Award-winning Australian cinematographer Andy Taylor, ACS has been working with Sennheiser microphones for over three decades of work for entities such as Netflix, National Geographic, Disney+, CBS 60 Minutes (USA), BBC Studios and many others that have taken him to more than 110 countries.
Taylor was first introduced to Sennheiser microphones in 1986 when he began his career as a trainee studio camera operator for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and during his 25 years as a cinematographer at the organization, Taylor recalls that crews in the cine-camera department were all issued MKH 416 microphones as part of each field kit.
“I always carry two MKH 416 microphones in my kit,” he adds. “My work is unpredictable, so I like to be prepared for anything that’s thrown at me, including capturing sound on my own when required, whether that is recording a presenter, reporter, a press conference, dialogue or just background noise, because a large part of my work is interview based, I need the best gear that is super dependable. The 416 can handle difficult filming and reporting conditions without any issues, I’ve used them all day every day for the past 35 years when operating as a one-man band – they are bullet proof!”
As his “go-to” boom microphone, he used the MKH 416 when filming and recording interviews such as those seen in the Netflix and ABC-TV documentary series Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire, which saw him win a Walkley Award, Kennedy Award, and the Gold Award for Documentaries at the ACS Awards.
Most recently, Taylor is employing the EW-DP portable UHF wireless system in Sennheiser’s Evolution Wireless Digital family that enables him to connect straight to his camera, allowing for flexibility to move around and not trip over audio cables. “One of the great things about this new system is that the batteries last all day, in both the transmitters and the receivers. It’s a lifesaver because working with AA batteries in some other radio microphones, you’d be lucky to get an hour, so a good battery system is crucial,” he says. “The form factor of the receivers and being able to clip onto the magnetic mounting bracket system of the camera is quick and easy. There’s a variety of connectors, (either 3.5 mm or XLR), so straight into whichever camera system you’re using.”
Taylor has also added the recently released SKP plug-on transmitter to wirelessly connect the MKH 416 or MKH 8060 (the latest addition to his collection), and operate without cables. Currently, in his day-to-day work, he mounts the MKH 8060 on his camera as a top mic, a setup which he puts as “slightly overkill, but it just means I have a compact, quality mic with me all the time, just in-case! It’s the go-to mic of many of my professional sound recordist mates.
“There are lots of other brands out there, but quality and reliability are critical,” he concludes. “To me, it’s all about having durable gear from a respected and trusted brand that cares about customer service, knowing that the batteries will last forever and that you’re getting great quality audio every time – without drop-outs or interference, equipment that can take the knocks that won’t let me down, even in humid or dusty environments.”