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Bal Takes Lectrosonics to the Hop

Location recordist aims to reduce frequency use.

Rio Rancho, NM (May 29, 2019)—To add a camera hop to his location audio setup without using up precious RF real estate, UK recordist Bal Rayat recently turned to Lectrosonics’ DCHT digital camera hop transmitters paired with Duet M2R monitor/IFB receivers.

“Hops are crucial because many shows need a quick turnaround,” says Bal. A hop involves transmitting a two-channel mix of all the mics and sources from the main field recorder to the cameras, so everything can be recorded on various types of equipment.

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“For example, I work on a BBC magazine show called The One Show. We might be filming all day and they’re broadcasting that evening. If the camera audio is good enough, they’ll just use it as opposed to all the tracks from my Sound Devices 633. The DHCT and M2R have certainly made for more occasions where that’s possible. Even where there’s more time for post, editors still want on-camera audio for logging purposes.”

With a great deal of wireless already in use on any production, Bal’s priority was reducing the number of frequencies adding hops requires. “We’re running out of spectrum in the UK,” he says. “For a left-right mix on a three-camera shoot, we used to need two transmitters and two receivers per camera. That’s six extra radios.

“The DCHT solved a lot of problems here. The one unit in my bag takes a stereo feed from my mixer, via AES [as well as analog line-level], so I don’t have to worry about setting levels. Then, an M2R receiver on each camera picks up on the same frequency. Since the M2R was originally meant for in-ear monitors, it gives the camera stereo sound as well.”

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The M2R’s size makes it suitable for the compact cameras Bal increasingly encounters on shoots. “A show that I am working on called Inside the Factory uses Canon C300s, and a new documentary I just gave a quote to will be shooting on a pair of DSLRs. I’ll put an M2R on each, both tuned to the DCHT in my bag, and boom—I’m done.”

Lectrosonics •