Los Angeles, CA (February 26, 2021)—To cope with the ever-changing RF situations brought on by constant international travel while working on reality TV shows, production sound mixer Stu Chacon brings along a lot of wideband wireless equipment from Lectrosonics.
“Currently I’m working on a hit show about international romance, one partner moving to be with the other, that kind of thing. We travel internationally about 90 percent of the time,” says Chacon, whose kit includes the all-new, all-digital DCR822 dual-channel receivers paired with SMWB and SMDWB Digital Hybrid Wireless transmitters. His gear complement is rounded out with UCR411a receivers, plus IFB-R1a receivers and legacy UM400a transmitters for comms.
Chacon, a veteran of such series as Hot Ones and Sneaker Shopping, values the ability to retune quickly across multiple blocks with Lectrosonics’ gear. “We once had to shoot in a hospital in Africa. I had scanned and done my frequency coordination in advance, but we were just outside the building. The minute we went inside, everything went haywire. Of course, this is because medical equipment wreaks absolute havoc with RF. Having the wideband definitely helped me acquire new, clean frequencies on the spot.”
The DCR822, SMWB, and SMDWB can all double as stand-alone recorders, capturing audio to an internal MicroSD card. This has made a difference at times when the production has needed to minimize the impact on its surroundings.
“With the travel and international romance themes, we shoot more than a few scenes in airports,” he explains. “Airports are also notoriously full of RF, and of course you don’t want to interfere with tower communications, so the MicroSD recording makes an ideal backup plan. Also, being in an airport with an audio bag full of gear can make people nervous when they don’t know what it is. Recording right onto the wideband SMs or the 822 lets us keep a lower profile.”
When working with an international and non-professional cast, the IFB — audio monitoring and comms for producers, directors and other crew — carries a new wrinkle: translation. Chacon points to the flexibility of the R1a beltpack receivers for this application. “We often have translators on set,” he explains. “Since you can tune the R1a really quickly, I’ll have the production mix on one channel, then different banks of R1a for the translators. I am looking to upgrade to the R1B, though, because with the digital readout and room for ten frequency presets, it will make things even faster.”
Lectrosonics • www.lectrosonics.com