A sought-after sound professional in Mexico’s film industry, Sealtiel “Sal” Alatriste is on location in the city of Guadalajara in the Western Mexico state of Jalisco, where he’s working on a feature film called Las Mutaciones. Directed by Jorge Ramirez Suarez and starring Tony Dalton, Alatriste’s role is capturing dialog with his Lectrosonics wireless. His sound kit comprises six SMWB, eight SMV, two HMa, and two UM400a transmitters, along with four SRc, two SRa, and four UCR411a receivers.
Like many sound mixers/recordists in film and TV production, Alatriste started out with an interest in music, which included playing guitar and recording. His father advised him that if he truly wants to dedicate his life to music, he should study seriously for a career. He learned music production and engineering, first at the Berklee School of Music in Boston and then the SAE Institute both in Los Angeles and in Madrid, Spain. He progressed from recording bands to doing sound design for TV commercials. Gradually he took on more sound design jobs for film, which in turn led him to recording sound on the sets.
Based in Mexico City, Alatriste boasts a résumé of production work that spans more than 23 movies, including some Mexican horror films that, as he puts it with tongue in cheek, allow him to relax a little because there is little dialog. He has also worked on some Disney projects in addition to a bunch of Netflix offerings. Alariste’s credits include Netflix productions The Lincoln Lawyer and The War Next-door (original title in Spanish, Guerra de vecinos), as well as a number of short and feature-length films.
As he hadn’t specifically studied production sound in school, Alatriste used internet research to discover what equipment and techniques other sound professionals used in TV and film. It was through this research that he discovered Lectrosonics. That online digging paid off because The War Next-door, the Netflix comedy series about two families and a house won as a raffle prize, was shot almost entirely on location, and he sometimes had to run lavalier mics and belt pack transmitters on 16 or 17 actors simultaneously. This could be fairly demanding even in a relatively pristine RF environment, but he says RF coordination and regulation in Mexico is just not as rigorous as in the US and Europe. Despite these compound challenges, his Lectrosonics systems allowed him to find small niches of usable spectrum and ultimately delivered his desired results: GCA, or “good, clean audio.”
Alatriste has high praise for his Lectrosonics wireless systems. “They’re very well-built,” he explains. “Lectrosonics always works well, which means I don’t have to worry about my gear.” Remembering his first Lectrosonics system, he said, “It was love at first sight, and now I only use Lectrosonics.” He explains that historically, Mexican films have tended to have lower quality dialog; he always aspired to have his films to sound as good as American movies. “Lectrosonics helps me achieve good, clean audio — every time.”
On shoots, Alatriste typically works with a couple boom mic operators, and he goes wireless on them as well, using HMa plug-on transmitters. Shoots today are highly mobile or are multi-cam, situations where cables tend to be a hindrance. Lectrosonics reliability and audio quality ensure that going wireless, instead of using cables, is not a step down or compromise. He runs his receivers in a sound bag within his sound cart, so he’s always ready to go portable on a moment’s notice.
On his current project, Alatriste will have spent 100 straight days in Guadalajara by the time it ends. He’s recently finished a Netflix series that premiers in September, and in July he starts work on a new feature film in Mexico City.
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theatre technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company’s dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics received an Academy Scientific and Technical Award for its Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology and is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Visit the company online at www.lectrosonics.com. For spare parts and a full line of accessories, visit the company’s online store: Lectrosonics U.S. Online Accessory Store.
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