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Thread: Wireless roaming mic options - assistance required

  1. #1
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    Question Wireless roaming mic options - assistance required

    My brother has asked me to help him produce some video footage for his business. Don't worry, he'd not making his own awful adverts, he's actually an historian and ghost / tour guide and having built a good business he's frequently asked whether he has a DVD. Until now the answer has always been no... hence me becoming involved.

    My background is in radio broadcast and video is an entirely different, exciting, but very daunting step.

    Indoors we are fine. I've got him some excellent wireless AKG microphones that clip on so they cannot be seen. I've also got a couple of superb Rode microphones for anything off camera, voice overs etc.

    With a radio background I am more familiar with hand held microphones. I'm employing an HHB digital recorder and a variety of XLR mics for field work also, but the problem is I am now using video and want the microphones to be hidden.

    Short of roping more family members (my wife and kids) into the project, we need to find a wireless option.

    I asked at the best pro-audio place I know locally and they couldn't help me so hopefully someone here can.

    I need a clip on, wireless mic that can be used in the field without access to mains voltage. It would need to work in conjunction with a Canon XL1s. Does a battery powered wireless unit exist?
    I think we are going to need a bigger boat

  2. #2

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    A Lavalier Microphone would be your best bet, their small and clip on and easily hidden.. what you'll have is a wire that can go down the shirt leading to a body pack.. the signal is then transmited to your reciever. There are plenty of types and sizes. If you do a search you'll find plenty of options
    Wil

    Software Used:
    TGV Edius 6, TGV ProCoder 3, DVD Lab Pro. 2

    http://www.youtube.com/user/ChapmanProduction

  3. #3
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    Hi,

    Thanks for that reply. I know it seems rather obvious, but I've already concluded that this would be my best bet, however I'm looking for some advice on a proven mic system with a good track record.

    My main thing is that it must be battery powered (not the microphone), but the receiver! We are a small outfit just starting with video and the only units I have so far found all rely upon 220-240vac mains power. Some of the locations my brother has chosen are in the deepest, darkest areas of the Highlands of Scotland so I'm needing to ensure I can carry all of the equipment with me.

    Perhaps my only bet is using a generator, however I'm concerned about noise levels in and around historic monuments, graveyards and the like. Trying to be as unobtrusive & respectful as possible.

    So, the question really is whether a battery powered mic / receiver combo is available as I cannot find any information despite having had a look (prepared to admit my search keywords are only finding the mic battery side and not receiver).

    Last edited by Parris; 03-31-2009 at 08:32 AM.
    I think we are going to need a bigger boat

  4. #4
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    The best value-for-money is the Sennheiser G2 kit.

    The 122-P kit contains everything you need. It ain't cheap though at £400 - £500 but don't consider anything cheaper, do not buy one off ebay. There are plenty of chinese copies about and they suffer from drop-out, hiss and interference and really are so much effort that it's a total waste of money.

    Sennheiser Worldwide: ew 122-p G2 - ew 122-p G2

    If this is too much for you to fork out, then you're better off hiring kit than buying cheap far-eastern rubbish.

    Edit: Be careful where you buy it from. Radio mics are strictly regulated and, if you use the wrong frequencies and get caught, it can cost you a lot of money. I appreciate that the chances of Ofcom pouncing on the side of a mountain are remote but, in cities, if someone complains...
    If you buy from a proper shop, they will sell the right UK system and let you know which channels are licence-free
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 03-31-2009 at 09:19 AM.

  5. #5
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    Excellent, I shall have a look. I've used Sennheiser microphones in the past and been happy with them. As for cost, then it is higher than I had anticipated, but with an audio broadcast background I appreciate that quality comes at a cost.

    I think I may hire it to begin with and work towards it as I have a seriously tight budget (doesn't everyone!)

    Thanks!
    I think we are going to need a bigger boat

  6. #6
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    My thoughts:

    I use a Lav - Lapel wireless mic but have it attached to a Zoom H2 recorder. The person being interviewed wears the lot and i put the H2 in the case that the sending unit would sit in and hang it from the back of his / her waist so we cant see it.

    We have a wired lapel mic that goes straight into the camera and do post sync with the H2 audio from the others.

    I also have a H2 for background noise.


    So Setup =
    Camera with a wired lapel mic worn by the person conducting the interview instead of the onboard camera mic.
    3 x Zoom H2 - 1 on set background audio - 1 on the person being interviewed and - 1 as a backup or 2nd interview mic.

    I think this will be a cheaper way of getting your audio and as long as you mix it well in post you will not know the difference. We also have a small "Solar" charger for the rechargeable batteries in the lapel mics and the Zoom H2's.

