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Car rigs monitored from follow vehicle / auto-mix

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Hi all, have a series coming up which involves a bunch of self drive car scenes, crew will be in follow vehicle. in the past I have done the standard wireless everything and recorded/mixed from follow vehicle. I'm just playing around with Nomad auto-mix and think I might use that and leave nomad in picture car with conservatively set levels and then just use one sender system for monitoring in the follow car, this will enable a more reliable link as it will be IFB only and easy to run an ext antenna etc compared to messing around with multiple wireless mic transmitters from pic to follow car. Curious of thoughts re auto-mix in general, I haven't used it in anger yet. (prob be 3 to 5 mic's in car depending on scene).

 

Thanks & regards,

Chris.

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We do a good deal of driving shots on Bosch. Seems like more or less an entire season of cell phone calls in cars.

 

I put my bag rig in the car/pod rig, set some levels, hit roll, and monitor via Comtkes from the follow vehicle.

No worries about range, cars separating etc. The mix can definitely suffer but it serves the interest of always having good isos/decent mix. Mixing from a follow vehicle is slow to rig, horrible for really monitoring well, and is rife with other issues, i.e. it will be remixed in all likelihood anyways. 

The BST75 throws a hell of a long way and we can monitor from a safe distance. I put a receiver through the follow vehicle stereo and pass out a few comteks.

Easy.

 

Hope this helps.

Scott Harber CAS

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Can't speak for the automix on the Nomad but I always drop my 633 bag in the picture car, set conservative levels, turn on Dugan Automixing, and then monitor via R1a's in the follow vehicle.  I'd rather have a mix get weird (rarely happens) than have ISO's that are fading in and out from RF issues.

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Yep bag in the picture car, auto mix why not, but ISO tracks a must

 

If camera is feeding a good 6.5G radio link then feed the camera and then

you can run headset system from the receiver for director etc.

 

mike

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Bag with gear in car,  In the follow van a Comtek plugged into the stereo with the receiver in the front windshield.  Everyone hears, fewer dropouts as only one receiver is needed.  If I can get away with it, I mount the Comtek transmitter on the roof.  Suction mount plus Cardelini, simple and quick

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I agree about the bag in the car if there is a safe place to rig it, ie it won't be trampled by talent or overeager grips and ACs (this has happened to me several times) or be exposed to weather etc. and can be tied down well.  The old school "radio link to remote recorder" method worked very well but was always a nail-biter, esp in urban areas.  (A 2 -recorder method, thus.)   I have ended up doing some car-to-car recording this year due to either there being no good place in the picture car for my rig or I needed to go verite as soon as the pic car "landed" and the talent got out....

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I've been thinking about doing this as well, good to hear that it's a tried and true method! Does anyone have experience with using Wingman from car to car? Could be really useful to roll and stop recording remotely, but I'm a bit worried about reliability. I'm guessing that rigging the WM-Connect a bit more in the open would help, if possible.

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6 minutes ago, Ilari Sivil said:

I've been thinking about doing this as well, good to hear that it's a tried and true method! Does anyone have experience with using Wingman from car to car? Could be really useful to roll and stop recording remotely, but I'm a bit worried about reliability. I'm guessing that rigging the WM-Connect a bit more in the open would help, if possible.

I'd be shocked if bluetooth would work car to car for Wingman.  Maybe someday we would be able to have Sound Devices --> bluetooth wingman --> cell network --> 2nd phone/device?  That would be pretty awesome even if there was horrible latency just to be able to keep an eye on things such as recording status and levels...

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HI Chris. I've had good success with Zax Automix in cars. For this I'm talking about bag drop with IFB send to follow car. I wouldn't say it has been the mix I would want to hand in but it is a sure site better then leaving all channels open. For me the main benefit is it gives me a better indication of which mics may have issues or where other sound problems are coming from. Personally I am a fan of using AutoMix as tool when things are out of your dexterity control. I'm a bit rusty on the better AM settings and have a bunch of car stuff coming up over the next few nights. Wish me luck.

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I do a lot of bag drop / follow car IFB shoots with my Nomad and in these situations AutoMix has been a great tool. 

 

It might take a minute to find the AM setting sweet spot but once you get your talent gain dialed in and the ISOs are good I usually set it and forget it. 

