Oscars Carry A Tune with Sennheiser

It was once, twice, three times Beyoncé at the 77th Annual Academy Awards show, broadcast live on ABC from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, February 27th. Singing three of the Oscar-nominated original songs, the R&B diva appeared in three different costumes but retained one important accessory, her standard Sennheiser RF microphone, which pairs an SKM5000-N handheld transmitter with a Neumann KK 105-S capsule.

RF systems provider and frequency coordinator for the show, David Bellamy, whose Burbank-based Soundtronics Wireless company specializes in RF equipment rental for major entertainment, sports and broadcast events, supplied the remainder of the Sennheiser microphones and RF gear for the telecast. "We had SK5012 beltpack transmitters and SKM5000-N handhelds, plus EM3032 receivers," said Bellamy.

In addition to Beyoncé's own mic, Soundtronics Wireless supplied Sennheiser/Neumann hybrid handheld mics for host Chris Rock as well as for Josh Groban, who joined Beyoncé for a duet on "Believe," the nominated theme from The Polar Express. Beyonce also sang "Vois Sur Ton Chemin" from Les Choristes (The Choir), in French, with the American Boychoir, and performed "Learn To Be Lonely" from The Phantom of the Opera accompanied by composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber at the piano.

This year, veteran show producer Gil Cates arranged for a number of awards to be presented in the audience, rather than from the stage. According to Bellamy, those presenters not at the stage podium used mics accessorized with Sennheiser's extremely compact, miniature body pack transmitter. "All the ladies were wearing the 5012s, because they are very touchy about their gowns," he says. The ultra-small SK5012 can be comfortably worn without disturbing the elegant lines of the finest haute couture. "Plus," he notes, "they're film people, so they're not used to wearing microphones. The SK5012s were worn by any female who was on a lavalier mic--the presenters out in the house and the presenters on the stage who weren't at the podium, as well as the gal up in Box 8."

Bellamy set up two Soundtronics antenna systems using Sennheiser SAS432 distribution amps and Sennheiser AB400 antenna line amps. "That gold 'curtain' behind Chris Rock was a solid wall of steel pipe painted gold. The way I do the Kodak generally is hang my antennas upstage, from the catwalk, about 35 feet off the floor, looking down at the stage. This time, I had a duplicate antenna system out in the house, because of the presenters, the lavs and the podiums that were out in the house."

He explains, "The podiums are my least favorite thing anyway, because the transmitters are on the floor. The antennas are always laid down and out of polarity with the receive antennas, so I wanted as much gain as I could get and not have to worry about it. As it turned out, when they closed that steel 'curtain,' the antennas in the house were getting a reflection off of that. It was like a parabolic reflector--it worked really well! I spent the overwhelming majority of the show on the antennas in the house."

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