Hot Ones sound mixer relies on Lectrosonics
Monday, 1 March 2021
lectrosonicsOn the road - production sound mixer Stu Chacon
USA - Many of today’s most popular reality TV shows film in different locations around the world. This is the bread and butter of production sound mixer Stu Chacon, a veteran of such series as Hot Ones and Sneaker Shopping. For thriving in the ever-changing RF situations brought on by constant international travel, he depends on wideband wireless from Lectrosonics: the all-new, all-digital DCR822 dual-channel receivers paired with SMWB and SMDWB Digital Hybrid Wireless transmitters. His kit is rounded out with UCR411a receivers, plus IFB-R1a receivers and legacy UM400a transmitters for comms.
“Currently I’m working on a hit show about international romance, one partner moving to be with the other, that kind of thing,” says Chacon. “We travel internationally about 90 percent of the time.”
The DCR822 is part of Lectrosonics’ latest generation of digital wireless but can receive signal from any Digital Hybrid Wireless transmitter made in the past 18 years. This made Chacon’s choice of wideband as easy as it was necessary. “For a long time, I’ve used the SMV and SMQV for talent mics, and they’re great,” he notes, “but going wideband has just been a thing of beauty.”
Chacon goes on to describe one among many instances where having the ability to retune quickly across multiple blocks saved the shoot: “We once had to shoot in a hospital in Africa. I had scanned and done my frequency coordination in advance, but we were just outside the building. The minute we went inside, everything went haywire. Of course, this is because medical equipment wreaks absolute havoc with RF. Having the wideband definitely helped me acquire new, clean frequencies on the spot.”
The DCR822, SMWB, and SMDWB can all double as stand-alone recorders, capturing audio to an internal MicroSD card. This has made a difference at times when the production has needed to minimize the impact on its surroundings.
“With the travel and international romance themes, we shoot more than a few scenes in airports,” he explains. “Airports are also notoriously full of RF, and of course you don’t want to interfere with tower communications, so the MicroSD recording makes an ideal backup plan. Also, being in an airport with an audio bag full of gear can make people nervous when they don’t know what it is. Recording right onto the wideband SMs or the 822 lets us keep a lower profile.”
Even on shows that let him stay closer to home, Lectrosonics’ quick setup has been a professional must-have. “On shows like Hot Ones, there’s usually A-list TV or sports talent and once they arrive to set, it’s go-time,” says Chacon. “I have very little time to ensure everything is as it should be before we start rolling. As always, I need to know my gear won’t fail me, and as I mentioned before, this is where Lectro shines among many reasons.”

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