Los Angeles, Calif. - Sound designer Aaron Guice collaborated with director Paul Hunter, known for creating robust and cinematic environments for action-packed commercials and music videos, on the Jennifer Lopez/Fiat 500 Cabrio campaign, for which Guice selected Sound Devices 702 Portable Digital Sound Recorder.
Whether he was positioned on the backseat floor of the Fiat 500 Cabrio or amidst a screaming crowd of people, the 702 recorder was his portable solution. "For this campaign in particular, I was asked to do a lot of on-set, live recordings," says Guice, who had recently purchased the 702 for a recording involving Lenny Kravitz, where a larger setup entailing a laptop with ProTools would not be suitable. "After that experience, I knew I would continue to integrate the 702 as part of my sound recording setup. Its compact size, light weight and performance allowed me to be in close proximity to all the action with super smooth gains."
The production of Jennifer Lopez's music video for her single "Papi" and Fiat 500 Cabrio commercial were integrated-requiring a four-day shoot in downtown Los Angeles-to capture both a 30-second television spot as well as her five-and-a-half- minute music video. According to Guice, the shoot called for something more portable and intimate than the traditional cart with a mixer and a boom operator.
"The action was happening all around, so therefore long wires were out of the question. If you set up from a camera perspective the sound would be of very little use in post," says Guice. "In order to get the sound I was looking for, I had to hide and integrate myself among the chaos with the 702 to give it the right feel." In addition to the 702 recorder, Guice kept his rig at a minimum, only including the essentials for maximum mobility such as a boom microphone on a pistol grip with a short-coiled XLR cable, a lavalier and a pair of headphones.
The two-channel Sound Devices 702 is a powerful, compact file-based digital audio recorder. The device records and plays back audio to cost-effective, removable CompactFlash cards and/or external FireWire drives, making field recording simple and fast. It writes and reads uncompressed PCM audio at 16 or 24 bits with sampling rates between 32 kHz and 192 kHz.
"It would have been impossible to realistically Foley more than 200 rioters as they stomped and screamed through the streets of L.A., I had to be in the thick of it," says Guice. The 702 implements a no-compromise audio path that includes Sound Devices' next-generation microphone preamplifiers. Designed specifically for high-bandwidth, high-bit-rate digital recording, the preamps set a new standard for frequency response linearity, low distortion performance and low noise.
"There was one instance when I wanted to capture sound from the perspective of the interior of the car as individuals in the crowd jumped and tackled each other all around the vehicle," explains Guice. "In order to do so, I wedged myself on the floor of the backseat. I was cramped, but the 702 rested on my side and the panel was available for gain control and playback during takes. The back-lit display, which is easily visible in extreme sunlight or dark situations, made it easy to see everything that was going on."
Not only did the 702 act as a trusty component during production, Guice appreciates its file management capabilities for post-production. "I can efficiently edit the track names, take names and take numbers," continues Guice. "Also, using the integrative Wave Agent software, I can easily drop in to log audio files and split my poly waves. I'm able to put the files into Wave Agent and have my assistant log and categorize the sounds. The practicality of getting source material and integrating it into a sound piece is a very streamlined process that takes a short amount of time."
"In all, since it was a high-end project, it allowed for no margin of error," adds Guice. "Before my Sound Devices 702 had even arrived, I had many questions about data storage, file management and technical specs. Sound Devices customer service was always professional - answering questions with clarity and resourcefulness, so I knew I was in good hands with such high level of service."