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Extreme Vibration recording - DAKAR RALLY


Simon Koelmeyer
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Hello All,

I will be recording sound on the Dakar Rally in January 2013.

Re-located from Africa due to wars and now staged in South America, it is essentially an extreme endurance event for rally cars. 6000 miles in 2 weeks over the Atacama Desert, across the Andes twice at altitude of up to 5000m and travelling at around 90-100mph all day across 'moonscape' terrain.

http://www.dakar.com...3/us/route.html

I have been tasked by the producer to record drivers intercom at all times (as well as the stuff outside the car filmed with 3 x Canon C300 - should be relatively easy using the normal boom, 4 radios etc into a 788T)

My uncertainty lies with the in car recording and my questions to the group are two:

1) Does anyone have experience of recording in extreme vibration/rally cars for very prolonged periods? What kit did you use? pitfalls or winning solutions/tricks etc….

2) does anyone have experience with Peltor intercoms? failure rates and known workarounds?

The driver and co-driver will be in helmets in very small cars. They communicate with each other via mics hardwired into each helmet. They use this system.

http://www.demon-twe...CFUbKtAodnjoAHA

I can tap into that as it offers an Aux Audio Out on phono. Drivers will be filmed on Minicams - recorded onto a Panasonic HD recorder of some sort (no model numb yet). This has an Audio In via 3.5mm socket. I will connect the Peltor Aux out to the Panasonic recorder and let it roll.

Kit will be hard mounted to roll cages inside car. We start recording at the start line and essentially wave them off. Rushes collected at the end of each day at base camp. Totally unmonitored while in record.

As part of my due diligence in prep, I'm thinking about failure and workaround. Impedence allowing, I MIGHT parallel the Peltor out and record the audio onto another SD recorder e.g. a Zoom, an M1 etc…..something I can buy 2 or 3 of and if they break I can toss them.

Has anyone stuck one of these cheap SD card recorders in a rally car before?

How do they function in extreme vibration?

Or do you have a better idea?

Any negative experiences with this Peltor system?

Any information or opinons gratefully received

Thanks

Simon

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Firstly... Awesome. As a kid I wanted to be involved in this race. Rally racing very popular in the UK. Should be a fun experience.

There's that weird video "zoom on a boom" that shows a guy mounting a zoom recorder into a studio-style shock mount. I know the gear will be tied down, but any separation of the recorder from the jarring impact of the roll cage will help.

Also recording time is something to consider. The semi-pro recorders might have issue recording hours. I'd think a 744T with an SSD and 32GB CF installed would be a good choice. Or a 788T, but there are several 744s out there for sale. You could have 2 or 3 on hand.

I believe you can lock out the buttons to minimize chance of error. I'd call SD for ideas.

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Dust and general cack will be a big problem for you, as well as vibration etc. I was in the Atacama a couple of months ago and it can be a very hostile place. I'd go with Roberts suggestion of 'better' recorders, a 702T even which could probably be picked up quite cheaply now. I'd install it in a foam lined peli to soak up as much vibration as possible, and run the necessary cables through hole in the peli, sealed with something suitable. Jam timecodes, set it running (with a big card and an NP1 shoe) lock the case up, fasten it in the car, you're sorted!

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Dust and general cack will be a big problem for you, as well as vibration etc. I was in the Atacama a couple of months ago and it can be a very hostile place. I'd go with Roberts suggestion of 'better' recorders, a 702T even which could probably be picked up quite cheaply now. I'd install it in a foam lined peli to soak up as much vibration as possible, and run the necessary cables through hole in the peli, sealed with something suitable. Jam timecodes, set it running (with a big card and an NP1 shoe) lock the case up, fasten it in the car, you're sorted!

I would also have the sd recorder record only to flash card to minimize power consumption, heat generated in the confine of the pelican case and hdd failure wich are more prone to vibration issues. I know zaxcom have a compact and timecode jammable recorder that would fit the bill for probably cheaper than a used 702t.

I would also put extra care to make sure that sound goes to cams and then video recorder as well. Secure cables and connectors and test test test. Their editing is gonna be immensely easier for them with sound to match they re ( probably not timecoded) car cams.

Good luck, sounds like a super fun project!

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Personally, I would still like to be able to deliver audio even if the video failed, it may be a useful element.

Of course, you run the risk of making the camera dept look bad.

my thoughts:

recording to solid state media...

making all connections secure against dust and vibration.

record sound to the camcorders, if the camcorder fails --CRAP happens-- the sound is also failed along with the VDO...

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I would insist on delivering audio separately, I'm in control then, not worrying about non locking connectors on the small cameras that will doubtless be used, that's why I'd go for a 7** rather than a Zoom or similar. Do it properly and it will work, worst case, you've got good audio that can be used with other shots if the camera department screw up.

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In case there isn't the space/weight to go for the peli option, I've had some good results with sticking the Sony PCM-M10 in racing cars (track, not rally- usually taped to the side of the chassis, with a *lot* of tape). It's got 4GB internal memory (which would easily do if recording in mp3) and micro SD, and will switch continuously between the two. It'll last over 24hrs on 2 AA's. The controls are also lockable, except the analogue gain knob on the side which needs to be taped down

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Hey Simon. Awesome that you are working on that race. I just saw a thing on Top Gear the other night about a race team of amputees from the UK that are entering the race. Very cool.

I do a lot of work short course offroad truck racing (www.torcseries.com) and have done Baja a couple of times. The stress on our gear and our bodies is not as bad as the stress on the trucks. However, the trucks were designed for that abuse, and our gear was not (as tough as it may be). I've had few failures of any equipment that worked at all. That is to say, I have found either instant failure, or everything is cool. Unless of course the truck crashes.

I have used my Zoom H4Ns, wrapped in a condom, taped to hell. The Nomad does not deserve such abuse, although I have used SD recorders in this capacity. Then stuffed inside a cutup yoga matt, taped to hell but with a flap to get the unit in and out. You can still see and press the buttons through the connie when slipped out. Then I use zip ties to lash it to tube, of which there is usually no problem finding. I usually loop out of my recorder into an omnipresent go pro for a secondary audio record. The Yoga matts do double duty as vibration compensation and crash pads. And they are cheap. The only guff I get about them is from camera guys who say it looks low-fi. Whatever.

I would like to get a different cheap recorder however. The Zoom has crappy headroom, all of the limiters and filters are useless. I want to try the little Sony or Tascam guys.

Same thing goes for Nat sound mics, only replace the condom with a tube sock and don't have a flap. If you can lash one of these near the tail pipe you can get great clean engine sounds with a 57. But you will need an external pad for something like a Zoom. I like to get cockpit sounds as well, and a 57 again works fine because it is so loud. Other dudes use a 421, but they are 4X the price and bulkier. You get all of the rattles and gear changing slams. Then, if you are lucky, the truck will crash and you will get all the crunches and bangs. And then usually swearing.

The Peltor's aux out is awesome. Wish they all had that.

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