Getting Good Audio From Bad Girls Club

Oxygen network’s Bad Girls Club follows the antics of seven girls living together under one roof, day and night, all of which requires a round-the-clock shooting schedule. Capturing audio for reality TV is always rough, but with such a large cast, the potential for problems is only multiplied.
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Chicago, IL (August 17, 2015)—Oxygen network’s Bad Girls Club follows the antics of seven girls living together under one roof, day and night, all of which requires a round-the-clock shooting schedule. Capturing audio for reality TV is always rough, but with such a large cast, the potential for problems is only multiplied.

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With so much going on for the show, six camera teams are used—each team typically works a 10-hour shift, with overlapping periods where one crew is setting up and the other is closing down. Handling audio for one of the teams, field mixer Sharon Frye used a Sound Devices 664 field production mixer as her only recorder during filming—an unusual scenario in sound production.

“With certain reality television shows, you’re going to record through the mixer, but you’re also going to record to a bigger system,” she says. “That wasn’t the case with Bad Girls Club. Due to the show’s filming environment, having the 664 act as a mixer and recorder in my rig really came in handy on set.”

Several features of the 664 helped Frye meet the pressure of having to use only one dedicated audio source. For example, she has noticed that in reality-style productions, the producers want to equip increasing numbers of people with microphones. The 664 can record 16 tracks of broadcast-quality audio to SD or CompactFlash memory cards. The CL-6 input control expansion accessory adds six more dedicated, rotary faders with PFL switches plus LED metering and illuminated transport controls.

“As the mixer, it’s my job to provide clean and usable audio,” explains Frye. “However, in applications when the camera is the only recordable source, I have to depend on the operator’s deduction of the situation to tell me whether my audio is clean, since I can’t listen to it directly. Now, with the 664 as my mixer and recorder, I know that if the on-camera audio isn’t being adequately captured, I have the clean iso tracks directly on my mixer.”

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