Mark Krupka (pictured) is presently head sound mixer for Bravo TV’s reality television series Project Runway. With more than 20 years of experience in professional audio, Krupka worked his way from recording studios to audio for television advertising and then reality TV. Krupka’s reality TV show credits include producer Mark Burnett’s Survivor series on the CBS network.
“I really enjoy working on reality TV,” notes Krupka. “This type of work challenges everyone to expect the unexpected. It’s fast paced, and there’s absolutely no time for problematic equipment. Good gear and proper gear maintenance are vitally important to this type of work, as you only get one shot at it. I’ve worked episodes of Survivor where I was literally out in the pouring rain all day.”
On Project Runway, fashion designers compete with one other in creating the original designs based on a theme with restrictions in time and materials. Their designs are judged by a professional panel, and one or more contestants are eliminated each week. The show is scheduled to begin airing in October 2007 on Canada’s Slice television channel, a property of Alliance Atlantis.
For his work on Project Runway, Krupka is using up to 18 Lectrosonics SM transmitters and three Venue modular receiver racks, each fully stocked with six channels of the plug-in receiver modules.
“I’m recording as many as 24 tracks of audio on this show, and it’s all working beautifully,” states Krupka. “The fashion designers are the contestants on this show, so they—along with the host, judges and special guests—are wearing the transmitters. The transmitters are placed on individuals in a variety of ways. I use waist bands, leg bands, ankle bands, and I also have clips for use on belts or a back pocket. The nice thing about the SM’s is the fact that you can place them practically anywhere.”
In addition, there are four to five ENG (electronic news gathering) crews, each equipped with Lectrosonics UCR411A Digital Hybrid Wireless compact receivers. The selectable user bits allow the sound mixers to quickly tune into any of the pre-programmed frequencies. This setup enables the cameras to capture the dialog, which serves as a guide track for the show’s editors.
“By working this way,” explains Krupka, “the editors know exactly what’s being said at any given time, and this makes it easy for them to produce a rough cut and then replace the camera audio with the Broadcast WAV files that I record.”