Albuquerque, NM – February 2010… When it comes to TV and film production, New Mexico is on a roll—so much so that Albuquerque was named “best place in the U.S. for film production” by Moviemaker Magazine. With so much activity in the surrounding area, it should come as no surprise that Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) offers courses to help students prepare for meaningful careers in the field. In an effort to provide their charges with the experience they’ll need to be competitive, CNM field production crews learn about sound acquisition using the same equipment as seasoned pros do; and that’s precisely why they work with wireless microphone technology from Lectrosonics.
Barton Bond, Instructor in the Film Program at CNM, considers it crucial that students work with the same tools they’re likely to encounter when they enter the work force. “The more hands-on experience a student has with the tools of the trade,” Bond explained, “the greater the advantage they’ll have when it comes to landing that first position. Lectrosonics wireless technology has a well deserved reputation among location sound mixers.”
Among its various course offerings, CNM has a film crew training certificate program in which students develop the necessary skills that enable them to work in below-the-line craft positions for the various TV and film projects that come through New Mexico. Students have access to six wireless channels via two Lectrosonics VR Field receivers (each stocked with three channels of the company’s VRS modules) along with three Lectrosonics SMQa and three SMa transmitters. All equipment utilizes Lectrosonics’ acclaimed Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology, which uses a proprietary algorithm to encode 24-bit digital audio information with no compression and low distortion into an analog format that can be transmitted in a robust manner over an analog FM wireless link.
Bond discussed some of the production challenges he and his students routinely encountered prior to their use of Lectrosonics equipment. “Dropouts were an ongoing issue,” he reported. “It wasn’t the least bit uncommon to experience a loss in audio just by the talent changing their position. We also had major issues with radio frequency (RF) interference. We regularly shoot in downtown Albuquerque and this is a really rich RF environment. The area is full of telecommunications, microwave, and other frequencies that routinely interfered with the wireless microphone equipment. Since we started working with the Lectrosonics gear, we’ve yet to experience dropouts and the equipment’s ability to quickly and easily identify open frequencies and lock them down is first rate. It’s made a tremendous difference in our ability to operate efficiently—and that’s a major consideration for location sound work. Nobody wants to tell the director they missed a take.”
Lectrosonics build quality is yet another factor that Bond appreciates. “The Lectrosonics gear is extremely rugged,” he said. “Everything is made from metal, so it’s designed to withstand the abuse you typically encounter on location. No matter how careful you try to be, things get bumped and dropped. With the Lectrosonics gear, we don’t experience cracked casings and the splash proof housing on the transmitters keeps them safe from moisture. Equally important, the transmitters are really small, so they’re easily concealed on the talent.”
In addition to their ease of use, Bond was very complimentary of Lectrosonics’ sound quality. “For the first time, we’re getting cabled sound quality from wireless microphones,” he said. “There’s none of the usual artifacts that accompany other wireless systems. To be honest, in the past, I was so preoccupied just keeping the gear operational that I never had a chance to focus on sound quality. By contrast, the Lectrosonics system is terrific.”
As he turned his attention back to the business of the day, Bond offered this parting thought, “Albuquerque is a great place to work in TV and film production and I believe our program does an excellent job of preparing students for work in this field. The Lectrosonics equipment provides excellent sound quality with dropout-free performance and the reliability we require. I genuinely believe it’s important for students to gain experience using the same equipment they’re likely to encounter when they enter the job market. The opportunity for our students to work with Lectrosonics equipment provides tremendous benefit.”
About Central New Mexico Community College
The largest educational institution in New Mexico in terms of undergraduate enrollment, CNM is a regionally-accredited two-year public community college offering certificates in 88 business, health, technology, and trades occupations, as well as short-term career and technical courses. The school also offers associate degrees in 45 occupational fields, the arts and sciences, and provides more online courses than any other public post secondary institution in the state. For additional information, visit CNM online at www.cnm.edu.
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theater technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Visit the company online at www.lectrosonics.com.
Photo info: Image of Barton Bond with CNM student Emily Rhodus.
Photo credit: Lorie Latham