Veteran audio supervisor uses PIX rack-mount video recorders to handle large multi-backup recording needs for recent work on A&E’s 60 Days In.

NEW LENOX, IL — Veteran Audio Supervisor Joe Leo has been involved with many types of sound productions throughout his career. While he specializes in on-location, multi-track sound recording, he has worked on many different types of productions and genres, including studio, field, multi-camera, sports, commercials, corporate, and reality. He consistently relies on his audio equipment from Sound Devices, and has more recently added Video Devices products into his production arsenal.

Leo has used a wide range of Sound Devices gear including the 302, 552, and the entire 6-Series of field production mixers. “With the 633, the portability of six inputs in such a small package makes this product great,” says Leo. “When I’m doing news or anything that requires me to move quickly, the 633 makes that possible. The high track counts of the 688 and 664 field production mixers allow me to load up my bag for a reality show and have all those channels at my fingertips.”

Joe Leo capturing audio with his 633 in Montana

Recently, Leo has noticed an uptick in requests for audio and video to be married together. Clients are constantly asking for audio tracks to be laid under and synched with their footage so they don’t have to do the work in post. To make this possible, Leo calls upon Video Devices’ rack-mount PIX 270i and PIX 260i video decks, plus the company’s latest portable PIX-E5 4K recording monitor as part of his inventory.

“Sound Devices has proven to be vital to the success of the productions I work on,” says Leo. “The multi-backup recording capabilities are amazing. I can record a timecode transcription, and download it immediately after an interview, and still have my 12 channels recording. That’s been a huge time-saving benefit, as I can manage and handle it onsite, whereas I used to have to take it home.”

On one of his recently completed projects, 60 Days In, which is currently airing on A&E, Leo’s Video Devices multi-drive video recorders, PIX 270i and PIX 260i, worked 24/7 for sixty straight days. “The recorders never stopped. We just swapped out the hard drives and kept on recording,” adds Leo. “No other recorder could have handled this production. Being able to just hit a button, and have the peace of mind that we were recording, was a lifesaver for us. To give a scope of the size of the project, we had fifteen recorders that were documenting about thirteen terabytes a day for a total of 1.4 petabytes of data for sixty days. That is an insane amount of data, and one that I can only trust to Video Devices.”

Joe with PIX 270is for 60 Days In

Although the PIX 260i is now discontinued, the PIX 270i is the flagship of the PIX rack-mount video recorder line. Both are multi-drive, networkable recorders with frame-synchronized recording and playback capabilities, offering significant advantages and time savings to production workflows. In addition to extensive video I/O for flexibility, the PIX 270i supports ProRes and Avid®DNxHD codecs and features a powerful scaler, frame rate converter, and a built-in Ambient™ timecode generator. It also can record up to 64 channels of MADI and/or Dante audio I/O.

Leo recently added the PIX-E5 to his video gear, a compact 5-inch, camera-mount video monitor with integrated recorder, capable of recording Apple® ProRes (from Proxy to 4444 XQ) and H.264 codecs. Its features include a suite of professional monitoring tools, scopes, LUTs, cross-conversion and downscaling, as well as easy touch-screen and tactile button navigation of the user interface.

“The PIX-E5, our newest addition, offers a familiarity within the menu structure that is so nice to have — everything is in the same spot, and I do not have to go searching through the menus. We are also able to migrate more channels into the PIX-E5 off of my record, as a dual backup.”


Leo plans to continue to use Sound Devices and Video Devices gear moving forward. “Sound Devices and Video Devices are our go-to for audio and video recording,” says Leo. “Sound Devices equipment just works better [than other audio gear]. If we ever do have an issue, we are able to get their amazing customer support people on the phone right away and get a resolution extremely fast.

“I’m always looking at adding new gear into my rig, including their new CL-12 Linear Fader Controller.”