Super Bowl Report: Player Mics, New Shotguns Revamp Fox Sports NFL Audio

Super Bowl viewers with a Surround Sound system will want to fire it up tonight as Fox Sports deploys some new shotgun mics that will lend a warmer sound to the effects mix and also makes 14 camera mics part of the effects mix.

Fred Aldous, Fox Sports lead NFL mixer, says bringing the 14 camera mics into the mix will have an immediate impact on the production because the audio will more accurately match the action on the screen.

Fred Aldous, Fox Sports lead NFL mixer, is ready for the big game with new mics.

Larry Myhre, who will handle the submix for the broadcast, will be responsible for matching the mic with the camera that the director selects.

“The biggest benefit will be doing player intros as we use a lot of handheld shots,” says Aldous. “So we will be able to get close up.”

Along with 14 camera mics Myhre will also have six RF parabs, two endzone mics, and a mic on the cablecam to help create the sound effects bed. While Myhre builds the effects bed Aldous will be keeping up with announce mics, umpire mics, and the audio from the EVS servers and tape room as there are twice as many sources as a typical game.

The biggest audio variable from one football game to the next is the stadium itself and Aldous says Dallas Cowboys Stadium, with its cavernous bowl, has sound that can run around forever in the building because there is no absorption anywhere.

One advantage to this game versus regular season games at the stadium is there is a large amount of additional seating being added.

“There will be fans in the endzone so instead of the should hitting the glass and reflecting it will be absorbed by the fans,” he adds. Also helping?  A cold forecast that will have most fans bringing in jackets.

“My favorite place to broadcast from is still Green Bay on a cold day because the fans are a built-in sound blanket that absorbs much of the noise,” says Aldous.

The mic on the cablecam rig plays an important part in the Super Bowl broadcast.

The new shotgun mics replace some older mics and Aldous says they offer a fuller, warmer sound that is free of degredation. “They have a very natural sound that fits in with the mission of making the viewer feel like they are at the event,” he says.

Also new this year is access to player mics that are used by NFL Films for the post-produced Super Bowl highlight videos and programs that will be available in the coming weeks. Three Green Bay Packers, Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings, and NJ Raji are miced and the audio will make it air in quickly edited packages. A Green Bay Packer representative will also approve any audio that makes it to air.

“It’s a start,” says Aldous of the potential to bring fans even closer to the game via audio. “Hopefully in the future we will be able to have lives mixes with player mics.”