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Toy Robot

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Everything posted by Toy Robot

  1. Very well deserved indeed. I've been on a slew of productions recently that would simply be impossible without Zaxcom wireless. Writeup to follow when time permits.
  2. Johnny, you echo my feelings above. I don't currently see a use for this, but if someone brings one on set and asks me to plug in that's fine. As long as I get my day rate, I'll run sound to a potato if you want.
  3. If you're looking to get into wireless for master camera feeds, you'd want to go the Camera Link (TRX900CL) route as a single stereo transmitter, with the RX200 as the receiver on the camera side. This would be a dual channel, TC capable master camera TX/RX set and works incredibly well. If you intend to purchase transmitters with ZHD modulation and recording capability for on-talent use, then you'd most likely want to pair those transmitters with a QRX200 receiver in the bag instead of an RX200. This setup works very well also, however I do suggest that anyone who goes the QRX200 route also consider immediately switching from stock 'whip' antennas to dipole antennas in the bag. I wrote a blog entry about that topic which is viewable here. Consider then that you basically have two options for TRXLA or LT transmitters (LA = 2 AA, LT = 1 AA). First, I suggest the LA route, as the single battery option doesn't give me the battery life I require in a transmitter. This is personal preference and runtime charts can be found online somewhere. If you buy used, previously made transmitters, TRXLA2.5 or 2.6 are your options. Frequency blocks being 2.5 low (Blocks 20-23 = 512 - 614 MHz), and 2.6 high (Blocks 23-26 = 596 - 698 MHz). FCC considerations apply based on your risk tolerance, area of operation, etc. There is much more information, but overall I suggest the Zaxcom wireless route very much to those who are interested. I'm happy I own mine, for sure. I hope this helps.
  4. I really do like the add-ons, however I'm very much against adding more things to my harness, which already supports the full weight of my bag. I have personally opted for a drop leg pouch by Maxpedition called the Thermite Versipack along with a water bottle holder and folding RollyPoly dump pouch that also attach to the Thermite Versipack. This puts the weight of extra AA's, extra NP-1 (1 or 2, depending), 6 transmitters, extra 9V batteries, Lav Bullet, gum, water bottle and at the end of the night Comteks and transmitters back in the dump pouch on my waist, not my harness. I'm in the process of lightening the weight of my bag overall and taking things out of the bag, going AES route and nuking heavy XLR connectors, etc. Of course each person will have their take on this, but the modularity of the pouches available is outstanding and each of us can find a solution that works well for us in the field.
  5. Thanks Jan, for sharing this type of info. Following thread.
  6. Following your experiences here. Thanks for the info.
  7. I have a Subaru Forester and I absolutely love it. All wheel drive up north is a huge bonus, and I really feel that unless you are able to have a dedicated van as a work vehicle, a small SUV is the way to go in my opinion. YMMV. Good luck!
  8. My range with Zaxcom wireless was sub-par on whips at best, and unusable at times far too close to talent. Then I put dipoles in my bag, and at the same time (literally the same night I added dipoles) I upgraded to the latest QRX firmware available and the range was more than doubled overnight. I've now been using my TRX / QRX combo with up to 12 wireless in one block at the same time while working with another mixer with an incredibly high rate of success and range improved enough that I no longer have worries of dropouts unless someone is quite far away or through too many physical barriers. If you're a Zaxcom wireless user, I suggest immediately nuking your whip antenna setup and investing in a set of dipoles, and then immediately updating your QRX and TRX firmware. The Lectrosonics SNA600a are outstanding in my setup, and can be either velcro'd or cable-tied to most bag setups.
  9. Hi Vincent. I'm sure Jon's look like this one of mine, modified by AudioDepartment. I have 3 like this for permanent camera use, with 3 more available as required or for IFB.
  10. I'm very much looking forward to the metadata update coming for Nomad. @46:50-47:25 in the video.
  11. I shot earlier in the year in the mountains of Wyoming in -4 degree weather (Fahrenheit) and drove snowmobiles around for a weekend with wind whipping at who knows how low temps and they were 100% flawless. Here's a photo of my Maxx bag on one of the machines. For the record we worked multiple 12-hour days in this temperature with no issues from these batteries. And also for the record, I have now had these batteries in everything from -4F to +100F. In my opinion they are an outstanding deal. I can't 100% guarantee them in those temperatures since my max negative temperature was -4F, but I really don't think you will have an issue and I personally would not hesitate to take my batteries into extreme cold again. Good luck!
