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ctboita

Help Me Round Out My Kit!

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I am new to the freelance world and am seeking advice on what gear to buy to round out my kit. I know I am seriously lacking in the wireless department and may need to rent those for now. In my previous life, we could not use wireless transmitters for anything and had to cable wrangle all day long. I think I have a pretty good start, but wonder what you would purchase to supplement what I already own. I don’t really need specific manufacture/models (although any would be appreciated) but rather what type of essential gear is missing from the list below that I should own. I am sure this is a bit hard to answer without knowing the specifics of the shoot but I initially plan to seek out corporate, documentary, and other small jobs that don’t require a lot of gear. From what I can gather by reading through the multiple posts on this site, a basic kit consists of: A mixer/recorder, a boom pole and mic with accessories, and a couple of wireless lavs. What am I missing? Time code generator? Wireless camera hops? Comteks? Or are these “nice to haves?”


My Current Audio Gear List:
(1) Sound Devices 664 Audio Mixer with bag and batteries. 
(2) Neumann KMR 81 Shotgun Microphones
(1) Sennheiser MKH 416 Shotgun Microphone
(1) Audio Technica BP4029 Stereo Shotgun Mic
(2) Neumann KM184mt Condenser Microphones
(1) Neumann U87Ai Studio Microphone
(2) K-Tek Carbon Fiber Boom Poles with Internal Cable
(1) Rycote Shotgun Microphone Windshield Kit
(2) Rycote Suspension Mounts
(1) Sennheiser AVX Wireless transmitter/receiver with ME2 lavalier Mic
Various mic stands, XLR cables, and other accessories.


How often do you run into a situation where the camera department requires a wireless hop from the mixer to camera(s)? Are most productions fine with a wired breakaway cable? If wireless, what is the best economical solution?


I have a bunch of Countryman B6 wired lavs, Tram TR50 Wired Lavs, Sony ECM-88B wired lavs that I am not sure what to do with. Do you keep wired lavs in your kit? If there isn’t a need for wired lavs very often, I will probably try to sell what I have and put the money towards a set of lectros or zaxcoms.


I have a couple of Anton Bauer Dionic 90 batteries that I am using to power the mixer. Although not ideal because they are somewhat bulky and heavy, I already had the charger and batteries lying around so made that work for now.
 

Thank you for your input! It is truly appreciated.

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If you aren’t also doing studio work then I would sell the U87, great mic but you’ll never use it on set. The km184s are also not the standard, the schoeps cmc/mk41 would be much better.
For most of the jobs you said you want to do, you shouldn’t need a time code box or wireless hops, just get a breakaway cable that does timecode, stereo audio, and a return, and definitely get at least 1 channel of good wireless. I don’t know if you can convert the wired Lav mics to work with a Lectro or Zax transmitter, but wireless is pretty much expected these days. You could probably hold off on more channels of wireless, comteks, and timecode stuff for a little while.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, Phantompwr said:

If you aren’t also doing studio work then I would sell the U87, great mic but you’ll never use it on set. The km184s are also not the standard,

 

I initially purchased the U87 to record VO  and vocals and hoped to invest in a sound booth. I also had an interest in recording acoustics for music thus the 184s joined my kit. Other than pulling them out of the box to look at them, they have never been used. As plans have changed, you are probably right in selling those off. 

 

1 hour ago, Phantompwr said:

For most of the jobs you said you want to do, you shouldn’t need a time code box or wireless hops, just get a breakaway cable that does timecode, stereo audio, and a return, and definitely get at least 1 channel of good wireless. I don’t know if you can convert the wired Lav mics to work with a Lectro or Zax transmitter, but wireless is pretty much expected these days. You could probably hold off on more channels of wireless, comteks, and timecode stuff for a little while.

 

Thank you for the information on the other items. The wired lavs all have an xlr connection and figured trying to adapt them would just cause bulk. If you are recording a sit down interview, perhaps with multiple people, would you use wireless lavs or hardwire them in? My thought was to sell them off and put that money towards a wireless set if I wouldn't run into needing them.

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7 hours ago, ctboita said:

(2) Neumann KM184mt Condenser Microphones


Get the Neumann KM185 hypercardioid capsule to use with one of your existing Neumann bodies. 

Although... I just realised the capsules are not interchageable by the user, that is a feature of Neumann's higher end. 

Anyway, definitely a hypercardioid should be added to your list as a cardioid wouldn't be my main choice by itself for indoors. 

