Antarctica (April 25, 2013)—Location sound recordist Chris Watson made use of Sound Devices’ 744T recorder and MixPre compact field mixer for his work on Frozen Planet, the BAFTA award-winning BBC documentary series.
For Frozen Planet, Watson, who was based at McMurdo Station, the National Science Foundation’s United States Antarctic Program base on Ross Island, located in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, flew to the South Pole and also worked on the continent’s ice shelf and ice plateau, where it was -47.2 degrees Fahrenheit (-44 degrees Celsius) on some occasions, with a wind chill.
“The reliability of my kit is absolutely paramount, especially when working in such remote locations,” says Watson, who was co-founder of the 1980s U.K. electronics band Cabaret Voltaire. “If you go to the South Pole and the equipment doesn’t work, you have no way to fix or replace it, and you’ve wasted your time. The construction, portability and reliability of my Sound Devices gear were fantastic. In fact, it was so cold that on several occasions, I had to stop before my 744T did.”
For his rig, Watson set up his 744T with a Sound Field ST450, an ambisonic recording instrument. The 744T works directly with ST450, with Watson using all four-line inputs to record the signals in B format. The 744T has a B-format decoder in the headphone amplifiers, which proved handy for the project. Even though Watson was recording to this less common surround sound format, he was able to decode it and listen to a stereo approximation of his recordings. He also recorded in double-mid-side (DMS), a surround sound format that uses three microphones and three channels of his 744T to create four or six audio channels in post production.
“The ease of connectivity of the 744T is great,” says Watson.
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