Tesla-driving politicians wired with DPA microphones

Tesla mobile studio for TV2 Denmark
Neal Romanek
January 12th 2016 at 11:48AM : By Neal Romanek

Denmark's TV2 is using DPA's d:screet lavalier mic for one of the fastest studios on four wheels

Politicians are making a quick-getaway on Danish commercial TV station TV2, but DPA Microphones is recording their every word.

Last year, TV2 talk show Udfordringen (The Challenge) ran a live pre-election segment, featuring political candidates driving around the Danish countryside in a new Tesla P85D, debating the issues. Danish high-end recording specialists DPA were selected to capture the sound. DPA's d:screet 4080 cardioid lavalier microphones were used in the Tesla mobile studio, entirely unmanned by TV2's technical staff and operated remotely from the broadcaster's Copenhagen headquarters. The mobile Tesla studio is used now for TV2 weekly political programme Udenfor Borgen (Outside The Castle) - "The Castle", or "Borgen", referred to being the Danish parliament, made world famous by the Danish political drama series of the same name.

Morten Brandstrup, head of news technology at TV2, said: "We introduced the Tesla mobile studio during last year's election coverage because we wanted to present political candidates in a different environment. Initially it was used for the programme Udfordringen which ran every day during the three weeks prior to the election. On each day we paired politicians of different political persuasions and had them talk to each other live to air while they drove the Tesla around the country. They knew that every word they said could be heard, but being in a car rather than a studio made their conversations much freer and more unexpected."

Tesla mobile studio exterior

To capture the conversations, four d:screet 4080 supercardioid lavalier microphones are used in conjunction with a Wisycom wireless system. The microphones are fitted to the politician's clothing so that they can still be heard when they step outside the car. However most of the conversations take place within the Tesla.

"We carried out some acoustic testing with DPA consultant Eddy B. Brixen and the Tesla turned out to be a great environment for recording voices," Brandstrup says. "Thanks to the directional quality of the microphones the audio was perfect, which was really important because Udfordringen is a talk show and we wanted audiences to hear the politicians clearly without the distraction of background noises."

The Tesla SP85C, chosen for its green credentials as well as looks, can accelerate from 0-100 kmh in 3.3 seconds and cover more than 400 km on one battery charge. As well as DPA microphones, the car was fitted with four cameras, internal lighting, four transmitters and 16 4G modems which featured Aviwest's DMNG PRO180-RA video uplink system, with a new IP Bridge function. Although the director was able to control the technology externally, the car was also fitted with a small live production set up consisting of a video and an audio mixer, which was located in the boot.

"Using the Tesla as part of our election coverage allowed us to push technology in a new direction," Brandstrup adds. "Our aim was to show how much we could do with an IP and 4G connection. Creating a studio in a car and letting politicians drive around without any journalists or technical crew present takes reporting to an entirely new level. When you have two people sitting in a car they naturally start to talk to each other and that's what makes this space so special for interviews and debates."

A complete rundown on TV2's Tesla mobile studio from Aviwest: (Danish with English subtitles):