When sound mixer Richard Lightstone was looking to upgrade his audio cart with a Dante-compatible digital recorder for Disney XD’s semi-animated children’s program Kirby Buckets, he turned to Sound Devices’ new 970, which offers 64 channels of Dante and MADI.
“I had originally looked at their Video Devices PIX line and was considering it, but once I heard about the 970, which was strictly devoted to audio, I jumped at the chance to get a hold of it,” said Lightstone. “The great advantage of using the 970 with Dante is that I can remove a huge amount of cable from my sound cart. Also, the sheer capacity of the 970 in terms of its high track count really made it stand out from the other products I looked at for this project.”
For his audio recording needs, Lightstone networks the 970 with his Yamaha O1V96 via Dante, which allows him to record up to 16 channels. “I’m recording an average of about eight tracks a day on this project and have even gone up to 13 on a couple of episodes,” he noted. “The 970 can handle this and so much more. While I’ll probably never get to the 64-channel max on this particular project, it’s great to know I can, if needed. Also, as this is a kids’ show, we only have the child actors for a short amount of time each day of shooting, so having the ability to have as many ISO tracks as possible is a real benefit.”
Lightstone’s cart also includes two Lectrosonics Venue wireless racks and a range of microphones, including Schoeps CMIT5U shotgun microphones, COS-11D lavalier mics and the DPA d:screet 4071 and 4081 microphones.
He simultaneously records to both an SSD and CF card, which are mounted via the Sound Devices PIX-CADDY and PIX-CADDY CF respectively. As with the majority of TV programming today, Kirby Buckets is shot in HD. This requires Lightstone to hand over the CF card at the end of each session to the digital technician for transfer onto the master hard drives that go to editorial. The 970’s simultaneous multi-drive feature is a significant benefit in terms of streamlining on-set workflow, while being able to continue to record throughout the transfer process.