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Best way to have a wireless boom

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What's the best way to decouple a boom? I know Zaxcom makes the custom product that allows for operator monitoring but it seems that other solutions require the boom op to be transmitting and receiving. Is there not an annoying amount of latency introduced in this round trip?

Cheers.

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Any part of a system that relies on digital technology and wireless transmission is going to have some latency. None of the systems currently in use, and this includes Zaxcom's all digital solutions and Lectrosonics hybrid digital solutions have "annoying amounts of latency." With the Zaxcom "custom product" (not actually custom, just a product from Zaxcom) if you are referring to their all in one boom box, the boom operator can monitor their microphone directly with no latency, or a return from the mixer with a 3-5 ms delay.

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Jeff: Thanks. Sorry, incorrect use of the term custom. What I meant by "custom" is that Zax seems to be the only product that is made and offered for the specific use of boom operation. I haven't seen anything by Lectro, Senn, or Audio ltd that allows for both monitoring and transmitting. Just curious to know if anyone else makes something similar or is Zax the only one. Cheers.

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I just put a Lectrosonics HM transmitter on the boom pole and give the boom operator Sennheiser g3 receiver  and headphones so that he can monitor what he is booming. Producers and directors get Comteks to listen, but the G3 gives my boom op a cleaner sounding signal. Normally I just send the boom track to the G3, whereas the directors Comteks get the mono mix.

 

 I use side entry XLR on the boom pole so that the connection doesn't get jacked if the base of the pole is rested on the ground. I also secure the HM to the pole with a bongo tie as an extra measure to stop it from falling if the lock connector lock fails. Never had any latency issues with this setup at all

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I use a fairly common rig: Sound Devices MM1(great pre and limiter) to a Lectro TX to the mixer.  I have a talkback on a G2 or a Comtek (that is only my talkback).  The boom op makes their own mix of mic vs talkback and chooses which ear to hear the moni of their mix and my talkback in.   Boom ops like the very hifi audio of their mic they get to hear.

 

philp

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The advantage of the Zaxcom system is that it is all digital and will allow the boom operator to monitor the wireless transmitter without 2 analog links and many more a-d and d-a conversions at the sound cart. 

 

Only a single conversion at the TRX742 and a single conversion in the ERX back to analog is as clean as you can get. You also get Neverclip and internal transmitter recording.

 

Glenn

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Even though I actually use the Zaxcom 742 for wireless boom, my boom-op does not monitor off it. Simple reason is that I want to be able to talk to him. No one has complained about latency yet, and the monitoring directly off the 742 introduces a delay, too

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Also the real-world delay in either the Zaxcom or Lectrosonics transmitters is only 3ms, which is 1/10th of a frame. It's not nearly enough to worry about. 

 

The plug-on Lectro HM generally works very well, though I know quite a few crews that use the more powerful 250mW belt-pack transmitters. There's lots of choices out there. The real problem is getting the iso feed back to the boom op, which is tricky when the mixer needs to talk to him on the PL while still transmitting an open wireless feed to the director and others.

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I don't want to derail this topic (but I don't want to start a new one for this not terribly important question): regarding the Boom Operator's monitor, how many of us sound mixers (and boom operators) want the boom operator to listen to the mix, not just their boom mic? The best answer, of course, is the system that allows the boom op to listen to either the mix (return from the sound mixer's cart) OR the boom mic alone. Just curious what the general preference is.

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I have always given my boom ops the choice, and they all prefer the mix. Some have asked to listen to just themselves, but always end up taking the mix anyway.

I think it's good for them to hear the mix, mostly because if there are gaps in a multi-mic mix, it's easier to sort out how to fill them on the next take if everyone is listening to the same thing.

Regarding OP - a growing percentage of narrative mixers in the US and elsewhere are using wireless boom. Probably a vast majority. Of those, including myself, I'd guess a majority are using Lectro hybrid. No latency issues.

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I prefer my BoomOps to listen to the mix too. But it´s up to them really. If they do listen to the mix it´s to identify a problem during the take. Otherwise I have to spot the noisy lav, a missed cue etc myself and alone and need to explain what the problem was. Takes time - something we don´t have that much in between takes.

Using 742 on the Boom and G3 for TB/IFB.

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sfw: " What's the best way to decouple a boom? "

once again, a bit of reading and searching would reveal the previous discussions; not much has changed...

any "best" includes a lot of it depends, and subjectivity.

" What I meant by "custom" is that Zax seems to be the only product that is made and offered for the specific use of boom operation. "

you would also have learned that Zaxcom particularly specializes in the production sound for images market sector, while other manufactures may pay close attention to "our" needs and working situations, none is as focused on "us" as Zaxcom.

 

and my usual answer to JW's question, is that it depends on both the boomer, and the situation.

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Some have asked to listen to just themselves, but always end up taking the mix anyway.

 

 

+1, exactly the same here. Then I have this weird theory that when the boom op listens to only their mic's sound as opposed to the mix, possibly even directly and in high fidelity, that it can actually distract them from booming, which I consider a pretty visual job.

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Strangely enough, most of the boom ops I know, prefer to listen to the boom mic only. They say that it helps them to make sure that they get the best position for the boom.

