Sound supervisor Daniel S. McCoy CAS complied with IATSE Covid-19 guidelines on the set of America's Got Talent 2020.

Sound supervisor Daniel S. McCoy CAS made use of Bubblebee Industries’ Sidekick in-ear IFB monitors on the set of America's Got Talent 2020.
Sound supervisor Daniel S. McCoy CAS made use of Bubblebee Industries’ Sidekick in-ear IFB monitors on the set of America’s Got Talent 2020.

Los Angeles, CA (January 8, 2021)—To comply with IATSE Covid-19 guidelines during the 2020 production of TV talent show America’s Got Talent, sound supervisor Daniel S. McCoy CAS made use of Bubblebee Industries’ Sidekick in-ear IFB monitors.

McCoy, the owner and operator of Los Angeles-based location and post-production audio company ToneMesa, Inc., was brought onto the show’s production team to handle audio remotes. “With today’s productions requiring an element of social distance, getting comms sorted out is absolutely critical,” McCoy explains. “You can’t expect technicians to show up and place 10 wires on people because it is just not safe. What’s important is having comms equipment that talent are comfortable with. It also needs to have a high useability factor so people don’t need technicians to fit it because they can do it themselves.”

For America’s Got Talent 2020, judges and those auditioning couldn’t all be in the same place. However, it was important that judges saw performances live before deciding which contestants would go through to the next stage of the competition. Remote auditions took place in Las Vegas, with the production crew capturing all performances live to tape. The directors and producers, who were not on set, watched these via Zoom and once the number of contestants had reduced from 60 to 16, the judges were given the chance to see their performances live, again using Zoom.

America’s Got SD12s

Each judge was then given a Sidekick and instructed on their fitting and use. “We showed them once, and for two days, everything was flawless,” McCoy says. “We didn’t have a single issue or any discomfort. They could communicate in real time as they watched our playback, then they could interface directly with the talent in a face-to-face Zoom call.”

McCoy, who was assisted by A2 Billy McKarge, says, “We only had to interface with the judges once, at the beginning, and from then on, they were able to pop the Sidekick monitors in and out of their ear on their own and reset it within seconds — like magic.”

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