At some point in one’s life, most of us want to experience the thrill of a free fall. Usually, this results in a trip to the amusement park. In Auckland, however, locals and tourists alike get to experience something far more exciting: a base jump from the city’s Sky Tower, an observation and telecommunications tower located on the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets. From a height of 630 feet (192 meters), those daring enough can plummet from a narrow catwalk at speeds up to 53 miles per hour (85 km per hour)—secured by nothing more than a single cable! Capturing this seemingly crazy activity was recently the task of Sydney, Australia-based sound recordist Jason Dirckze with the assistance of Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology from Rio Rancho, NM-based Lectrosonics.
Jason Dirckze has been working in TV production audio for several years and during that time, has captured location sound for National Geographic’s Taboo, Discovery Channel’s Deadly Women, and the Australian reality show Kings Cross ER: St Vincent’s Hospital. It was while working on The Living Room, a lifestyle format TV show covering travel, cooking, home renovations, and more produced by WTFN for Australia’s Network Ten that Dirckze had the challenge of capturing a base jump from the Sky Tower.
“Because The Living Room presents a wide range of lifestyle-related topics, I find myself using a fairly large selection of Lectrosonics equipment,” Dirckze explained. “This gear includes several SMQa, SMDa, SMa, LMa, and UM400a transmitters along with four UCR411a, two SRb5P, and two R1a receivers. I typically run four channels for talent mics, with the rest for camera hops and IFB. I’ve been working with this equipment since 2007 and because I frequently travel the world in this line of work, I find the audio performance and the reliability of the equipment exceptional. With this gear, I know I can count on a rock solid performance every time. Lectrosonics equipment sounds great and the transmitters are super tough and can handle being mistreated during day-to-day life on location.”
“At the Sky Tower,” he continued, “I had the responsibility of capturing audio during a ‘base jump’ from 192 meters straight down. I had two SRb’s and an SMDa in play, with one SRb at the top of the tower and the second unit in a camera with a slot mount at the base of the tower. Between the two SRb’s, I figured there would be some usable audio to work with. Much to my surprise, audio to both cameras was flawless the whole way down on both SRb receivers—all without the use of amplifiers or shark fins.”
When your business is location sound, having confidence in the performance and reliability of one’s equipment is essential. Likewise, the ability to receive capable and responsive customer and technical support services is crucial. In this regard, Dirckze considers Lectrosonics best in class. “In my experience,” he reports, “Lectrosonics has always gone above and beyond in regards to customer service. They understand the urgency and pressures I face out in the field and respond appropriately. I know I can count on the company’s support services.”
As he prepared for another day’s shoot, Dirckze offered these parting thoughts about his Lectrosonics experience, “After seven solid years using Lectrosonics equipment solely for my talent wireless systems, I couldn’t imagine having to do my job with any other gear. I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner for Lectrosonics: they’re always introducing new products to help make my type of work easier and more effective.”