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Audio Networks for TV Shows, Part 2

Jun 23, 2010 12:00 PM

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Have they ever had what I guess you would call a cake disaster? I've seen some things on there where the cakes fall over and so forth, but I guess that doesn't affect you guys that much.
Nope, that's all part of the competition. [Timestamp: 4:44]

Well, as long as you can hear everybody and you don't have problems with that, but as many people as there are running around and hollering. These people can really get into this stuff. It can get a little on the emotional side after they spent hours on one of these cakes.
It can get a little crazy, I suppose, but a good A2 is the key to just about any show you do, and I'm happy to say that the guys that I surround myself with are top-notch. The A2 on that show is awesome. And so he runs the floor and he only calls us when he really needs us, and we don't hear from him all that often, so it's great. [Timestamp: 5:19]

What do you do for intercom on that show? How do you communicate with everybody and string all that up?
The previous seasons, the last two seasons, the production company rented a wireless PL system from a rental company. Both seasons didn't really work out that well. If the show comes back for a third season I am looking into an Artist System from Riedel. That will help their scenario, it will help my scenario, and right now I can't go wrong with anything that Riedel is putting out. It's all really, really good stuff. [Timestamp: 5:47]

And you're recording multitrack, so you've got everybody sorted out. What's the postproduction like on that show?
It's actually not too difficult. We're recording to cameras, and basically the way it works is one camera shoots a kitchen, so there is one camera dedicated to the host and then one camera dedicated to each team. So we mix those teams directly to camera so when they go to post, they have everything right there on the tape that they're importing for video. Should they need to go to the multitrack, we're slaved off of their master timecode, and everything that we deliver to them is on a hard drive. We roll everything broadcast wave, so it's all timecode-embedded and they just import what they need. We've been working with this postproduction team for a really long time also at this point so the workflow is just snap-snap; easy. [Timestamp: 6:38]

All right, so you're not only doing a multitrack but you're also doing a live mix that they can use and post if things go OK, which I am sure speeds things up dramatically.
Yeah, that's the idea. We want to try to give them as close to a perfect mix as possible. And it's never perfect doing a 10-hour competition; it's hard. But that being said, we do, we try to give them as good of a mix as we possibly can during the competition so that they only have to go to the multitrack when they need it. [Timestamp: 7:07]

Yeah, I would think that's a challenge because you've got people who are yelling and hollering and compression is needed and the possibility of overmodulating the transmitters. Do you ever have any problems with that?
We really haven't had too much trouble with overmodulation. I think the biggest challenge, for that show in particular, is all of the kitchens are within one room, so our ambient noise levels vary from—just every 2ft. or 3ft., it's such a dramatic difference in ambient levels to be able to mix a show and have it be relatively consistent across the board. Also with three different sets of ears mixing the show, it is quite a challenge. I think the postproduction does a really good job of balancing everything out. [Timestamp: 7:52]

Have you ever had any really unusual things happen with that show yet that were not on the menu?
Not yet.

Well, keep your fingers crossed.
And that's the beautiful thing about, or at least the appeal to me, about doing reality TV is the variables are always changing so the fun part is keeping up. [Timestamp: 8:09]

Yeah, you never know what you're going to run into. They're all doing this stuff for real, so I guess the thing you guys have to do is just make sure you're set up right and then just fade into the background and stay out of everybody's way.
That's about it, and be able to adapt to any changes that they throw at you. [Timestamp: 8:24]

All right, well this has been something getting behind the scenes with RockNet on the Ultimate Cake Off and The Ultimate Fighter. Thanks for sharing that with us. Fernando Delgado of Stickman Sound in Las Vegas, thanks for being here.
Thank you, I appreciate it.

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