Burlington, VT (June 24, 2020)—Jon Mendel, a first-call sound mixer in the state of Vermont, reaches for his Lectrosonics toolkit regardless of the type of project.
Mendel’s client-based work demands four main things from the audio department: “Reliability, range, durability and sound quality,” he explains. “You have to turn it on, and it just has to work without a lot of fiddling. At the best of times, you don’t want to mess around adjusting a transmitter on the talent’s body. With Covid-19, that’s now a hundred times as true because we’re doing shoots as distanced as possible. That’s why I love the dual batteries in the SMDWB and SMQV transmitters — they last forever. I will use the SMV, which has a single battery, if I need a transmitter that’s physically tiny.”
Range was a key requirement on the recently wrapped Kings of Kush, a reality show about hemp farming with a celebrity presence. “Anthony Sullivan, the infomercial guy, found that CBD was the only thing that relieved the side effects of a medication his daughter needs. Long story short, he was so impressed he bought an entire farm called MontKush and we filmed a show there for more than 40 days straight.
“I was part of an outdoor crew that would film conversations of these hemp farmers, employees, and ‘Sully’ himself from 20, 30, sometimes 50 yards away. We got crystal-clear audio the entire time without using distributed antennas — just the little whips on the receivers themselves. Most of the time, the output setting of 100mW was enough for this, but if we really needed punch, the SMQV can go to a quarter-watt.”
While shooting a YouTube series called Woodward Bound for Powdr, the ski resort company that also owns Woodward athletic camps, offering skating, skiing, gymnastics and other activities, he says, “We’re at their camp in Pennsylvania filming skateboarders, whom we had miked up. One of them wipes out, hard, and goes sliding across the asphalt. The transmitter is in between his body and the ground and is taking the brunt of it, just grinding across the pavement. I thought it was toast for sure, but it just suffered minor scratches… I never stopped getting audio from it.”
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