Changsha Hunan / China,

Shure portable wireless systems capture audio for "Where Are We Going, Dad 2"

UHF-R Wireless Systems ensure stable, dependable, and high quality production sound for Chinese reality show

Changsha, Hunan, October 2014 - "Where Are We Going, Dad?" is a parent-child reality show broadcasted by Hunan TV in China. The program’s booming popularity and impact has continuously grown since its debut in 2013, leading to the production of a second season which started in June 2014. With increased demands for improved audio quality and equipment stability, the production team upgraded the entire sound recording equipment for Season 2, and turned to Shure UHF-R Portable Wireless Systems.

Deputy Director of the Production Center of Hunan TV, Wei-Hua Xiao, says "Reality shows are different from other shows because there are no retakes. The shooting is very dynamic and the range of action is much bigger. Since the sound recording engineer is not always close to the shoot and cannot jump in to make corrections, we have to ensure that the sound recording is foolproof. Sound integrity is our main priority, and having learned from the experiences from the first season of “Where are we going, Dad?” we chose Shure UHF-R system to improve audio performance in Season 2.”

The show features five fathers and their children as they travel to various rural places across China, exposing the recording equipment to harsh working conditions and difficult RF environments. After making detailed performance comparisons of available sound recording solutions, the production team finally decided on the Shure UHF-R Wireless Systems coupled with UR1 bodypack transmitters, UR5 portable receivers, and lavalier microphones MX150 and WL93.

During shooting, every one of the 11 show participants had to wear a lavalier microphone with UR1 bodypack transmitter. The transmitters were paired with three UR5 receivers mounted on the cameras and directly merged the audio with the visuals captured by the camera. The shooting of each episode took 2 to 3 days and the equipment was in constant use, required to maintain stable performance during the whole time, and to handle unexpected situations or rough natural conditions. “Shure is well known for its dependability and durability. The equipment is rugged, and still works even after falling into water, which guarantees us uninterrupted recording”, comments Xiao.

The UR1 transmitters also feature switchable output power, offering more flexibility and a longer operating range. This significantly enhances the dynamic of filming and also allows wider creative space for the cameraman.

The many outdoor shooting locations included Chongqing's Wulong Nature Reserve, Zhejiang's Qiaodao Lake, Huaihua Miao Village at Xiangxi, Hunan, Hongkou ecological area in Dujiangyan, Sichuan, the Hulunbeir Grasslands of Inner Mongolia, and the Yellow River Stone Forest at Jingtai, Gansu. The audio team faced a challenging RF environment in these locations and had to carry out RF planning and setup for all wireless channels wherever they go. Unable to bring broad spectrum monitoring equipment to these remote locations, the team made effective use of the portability and RF scanning feature of the Shure UR5 wireless receiver. After defining the maximum usable frequency group through "group scanning", they were able to swiftly define a multi-channel wireless system. In addition, the availability of backup frequencies allowed the crew to effectively avoid interference during production, ensuring high efficiency and security of the recording.

Senior Sound Recording Engineer of the Production Center of Hunan TV, Chuan Zhao, says “after shooting the first few episodes with the new Shure equipment we realized a significant improvement of sound quality. Only with good and stable equipment, we can record clear, vivid sound, and Shure is exactly what we were looking for."

"Where Are We Going, Dad?" Season 2 was produced for more than three months. The UHF-R portable wireless system from Shure was well-tested in terms of stability, durability, portability, and flexibility, and played a significant role in safeguarding the integrity of the whole production. “The equipment has delivered a strong performance so far; it is robust and extremely stable, and we have not encountered any issues”, says Xiao.

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