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SeanMAC

Reality TV Gear Setup/Worflow

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Hello fellow soundies! I'm looking down the barrel of a reality tv gig, and want to know any and all experiences. More specifically, what sort of gear setup you had (as it is of course wireless intensive), and the workflow (ISOs/mix/lockits etc). And generally wondering if there's anything in particular on reality tv that sound crew is responsible for (such as doing commercial work we're generally in charge of/expected to provide smart slates). Anything and everything, let's hear it! 

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I'd go visit someone on set and see for yourself. It's an entirely different skillset. You may decide it's not for you, or perhaps the investment in a different setup is too much. 

 

I have turned down these gigs before. It's too much work for me, and there are a lot of people out there who are better suited. 

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Although reality tv is a different beast, approaching a shoot like this is like anything else. Find out what type of camera(s) they are using and how many, find out how many wireless mics and how many IFB's you will need. It's pretty standard to send a wireless reference (mono) mix to all the main cameras, as well as a decent camera-mounted mic and timecode sync between audio and all cameras. Any secondary cameras without timecode should be slated with a TC slate. When dealing with lots of mics in reality, automix is your friend. Also good to have an A2 that can run around with a light boom rig and help with miking cast(booming all day with a 788 rig strapped to your chest is asking for back problems). 

 

Finally, talk to someone in post to find out their preferred delivery formats and file types and as always, name your tracks and create sound reports.

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A few reality shows travel with their own sound gear and all they are looking for is a warm body to carry it around for a day or two. Of course having worked with the type of gear they bring is a plus, but it is well used and not everything gets back to where it belongs. Being a problem solver helps along with some experience.

 

Scott

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Thank you guys so much for your replies! I really do appreciate the insight and advice. My main thing is that I know I'll probably need an antenna/distro setup for my wireless, because I don't see regular whips getting me by with 3+ cameras running about. Any words on that side of things? Gear/setup you've seen/worked with that helped boost range and eliminate dropouts? I've found a bit on the forums here but just curious if y'all had anything to add.

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Hi Sean.

 

As one of the few people here who admits to having a career in reality tv, I'd be happy to help answer your questions.  Or, more realistically, to help you find the right questions to ask.

 

To get you started, I'd suggest asking more about the show itself and how the producers intend to shoot it.  Obviously a "Kardashian-style" follow-show is very different than an "American Idol" or "Survivor," or even "The Real World.  The thing about reality tv, is that you need to be able to tailor the gear and the workflows to the show in order to have a successful shoot.

 

Feel free to reach out to me on Facebook, and I'll help out how I can!

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Doc Justice that would be excellent to get your take on everything. Allow me a few days to compose a coherent set of questions for you and I'll get in touch for sure.

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