A&E’s 60 Days In Docu-series Leverages Shure’s Microflex® AdvanceTM Ceiling Array Microphone for Stealth Audio Solution

Customer Profile

60 Days In is a docu-series on A&E that chronicles life behind bars. Innocent volunteers infiltrate a jail undercover to discover the realities of life on the inside.

Challenge

Production company Lucky 8 TV required a system that was stealth and out of reach to ensure inmates interactions would remain authentic and uninhibited by the presence of microphones. The system also needed to provide best-in-class audio regardless of the location of the subject speaking.

Solution

60 Days In sound engineer Joe Leo chose to install Shure’s Microflex® AdvanceTM CeilingArray Microphone (MXA910). While this solution is typically installed in classrooms and conference rooms, it was anatural fit for Leo’s uniquesituation.

Advantages

The Shure MXA910 allowed the60 Days In team to do a single install and make any necessary adjustments remotely, limiting the need to disrupt daily activity within the jail. It was also a discreet system, allowing Leo and his team to capture authentic conversations regardless of location.

Now in its third season, A&E docu-series 60 Days In chronicles innocent individuals volunteering to spend 60 days undercover behind jailhouse walls. The show, produced by Lucky 8 TV, captures real interactions between inmates as it attempts to expose issues that’ve been plaguing the corrections facility and gain a deeper understanding of the criminal justice system, while revealing the harsh realities of life behind bars. To truly capture uninhibited, authentic conversations, producers required a microphone system that would not only produce high quality sound from

a distance, but would also have a discreet presence. The ability to adjust microphone lobes remotely was also imperative so producers did not need to disrupt the environment to physically make adjustments. In seeking a stealthier system for the show’s third season, 60 Days In location sound engineer Joe Leo was excited to discover Shure’s Microflex Advance ceiling array solutions.

While the standard use case for the Microflex Advance is in a conference room setting, the system provided the perfect solution for producers who needed stealth, high quality audio. The MXA910 was installed 14 feet above ground, out of reach from curious inmates, and the sleek appearance made the mic inconspicuous, encouraging natural interactions within direct range of the microphones. There is a web-hosted GUI built into the MXA910, allowing Leo to dial-in and make minor adjustments to the lobes remotely. With the array system, if inmates were standing, sitting, or walking around a room, Leo could adjust the lobes to their positioning to ensure optimal sound quality. The system also allowed him to cut out neighboring conversations and focus in on a single person talking, a crucial component to television production.

The MXA910 is a premium networked array microphone that captures best-in-classaudio with Shure proprietary Steerable CoverageTM technology, enabling up to eight lobes that are configurable in three dimensions. After successfully integrating the Shure Microflex Advance ceiling array microphone into this unique setting, Lucky 8 TV plans to install additional pods into each jail zone filmed for the show in subsequent seasons, to guarantee an even greater degree of control and sound quality.

Gear List
Model Number Quantity Description
MXA910 1 An elegant approach to conferencing audio, the ceiling-mounted MXA910 eliminates equipment clutter, leaving more room for compelling communication.