Since audio is such an important element of video and film production, there are often production scenarios that call for more than two tracks of recorded sound. Reality programs are among the most popular shows on television. These shows will regularly have numerous people wandering around, all of them wearing wireless microphones. Since their actions are unscripted, the challenge of mixing all of those separate wireless microphones down to two tracks is often too risky. One solution is to use a portable audio recorder with multi-track capabilities.
Yes, yes, a million times yes. Even the best wireless are subject to dropouts on occasion. Sometimes you just can't: budget or schedule won't permit the extra care and feeding required. But if you're a producer putting together your next show, consider affording your production sound mixer the flexibility they need to do the job properly. Not only will the final product be better, it is always cheaper to do it right the first time, rather than try to recover useful material after the fact.
Next, a profile of globe-trotting mixer Raphael Gorham. Snip:
Has certain equipment ever saved the day for you?
On an ENG shoot where Hilary Clinton was thanking a dozen local politicians in a suburban diner, there were about 6 network crews waiting for her when she arrived. There were only 3 sound techs and we all had planned to use booms to get her audio. I happened to have a Crown PZM mic and phantom PS in my bag, so I set in the middle of the tables where they were to sit and attached a wireless transmitter. When Clinton arrived, Secret Service moved the press further out of range than we had anticipated (which is not a problem for cameramen) so booming her was not an option. The PZM worked great and I was able to record the entire conversation.
Pay attention, kids. This is the kind of stuff that can make or break an entire shoot.
"How To Use a Portable Audio Recorder"
"Pro Audio Profiles - Raphael Gorham"