Chris Durfy and the Drop Dead Diva sound team
Having secured its fifth television season, responsibility for capturing the dynamic, capturing the witty dialogue of American legal comedy-drama/fantasy series Drop Dead Diva remains with first-unit production sound mixer, Chris Durfy.

With TV credits including The Mansion and Teen Wolf, and work on Scary Movie 5, The Good Lie and four Tyler Perry movies, he currently keep Sound Devices’ 788T Digital Audio Recorder and CL-9 Controller in his production kit.

Much of Durfy’s work takes place on location, where the 788T/CL-9 configuration offers him a lightweight set-up that’s easy to move around in tough terrain. And although Drop Dead Diva is studio-based, it requires quick moves between stages. ‘The CL-9 gives me an affordable, yet powerful solution for converting my audio bag into a cart-based mixer,’ Durfy says. ‘For higher track count needs, I can mount a second 788T with the CL-8 above the first recorder.’

Chris DurfyFor Drop Dead Diva, Durfy’s kit consists of two Sound Devices 788Ts, one CL-9, a CL-8 mixing control surface and a CL-WiFi with iPad control, two Lectrosonics Venue receivers and a combination of Comtek and Lectrosonics IFB transmitters. A Furman P-1800 AR Power Conditioner and Remote Audio MEON v2 remote battery system powers the set-up.

The 788T accepts either microphone or line-level signals, provides 48V phantom power for condenser mics, offers peak limiters for microphone inputs and features fully adjustable high-pass filters. Routing flexibility allows each input to be routed to left/right mixed tracks, isolated tracks or aux tracks. ‘The 788T has been an extremely reliable, rock-solid recorder for me,’ Durfy comments. ‘It has rolled almost five days a week for the past four years, short of holidays and a couple of hiatuses here and there. I’ve been blessed with plentiful work and a recorder that can keep up with our rigorous schedule.’

The CL-8 and CL-9 Controllers complement the 788T system by adding extensive mixing capabilities, regardless of whether Durfy is working from a production bag or cart. With the addition of a CL-9, the 788T becomes a complete mixer/recording system, offering eight ultra-low-latency linear faders and rotary-input trim controls. Critical gain changes are fast, smooth and precise.

In addition to the Sound Devices portable audio solutions on the set of Drop Dead Diva, each camera operator is uses a Sound Devices PIX 240 portable audio/video recorder, delivering edit-ready Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD recording from  SD/HD-SDI or HDMI-equipped video cameras.

‘I think the camera guys have really come around to the PIX 240 as an official piece of camera department gear,’ says Durfy. ‘The 788T and the PIX 240 each have ambient time code generators, so they sync up perfectly. The combination of the audio and video recorders streamlines the workflow and helps save the production a significant amount of time.’

Looking to future projects, Durfy expects to continue using Sound Devices gear: ‘I’m almost done building a brand-new cart based around the PIX 260i and the Dante network,’ he says. ‘Dante allows you to set up an extremely stable and redundant audio network of up to 32 channels of audio. Because of this, I think there will be more and more mixers moving into the PIX 260i realm very soon.’

More: www.sounddevices.com

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