Old Lyme, CT (May 25, 2016)—The production of Fox’s hit live television musical Grease Live! employed over 50 channels of Sennheiser wireless technology on 14 sets spread over 20 acres.
Audio supervisor and designer Bruce Arledge oversaw the production, which was staged at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, CA, and featured performers Vanessa Hudgens, Aaron Tveit and Jessie J. “This was a three-hour live show with music playback and the added complexity of moving between stages seamlessly,” Arledge explains.
Arledge brought on Dave Bellamy of Soundtronics to help navigate the complexities of the wireless environment, which covered three stages and an exterior space. “We wanted to mic up the talent and have them wear the same transmitters throughout the whole show,” says Arledge. “With multiple costume changes and hair changes, I wanted to keep the signal flow to production mixer Mark King straightforward.”
Bellamy recommended Sennheiser wireless, combined with Soundtronics’ own proprietary antenna technology. “At the time of the RF survey, it was noted that there was only one TV channel that did not have DTV in it at some level at the Warner Brothers studio,” Bellamy says. “To facilitate the show, we had to apply to the FCC for special licensing for other bands.”
The versatility of Sennheiser transmitters enabled Bellamy to surpass these limitations and meet the 54 inputs the production required. Bellamy and Arledge decided on a combination of Sennheiser EM 3732-II receivers with SKM 5200 handheld transmitters, and Sennheiser EM 3532 receivers coupled with SK 5212 bodypack transmitters. All of the main talent was double-miked with lavaliers for redundancy and improved pickup.
“The Sennheiser transmitters and receivers have the capability to be tuned to 960 MHz, so they were perfect for this application,” Bellamy says. “This was a zero tolerance show in terms of RF issues.”