Sound quality, dropout-free performance keep production on track
Moscow, Russia – March 2013… In the business of location sound, there are three constants all audio engineers must address when it comes to wireless microphone usage: sound quality, range, and reliability. The challenge comes amidst the ‘real world’ conditions on the set, where dust and dirt, heat, moisture, and a host of additional variables tend to complicate matters. That’s why Prague, Czech Republic-based production sound mixer Igor Pokorný relies on his arsenal of wireless transmitters, receivers, antennas, and more from Rio Rancho, NM-based Lectrosonics.
After completing his studies in sound engineering at FAMU, the Film and TV school and Academy of the Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic, Pokorný then started work as a sound mixer for films such as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation’s Babylon A.D. and Russia’s Three T production of Burnt By The Sun II. For a recent project, Pokorný utilized six Lectrosonics SMQV super-miniature beltpack transmitters, two HM plug-on transmitters, as well as an MM400c and UM400a transmitter. On the receiving end, he’s been using the Lectrosonics VR Field receiver mainframe stocked with six VRT receiver modules, two SRa ENG receivers, and three UCR 100 beltpack receivers. ALP Series directional antennas and ARG50 low loss coaxial cables complete the setup.
“My most recent project,” states Pokorný, “is a movie called Sunstroke. This project is based on author Ivan Bunin’s novel of the same name and is directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. It’s a Russian historical drama covering the beginning of the 20th century through the end of Russia’s civil war in 1920. For this project, I used SMQV and MM400c transmitters with Sanken lavaliere omnidirectional microphones on the actors with the VR Field receiver system. For delivering sound to the director, script supervisor, and my boom operators, I used the UM400 transmitter and they’ve been monitoring via the UCR100 receivers with headphones.”
When queried about those aspects of the Lectrosonics equipment he finds most appealing, Pokorný offered the following thoughts. Upon taking delivery of some Lectrosonics equipment from Bystrouška sound studio in Prague,” he said, “I shot two films and found the sound quality, range, and reliability to be exceptional. Unlike previous systems I had used, the Lectrosonics equipment was much less prone to dropouts—particularly when used with the antennas. I found the Lectrosonics gear to be an ideal solution for shooting movies with big scenes, numerous cameras, yet only limited setup time. I also discovered that the SMQV transmitters—because of their very small form factor—made a great choice for concealing among wardrobe.”
Pokorný also offered some thoughts regarding Lectrosonics’ ease of use. “One of the actors on the set—the main hero—became very interested in the transmitter,” he said. “So much, in fact, that he wanted me to teach him about its various functions. In no time at all, he was changing the batteries and adjusting the audio gain. It just goes to show how intuitive this equipment really is.”
Customer support is yet another area where Pokorný feels Lectrosonics excels, “I experienced an issue where some SMQV transmitters I had just taken delivery of were switching to PLL mode. I wrote to Lectrosonics’ technical support and I received immediate feedback—directing me to a European dealer, Ambient Recording, in Munich. I already had a good rapport with this company and, in no time at all, they changed the firmware. All of this occurred without any disruption to the shooting schedule.”
Reflecting on his use of the Lectrosonics wireless systems, Pokorný summarized matters by saying, “I am really happy with Lectrosonics’ wireless systems. The equipment worked very well—especially while shooting with the steamboats in Switzerland. I really appreciated the signal range I experienced while shooting on the water. Until I began using Lectrosonics, this sort of shoot always created issues.”
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theatre technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
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