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Sennheiser mics bring clarity to Chinese reality TV show

The Go Fighting! Treasure Walk - Harmonious Countryside show shoots complex scenes outide using a Sennheiser EW-DP all-digital, UHF camera microphone

The popular Chinese outdoor reality TV show, Go Fighting! Treasure Walk – Harmonious Countryside, has been shooting complex scenes using 40-channel Sennheiser EW-DP, an all-digital, UHF camera microphone system.

Created by Shanghai Media Group (SMG), the popular show showcases beautiful landscapes and local customs in China’s countryside. For the fourth season, the film crew visited locations ranging from quiet hamlets in the valleys to ancient villages surrounded by mountains. The scenery and bustling crowds made it entertaining, but it was also challenging capture clear on-site audio.

Xu Mengyu, head of audio, was responsible for the season’s sound recording, including vocals, ambient sound and sound reinforcement. After more than a month of field testing and comparison, Xu Mengyu chose 40 channels of EW-DP. Xu is a longtime user of the Sennheiser EW 112P G4. But after hearing about Sennheiser’s new EW‑DP and trying it out, he was was even more impressed.

He said: “We tested the EW-DP to its limit. It performed amazingly well, and with the same Sennheiser quality as always. The subsequent recording process went smoothly, with the EW-DP delivering clear and stable sound quality, reliability and a great user experience.”

As a member of the Evolution Wireless Digital series, the EW-DP has equidistant channel spacing and automatic frequency coordination. The receiver can quickly find the best free frequency and synchronise with the transmitter via Bluetooth. Thanks to 56 MHz of tuning bandwidth and equidistant frequency spacing, up to 90 channels can automatically be preset by EW-DP. Xu remarked: “When I need to change the frequency on the spot, EW-DP is intuitive and easy to operate, saving me a lot of valuable time and energy,” he commented.

There are many sources of interference in an outdoor recording location. The variety of signal interference often causes frequency dropouts or sound loss, which was another major challenge the audio team faced, and also required absolute stability from the audio equipment. As a digital UHF wireless digital microphone system, EW-DP’s anti-interference stability impressed Xu Mengyu.

“EW-DP’s stability is so strong,” he said. “It is almost completely unaffected by any external signal interference. I no longer need to worry if there are telecoms towers nearby.”

In addition, outdoor programme recording has very high requirements for the security of audio materials, so the programme team often record multiple backup tracks simultaneously. At the same time, the executive director needs to listen to the guests in real time. In response to these practical needs, Xu Mengyu’s team designed a radio system for the programme with one transmitter matching four receivers, i.e. one EW-DP SK transmitter paired with four EW-DP EK receivers.

The EW-DP EK receivers have a magnetic stacking system. The first EK receiver is mounted onto the main camera through a magnetic mounting plate. The second and third receivers are connected to two Sound Devices 688 recorders for recording backup audio files.

Xu Mengyu also specially modified the antenna of one of these receivers with a Sennheiser ADP UHF passive directional antenna, which further enhances the signal reception range to better ensure the stability of the signal in an extremely complex environment. The fourth receiver was used by the executive director for monitoring.

Reality shows are characterised by their sense of realism, so the cameraman is often unable to follow the guests at close range. This requires not only reliable and robust radio equipment, but also easy operation and excellent visualisation of information, so that the cameraman can easily monitor the equipment in real time.

“The EW-DP’s user-friendly interface is ideal for programme making. All controls and settings are made on the receiver, and the bodypack transmitter only has two internal buttons, which effectively prevents guests from accidentally touching them,” added Xu Mengyu.

“The EW‑DP’s powerful OLED display brings great convenience to our work. It faces the cameraman, and we know the exact runtime of the batteries at any time without having to rely on experience to make an estimate, which allows us to deal with unforeseen situations. This is an unprecedented experience and very important for outdoor reality show recording.”