When The Weather Channel’s Tornado Hunt 2012 kicked off its fourth year of providing a live multi-platform experience that submerges viewers into the heart of Tornado Alley, Sound Devices’ 302 portable field mixer was on hand to capture all of the intense storm audio.
Returning for another season, lead meteorologist Mike Bettes and an expert team of storm chasers once again embarked on a journey to capture tornadoes live on air as well as online. Sound Devices’ 302 was used in Bettes’ vehicle, known as “The Bettes Mobile,” to handle on-air audio for the live broadcasts originating from inside it. In addition, The Bettes Mobile was equipped with four vehicle-mounted HD cameras, which provided views of the on-camera talent broadcasting from the front passenger seat, forward-facing “dash-cam” point of views of the producer/driver and a rear-facing “backseat” camera, which allowed an additional meteorologist to participate. Another enhancement to this year’s vehicle platform, an HD switcher with local control, was added. It enabled the camera operator to switch between any of the four cameras during live shots.
“Building a broadcast vehicle like The Bettes Mobile required reliable, robust and trusted gear,” said Kevin Parrish, senior RF engineer, NBC Network News, field and satellite operations. “Due to the nature of this assignment, it’s not possible to provide field maintenance. Everything needs to work correctly from day one.”
Developed specifically for audio-for-picture applications, Sound Devices 302 mixer is designed to let production companies and camera operators take control of their audio. With important features to accommodate nearly any over-the-shoulder production, the 302 interfaces with wireless transmitters and receivers, camera audio inputs of all kinds and external audio recorders. The 302 is a complete field mixer in a compact package. Controls are accessible on its three main surfaces, and its high-efficiency power circuitry runs the mixer from either three internal AA batteries or an external 5-18 VDC.
“Since Sound Devices mixers are pretty much a mainstay for our field audio production needs, they provide a ‘standard platform’ that most of our staff are well accustomed and completely familiar with their operation,” said Parish.