Sennheiser Helps Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Hunt For A ‘Superstar’

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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest television talent contest is a search for the lead role in a nationwide tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. The show is to be broadcast on ITV this summer and Sennheiser 8000 series wired microphones have been used exclusively throughout the recording of the auditions.

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Entitled Superstar, responsibility for the audio recording lies with Meredith Broadcast Audio, a company well known for its work on some of UK televisions’ highest profile programmes, including Top Gear, Masterchef and The Apprentice. Company owner and Superstar location sound supervisor Richard Meredith needed microphones that would deliver equally high quality audio in a range of situations.

“The part of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar demands a four octave range and, as the auditionees are singing completely unaccompanied in the first auditions - to demonstrate their vocals to Andrew Lloyd Webber and casting director David Grindrod - I needed to choose something that would show off their talent, but would be physically discreet,” says Richard. “The Sennheiser MKH 8040 capsules sounded excellent, they withstood incredible SPL and I was able to tailor the combination of stand tubes and extension cables to suit every performance.”

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Of course much of the interest in reality television shows is the off- and backstage footage, which gives the audience the impression that they are really there, witnessing the unguarded reactions and off-the-cuff remarks of the participants.

“With this type of programme, a large proportion of the reality and backstage audio is filmed by PDs with no sound recordist,” Richard continues. “We wanted to give them the best shot at collecting decent content and the combination of size and pickup characteristic of the MKH 8060 was perfect for both the camera top mic and wireless booms issued to each PD crew.

“We ran the wireless booms with SKP 2000 plug on transmitters and the whole setup worked a treat. They loved the fact that, as a top mic, it was very short and light, but the dialogue punched through the background noise really well. It was definitely a cut above the similar sized microphones that are issued to a lot of self-shooters.

“They have been so successful that several of the sound recordists have actually ordered their own.”

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“The 8000 series mics and accessories are a wonderfully modular system and we’re thrilled that Richard chose them for Superstar,” says Tony Musgrove, Sennheiser UK professional sales. “The 8060 is very much at home at the end of a drama boom pole, but we’re delighted that they have been utilised as a high end camera top mic. It’s illustrative of how the industry is changing and we’re pleased that the products are finding their way into every part of the programme making sector.”  

Once Superstar airs all the 8000 series will be available from Meredith Broadcast Audio’s rental stock at www.meredith.tv/hire.

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