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Audio Networks for TV Shows, Part 2

Jun 23, 2010 12:00 PM

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Editor's note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes Timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the Timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

Screaming chefs and tumbling 500lb. cakes might seem an odd mix with the audio networking, but the mayhem in the kitchen on TLC's Ultimate Cake Off is captured by Stickman Sound with RockNet. Fernando Delgado takes us through a day of taping this show.

Fernando, we were talking in part one about how you do sound on The Ultimate Fighter TV show and how you use RockNet for that; you also do sound for TLC's Ultimate Cake Off.
Fernando Delgado:
Yes sir.

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Audio Networks for TV Shows, Part 1
Viewers of the steel cage matches on The Ultimate Fighter TV show may not be thinking about audio networking, but that's what brings revved up sound from the crowd, the fighters and the announcers. Fernando Delgado of Stickman Sound in Las Vegas takes us backstage for audio networking to go with RockNet...

They make some huge cakes, weighing around 500lbs., on that show and they've got to do it in something like 9 hours, so I guess there aren't a whole lot of retakes. If there are any, I guess you certainly don't want it to be because of the audio gear. So what was it like doing the Ultimate Cake Off? What kind of setup do you have to do for that?
Ultimate Cake Off is a very cool setup. What we're doing on that one is we're utilizing RockNet to bring in 16 cast member microphones. We've got three teams of four and then four judges, so we have 16 wireless mics there as well as a couple of interview stations set up where we have microphones coming in for the interview stations where they ask judges and whatnot questions. So I think it's a total of 18 inputs, and we bring all of that into RockNet and we distribute it between three consoles. One is the [Yamaha] DM2000 and the other two are [Yamaha] LS9s. [Timestamp: 1:59]

What kind of wireless mics are you using for that?
We are using Lectrosonics on all of our cast members. Basically, the way the signal flow is the wireless receiver into the RockNet 101 boxes, and we output all of those microphones exactly the same to the three consoles. And then there's three mixers, and each mixer mixes the two cameras as well as a multitrack system. So we take the outputs of our RockNet on the consoles back down the snake and utilize the 16 outputs on the 101 boxes to feed to our cameras and talent IFB. [Timestamp: 2:39]

OK and do you do a lot of traveling on this thing, or is thing set up pretty much in the same place all the time?
The show itself is set up in a studio. The competition itself is done in a studio, and that equipment never moves. We do have a ENG day where we have two ENG mixers that go out into the field and shoot the event that the cakes were designed for. [Timestamp: 3:02]

With that many wireless mic systems going, do you ever have any problems with frequency coordination or interference, things like that?
Not really. I use IAS for my frequency coordination, and I recommend it to anybody that doesn't use it. I've had great luck with it so far, and I've been using it probably a little over two years, I think. [Timestamp: 3:20]

How long do you have to set up for Ultimate Cake Off when you first get in there?
Our install's about three days, four days. [Timestamp: 3:26]

OK, and before the production starts you've got to have people to get ready and miked up and checked out and make sure that nobody's having any problems. That many people with wireless gear, have you got an A2 for that? You don't have to deal with all that yourself?
On that show, we have a four-man crew. There's myself and two other A1 mixers that mix in the control room with me and then an A2 that lives on the studio floor. He wires everybody up, he deals with batteries. He wires everybody and just basically maintains the floor during the competition. [Timestamp: 3:59]

Now this is done in a studio. Do you have to run Cat-5 for every show or does all that stuff stay in place?
Well, we shoot 12 episodes in a season, so it's six weeks. We'll go in four or five days before shooting, do our install, which only takes a few days, and then we're up and running. So once we start shooting, they're essentially three-day episodes, so the competition is on one day then the event that the competition is designed for is another day of shooting. And then we also have another day for interviews and any pickups or anything that they may need from our hosts. [Timestamp: 4:32]

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