Countryman Mics Capture MTV's Punk'd

MTV’s “Punk’d”, airing March 29 at 10pm ET/PT, is a hidden camera series that features a different celebrity host each week playing complex punks on their famous friends.

Capturing these moments requires a variety of special equipment. That’s why the B6 Omni .1-inch diameter lavaliere microphone from Menlo Park, CA-based Countryman Associates is on the scene.

Los Angeles-based Coffey Sound, a Trew Audio company, specializes in the sale and rental of audio equipment to the TV and film production community, provides a variety of equipment for use in the production of “Punk’d”. Gary Vahling, the company’s rental manager, is involved in several capacities with the show, including consulting and system design. To ensure high quality sound acquisition, the audio package he specified includes eight Countryman B6 lavaliere microphones.

“The B6 microphones are being used as ‘surveillance’ or ‘plant’ mics,” Vahling said. “They are frequently used on-set where, as an example, they are hidden among a plant or some other prop. They are also being used in vehicles. In these cases, the mic may be discreetly placed into the upholstery of the headliner — enabling location sound mixer Sean O’Malley to capture the target’s dialog. We needed microphones that had excellent pickup characteristics that could easily be hidden and, for this type of work, the B6 is terrific.”

“The Countryman B6 is really small and is available in several colors, so it can be easily hidden. Equally important, the caps can be swapped—enabling the mic’s frequency response to be tailored to the situation. They exhibit very low noise and reject surrounding noise really well, and this makes it considerably easier to get the level that’s required to pick up to sounds and reactions of the target. The end result is the fact that the B6 sounds great.”

“This show uses some very sophisticated gear in order to manage the audio,” Vahling continued, “so it was equally important that the microphones ‘play nicely’ with the other equipment. The B6’s are interfaced with Lectrosonics wireless transmitters and receivers and we’re also using an Opticore networked audio system for flexible signal routing and to tie the various equipment racks together. The combined result of these products has been really impressive.”

This season’s show has been in production since August and, as in seasons past, Vahling reports the Countryman microphones are robust — resulting in ‘smooth sailing’ for all involved.