User Reports

HOME > User Reports > Details

Sanken Microphones are Crossing Jordan

Sanken microphones have become a key element in the audio for NBC's top ten-rated "Crossing Jordan" series. Jill Hennessy (NBC's "Law & Order") has returned to series television starring in this edgy, one-hour drama as Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, a sexy, brilliant and fearless Boston medical examiner with a checkered career -- and a penchant for going beyond the call of duty to investigate crimes. Tim Kring (NBC's "Providence") is the executive producer and creator of this production from Tailwind Productions in association with NBC Studios. Allan Arkush ("Ally McBeal," "The Practice") directed the pilot and is the consulting producer.

Above: Seen on the set of "Crossing Jordan" are boom operator Doug Shamburger with the Sanken CS-3e shotgun mic (left) and production mixer Glenn Berkovitz, C.A.S., holding the new CUB-01 boundary mic (right).

Production mixer Glenn Berkovitz, C.A.S., began his career in touring sound, segued to album assisting and primary engineering, and then moved into post-production editing and mixing in 1981. He shifted into production mixing full-time in 1985, and some notable credits include "Less Than Zero," "Miss Firecracker," "Young Guns" I & II, "FreeJack," "Zero Effect," and partial credits on "Rush Hour" 1 & 2. Berkovitz has worked on the TV series' "Dream On," "Life Goes On," "Chicago Hope," "Clueless," "Resurrection Blvd.," and "FreakyLinks," to name a few. He is still quite active in the commercial production world, and enjoys opportunities to record music for films, and on scoring dates. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Cinema Audio Society for eight years, and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as the AES.

You must have been one of the first people to use the CUB-01?
Yes, I had two on loan and I refused to give them back until they were available for sale. This mic really fills a gap in the market. For years I had used a podium-style mic for recording in cars, where you have many unforeseen circumstances. A car is a tough place to record, because it's real "cove-y". Other boundary mics have a lot of self-noise, but the CUB-01 is different -- a patterned PZM, basically, with directionality. When you're in a car you have both flat and non-flat surfaces and you don't want to record any extraneous sound. So, it became my car mic of choice.

In "Crossing Jordan" we have all these laboratory sets, so you're surrounded by these cove-like surfaces much like a car -- beakers, bunsen burners, glassware. The CUB just happens to look like a piece of lab equipment and it sounds great no matter where you stick it, much more so than any other mic out there. We have some beautiful voices on the show who project very nicely and you can tell the difference when they are talking down, such as when they are looking into a microscope, and looking up at other characters. You need something that you can crossfade from and to. I've got to watch the monitor to notice when they are talking down toward the CUB, and when they look up -- I favor the Sanken CS-3 shotgun mic, which is the only fishpole mounted mic we use.

Our boom operator, Doug Shamburger, has phenomenal ability. We might do a walk-and-talk through the hallway -- two, three people walking and talking, being led by a handheld Steadicam. The doorways are low and the CS-3 has enough reach so that Doug can be in front of them and then duck down under the door in advance of the actors and still make it sound like the mic proximity has not changed. Normally the mic is above them, but when they come to a door it's like a ballet as Doug operates the boom. He speeds up a little bit, moves in front and gets a shallower angle instead of pointing down at their mouths, goes through the door, and then comes up to the high position. Doug has told me that with any other mic he would not be able to boom those shots because their pickup patterns and proximity effects are usually audible with moves like that.). The CS-3) eliminates so much off-axis noise, but it doesn't sound so pinpointy that you have to be in the same position with the actor at all times. On some shotguns if you move slightly from that precise position, you hear the shift; on other shotguns and hypercardioids, that are not so tight, you hear too much extraneous noise, and even the camera operator's feet. The Sanken gives you the reach plus the tonal quality -- it's ideal.

What about lavaliers?
I guess I'm sounding like a Sanken sound department, but those are the only mics we use. I believe the COS-11 is the de facto standard of lavalier mics nowadays. No sound crew likes to use body mics, but for shows that rely on body mics, I believe the COS-11 is the norm. On this show, we've done everything we could to avoid body mics -- they inhibit the actors, and it's better to have the mic in front of the mouth. But, when we must, the nice thing about the COS is that it is bright sounding, so that when you put it beneath clothing, it doesn't sound muffled. Aside from the brightness, it's pretty flat -- not thumpy, not overly midrange-y, and it's just the best mic to put under clothing. It sounds good, and it's not difficult to rig.

Sanken Microphones
Sanken's CUB-01 offers a unique new design which overcomes the limitations of previous boundary microphones, producing an extremely rich and full-bodied sound. At just over an inch in diameter, the CUB-01 is easy to conceal from the camera, and can be positioned in a variety of environments. The CUB-01 features a unique square-shaped capsule housing the diaphragm. With this proprietary design, the effective area of the diaphragm is significantly enlarged. Due to the CUB-01's cardioid directional characteristics, narration and dialogue are clearly recorded while minimizing unnecessary background noise. The CUB-01 is available in grey or beige, and in various configurations.

Sanken manufactures a complete line of high quality studio and location microphones, including the popular COS-11s lavalier model, the new extended frequency CS-3e shotgun model, the new CO-Z Omni Condenser, and the CMS-10, world's first Hi-Def camera mount stereo shotgun microphone.