  12. Hi Dennis, welcome in advance to the jungle that is NYC. Please PM me your email and phone number. There are a number of sound mixers in NYC who meet regularly and I would like to extend an invite to you next time we get together. It would be a great way to meet new people, all of whom happen to be mixers! Cheers.
  13. My deepest condolences to Pete and family.
  14. The updated Rode blimp is much lighter than the old version but heavier than some of the very high end blimps. Still, it is a great blimp on a budget, and it even has Rycote Lyre suspension system built in now which is a huge plus. I still cannot justify paying two or three times as much for a blimp considering the very few times I need it vs. just a plain old softie. And so even having many thousands of dollars in gear, I'm using a very effective $200 blimp (bought it used). Go figure.
  15. Just a heads-up, BEC Group has updated the RX200 box. Product Update: BEC Group created a camera mount box for the RX200, and after getting my hands on one of their prototypes I requested that they please make some adjustments. They have, and this is the updated version. Dare I say final, but at least this is the latest version for now that I am aware of. Photos are below, but essentially I had them flip the RX200 around so that the gain LEDs now face the back of the camera and the RX200 screen faces toward the end user while adjusting settings on larger broadcast style cameras since the screen is on that side of the cam. Also the battery door is now facing the rear of the camera for access by the end user instead of forward where it was harder to get to IMO. Some adjustments to the screw holes also make this box mount perfectly on their existing plates. Bravo and thank you to BEC group's Mike Babcock for listening to customer input and adjusting a product accordingly. I am very pleased with these updates.
  16. Sorry to hear the news. My condolences Jeff, to you and yours.
  17. OPS, I think you've won the low profile connector game in my opinion. Do you plan on selling them ever, or was this just for your own personal use?
  18. Love the low profile TA connectors!
  19. For those of you interested in acquiring Zaxcom's new Touch software and pairing it with a tablet to run with your Nomad 12 (N12), here is a writeup of my experience acquiring and setting up the Touch software and WinBook TW700 tablet, along with some setup tips and thoughts about the Touch in general. Acquisition - First, you must order the Touch software and cable set from a dealer of your choosing, as well as determine which tablet you wish to use and of course order the tablet itself. Nomad Touch is available now from the Usual Suspects, and I received mine within one week of placing my order. Tablet Choice - You have the ability to choose from many tablets, but I opted to stay with the WinBook TW700 which is what Zaxcom advises on their website (smaller of the two choices they recommend, WinBook TW700 vs. TW800 - 7" vs. 8" screen size). You should acquire a tablet which has the proper connections in order to take full advantage of the Touch software, and the TW700 was the most affordable option which I could find which fit that criteria, listed on Zaxcom's website as follows: 2 x USB ports, or a USB port and a charging port for simultaneous operation and charging SD or MicroSD slot for immediate transfer of MP3 audio files to a physical card to hand off Audio input jack for recording MP3 files, you’ll need this to input the audio Audio output Jack to use the Nomad Touch playback feature WiFi capable / Internet ready to upload MP3 files I just couldn't see spending hundreds more for a much better tablet for this purpose, meaning that for me at least, getting Nomad Touch up and running has a price ceiling. Each user will view this choice through their own captain's chair. Once you receive your tablet, Touch cabling and software code, you are ready to begin setup. When your Touch arrives, what you are actually receiving are the specific cables required to connect your tablet to your N12, as well as a software code which the dealer you order from will provide to you. Note that when you place your order, your dealer may opt to send your code via email instead of physically with your interface cables, so be on the lookout for that code. Upgrade Code - To enter your upgrade code, enter the ENG menu and go to the Advanced section. The manual is unclear about how to properly enter this code, and if you do it incorrectly you will see a screen that keeps saying 'Demo Mode Has Ended' when you try to connect your tablet and open the software. This message is an indication that you have improperly entered your upgrade code. The proper way to enter the code is as follows: Go to ENG menu Go to Advanced menu within the ENG menu Find the screen which says Upgrade Code Using your 'soft keys' on Nomad, enter your alpha-numeric code (numbers and letters correspond with single vs. double key presses - meaning, to enter the letter 'C', you would press the ZNET key twice in rapid succession. You will upon the first press of ZNET see '3', and upon the second press of ZNET the number will rotate to the letter 'C'. Just look at the face of a Nomad and you will see what I mean. After each entry of a letter or number, the curser will automatically shift to the next entry point. You can go backward or forward if needed by scrolling using the menu knob.) DO NOT 'enter' the code by pressing the menu knob in after the code has been entered Wait for your Nomad to 'digest' the code for a moment At the bottom of your screen, Nomad will prompt you that the code was entered correctly and that it is time to reboot Reboot only when prompted Note that the Nomad manual states clearly that, "Warning by randomly entering in code numbers can cause your Nomad to lock up." Mine did not lock