It was about one year ago that Latin talk show host Cristina rocked the Latin broadcast world with her move to Telemundo to start a new weekly entertainment program, Pa’lante con Cristina. The two-hour show is staged at Miami’s Blue Dolphin Studios before a live studio audience of about 300 people.
The studio design and integration were done by a Miami firm, Acoutech. Because the show mixes traditional talk show format with live entertainment, the selection and deployment of wireless systems was critical. Based on its success with Shure products, Acoutech selected Shure UHF-R wireless for the show.
“Miami can be a difficult place for wireless, but we have been very successful with Shure wireless in similar situations,” says Robert Acito, one of the Acoutech engineers who helped design the studio. “The flexibility of UHF-R, both the hardware and the available frequencies, and the ability to use the Wireless Workbench software to monitor all systems, were important considerations. Plus, we were confident that Telemundo would be happy with the choice of Shure.”
The show uses 28 channels of Shure UHF-R, with 14 dual receivers. Half are combo systems, with a choice of bodypack or handheld mics. The rest are all bodypack systems. In addition, the show uses 12 channels of wireless intercom and, on occasion, eight channels of in-ear monitors for live music. Cristina and her guests typically use Countryman B3 lavalier mics, with the host wearing two for redundancy. Handheld mic options include the full range of Shure premium capsules: KSM9, Beta 87A, Beta 58A®;, and SM58®;.
As systems tech and front of house engineer for the program, Acito handles much of the frequency coordination himself. “We have been taping since last year, and the wireless has been very stable for us,” says Acito. “We make sure we coordinate with any shows being shot in the other studios, and haven’t had any failures on the show. It’s really just a matter of good system design. All of the Shure wireless runs through two paddle antennas, cascading through four distribution amps.”
Another tool that Acito uses daily is Shure’s Wireless Workbench software, which is included with the UHF-R system. “With so many systems in use, it’s easy to lose track of things like battery life, and we can’t afford any failures. Wireless Workbench shows me all the key information I need for every transmitter, including on/off, RF level, and remaining battery life. I can also lower or mute the output of a receiver. It’s an important tool that I use every day.”
For most tapings, Acito handles the FOH and monitor mixes. “If the artist on the show is simple and only needs two or three mixes, I handle the monitors myself,” he relates. “If it’s a large act with more complex monitor needs, we bring in a full monitor package and music truck.”
Shure hardwired mics are also a big part of the studio design for Cristina. Eight MX202 miniature choir mics are used to capture the audience without intruding visually into the camera shots. In addition, the mic package for live bands includes Shure KSM353 and KSM313 ribbon mics for guitar amps and horns, plus a full complement of Shure drum mics.
For Acoutech, supplying the production techs for tapings of Pa’lante con Cristina gives them the opportunity to test their studio design on a weekly basis. Robert Acito reports, “Using Shure wireless and Shure hardwired microphones on Cristina’s show was really an easy decision for us. You can’t afford a failure in broadcast television, and we’ve had a long and successful relationship with Shure. The products are great, and if there is ever a problem, they are there to support us. Our customer is very happy with the results, and that’s what matters.”