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Sound Devices exterminates background sounds on Dr. Who

BAFTA Cymru Award-nominated sound recordist Deian Humphreys relies on a range of SOund Devices equipment to capture clean dialogue for the SFX-heavy BBC series Dr. Who.

A selection of Sound Devices equipment helped BAFTA Cymru Award-nominated sound recordist Deian Humphreys capture dialogue for the BBC’s hit television series Doctor Who. As the production sound mixer, Humphreys is charged with recording clean, clear dialogue and reducing the amount of ADR needed. This can be quite challenging on a science fiction show that has a large amount of special effects audio in the background, including smoke, steam and snow machines, as well as a multitude of explosions. Humphreys records the majority of the show using a trolley-based rig, which consists of a Sound Devices 788T-SSD with a CL-9 controller. When on the go, he takes his 788T-SSD using the more portable CL-8 mixing control surface. “One of the features that I really like about the 788T is that it allows me to easily switch between a Schoeps SuperCMIT digital mic and a Schoeps analogue mic without the need for any peripheral equipment,” said Humphreys. “I will often have eight iso-tracks being recorded and two mixed tracks, so the 788T is being driven hard. It always performs incredibly well.” Humphreys added that the 788T enables him to properly record Nicholas Briggs, the voice of the Daleks, who uses his own proprietary modulation equipment: “Nicholas will sit by me on set watching my monitors and I will take an output of his magic box and feed that into my 788T,” said Humphreys. “I am able to iso that and give him a clean feed of what is happening on the floor. I use the Sound Devices 442 as his monitor, so I’ll feed a clean output into the 442 and give him his Daleks voice on another channel, so he has independent adjustment of his tracks, which he will often mix himself. I can then take another output of his voice and feed it to a loudspeaker on the floor for the actors, and another for the animatronics controllers, who make the lights on the Daleks flash, which serves as a speech recognition tool when they talk. It’s actually quite amazing and all made possible by the 788T-SSD with the 442.”