What’s in a standard location sound package?

A standard location sound package isn’t exactly the same for every mixer but there are some pretty fairly standard things that producers expect and we mixers try to comply the best we can.

Industry parlance in North America for a standard location sound package is “Two wires and a boom.” What does this mean?

  • Two wireless transmitters and receiver sets with lavalier microphones.
  • Expendables required to hide lavalier or clip to talent’s lapel
  • One boom with proper boom microphone for the job
  • One mixer/recorder which can record all these tracks isolated and mixed
  • Recording media
  • Wired “hops” to feed audio to a camera
  • Dummy slate (non-digital)
  • Necessary cables and adapters needed for the day
  • Batteries for 10 hour day

An excellent package usually means the mixer is providing industry-standard gear like Lectrosonics Wireless and Sound Devices or Zaxcom recorders. Lesser-quality gear or prosumer equipment should not receive industry-standard rates. All mixers start somewhere, using lesser-quality equipment and assisting for more experienced pros. It takes years to aquire the 10s of thousands in gear expected on a professional set. It’s not important to know every piece of gear a mixer uses but if they’re using Sennheiser G3 lavs and a recorder made by Zoom you shouldn’t be paying top prices. I’m a big believer in industry-standard gear! I bet you can tell.

From the “two wires and a boom” package, it’s usually negotiable to add on additional pieces like timecode lockboxes unless the mixer chooses to offer a standard independent film package or commercial package that includes commonly requested items like digital slates and Comtek receivers.

Standard location sound package includes wireless lav mics and mixer

Feature film and TV series are a little more complex for gear rental because they usually have very specific needs based on an individual script. The best way to bid those is to actually read a script and break down the necessary equipment. This way the producer and sound mixer can identify exactly what is needed and necessary to rent.

If you have any questions about a sound package for your next project, please reach out and we’ll be happy to talk you through what’s available and necessary.

Posted on: October 18, 2019, by :