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Canadian Reality TV Series Relies On Lectrosonics Wireless System

The audio crew on the set of From the Ground Up with Debbie Travis. From left to right: Simon Paine, Peter Hamilton, Jerry Turchyn, Chris Newton and Marc Paquette.

Peter Hamilton, the audio supervisor for the reality-based TV show From the Ground Up with Debbie Travis, which airs on Canada’s Global Television network, uses Lectrosonics’ Digital Hybrid Wireless technology to operate as many as 16 wireless transmitters during production. Much of the show’s production takes place within a 45×90-foot space, and all 16 transmitters must operate within the same narrow frequency range.

Produced by Toronto-based RTR Media Inc.—a partnership between Hans Rosenstein, Debbie Travis and Kit Redmond— From the Ground Up with Debbie Travis focuses on home building and design. “Debbie’s House,” as it’s known among those involved with the show, is shot on location, primarily throughout Ottawa, Ontario.

Hamilton discussed the circumstances that led to using so many wireless transmitters within such a narrow frequency range, or block. “When it came time to start production, we were only able to acquire 16 block-24 microphones, so because of the time constraints in terms of putting the show’s technical aspects together, we did some research and spoke with the folks at Lectrosonics in order to better grasp the challenge and hopefully ensure we weren’t going to have any major RF complications on-site when we were shooting. We quickly discovered we were the first in Canada, if not elsewhere, to use the equipment in this capacity and, I should note, we encountered no issues whatsoever.

“Because there are 16 available pre-programmed or ‘group’ frequencies within a block and we were using all of them, we knew the potential for crosstalk and other RF issues could rear its ugly head,” Hamilton continues. “Thanks to some very skilled and savvy mix engineers, we’ve been able to operate successfully throughout production. We’ve been shooting simultaneously with four and sometimes five cameras, so we’ve had one mixer assigned to each camera, and each mixer was equipped with four Lectrosonics UCR411A receivers. Depending upon what any given camera was shooting, the mix engineer could dial up any of the 16 RF microphones as required to compliment the boom mic. I consider our success a direct result of skilled engineering capability and well designed wireless equipment.”

Season 2 will begin airing in late spring 2007 and run through February 2008.

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