As the NBA season heats up, we sat down with broadcast television sound mixer Noel Dannemiller to get the inside scoop on how to mike a sports event and post-game interviews. Noel resides in Ohio and can often be found interviewing Cleveland teams, but his impressive track record includes covering a variety of sporting events, from college football to the NFL, and interviewing legendary athletes. Creator of “Boom Shot of the Day,” Noel can often be found rushing the field at the end of a game to get the first interview and unique boompole photos he’s become known for sharing on social media.
In this exclusive interview, Noel gives us a look behind the scenes of live sports broadcasting and talks about how “Boom Shot of the Day” began. Continue reading to see the full interview.
What is a must-have tool when preparing for a live sporting event?
My 12-foot boompole and my wireless camera hop are my go-to tools when working a sporting event. The 12-foot boompole allows me to float in the back of the crowd and settle my mic into the correct position for great sound. Being wireless to camera is crucial. The media scrum can get brutal with all of the reporters and camera operators fighting for the best position for camera and question asking. All the while, I’m in the back of the crowd getting the best sound.
Also, the camera hop is important for not having cables hanging and possibly tripping players or others.
What’s the best microphone for capturing sports in action and post-game interviews?
I love the BP4071 for college football and NFL Sideline work. The BP4071’s narrow, long focus helps isolate the sideline chatter. I can’t get in as close as I would like the mic, and I found the BP4071 to be the right tool.
I use the BP4073 for the majority of my sports work. It’s my “go to” when environments change and I don’t have the opportunity to change my mic.
For sit-down interviews, I use the AT4051b cardioid mic. With tight camera headroom on the player I can get it in close. Using the cardioid pattern helps keep the polar pattern small to reject surrounding noises. Also, using booms for player interviews help speed up the shooting process by not having to wire the player. They sit down, finalize the mic position, and roll.
I use the AT899 for reporter “stand-ups” and player interviews if I can’t use a boom. The AT899 mics are easy to hide if needed. Great sound, build, quality, and price.
I use the BP4001 cardioid handheld mic for live shots. This mic saves the day when the arena/stadium starts to play loud music as we are going live on TV. The pickup pattern helps reject most of the noise around us and lets the reporter’s audio come through clearly. The mic is tough and can handle drops and extreme weather.
I like using the A-T family of mics for my shoots for seamless sound across the board when matching the microphones. Also, the price allows me to have the whole line of mics at the price of just one of the “fancy” location mics that some of my peers use. I use these mics for a living and A-T is a great choice for my return on investment. The mics sound great, and my clients love the sound I provide.
Are there sporting events you prefer to cover?
Golf is great to cover. The golf courses are pretty, but they don’t sound the way they look. There is always a lawnmower or chainsaw working.
Basketball is great because it’s always inside and climate controlled. Football is a crapshoot. It can be perfectly sunny and warm or raining and 37 degrees. I prefer the warm and sunny. Baseball is the sport where we have to walk the most. There are no direct paths to the field with the amount of gear we carry. It’s always around to the outfield and back into the clubhouse.
It’s great being part of an ENG [electronic news-gathering] crew for sporting events because I don’t have to work during the game. Everything we shoot is pre- and post-game. It’s like being paid to go to see the game.
You interview Cleveland teams, so are they your favorite or do you root for others?
I am fortunate to live where I want and do what I want. You don’t think of Ohio as a place to make a career in television, but I have managed to make it happen. I am a Cleveland/Ohio State fan. Cleveland has been awesome the last three years. Three NBA finals and a World Series, plus many big-time college games. The funny thing with the Cleveland Browns is that whenever a player comes back from a suspension, un-retire, or injury, it’s in Cleveland. We cover the visiting teams more than the Browns. Hopefully that changes in the near future. It really comes down to “I root for work.” Sometimes that means a loss. We have no control over the outcome of a game, I can’t let my team losing ruin my day.
Who are your favorite players and have you been able to work with any of them?
My favorite interviews are the people who have fun and are relaxed. I shot LeBron James, Tom Brady, Shaq, Ben Roethlisberger and many others. When I’m in the moment of shooting, it doesn’t matter who they are. It matters how they sound. I want to get the next job, so this one better be great. I’m only as good as my last job.
What’s the best part of recording sports?
I love waiting in the wing for the game to end and then sprinting on the field/court to get the first interview with the hero of the game.
Tell us the story behind how “Boom Shot of the Day” started.
When LeBron James came back to Cleveland, every basketball game was over the top with hype. I had access to all of these great sports moments and I wanted to get pictures. So I attached a GoPro originally to my boompole to get a great camera position that not many people get to see. After a while of using the GoPro, I needed to step up to something new. I started seeing VR cameras at all of the MLB and NBA playoff games. I thought that was cool, plus the 360° camera captures everything. The venue, the lights, the interview, the crew. So I jumped in and bought a 360° camera and mounted it to my boompole. I set it on a timer just before we go out to interview a player on the court/field after the game. Once it’s recording, I forget about it and focus on audio for the interview. I can take people back to the moment to experience it themselves.
Images courtesy of Noel Dannemiller.
What do you think of Noel Dannemiller’s sports broadcasting setup? Let us know in the comments!