Audio: Capturing NBC's 'Parks and Recreation'
February 10, 2015

Audio: Capturing NBC's 'Parks and Recreation'

LOS ANGELES — NBC’s Parks and Recreation is now in it’s final season. The show’s audio is being recorded by production sound mixer George Flores, CAS, who employs DPA Microphones' Discreet 4071 and 4060 omnidirectional miniature mics to capture all of the program’s hysterical dialogue. The show is shot in an interview style, similar to that of a reality program. The mic combinations have proven well suited for capturing dialogue while events play out behind the actors.
Parks and Recreations stars an ensemble cast, with Amy Poehler playing Leslie Knope, a mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana, Parks and Recreation. The show centers around Knope's tireless efforts to celebrate her quintessential American town's historical idiocies. 

"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’ work also includes It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Southland. For the seventh season of Parks and Recreation, he chose to use his tried-and-trusted DPA Discreet 4071s and 4060s, along with his Lectrosonics wireless system and Sound Devices multitrack recorders.
"The DPA miniatures have been great on this project," he notes. "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 Discreet 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 mic the cast using the DPA Discreet 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 Discreet 4071s or 4060s with a boundary layer concealer to capture ambient sounds.
"The DPA microphones were vital to our success on the show," says Flores. "Parks and 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."