Austin, TX, January 19, 2009 — For over 33 years the PBS series, “Austin City Limits” has presented viewers with intimate access to some of the industry’s top musical talent. During its recent taping of The Swell Season (the musical group featured in the independent film, Once), the veteran crew faced a unique recording challenge that could have taken away from the intimate feel of the performance. Holophone®’s H2-PRO surround microphone, however, was able to maintain the true-to-life feeling that these broadcasts are known for — all in true-to-life surround sound.
Holophone’s H2-PRO surround microphone helped the Austin City Limits crew capture an intimate performance by The Swell Season lead singer Glen Hansard for an upcoming broadcast.
Taped on a soundstage at the KLRU studio in Austin, TX and broadcast in 5.1 using a Dolby-E stream, the crew typically has less than one day to set up audio and perform a sound check for the concert/taping. The main goal of each “Austin City Limits” production is to uphold the authenticity of the live concert. The crew even goes to such extremes as to tape over the studio camera lights so the artists play to the audience, instead of the camera. However, in the case of taping for The Swell Season concert, there was an element of the live show that was difficult to transcend to a television broadcast.
“At the end of our sound check, [lead singer] Glen Hansard dropped a huge surprise on us. He walked to the edge of the stage, away from the local microphone range, and said ‘oh, by the way, I have this one song that I do without the PA, without the microphones and I just play to the crowd,’” says David Hough, audio director for “Austin City Limits.” “Everyone looked at me and said ‘well, do you have a microphone that we can use to pick up Glen’s performance?’ I contacted Omega Broadcast Group and was able to secure a Holophone H2-PRO and installed it quite quickly. It was perfect for this situation.”
The H2-PRO was hung from the lighting grid and was situated at front row center. The mic was positioned at the proper vantage point to receive exactly what the audience was hearing. Through the mic’s patented design its eight elements are set up to capture audio the same way the human head does. As a result, the H2-PRO’s 5.1 capabilities were able to capture the true feeling of Hansard’s performance.
“What’s interesting about the recordings from the Holophone is that they were very much as if I were sitting there in the middle of the room,” Hough continues. “I heard everything and the imaging was remarkable. That’s the trick, to just have the image fall right into place, right out of the box.”
The Swell Season “Austin City Limits” broadcast will air on PBS January 31.