When it comes to reality television production, Authentic Entertainment has always stayed one step ahead of technology trends. So when the company started production on the second season of the Esquire Networks White Collar Brawlers, a hit competition-style reality show, it knew that to capture the energetic back-and-forth dialogue between the cast on the program, it needed an audio system that could reliably capture high volumes of tracks while maintaining a small footprint. The company found this solution in Sound Devices 970 audio recorder. The network-connected, rack-mount 970 boasts an impressive 64 channels of Dante and MADI with FileSafe¢, a technology that recovers audio files if, during recording, drives are unintentionally disconnected or power is lost.
Since Authentic Entertainment has been using Sound Devices products for years, the decision to incorporate the 970 was an easy one. For White Collar Brawlers, the 970 allowed us to set up the audio station next to our video village, which gave our producers a more reliable audio feed to monitor, says Paul Rials, Audio Coordinator, Authentic Entertainment. On the show we have a large amount of talent and mics laid out. Being able to have those mics recorded to a single device, and then control and monitor them all at the same time, from the same location, makes a huge difference during production and post.
The 970 also helped Rials and his crew improve their workflow. The PIXNet and Dante capabilities are extremely useful features of the 970, says Rials. The PIX Caddy SSD, along with the ability to either hot-swap it out or use the network mounting function, helps to cut down file transfer times. Plus, with the new firmware, the added ability of a sound report is a big help in post. The FileSafe function is also a wonderful addition, helping protect files when power is lost. We haven't had any power issues while recording, but we have tested it out during preps, and it is a great feature.
The 970s compact size and abundance of features has helped the Authentic Entertainment crew overcome challenges they have faced in the past. In addition to simplifying cable runs, the 970 has provided easy track routing via Dante, allowing for endless amount of tracks to be recorded in one place. Being able to build this out into a transit rack case helps make it more compact to fit into smaller spaces, which is very helpful on many of Rials field sets.
Peter Deutscher, Sound Supervisor on season two of White Collar Brawlers, echoes Rials sentiments. Being able to record a high volume of tracks, and utilizing Dante for routing signals to and from the 970 made using it a no brainer, he says. What makes the 970 great is its ability to run only a few CAT-5 cables and yet route over 30 different signals, whether they be pre-fade ISOs, sub mixes or the PA feed. Dante allows for seamless routing and re-routing at the touch of a mouse. Having the 970 allows you to get out of the mindset of thinking just analog in and out. With just two cables, we can send 64 signals to and from the machine, allowing for endless routing possibilities. Its impressive.
Along with the 970, Deutscher outfitted his rig for season two of White Collar Brawlers with the brand-new Yamaha QL1 mixer and Yamaha Rio 1608 digital network remote, Lectrosonics wireless (paired with Sanken COS-11 lavaliers), Sennheiser 416s for spot mics, a Denecke GR-1 master clock and a Rosendahl Nanosync for TC and Word Clock Sync, and a PSC RF MultiMax antenna splitter to create a multi-zone wireless system. The crew also utilized Sound Devices 788Ts in their portable bags, for backup.
So far, the 970 has exceeded my expectations in performance, adds Rials. We always use our Sound Devices equipment on all of our shows, and I am looking forward to deploying more 970 rigs as our shows demand for it grows.
Sound Devices 970 records 64 channels of monophonic or polyphonic 24-bit WAV files from any of its 144 available inputs. Inputs available include 64 channels of Ethernet-based Dante, 64 channels of optical or coaxial MADI, eight channels of line-level analog and eight channels of AES digital. The half-rack, 2U device simplifies any application requiring high-quality, high-track-count audio recording, including drama and reality production and live concert recording. The 970 records to any of four attached drives, which include two front-panel drive bays and two rear-panel e-SATA connected drives. Material can be recorded to multiple drives simultaneously or sequentially. With its built-in, rock-steady Ambient Recording Lockit time-code technology, the 970 is well-suited to operate as a master clock.
The Sound Devices 970 features an embedded Web-based control panel for machine transport and setup control over Ethernet-based networks as well as file transfer over the data network with SMB. Users can perform file metadata editing of scene name, take name, notes, track names and reel folders during before and after recording across all drives. In addition to RS-422 and GPIO control, the unit also allows for format conversion between analog, AES digital, MADI and Dante. Sound Devices 970 is designed with a large five-inch screen for metering of up to 64 tracks and for fast and intuitive menu control. It also features Sound Devices proprietary PowerSafe¢ technology, a built-in UPS providing 10 seconds of power reserve allowing the system to intelligently stop recording in progress and close associated files before powering down.
Sound Devices, LLC designs and manufactures portable audio mixers, digital audio recorders and related equipment for feature film, episodic television, documentary, news-gathering, live event and acoustical test and measurement applications. Video Devices is a brand of Sound Devices for their digital video recorders and related products that address a range of multiple-source video productions, including fast-paced, mission-critical studio applications, live sports, live events, and mobile production.
Founded in 1998, the company designs and manufactures both brands from their Reedsburg, Wisconsin headquarters with additional offices in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, visit the Sound Devices and Video Devices websites: www.sounddevices.com and www.videodevices.com.