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The crew prepare the props in the daylight, ready for late night scares

September 2014 l 33


truck over fibre (Ethos already a fibre infrastructure in place). The Studer Vista 5 console in Ethos could also run a redundant back-up fibre simultaneously alongside the main one, meaning that if the main fibre got damaged mid-game, then the console would invisibly switch to the spare.

Distances and durability determined the radio mic arrangement: Meredith plumped for five Lectrosonics “rack”- style receivers, easily portable and at times able to run off a 12V supply in some locations. The Lectrosonics systems were supplied by broadcast hire specialist The Audio Dept of west London.

Meredith explained: “With

the games designers coming up with ideas faster than Usain Bolt in the 100m, and a lot of them involving several other artistes to be mic’d in addition to the main game contributors, I could see that flexibility would be the key. Each Venue rack was loaded with nominally five receiver modules but we had the ability to increase or decrease as and when necessary if required. We generally ended up with 6/5/5/5/4.”

With a split crew running the operation – one set on nights filming the games and a second on days re-rigging for the next set of games, the sound team imposed a strict patching scenario. The fibre interface units at each game were all

given a thorough treatment of white labelling tape and each input and output on every end box was always allocated the same job, therefore any pair of fibres plugged into the truck always had the same inputs and outputs derived from the same place, irrespective of location of game. As there was no time to test individual feeds during the daytime rig, this consistency was essential to quickly fault find any missing feeds or returns to the game, during the short re-set period between every game on the night.

Meredith added: “We quickly established a routine and the nightcrew game-rigger, Bal Rayat, would potter about with a Venue rack tucked under one arm if extra receive channels were required at short notice – a very lightweight solution to moving six channels of radio mic receiver around.”

The other factor driving the choice of Lectrosonics was the transmitter. Production wanted as little interference as

Richard Meredith at work in the twilight….

possible with the game players to maximise a solitary feel, and sustain battery life. That, coupled with compact form factor, was perfect for the Lectrosonics SMDBs. The whole system worked “amazingly well”, reports Meredith. Huge range was achieved in the forest using ALP650 active shark fins, identical performance from the SMDBs and the WM kit in all conditions and were able to react instantly with minimal disruption if plans

for radio mics changed late in the day, (which it did on several occasions) as additional receiver capacity was very easily deployed on a push-bike. The last word from

Richard Meredith: “One final Lectrosonics plus point was the ability to remotely alter the transmission gain, invaluable for all the barking dogs. Watch Release the Hounds on ITV2 to fully understand…” 

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