Sound Designer Phil Wright Chooses a Collection of the Brand’s Mics for Reliable and Clear Audio
Released in 2019, the movie Joker quickly became one of the top-rated films of the year. The flick’s pop culture relevance made it a perfect fit for London-based concert promotion and production company Senbla Live Events’ “film in concert” series. As pioneers of this production model, the team at Senbla knew that translating the film into a live show would require an audio solution with a pristine level of clarity. With 25 years’ experience using DPA Microphones, Phil Wright, sound designer and front of house engineer for “Joker Live in Concert,” trusted the brand to deliver. Working with AV production supplier SFL, Wright chose to make it a fully DPA spec.
“I’ve always had DPA on strings, but it has been my dream to do a solely DPA show,” says Wright. “Some people were hesitant about whether it would truly make a difference, but now everybody who has heard the show has said that it’s great and there’s a significant uplift. The DPAs have made ‘Joker Live in Concert’ a next level experience.”
The show features a 48-piece orchestra comprised of conventional strings, brass and woodwinds sections, with DPA mics utilized throughout. The brand’s 4099 CORE Instrument Microphones are featured on nearly the entire strings section, with exception of the principal solo cello, which has a 4011-ES Compact Cardioid microphone. The woodwind section has 4011 Cardioid Microphones on every instrument, while the percussion section is mainly comprised of 2011 Twin Diaphragm Cardioid microphones. The two outliers are the timpani, which utilizes a pair of 4011 Cardioid microphones, and the orchestral big brass drum, which features a shock-mounted 4011 mic.
“When it comes to mics on strings, DPA is an industry standard, the world over,” says Wright. “The inception of the CORE by DPA technology for the 4099 series has been amazing. Even when I had the original 4099s [and 4061s] on strings in the past, I always thought they were great. But then you put CORE 4099s on a string section and you’re aware that the distortion is that much lower, and they are sonically much purer.”
As the orchestra plays alongside the full film, the tour also incorporates unconventional instruments, sound effects and dialogue that are electronically stemmed for performance. In addition to DPA and Wright, the show came together with the help of Orchestrator Jeff Atmajian and Composer Hildur Guðnadóttir. The trio collaborated to re-create musical scores to fit the final edit of the film, compose interlude and outro musical pieces, and put the entire project together for a groundbreaking film experience. Wright built stems and worked alongside Atmajian and Guðnadóttir to create the perfect soundscape to match the film. He also produced all the midi files, punches and streamers, creating a visual guide for Atmajian to keep himself and the orchestra in time with the film.
Wright’s background as a performer, and his early career in live sound and concert production for companies like National Youth Theatre and Royal Albert Hall, make him a perfect fit for the “Joker, Live in Concert” tour. When not working with Senbla, Wright is found in West London, producing immersive audio for Sonosphere, at the state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos room in Metropolis Studios. There, Wright continues to rely on his DPAs. The 4006 Omnidirectional, 4015 Wide Cardioid and 4040 Capsule Microphones were most recently used for an Atmos recording of Jack Savoretti’s cover of The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights. “I’m often asked to play back Savoretti’s recording in the studio for demos,” explains Wright. “The sense of space created by the DPAs is so linear and natural that it feels like you are right there with him in the room.”
Having already toured and completed shows in the UK, Iceland, Dubai and Japan, the “Joker, Live in Concert” tour has been nothing short of a success. Senbla plans to continue the tour and complete a full run through Europe, COVID-restraints allowing. Dates are to be determined, but will likely include shows in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and more. A full list of Senbla’s live events, including the “film in concert” series, can be found at https://www.senbla.com/events.