In the Hunger Games arena, the impression is that everything is recorded and televised. As well as technology enabling them to insert new features (fire, mutts, parachutes, etc.) into the arena wherever and whenever they like, the Gamemakers have cameras everywhere which are broadcasting the events of the Games to the whole of Panem. These cameras are hidden in strategic locations so that pretty much anything can be picked up and broadcast.

How about sound? Do the Gamemakers also have extremely sensitive microphones dotted about the arena so that any word spoken anywhere by anyone is also broadcast? That seems implausible - as far as I know (though I'm no expert), a mic usually needs to be pretty close to someone to be able to transmit their words clearly without any extra baggage.

The obvious answer is that the tribute costumes are equipped with tiny microphones so that everyone's voice can be picked up and transmitted on television. Is there any confirming evidence that this is the case?

  • @OrangeDog lexico.com/en/definition/mike
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 19, 2019 at 11:14
  • 2
    Lapel-type microphones would record an unacceptable level of mechanically transmitted noise when the person was "in action"; rustling noises would drown out everything else. It's much more likely that they'd use a large number of fixed microphones, along with highly directional microphones like parabolic microphones or phased microphone arrays to allow sound to be captured from a large distance.
    – Sneftel
    Jul 19, 2019 at 11:21
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    @Randal'Thor I saw the original title and was momentarily confused because I didn't remember anyone called Mike.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 19, 2019 at 11:29
  • @OrangeDog I use correct words and correct capitalisation, so it's unambiguous :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 19, 2019 at 11:30
  • @Sneftel See, that's the type of expert knowledge I was hoping for. Probably this is obvious to some people, but I know zero about the different types of microphone and their uses in different circumstances.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 19, 2019 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


There is no text mentioning microphones anywhere in the books. Most likely the cameras are using directional microphones, but how exactly everything is recorded isn't explained, just as how the arena works isn't explained. We know that all tributes have injected transponders, making it easy to triangulate on them even if they aren't wearing mics.

Likely, not everything happening simulatenously is broadcasted. The Gamemakers likely focus on one (group of) tribute(s) at a time - the ones doing something interesting at the moment.

However, the characters do say various inappropriate things to each other while inside the arena. Some examples of things that the Capital probably wouldn't want to broadcast:

Hunger Games ch. 15, Rue to Katniss:

Rue's eyes widen. "Oh no, we're not allowed to eat the crops."
"They arrest you or something?" I ask.
"They whip you and make everyone else watch," says Rue.

Then Katniss ponders about the things Rue tells her about District 11:

It's interesting, hearing about her life. We have so little communication with anyone outside our district. In fact, I wonder if the Gamemakers are blocking out our conversation, because even though the information seems harmless, they don't want people in different districts to know about one another.

This is just Katniss' speculations, but it suggests that some manner of censoring could be going on. Perhaps they simply don't broadcast everything said by not picking it up. Or instead of broadcasting the conversation between Rue and Katniss, they could switch to some other tribute.

Or perhaps broadcasting with a delay - we know for a fact that the show is broadcasted mostly live though:

Otherwise the berry episode in the end of the first book wouldn't have reached Panem, nor would Katniss defying "burial" of Rue, etc. The failure to censor those events is after all what starts the rebellion.

  • Regarding your last spoiler paragraph: they couldn't reasonably have cut away from the berry scene, because there was nobody else to watch! That was the climax of the Games, and they had to broadcast it. Failing to censor Rue's burial might have been a slip-up on the Gamemakers' part. In the 2nd film (I think this is not confirmed in the book), the whipping scene makes clear that "live" Capitol broadcasts have a few seconds' delay, so that they can cut away quickly, albeit maybe not quite quickly enough. Same probably goes for Johanna's cursing, if that's bleeped out in-universe too.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 22, 2019 at 8:19
  • @Randal'Thor If you refer to the whipping of Gale, it isn't broadcasted, it is just something caught on security cameras. Also, that part of Snow viewing it isn't canon, as it never happens in the books. From what we know, the Capital and Snow never even heard of it. It seems that Snow rather made the decision to get rid of previous winners based on Peeta and Katniss making everything escalate even further with their visit to District 11. After that, it didn't even help that they got married, he had already made up his mind.
    – Amarth
    Jul 22, 2019 at 15:34

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