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DPA is a sound investment for 127 Hours

UK distributor Sound Network provided a host of DPA microphones to record the soundtrack to Danny Boyle’s latest film 127 Hours

Described by Boyle as ‘an action movie in which the hero doesn’t move’, 127 Hours tells the story of young mountaineer Aron Ralston, who gets stuck in a Utah canyon when a boulder slips and traps his arm. The Bafta-nominated soundtrack was almost completely recreated during post-production, a job undertaken by sound effects specialist Hugo Adams, the only member of the crew to fly to the set in Salt Lake City. Adams recorded the atmospheres in and around the canyon over a 24-hour period as well as various spot FX at the spot Ralston was trapped (pictured), the car he drove out of the desert, and his mountain bike. “I took a pair of DPA 4041 large diaphragms as my main atmosphere mics because of their low noise floor and transparency,” explains Adams. “On arrival there was a blustery wind, so I put the 4041s into windshields. They perfectly handled the low end of a gust as well as the wispy high ends of sand flurries and juniper bushes.” Due to cramped conditions, Adams positioned one of the 4041s up canyon and the other just below to record more ambient sounds; and used a pair of 4023s in an X/Y configuration for close miking. “We then recorded spot FX and the sound of moving his equipment to supplement the studio Foley,” he says. “We did as many effects as we could, short of chopping off arms and breaking bones!” The following day, under much calmer weather conditions, Adams used the 4023s and 4041s to capture stereo atmospheres in the surrounding desert; and a pair of 4060s were used for some of the stunt cyclist’s moves and the car effects. Post production was handled by Sound 24 back in the UK and the Foley was recorded at Anvil Studios, where a canyon was constructed to mirror the environment in Utah. Nicolas Becker and Adam Mendez worked on the Foley using two 4041s, two 4060s, a 4006 omni, and a DPA 8011 hydrophone. “The 4006 is our workhorse and has a very focused sound for an omni mic,” says Mendez. “And the 4060s are fantastic for sticking into odd places as they have the DPA transparency and are also small enough to poke inside pipes and into bottles; and even up noses!” Becker also used a number of DPA mics on the recent Phillipe Parreno exhibition at London’s Serpentine Gallery last month.