Equipment’s audio performance, reliability and durability help streamline production
Rio Rancho, NM – November 2013… Situated in the wilderness of the Western United States, The Outdoor Channel’s Outfitter Boot Camp is a reality show that looks at six guide school students as they navigate the skills required to survive a wide range of challenging situations. Encompassing everything from horsemanship, camp, and backcountry skills to the not-so-easy-to-learn crisis management and personal skills, the ultimate goal of the students upon completing bootcamp is to get a job as an Outfitter—those who lead hunters into the remote regions to legally harvest large game animals. Production in this rugged environment challenges both the production crew and their equipment. And to ensure audio was ready to go as required, Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology from Lectrosonics was on the scene.
New York based location sound mixer Jonah Torreano was tasked with capturing the dialog and additional audio program material for the show. With a background encompassing more than ten years’ worth of travel oriented projects, Torreano has evolved the one man audio kit to a level that nearly defies what any one person can physically manage on their body. Working with a comprehensive arsenal of Lectrosonics equipment, including UM400 and UM400a beltpack transmitters, a combination of SRa and UCR411a compact receivers, along with R1a beltpack IFB receivers, Torreano’s bag makes a great candidate for use with an as-yet-to-be developed anti-gravity support device! He discussed the show’s production and how his Lectrosonics equipment helps him in the field.
“For most of the show,” Torreano explained, “we were working in various outdoor locations around large animals in rough terrain, so there was no opportunity for wheels, no rack mount gear, and for the most part, no boom mic. On this show, the talent ride horses, catch mules, chop firewood, throw bales of hay around, and so forth. Because of this, I used a Sound Devices 788t field recorder, their MP-2, 2-channel mixer and a bag full of wireless. For the talent, this involved eight UCR411a receivers and a mix of UM400 and UM400a transmitters. All that gear makes the bag heavy, so I wear a neoprene lower back brace and hang the bag on an oversized belt buckle.”
“Because each of the talent had a belt with several pouches containing necessities such as knife, bear spray, etc., I was able to bury the transmitters into the belts using small pouches to hide the equipment,” he continued. “The first few days on the show, we were working in a five acre field with the talent chasing mules everywhere and three cameras shooting in all directions. I certainly had to move around a lot to follow the action. Fortunately, the range of the Lectrosonics wireless gear really helped make this possible— and that’s a good situation to be in when you’re managing that many talent by yourself.”
Behind the scenes, Lectrosonics equipment was equally well represented. “For the camera hops,” Torreano reports, “the ‘A’ camera got an SRA receiver set up with a Sony battery sled as my backup power option if the handheld camera rig failed. The ‘B’ and ‘C’ cameras both got a budget saving IFB feed through Lectrosonics R1a receivers on 1 channel (for reference), with the second channel being for the camera mic. The field producer also had an R1a receiver for monitoring purposes.”
Reflecting on those attributes of the Lectrosonics equipment that really helped make this project feasible, Torreano offered the following, “The audio quality and range of the Lectrosonics equipment is exceptional. But what really impressed me was the reliability and durability of the gear. This is what got me through the job.”
Before shifting his focus to an upcoming project, Torreano offered these following thoughts about his Lectrosonics equipment and its performance on Outfitter Bootcamp. “Everything turned out great,” he said. “In no time at all, I had all of my frequencies worked out and was able to concentrate on mixing the show—all while hiking miles into the wilderness! What really made all of it happen was that our executive producer was receptive to the ideas I presented for the wireless equipment. He even nicknamed the sound kit ‘the Porcupine’ because of all the antennas. Lectrosonics really understands how guys like myself use the gear and they make it easy to operate and extremely rugged. That’s why, in my business, it’s rare that you’d bump into someone without Lectrosonics in their bag. It’s the industry standard.”
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theatre technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
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