Professional Sound - Indepth

Talking Location Recording with Toronto Sound's Adam Clark

***Adam Clark founded post-production and location sound company Toronto Sound in 2012 with his business partner, Aaron Gaistman. Since then, Clark has done location recording for WestJet’s Christmas Miracles ad campaign, Apple Music’s exclusive interview with Drake, and dozens of other films, ads, and productions.

***PS: ***As far as your on-set recording package, what are the key pieces for you and does it change much between jobs?

**AC: **We keep it fairly consistent. I run with Lectrosonics wireless systems with DPA lav microphones. I standardized all of our equipment to the Sound Devices 688 [mixer/recorder] with SL-6 [powering and wireless system] because I found it was a very cohesive package with fewer cables and less everything on it. It was very cohesive and the amount of backups and failsafes in it were amazing, because when you go out on set and something breaks, you want to have a second failsafe and a third failsafe and a fourth one. Sound Devices really built that into the 688 to make sure that if one battery cord dies, you have an internal battery that you can slot your lithium battery into. You can run three different battery sources on it and it has a lot of great reboot functions and a lot of other stuff and it’s really great in extreme heat and extreme cold. It’s great for on-location work because you never know what is going to happen, so you want a piece of machinery that is going to back you up and know that you’re going to take it into multiple scenarios and it will always work.

I’ve sort of standardized my lav microphones and my boom microphones. I use DPA 4060 lav microphones with the DPA 4017B shotgun microphone and I’ve found that both of them have a really nice, clear sound. I found that DPA was really great on their customer service and I was able to develop a lasting relationship with them… Besides that, Denecke backs us up with smart slates and then I use, for my boompole and my bag, I am entirely a K-Tec guy. They released a bag called the K-Tec Stringray, which has everything that I love.

*** ******PS: ***Since you started Toronto Sound, has your work flow changed significantly to make sure you’re getting what you need and getting it to the client efficiently?

** ****AC: **I think standardization. When I first started, I was working off of this little Edirol pocket recorder called the R44. It was a tank of a recorder and great and still one of my favourite things that I used to mix on because it worked well and was great in hard conditions. I had these converted car batteries that I ran into the side of it to be able to get power [laughs]. I wasn’t sure whether or not the car batteries would blow up or I would be able to run this for an entire day. It was heavy and unbalanced and was unwieldy but I loved it. As I started to evolve I went to Sound Devices 422 and then had a 302 and all these other sporadic pieces of gear. I had all this gear split up across all these different spectrums. I had Sennheiser lav microphones mixed with Lectrosonics lav microphones and had a Sanken shotgun microphone mixed with a DPA microphone and I was putting these out on sets and constantly having to mix and match gear and work with my team and stuff.

So two years ago I said I am going to standardize everything so I bought [Sound Devices] 664s and standardized it all across the kit. For spectrum, I had two 644s and one 633, which are the last generation Sound Device products, which were out before the 688 and then that got announced and I got that. Then I upgraded all my lav microphones to [Lectrosonics] SRbs with SMQVs and it was great because I could mix and match everything between channels and work with these different systems and I could send gear and know that if something broke down I would have a replacement available in my gear locker because I had two other kits going.

Now all my kits are basically identical. We standardized all our microphones to the same companies and standardized all our equipment to Sound Devices and standardized all our wireless frequencies with Lectrosonics and it just made things easier because I could mix and match between kits but always know that the kit and the core concept of it was the exact same. That helped us deliver because every time we went on the set, my guys would open up a kit and no matter what, it would be the same equipment and they would know it inside and out because I would pack it the very same way so when you open it up, you could just put your kit together with your eyes closed.

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician, Canadian Music Trade, Professional Sound, and Professional Lighting & Production magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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