 

Cheers,

Evan Meszaros

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On 07/11/2017 at 1:05 AM, Ilari Sivil said:

I've been thinking about doing this as well, good to hear that it's a tried and true method! Does anyone have experience with using Wingman from car to car? Could be really useful to roll and stop recording remotely, but I'm a bit worried about reliability. I'm guessing that rigging the WM-Connect a bit more in the open would help, if possible.

I tried it as I was just on a project with a lot of car stuff. 

 

Wouldn't trust Wingman range for stopping and starting recording in that situation, I used it for monitoring levels in a follow car but I wouldn't try to push it any more than that, because even that got drop out a lot, even if though we stayed within a reasonable distance, and were fairly remote for most of it. There are way too many variables in play for it to be reliable for much else, nearby signals, follow car falling behind/pulling ahead, structure of of the car I've noticed had an impact, witch some combinations of vehicles working better than others.

 

Drop the bag and monitor via Comtek. 

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13 hours ago, JWBaudio said:

I tried it as I was just on a project with a lot of car stuff. 

 

Wouldn't trust Wingman range for stopping and starting recording in that situation, I used it for monitoring levels in a follow car but I wouldn't try to push it any more than that, because even that got drop out a lot,


Thanks for the insight! Bag drop is probably better, then.

When you're doing bag drops, how do you manage multiple takes? The little experience I have from self-drive scenes indicates that the car might not stop at all between takes, so rolling and stopping could be problematic. A mixer I was interning for earlier this year would have everything wireless in the car and the sound van would be the follow car. He'd sit in the back at his cart and mix as usual. We'd get the shark fins on the front seat and I'd usually be responsible for aiming one of them, the boom op. One time in the same production, even the 1st AC got in the sound van with a wireless follow focus because the shooting car was so cramped. :D

I've heard stories of people getting in the trunk with the bag, but I'd never want to do that personally. It's just for a show, so I wouldn't want to take that kind of risk.

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On 09/11/2017 at 12:22 AM, Ilari Sivil said:

When you're doing bag drops, how do you manage multiple takes? The little experience I have from self-drive scenes indicates that the car might not stop at all between takes, so rolling and stopping could be problematic. A mixer I was interning for earlier this year would have everything wireless in the car and the sound van would be the follow car. He'd sit in the back at his cart and mix as usual. We'd get the shark fins on the front seat and I'd usually be responsible for aiming one of them, the boom op. One time in the same production, even the 1st AC got in the sound van with a wireless follow focus because the shooting car was so cramped. :D

I've heard stories of people getting in the trunk with the bag, but I'd never want to do that personally. It's just for a show, so I wouldn't want to take that kind of risk.

Manage takes best you can (not the most helpful answer). I've done projects where they stop every take or every other take to cut/roll check playback, give notes, etc. and some where they roll through everything before pulling over. Stretch the importance with production that if your hands are off the mixer you absolutely need the time to check the full playback before moving on

 

Of course make sure you've got some TC (always) & scratch (if they want it) or there may be rather exuberant call from DIT or the editor, as I've seen slating vehicle shots missed almost as often as tail slates. 

 

I'm familiar with mixing from a follow vehicle with some fins up, it's a fine setup and a good way to go, but to drop or mix in a follow is going to be determined by production size, pace, how quickly you need to be mobile, if you're in a crowded area with a lot of interference potential or distance between you and radios could suddenly increase, there's a lot to take into account. Also, look into mounting the antennae on the exterior of the follow if you can to get some additional range. 

 

My last project shot a lot in a newer Toyota Avalon and the thing was like a Faraday Cage, couldn't get a reliable signal from inside if you pointed the antenna through the window right at the Tx, so I had to do a bag drop.  Did a pilot in Milwaukee last year, picture car was a Jeep, I had clean frequencies for miles around, and I could mix remote no problem. There are a lot of variables in making the choice, but it varies project to project. (for me at least). 

 

I can say that my default has become bag drops just because it is a bit quicker, it allows me to be cabled to my plant mics  in the car (always a plus) and has less chance of any rf trouble going on between vehicles. 

 

And I've hear about shutting the mixer in the trunk, way too risky. There's always a safe way to get your sound. 

 

Bit long, hope it helped. :-)

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