I'm pretty impressed everytime I watch Man vs. Wild because of the quality of the location audio. I'm wondering if anyone knows what kind of gear they use? Ideas?

Considering the exotic-ness of the locations it would be difficult to always have a wireless mic on Bear...plus there are many places where he is shirtless and there is no visible wire still (if there is a lav at all). But if it is only shotgun mics, how do you get such crisp audio from more than 30 feet away in a wide shot? Plus, the fact that insects in the environment aren't drowning out the dialog...

What do you all think?

4 Answers 4


I have done some work on incarnations of this show and have seen some outtakes etc that show a really dexterous boom guy. They, in fact, do use a boom mic to grab dialog much of the time, certainly the wet and shirtless scenes. They also record great wild sfx. I also suspect they plant a lav on trees and natural objects that will be in his immediate space in a scene. I have seen that done a lot on the documentaries shot for Discovery.

You also have to take into account that much of his dialog is not dependent on external events occurring. Meaning he is usually alone in a setting. So they can retake until their hearts content as he wonders around a cliff or forest for the most part. I have also spotted some ADR (wink).

But hands down, that production company (Diverse Bristol) does an excellent job for sure.


There's an interesting article on Neal Romanek's website about the sounds of nature documentaries that is worth reading. Part 1 talks about the fantastic work done by Huw Cordey and his team for the BBC's Planet Earth series and part 2 looks at the work of Kate Hopkins and Tim Owens, sound designers who run Wounded Buffalo in Bristol (they were responsible for the sound design on The Blue Planet and The Life of Mammals, amongst others.

Definitely worth a read to get an insight into some of the techniques used.

  • Amazing read I missed the first time around. Thanks, Colin! Commented Jan 15, 2011 at 3:03
  • Brilliant, love their work! Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 12:06

I'm not sure if it's the case for Man vs. Wild, but a lot of nature recordists use parabolic dishes. Check out this article on Noise Jockey's blog to read more...


I've never seen the show - but wild lines are a good guess. That and a great dialog editor!

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