CAS Quarterly

Summer 2022

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76 S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 I C A S Q U A R T E R L Y 76 76 76 S U M M E R 2 0 2 2 I C A S Q U A R T E R L Y b y A a r o n " C u j o " C o o l e y C A S Why Should I Go DIGITAL on Set? The last several years have brought amazing advances in location sound recording technology, as well as potentially crushing obstacles. 5G and other mobile phone tech, overcrowded and shrinking RF spectrums, exponentially expanding wireless controls on film sets, expansive Wi-Fi demands and delivery, growing departmental communication systems on set and off, and a myriad of other things are seemingly conspiring (and sometimes succeeding) to defeat the PSM in their work. When we add in the new realities of the COVID workspace and ever-shrinking budgets, it seems like PSM's the world over are simply trying to appease the bull in the china shop more than we are actually working at getting good tracks. In this article, we are going to unpack some of those realities and address some of the risk-rewards of a digital and/or remote workflow as a path to getting the bull back outside so we can focus on getting good tracks. Zaxcom RX8 ready for use A common issue that I see with digital system users buying gear with a plug- and-play mindset is that they ultimately end up with a system that performs worse than what they were dealing with before. This cannot only be madly frustrating, but it can actually cause the mixer to become unemployed. Many times, we are sold these bits of gear with an incorrect understanding that it is a panacea to RF problems, and that simply going digital is the answer. This is not entirely correct. It is important to note that for the purpose of this article, I am writing about my personal experience in the continental United States, mostly in the Atlanta, Georgia region. Some of my information also comes from anecdotal and combined conversations with our contemporaries around the United States and abroad, dealers in the U.S., and manufacturers who sell globally. Please take this into consideration for you and your work, wherever in the world this places you. Some of the perceived frailties of going digital include lower power output, decreased range, and a more complicated tuning protocol. The real- ities are that, yes, some of these condi- tions exist, however, it is exceptional- ly rare that any of these conditions exist in any greater significance than in an analog or analog-hybrid system when compared to a fully digital system. Further, many of the obstacles we face on set are universal in their nature and exist no matter what system we use, or where we use it. Obviously, the lower the overall power output, the shorter the useable range, but the type of signal must also be considered. Analog and digital radio signals operate in very different ways and, therefore, the power output is only one consideration. To be sure, some digital systems are well lower than what we are used to, but that might not be the mark of death that one imagines. If you are used to

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