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Going to Extremes with Sound and Picture

Cinematographer Evan B. Stone also records when on location in extreme locations, like the Ural Mountains of Western Siberia.

Cinematographer Evan B. Stone on location in the Ural Mountains of Western Siberia, shooting at 2,500 feet above sea level.
Cinematographer Evan B. Stone on location in the Ural Mountains of Western Siberia, shooting at 2,500 feet above sea level.

Huntington Beach, CA (January 18, 2023)—Cinematographer Evan B. Stone believes that the audio may be even more important than the visuals. “I’m a DP who really cares about audio,” Stone says. “My life is a series of sound bites and each one needs to have quality sound. I ‘listen’ to a story as I shoot. It is possibly the most important element for telling stories.”

To that end, Stone and his sound mixer, Mike Curtis, typically use Lectrosonics gear for capturing production audio. Their kit includes the WM watertight digital hybrid transmitters for the talent, four MTCR recorders, LR digital hybrid receivers, SMQV digital hybrid transmitters, an LT transmitter for the camera hop, and finally, a legacy UM400A transmitter and R1A receivers for IFB.

Lectrosonics M2Ra Digital Wireless Monitor Receiver – Live Product of the Week

True to the series name, shooting Discovery+ series Expedition Unknown involves working in wild, inhospitable, and sometimes hazardous locations, like searching for El Dorado—the legendary Lost City of Gold—in a Colombian jungle, scuba diving to look for the alleged treasure of New York bootlegger/gangster Dutch Schultz, and exploring 4,000-year-old tombs in Egypt. For each of those assignments, Stone and Curtis brought Lectrosonics equipment along, with Stone noting, “The gear is top shelf. The best professionals use it, and there’s a reason why.”

One episode took the crew to the Ural Mountains of Western Siberia where Stone was shooting at 2,500 feet above sea level. He described the shooting situation as “really severe weather, and I had [the receiver] just freestyle on the camera.” Even in the deadly cold temperatures of the Ural Mountains, the Lectrosonics systems kept working.

He thinks about the sound in his shots as much as he does about lenses. “A lot of camera operators don’t care about the sound—it’s the sound person’s problem—but not me. I always have my buds in my ears, listening. It gives me a lot of confidence.” Stone has also applied his audio-centric approach in shooting, directing, and/or producing episodes of Ghost Nation, True Life, The Amazing Race, and many other TV shows.