On CBS’ TV show Lucky Dog, animal trainer and behaviorist Brandon McMillan, visits his local shelter to rescue hard-to-love, out-of control, untrained, and unadoptable dogs. He then takes the dog back to his ranch for training before finding each one a home.
Unfortunately, filming with out-of-control pups isn’t always walk in the (dog) park. As a result, Digital Hybrid Wireless technology from Lectrosonics played a vital role in capturing the show’s audio.
Danny Hammer is the location sound mixer for Lucky Dog. With a resume that includes coordinating over 80 episodes of the Emmy Award winning A&E TV series Intervention, plus numerous documentary and live productions, Hammer knows what to look for when it comes to wireless microphones.
“For Lucky Dog,” explained Hammer, “I’m using Lectrosonics SMV Super-Miniature and UM400a beltpack transmitters with a combination of SRb dual-channel slot mount and UCR411a compact receivers, plus an R1a beltpack IFB receiver.
“Depending upon the nature of the shoot, I’m typically using anywhere from one to five wireless channels.”
“First and foremost,” Hammer continued, “audio quality is everything in my end of the business and, in this regard, Lectrosonics is hard to beat. I also really appreciate the fact that the equipment operates on multiple frequency blocks—enabling me to find the cleanest signals in a variety of locations.
“The large readout on the UCR411a makes it easy for me to get a quick view of settings, frequency response, and TX battery life, and the unit’s durable construction enables me to use this equipment under harsh conditions that would be really detrimental to a lot of other equipment.”
“The SMV Super-Miniature transmitters are really valuable,” he adds, “because their smaller size allow seamless pack placement for smaller subjects without having to worry about a bulge or protruding mic pack that might otherwise distract the audience from what the subject is actually doing.”
Hammer notes that when working on a show like Lucky Dog, it is important to be able to create distance between himself, the talent, and the animals being trained in order to not distract the process. A dog can be keen to turn its attention toward the presence of bystanders, sudden movements, or even the fuzzy rabbit-looking thing that dangles on the end of a boom pole.
“All or any of these things can effectively disrupt the natural process of training the animal,” Hammer explains. “Knowing that you have a reliable and durable wireless system is key to making everything come together.”
As a location sound mixer, Hammer has found that it is imperative to have equipment that can handle a diverse range of applications, allowing him to focus more on the production as opposed to the logistics of operating the equipment.
“Lectrosonics gives me the peace of mind that, if I’ve covered all my bases, the shoot will run smoothly,” he concludes. “You can’t ask for more than that.”