When it comes to audio recording for reality television, Stickman Sound Owner and Sound Supervisor Fernando Delgado is an expert. With a wide range of shows in production, including Design Star on HGTV, The Devil's Ride on the Discovery Channel, Top Shot on the History Channel and UFC Presents The Ultimate Fighter on FX, Delgado and his crew have come to rely on Sound Devices and its digital recorders, mixers and accessory products while working on multiple projects in the field. Armed with an arsenal of Sound Devices 788T Digital Recorders with CL-9 Linear Fader Controllers and Sound Devices 552 Field Production Mixers, Delgado and his team can handle anything their demanding slate of projects throw at them.
On FX Networks The Ultimate Fighter, Delgado employs seven Sound Devices 552 based field audio packages, each with, four Lectrosonics 411as and a Schoeps CMIT Shotgun mic along with a Zaxcom Stereoline camera link system. The sound department deploys eight production sound mixers, a multi-track engineer and three audio assists who manage media, freshen batteries and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
On Design Star, Delgado used six 552s and two 788Ts with two CL-9s, mostly to capture dialogue. The show, shot primarily in the field, kicked off with a cast of 12 contestants, three judges and a host, with each episode seeing the elimination of one contestant. As a predominately field-based reality show, Delgado used two 788Ts with CL-9s on a cart. Whether the contestants were in the field completing challenges or in the studio, the 788T was a mainstay in his rig.
All of the reality shows Delgado works on present some interesting and unique recording challenges. According to Delgado, You never know what to expect when working in reality television. For instance, a unique aspect of recording the show Top Shot is that all of the gunfire is real. The show does not use any canned audio. When were not shooting the challenges for each episode, we take our two Sound Devices 788Ts into the field along with a sizable array of microphones and spend hours capturing audio. The producers want every weapon to sound exactly as if you were standing right next to it and the 788Ts do a fantastic job of capturing these sounds.
The Devils Ride, which chronicles life inside one of Southern Californias motorcycle clubs, is another interesting project for Delgado, as it was recorded documentary style, with a skeleton crew. There were two camera teams, each with two cameras, and a sound mixer with a 788T, seven wireless receivers and a boom. Delgado and his team followed the bikers throughout their travels and captured everything along the way. The motorcycle effects were captured mostly through booms, with a lot of the recorded audio captured off lavalier mics.
The quality of the build of Sound Devices products is what sets them apart from the rest, adds Delgado. I feel confident that if I dropped the recorder on the ground by accident, I could pick it up, dust it off and go right back to work without needing to check to see if I broke anything. Sound Devices consistently puts road-worthy equipment out there, and in my line of work that means everything.
The Sound Devices 788T boasts eight full-featured inputs and records up to 12 tracks. It accepts either microphone or line-level signals, provides 48-V phantom power for condenser microphones, offers peak limiters for microphone inputs and features fully adjustable high-pass filtersall in a compact package. Sound Devices CL-8 is a powerful mixing control surface for its 788T recorder. Its large rotary faders and push buttons bring extensive mixer-type control to 788T inputs. The lightweight CL-8 can be used either mounted or remote from the 788T.
Sound Devices 552 contains five precision, high-dynamic range, transformer-balanced microphone inputs with expanded gain and headroom. The studio-grade inputs have their own limiter, sweepable high-pass filter and pre- or post-fade direct output. Additionally, Sound Devices 552 has an integrated two-track, 24-bit digital audio recorder that writes Broadcast WAV files (BWF) or MP3 files to SD and SDHC media. The recorder is ideal for applications where high-quality, 24-bit local recording is required.
Sound Devices, LLC designs and manufactures portable audio mixers, digital audio recorders, and digital video recorders and related equipment for feature film, episodic television, documentary, news-gathering, and acoustical test and measurement applications. The thirteen-year old company designs and manufactures from their Reedsburg, Wisconsin headquarters with additional offices in Madison, WI and Highland Park, IL. For more information, visit the Sound Devices website, www.sounddevices.com.