across various regions and in a wide range of temperatures. “We shot on location in a few different countries and landscapes,” adds Crowley. “DPA’s are used in temperatures from -4 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The fact that we can rely on the DPA’s to perform just as well after traveling all over different countries and in any temperature, speaks to the mics’ robustness and reliability. All scenes demand the same attentiveness to the dialogue and my DPA’s deliver every time.”
(Photo courtesy of HBO)
The crews are also thankful for the DPA’s when it comes to the extravagant costumes used on the show. “The costumes in the Game of Thrones world are so varied: handmade dresses for Cersei and Dany, heavy cloaks for Jon Snow, armor for the Knights, and the White Walkers and Children of the Forest are in a whole different league. With the DPA mics, we can sew, glue, stick and staple lavs in every conceivable fashion through the costumes. It is astounding how much battering the mics can take and they still sound just as good as when they were fresh out of the box.”
Crowley is looking forward to taking his DPA’s on more adventures for the final season of Game of Thrones and beyond. “Season 8 is going to be massive and I can’t wait to get started again. My DPA’s will be right beside me and I look forward to using them on many different projects moving forward.”
Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, the first of which is A Game of Thrones. The series premiered on HBO in the United States on April 17, 2011, and its seventh season ended on August 27, 2017. The series will conclude with its eighth season.