up, but my advice is to go slowly and try to enter the code correctly the first time. Once the Nomad has been upgraded, you are free to connect all Touch cabling to your tablet and begin setup. Setup of Tablet - The TW700 is an incredibly flawed piece of equipment. I despise having to use this piece of gear. I would much prefer to be able to use an Apple product for an interface vs. any Windows based unit. At this point however, I do not see other Windows based options within a reasonable price range for this setup (the better tablets are significantly more expensive), but I will continue to look and will happily replace this tablet as soon as possible. My advice to you is to first understand that the touch screen capabilities of the TW700/800 are almost non-functional for general setup of the device and for downloading and installing the Touch software. Use a mouse. This is the first and most important thing to get you up and running. If you try to set this tablet up without using a mouse, then good luck to you, I bid you well and suggest you grab a stiff drink. If your tablet starts talking to you like mine did as soon as I powered it up, Google how to turn this talking nonsense off. Once you shut the machine up and get past the ridiculous anti-virus pop-ups that start immediately upon powering up the tablet, and once you find your way around for a few minutes and complete your general setup, you may then setup your WIFI and navigate to Zaxcom's website using your tablet. Download the Touch software and save it to the Desktop. At this point you should open the Zaxcom Touch Manual and find the section titled 'Setting up the PC'. Follow these directions exactly. Once your software has been installed, you are ready to follow the directions in the manual for 'Connecting Touch with Nomad'. Connect the physical cabling per the instructions exactly. IMPORTANT: Your cabling has a 'Nomad' end and a 'PC' end. Do not connect the cable wrong or you can damage the cable. Once connected properly according the the manual, make sure everything is powered up and open the program link on the desktop of your tablet. Touch should open and you can being to play. Hardware & Ergonomics Impressions - After getting the software up and running, and after 'winning' my battle with the TW700 the first thing I noticed is that the Touch is definitively a setup which requires antenna distribution in the bag. I am unable to even access my tablet's screen with my antennas sticking up out of the bag. As I don't yet have an antenna distribution system, Touch is automatically shelved for me until this occurs. I simply can't use it in the field with antennas sticking up in the way. This may seem like a very obvious thing, but it's something I only fully realized upon setting the Touch software and tablet up. Antenna distribution required for my setup: My tablet came with a very long, overly thick power cable. Aside from not wanting to carry around a long power cable that is heavy, my tablet's connection to that power cable was loose and the tablet would lose power constantly upon any wiggling or moving of the cable and would power down when the battery was low. I switched power cables, but now it appears that it's the physical power connection on the tablet because I have to keep the power cable perfectly still to prevent power loss. I'm going to have to tape this down somehow or else the tablet will die within a couple of hours of a full charge. It should be noted also that the power and audio cables sticking out of the side of the tablet are not at all protected, and are both fragile and easy to disrupt. At some point, right angle or short connectors would be ideal. I am currently not a fan of this type of open and physically sensitive setup for gear, and would not consider this reliable in the field. My personal preference will be to route these cables and protect them in a manner that makes this setup more robust. Time will tell how people are getting around this, or if it even proves to be a problem in the field. Cables sticking out of side: I am also unable to power my tablet through my Nomad directly, and have to use my BDSv4u's USB power port, which means I lose the ability to charge a phone throughout the day. I dislike this, but it's something I can get around with some modifications to my BDS setup. This one is one me I guess. It is well known that this next point is in process, but I would indeed like to be able to continue to use my FP8 with Touch. At this time, that is not possible. I also suggest that you immediately replace the 1/8" audio cable Zaxcom sends you with one that is much shorter and lighter and which fits your bag. The one I received was about 10' long, simply unnecessary for this purpose. Software Impressions - First, the software looks excellent. I love the aesthetics of it. I love the coloring, will get used to the layout and I very much like having a massive screen to look at and work with. Conceptually, this is what drew me to Touch in the first place; the idea of having an easy-to-use interface that is both fun and fast to use to enter meta-data and make routing and other workflow changes due to its touch-screen capability. My goal with Touch was to make my workflow faster and easier. Some minor issues and opinions: At two times so far the Touch software has randomly disconnected from the tablet and displays a message that says 'Offline' and then after about 30 seconds or so it says 'Found Nomad' and then Touch automatically reconnects. I'm not sure if this is hardware or software related, but it's random at this time. I'll keep testing before I bring it to the field and will see how often this occurs. So far, the process to 'fix' this is to simply wait for Touch to reacquire Nomad. I would very much like the ENG panning screen in Nomad to be available on Touch in its same