 

7 hours ago, ctboita said:

(1) Sennheiser AVX Wireless transmitter/receiver with ME2 lavalier Mic


The delay on those is absolutely crazy. Plus only one set of wireless is nowhere near enough, even a small kit should have at least say three wireless.

I'd suggest getting one or two Sony UWP-D11 if your budget is tight, or go straight to Lectrosonics/Zaxcom if you can afford it.

 

8 hours ago, ctboita said:

(1) Rycote Shotgun Microphone Windshield Kit


Suggest also a Rode WS6, as often you might be filming outdoors on a quiet still day where a full blimp is just overkill. 

 

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8 hours ago, ctboita said:

Time code generator?


Yes, get at least a couple. They're very affordable these days. 

 

I use Ultrasync ONEs:
 

 

 

But I have Tentacle Syncs too, and they're a good choice as well:
 

 


I'd also think about all the other little bits and pieces you have, for instance do you have a good bag and harness? What about power distribution? URSA straps and vampire clips? Etc... the list goes on for miles! Useful to think about back ups too for when disaster strikes, so the show can still keep on rolling on.

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I'd like to comment on a few things. 

 

The u87 would not be an ideal mic for post because it doesn't sound anything like a mic that you'd use in production. Your 184s would be better suited for that. The u87 is great for vocals, but I'd also use it for acoustic guitar over the 184s, not that they are a poor choice either. 

 

The 185 mentioned above is a super cardioid, not hyper. For whatever reason, production people have a hard time knowing the difference. The schoeps cmc/mk41 is also super cardioid. Hyper cardioids are just your normal shotgun mics. Read the paperwork for the mics. 

 

I agree that a beta snake to go to camera is a solid option, go with it over more expensive trinkets. 

 

You should have a good wireless, but even a G3 with an upgraded mic would be sufficient. 

 

Your hard wired mics can be converted for use with wireless transmitters for a relatively low fee. I'd have the ends terminated so you could keep the XLR connectors when you do decide to go hard wired, like many people do with their Sanken CUB-01s. 

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15 hours ago, Phantompwr said:

If you aren’t also doing studio work then I would sell the U87, great mic but you’ll never use it on set. 

I get requests fairly frequently for temp voiceover to be recorded on set. Sure, you could get away with doing this with your production mics, but if you already have a U87 why not put up the sexy VO mic for this? Might make you a hero. 

I've got one of these little "isolation chambers" that fits over the top of the mic and reduces some of the room noise too:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1346491-REG/auray_iso_armor_2_iso_shield_for_recording.html

 

Just another thought.

 

-Mike

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11 hours ago, JonG said:

I agree that a beta snake to go to camera is a solid option, go with it over more expensive trinkets. 

 

Do you have a recommendation for a good breakaway cable?

 

11 hours ago, JonG said:

Your hard wired mics can be converted for use with wireless transmitters for a relatively low fee. I'd have the ends terminated so you could keep the XLR connectors when you do decide to go hard wired, like many people do with their Sanken CUB-01s. 

 

Is this something I can do or do I need to send them in somewhere?

3 hours ago, Mobilemike said:

I get requests fairly frequently for temp voiceover to be recorded on set. Sure, you could get away with doing this with your production mics, but if you already have a U87 why not put up the sexy VO mic for this? Might make you a hero. 

I've got one of these little "isolation chambers" that fits over the top of the mic and reduces some of the room noise too:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1346491-REG/auray_iso_armor_2_iso_shield_for_recording.html

 

Just another thought.

 

-Mike

 

Is this something you are paid extra for or is it just part of the gig? In other words, would I be better off selling the U87 and putting the money towards a good wireless kit or will the rental fee be more advantageous? I have looked into a few of the portable "isolation chambers" for this exact reason but wasn't sure how often the request would come up. 

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17 minutes ago, ctboita said:

Do you have a recommendation for a good breakaway cable?

Check to see what your local retailer has. PSC and Remote Audio both make good breakaways. 

 

17 minutes ago, ctboita said:

Is this something I can do or do I need to send them in somewhere?

Again, see your local dealers service department 

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1 hour ago, ctboita said:

 

Is this something you are paid extra for or is it just part of the gig? In other words, would I be better off selling the U87 and putting the money towards a good wireless kit or will the rental fee be more advantageous? I have looked into a few of the portable "isolation chambers" for this exact reason but wasn't sure how often the request would come up. 

Sadly no, I haven't ever charged extra for this. It's more about providing the best product than any specific client request. 

 

If it's a choice between the U87 and a nice wireless set then yes, you will probably get more use out of the wireless. 

 

Just wanted to point out that the 87 isn't totally useless on set!

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