Mixer Able to Stand Up To Greenland’s Sub-Zero Temperatures
GREENLAND — Holland-based documentary company, New Earth Films, put Sound Devices 302 mixer to the test as its crew shot on-location in Greenland for it recent documentary, entitled “Going North”. The mixer’s unique construction and compact design enabled it to withstand the harsh climate of the Greenland terrain while giving the New Earth crew more control over their audio recordings.
“Going North” is a five-part series that profiles the preparation and actual crossing of six Dutch natives as they fulfill their dream to cross Greenland on foot. The film depicts the group’s entire process - from fund raising for the expedition, the testing of equipment to the actual 600 Kilometer (450 Mile) crossing north of the Polar Circle. With the crew shooting in temperatures that reached -34 Celsius (-29.2 Fahrenheit), the project required equipment designed to hold up under extreme conditions. Over the span of 10 days at both the beginning and end of the journey, the New Earth crew gathered overview material, scenic shots as well as conducted interviews utilizing Sound Devices 302 recorder along with a HDV Sony A1 camera. Having used Sound Devices 302 in the past, New Earth Producer and Director of Photography Kevin Augello was quite familiar with the 302’s capabilities but, it was during a shoot in a deep freeze for “Going North” that reaffirmed his choice.
“The team was testing out their sleeping bags and other equipment in a deep freeze. We filmed at minus 22 with the mixer unprotected — no heat pads or anything and there was no problem,” says Augello. “My background is more on the video side but when looking to select audio equipment for the documentaries we produce, all the sound people that I spoke to said to use Sound Devices; simply because they are very reliable. If you are in the middle of Greenland you’re not going to get Fed-Exed a replacement mixer, so it has got to last, it has to do the job and it did.”
Designed specifically for over-the-shoulder field productions, Sound Devices 302 mixer has a complete feature-set in a compact, functional design. All controls are accessible on its three main surfaces for easy access even while wearing cold-weather gear. Easily adaptable to any production setup, the 302 has the ability to interface with wireless transmitters and receivers, camera audio inputs of all kinds, and external audio recorders. For New Earth’s project, the 302 was used in conjunction with a HDV Sony A1 camera and Sennheiser 416 shotgun microphone. In addition to the mixers construction and performance, its endurance was also found useful to the crew. The 302 was able to last for 20 hours on its 3 AA batteries. As Augello explains, it was these sturdy features which allowed the New Earth Film’s crew to navigate the frozen landscape with ease.
“While shooting the actual journey across Greenland, we traveled alongside the team on snow mobiles and we simply tied the mixer in a bag to the back of the snow mobile,” Augello explains. “We were going through some pretty rough terrain, and a couple of times, the snow mobile rolled over with the sound mixer on it, but the mixer kept working.”
In addition to protection from the cold, the 302 was also able to withstand the extreme temperature changes as the crew rested in their tents between shoots.
“When taking a typical mixer from a humid tent to outside, that humidity tends to freeze to your electrical equipment,” says Augello “If there is any design fault in the equipment this is when it would be illustrated, because the electronic circuits would be affected by the rapid change in temperature and humidity. With the Sound Devices 302 mixer we did not experience this.”
“Going North” aired on Holland’s public television station and is currently available on demand at www.goingnorth.avro.nl
Sound Devices, LLC designs and manufactures portable audio mixers, digital recorders and related audio equipment for feature film, episodic television, documentary, news-gathering, and acoustical test and measurement applications. The ten-year old company designs and manufactures from their Reedsburg, Wisconsin headquarters with additional offices in Madison, WI and Highland Park, IL. For more information, visit the Sound Devices website, www.sounddevices.com.
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