    I have taken the lot over to remote spanish locations and even in the middle of Dartmoor forest in Devon, the key is to have a good starting point for your audio and the post sync will be easy. But im sure you knew that.

    My total cost (A year ago when i bought them on e-bay) was around £150 for the 3 Zoom H2 (There are newer ones out now), 3 x lapel mics @ £50, and £80 for a wireless lapel kit which i only use as a 3rd or fourth choice when indoors, i mainly use the lapel mic from it and hook it straight up to the camera. So £280 all in, it gives me a good range to choose from and i can put the recorders anywhere.

    Mind you, i mainly produce interview type shots, postproduction is a large part for me, so i can normally remove a static mic from shot.

    The wireless system that The Guru has stated looks like a good system too, and you wont go wrong with his advice, just thought i would pop my 2p worth in.

    Mitch

  7. #7
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    The lavalier (tie clip) into a recorder is a good alternative to a wireless system and is cheaper but...

    The biggest disadvantage is the lack of monitoring (and the pain in the butt of syncing in the edit). You start the recording off, your talent walks away and the first you know if it's okay or not, is when you're editing. Clothing rustle, wind noise, bad microphone positioning, etc. Unless you listen to the whole recording after every take you won't know what you've recorded until it's too late. With a wireless set-up you can monitor directly from the camera and hear any problems immediately. You can also see the levels and adjust accordingly.

    Good idea with the H2 but it's not ideal by any means.

  8. #8
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    Guru,

    you are quite correct, my situation is slightly different however as with the H2 you can hook up a headset and do a sound check before we do the take, the clapper sound is a good marker so it does come together quite well in post for me.

    The talent either does as he / she is told or itís the client who is asked to do it in a certain way. I have only had the one bad recording from the H2 with a Lav mic and that was when it was raining and the client wanted to hold an umbrella, unknown to me she was constantly rubbing the lav - lapel mic with the hand she was holding the brolly with. Total loss.

    Again, you are correct in saying it isnít ideal, however in an ideal setup where I am inside, I will use my £80 wireless kit and get excellent audio straight to the camera where it is being monitored via headset.

    I would encourage anyone to try the H2 on surround sound record just out of shot within 1m of the subjects, stitch it all together in post and you can make some fantastic audio.

    By the way, just in case anyone wants to know im using 2 x HVR HD 1000E Sony "Consumer in a Pro body" cams, and they are not too shabby. If I get some time and shoot some non client footage ill post a review.

    Mitch

    Always good discussions and help with you Guru.

  9. #9
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    My situation calls for monitoring on site. At many of the locations we'll have enough on our plates tackling the inclement Scottish weather (notorious), wind and all those little incidentals we must all love and know so well such as clothing rubbing against the lapel or any cables.

    We'll have to seek permission on most location shoots and our time will be limited. We'll more than likely have other people visiting the locations whilst we film, so I need to be able to say 'Stop, the woman on the left sneezed or said Hi Mum!'

    The equipment is limited to what my brother and I could scrape together (we have other work and this is an experimental aside based around my brother's main business as an historian and tour guide).

    Together we purchased a Canon XL1s. The Canon mic pics up every knock and light button press. Zoom in / out and you hear everything. Honestly, the vibration and isolation is shocking.

    We intend to start with this and establish whether there is sufficient interest to invest further. We already know that our clientele are going to be far more interested in the historical content, accuracy and the details of the locations rather than whether it's in beautiful HD etc.

    I need to learn how to walk before I start running and having a zillion options, scroll downs, menus, buttons and parts to a camera is in my view a distraction. When recording audio for radio (for example) I have a trusted HHB recorder that does precisely what I want it to do without many whistles and bells. Those listening to the finished article are less inclined to know what bit-rate the recording was made in, whether the mic was mono or stereo etc.

    That said, I think if we are expecting anyone to pay for the material, we certainly don't want to short change them.

    As a fan of the spoken word I am keenly aware of how a poorly recorded vocal with no regard to background noise and interference can ruin what could otherwise have been a very interesting piece of material.

    Until I have sufficient knowledge and skill to edit & splice my way out of trouble I think the best option, albeit more expensive is the Sennheiser product purely because I can check as I go along.

    With more time, skill and confidence I can see the merits of the cheaper option.

    I really appreciate the fact that you've both taken time out to point out solutions and point out the advantages and disadvantages prior to me forking out money and finding out for myself.
    Last edited by Parris; 03-31-2009 at 10:28 PM.
    I think we are going to need a bigger boat

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