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ON LOCATION Playing games with radio mics on location by Richard Meredith, Sound Supervisor - Release the Hounds S ome people use the same radio mics year in year out for every job that they do - others hire in radio mics for every job and don’t own anything - I am in the unique (nearly) position of being able to select the most appropriate from my own hire stock, and so every project has the equipment best suited to it. The brief arrived for a new TV series; Release The Hounds, which consolidated elements from some other formats - essentially a game show, but certainly not behind a nice cosy desk in a nice cosy studio ...think more Crystal Maze meets Fear meets Bush Tucker Trials, but with cash prizes - nice! The set was a huge open forest several miles west of London with games happening all over it. After lengthy discussions, it was decided that the shoot would be done in studio style, with the director in a central gallery and all camera feeds incoming and recorded on a stack of recording decks, as opposed to shooting in camera. The location was spread so far and wide that managing disc changes etc out in the field was deemed (quite sensibly) unrealistic and foolhardy - did I mention it was all shot at night? It transpired that things were so far apart that it ended up being two galleries, but more of that later. Although I briefly looked at the option of recording out in the field and sending a monitor mix to the director, there were so many other elements that required me to be close to the producers and director in the gallery that we decided to run an audio gallery too - courtesy of 58 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 93 SEPTEMBER 2014 www.ethsaudio.co.uk mobile truck - very tidy, hugely capable and with coffee on tap day and night. It was obvious with such great distances involved that fibre run would be required in one form or another for our radio mic system - we considered both options either RF over fibre, bringing several remote antennae feeds long distances into a central radio mic receiver rack, or running a receiver rack locally at the game and bringing the audio back to the truck over fibre - as the Ethos truck already ran a fibre infrastructure for audio. Coupled with the fact that we had other feeds to run back and forth - talkback and comms etc. we settled on audio over fibre. There were other factors too - the fact that the very clever Vista 5 console in the Ethos truck can run a redundant backup fibre simultaneously with the main one, meaning that if the main fibre got damaged mid game, then the console would invisibly switch to the spare - we wouldn’t have had the same luxury running RF fibre!