format if possible. This screen in Nomad simply does what it is supposed to do extremely well, and much faster and more intuitively than I am able to do using the Touch software's output routing matrix. Scene and Take are not reflecting properly between Nomad and Touch for me. Track names on the Home screen do not mirror actual track names unless I switch from the Home screen to the Output Mix screen and then back again. Probably a simple bug, and I definitely was able to get the track names updated properly after doing this. To view my output meters, I must select them on the bottom of the Home screen, but I really want a view which is like the view Nomad which shows my tracks as well as outputs 1-2. In this way, I can see my output levels and tracks at the same time. Output meters viewed separately from tracks: Conclusion - In my opinion, the weakest link in this chain is far and away the consumer tablet required to interface with Nomad in order to use Nomad Touch. Yes, the entire idea is to interface a preexisting piece of gear within our workflows and I completely understand that it is impossible and impractical for Zaxcom to create a proprietary tablet for example, but using consumer grade gear poses problems in the real world. The thing I value above all else when using professional gear in the field is just that, that it is professional. Professional gear should be rugged, easy to use and trustworthy. The WinBook TW700 is none of those things. I have already spoken to other mixers who feel similarly about this tablet, and at least one mixer I know of has had their TW700 tablet die completely after just a few short months of use. One thing I have to experiment with is the 'when the tablet dies' scenario. How do I bail in a timely manner while on location? One thought that I keep having during this learning process is that I am now required to learn a completely new interface that is set up so differently than my Nomad menu structure. Yes, theoretically the interface has a much larger screen and is easier and faster to use, but honestly I have spent a long time getting fast at problem solving and making changes in my Nomad. Now I am volunteering to learn another menu structure all over again. Again, it could be argued that it's easier, but even if things are easier to see because the screen is larger, everything is now in a different place and that does require some memory to use in a fluid manner under the stress of location sound mixing. Of course the argument is that with any piece of gear there is a new learning curve, and it's something that can be tackled over time, but at this point in my experience with the Touch (remember I have not yet used it in the field for reasons stated above), my overwhelming question is 'when do I want to use this and why?'. Conceptually, the types of jobs I intend to use the Touch with are sit down interviews, corporate work and other such jobs where monitors and a full cart setup are not required, but which exceed the single boom and lav days where I'll simply opt to run my Maxx. So in other words, jobs that for me fall in between very simple and very complex are the target of this setup. However, I'm already beginning to think about the days when I have a sit down interview setup and the producer asks me to throw on a harness and do a quick walk and talk down a hallway or around an office building, for example. Again, I have yet to experience this request with the tablet attached to my bag, but this is something that happens every now and then in the field and something to consider. Without any intent to sound negative or rigid, my thought process keeps guiding me toward the following line of questioning: Why should I complicate my field workflow when I already have a completely reliable machine of which I understand and know the menu structure? What is the added benefit to me to add this screen to my kit for jobs which I can already handle excellently with an FP8 and my existing Nomad screen? Does it indeed make things easier on me in the field having the touch screen capability, or have I now introduced a consumer grade machine which complicates a previously simple workflow simply for the advantage of a beautiful display? These are questions I will continue to ask myself as I evaluate my experience. More simply put, the major question for me is: Does the Touch make my location workflows and setups easier, or am I trying to solve a problem that I do not have? Make no mistake, Nomad Touch is a great advance in how we interface with our digital audio recorders, but this technology is still in it's infancy and not all of the software and hardware issues have been solved. As with any new technology it will take time to iron out the details and workflow, and each person will view it in their own light. I hope I don't sound like I'm bashing the product or even the concept. I truly commend Zaxcom on this type of innovation, I'm very excited to get past my own personal 'sticking points' and I really do intend to use the product in the field. After all, I put my money where my mouth is and bought all the gear to do it. My hope is that with a few adjustments on my end, a few software tweaks and the right job, I am able to sit comfortably behind a beautiful screen and 'wow' myself with this product. Updates to follow as my use of Touch progresses.
  20. Marc I am very happy to hear you are okay. It's scary stuff, but very happily it is something that you get to put behind you. Cheers, and get well.
  21. Indeed; and conversations like this are the very things that allow us to either remain rigid or flex for the right client or situation. Props to all for keeping these conversations open and civil. The more information we have about what others are doing, the better we can navigate our industry.
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