The Golf Channel, part of the Comcast Programming Group, is shot on location throughout California, including Beverly Hills, Pebble Beach, and San Diego. It operates in partnership with the PGA Tour and showcases the biggest and the best of everything related to the sport for the television news show, Golf Central. Capturing the magic of this sport must be done efficiently and without distracting the competitors. When it comes to location sound recording, Digital Hybrid Wireless technology from Lectrosonics plays a central role in the show’s production.
When it comes to location sound recording, Digital Hybrid Wireless technology from Lectrosonics plays a central role in the show’s production.
Los Angeles-based Stef Butler serves as the show’s camera operator and high-definition engineer and selects and specifies equipment. With a background that encompasses working on the production teams for the TV shows Wheel of Fortune and The Biography Series on A&E, as well as contract work for NASA/JPL, Butler knows what it takes to capture the activity without holding up production. And he relies on an arsenal of Lectrosonics UM400 beltpack transmitters, SRb5P slot mount ENG receivers, and IFBR1a beltpack IFB receivers.
“For my work with the Golf Channel, I’m using eight UM400s, four SRb5P receivers, plus four of the IFBR1a beltpack IFB receivers,” said Butler. “Much of my work for the Golf Channel show, Golf Central is news related, so it’s fast paced. The Lectrosonics SRb receivers are an essential part of my kit in such an environment. It really makes a tremendous difference having the receivers mounted in the slot inside the camera’s body, as it increases both ease of use and efficiency.”
A matter of vital concern to someone in Butler’s field is the equipment’s ease of use. “The very nature of news gathering is demanding,” said Butler. “Having a wireless system that is intuitive is a tremendous help. I constantly encounter situations where the RF frequencies need to be changed in order to avoid RF interference and optimize sound quality. Lectrosonics equipment makes it very easy to scan for open frequencies and then lock them down with a single button press.”
Sound quality is, of course, central to Butler’s work and, here too, he was very complimentary of Lectrosonics’ Digital Hybrid Wireless technology. “Lectrosonics’ Digital Hybrid Wireless technology sounds terrific and makes for a strong signal with very low power consumption,” added Butler. “I experience great range with this equipment and the sound never exhibits any of the sonic artifacts that are common with wireless systems using a compandor.”
Knowing your equipment is reliable is one thing. Equally important is the knowledge that if something happens, the equipment manufacturer offers knowledgeable and responsive support services. In this regard, Butler offered the following, “Lectrosonics is very supportive of its customers. They understand the nature of our business and recognize that, when answers are needed, they’re frequently needed ASAP.”