The slightly older generation of boom ops I know actually seem to prefer to not wear headphones at all, which really annoys me at times, as I have to go to the set for every little thing, but I'll always try to accomodate them. At times, I have insisted on headphones, though

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I use a fairly common rig: Sound Devices MM1(great pre and limiter) to a Lectro TX to the mixer.  I have a talkback on a G2 or a Comtek (that is only my talkback).  The boom op makes their own mix of mic vs talkback and chooses which ear to hear the moni of their mix and my talkback in.   Boom ops like the very hifi audio of their mic they get to hear.

 

philp

+1

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 Then I have this weird theory that when the boom op listens to only their mic's sound as opposed to the mix, possibly even directly and in high fidelity, that it can actually distract them from booming, which I consider a pretty visual job.

I don't agree that booming is a visual job. It is way more Zen than one sense. It was all about hearing the dialog and keeping it as smooth and consistent from take to take for me and that mostly had to do with hearing it 1st and mixing on the pole.

CrewC

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I agree with Crew and I will take the opportunity to mention why it is that I have always wanted the Boom Operator to wear headphones and listen to my mix for the scene. There are only a few times when Don Coufal over the last 36 years has wanted to hear the boom mic alone while we are recording a scene. There are quite a few of us old timers, and probably a few younger mixers, who really take the team effort seriously. To fully participate in the whole process of covering a scene, the Boom Operator's contribution is not confined to just pointing the mic at the right people at the right time. The old school of mixing (and at my age I don't really have a choice), any given scene may involve a boom microphone, a plant mic, several wireless body mics, etc. My mix will involve, at various times during the scene, all of these sources. For example, if the first bit of dialog is on the wires and then comes onto the boom mic, my mix, my crossfade, needs to be heard by the Boom Operator for the mix to really work. Don and I have done hundreds of shots with multiple sources and when listening to the one track mix you would be hard pressed to ever determine how it was actually done. I don't believe this could be accomplished if Don's participation in the mix was limited to only hearing his mic.

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I don't agree that booming is a visual job. It is way more Zen than one sense. It was all about hearing the dialog and keeping it as smooth and consistent from take to take for me and that mostly had to do with hearing it 1st and mixing on the pole.

CrewC

 

What you write makes total sense to me. So I will rephrase my prior statement: Booming is much more than a visual job, but it does require a lot of attention to and knowledge of the visual details (lighting, framing etc.) of a scene.

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In my humble opinion; sometimes I don't want to wear headphones especially in one camera scenario and close up in a quiet location. Six months on the mountain and the closest traffic road in 30 kilometers it was a paradise (and hell).

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My setup is a Lectro plug on a side mount at the bottom of the internally cabled pole and a Lectro IFB return to the boomer. I have it set up where I can route any input on my console to the boom operator, including a talkback. Most only want their mic, but there are times when they request the wires to help them with cues.

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No latency in analog transmitters. In my case, En2 PTX on boom, G3 for monitor.

My boom op prefers hearing only his boom. Using the 788T's AUX tracks for monitoring, I can route anything to him, pre or post fader.

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Also the real-world delay in either the Zaxcom or Lectrosonics transmitters is only 3ms, which is 1/10th of a frame. It's not nearly enough to worry about. 

 

The plug-on Lectro HM generally works very well, though I know quite a few crews that use the more powerful 250mW belt-pack transmitters. There's lots of choices out there. The real problem is getting the iso feed back to the boom op, which is tricky when the mixer needs to talk to him on the PL while still transmitting an open wireless feed to the director and others.

 

Tricky? Yes. I have solved it very well if at the sacrifice of a channel on the mixer and one at the recorder that sometimes gets full.

 

Will make a drawing of the signal flow and upload forthwith...

 

It's all about the Aux's. Both Aux channels offer off/pre-/post-fade switch options. Aux two (public channel) has individual channel volume controls --> Aux 2 so their mix may be fine tuned if they wanna hear a little music. Both Aux channels have master volume controls. Boom wants to hear just the boom, I turn off all the other mics to Aux 1 at the switches. Private convo with boom? Turn off Aux 2 public channel Master volume knob. Many ways to set it up. This is mine. For now.

 

Love my 992's and am heartily sad they aren't selling them willingly any longer. 

 

Latency/schmatency.

 

Remote Audio (maker of the Boom Box V2) VOG/talkback solution has been working on some RF issues with the device and a modded almost-there 2nd unit makes it way to me since I use it so heavily, want to have a backup and a readily handy VOG. Their 5-pin fanout options work a charm with about any piece of gear out there. Love their build quality, too.

post-859-0-56151900-1417104938_thumb.jpe

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I don't want to derail this topic (but I don't want to start a new one for this not terribly important question): regarding the Boom Operator's monitor, how many of us sound mixers (and boom operators) want the boom operator to listen to the mix, not just their boom mic? The best answer, of course, is the system that allows the boom op to listen to either the mix (return from the sound mixer's cart) OR the boom mic alone. Just curious what the general preference is.

Boom op's choice. I worked with one guy in the cabled days that liked to hear mix in one ear. Otherwise I've only had boom op's want to hear lavs/mix if its for cueing purposes. Offhand a few cases where there was a walk that lead to dialog and they had to hide until the dialog part. Very specific situations though.

We *usually* used a MM1, so I had the return channel to privately talk to them and give that cue as well. We could have easily fed mix to the "monitor" input, but I've never had a boom op want it.

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