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Joe Dunlap

Red fan noise and thoughts on prepping wireless for an event

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I know this issue has probably been discussed a lot but I just finished a shoot with the NFL Network and the DP was using a red scarlet. We were in an empty stadium on a hot day so they couldn’t turn the fan down, but it was legitimately louder than the street noise from where I was at. Plus we set up next to the wall along the field so there was some odd reflection and comb filtering happening. I was able to tilt my 416 in a place where it cut down on a lot of it but still not ideal. 

 

Anyway, we’re going back to the stadium on game day and probably at least going to have one lav out. With all of the different production and wireless units at an nfl game in the city, are there any protocols of coordinating wireless frequencies among the other productions present or is it just scan and grab whatever freq i can?

 

 

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If you are shooting at a real pro sports event then you (and your producer) need to check in with the event's RF coordinator.  Re your wireless gear, it's not a good idea to just roll-up and fire-up, the freqs have been divvied up according to a detailed plan. 

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Your production definitely should contact the game day frequency coordinators before the game, and definitely prior to firing up any wireless.

 

Unless, of course, you desire to make yourself really unwelcome at this, and any future, NFL event. 

 

Every NFL stadium has a crew of coordinators (two or more, depending on the game) who allocate frequencies -- done largely well before the event.  Then, game day they scan the spectrum looking for conflicts, including unauthorized users stepping on assigned frequencies. 

 

Just because a slot appears open doesn't mean it isn't assigned, and an authorized user may fire up at any given time. 

 

 

 

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Thanks guys, that helps a ton. I should have guessed that there’s someone in charge of rf coordination. Usually I’m just on little commercial shoots so I’ve never had to coordinate with other crews on rf.

 

I talked a little more with the dp and it looks like they’re just planning on using boom only for that day because it’s mostly just for b roll anyway. 

 

That’s really good to know though. Thanks for the advice. 👍🏼 Appreciate you guys chiming in. 

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You can do a lot to lower the fan noise, but you have to have a camera team that help you do that. Usually even on a hot summer you won't hear the camera if you are outside. Did they set the camera to adaptive mode and set the camera temp to a high (acceptable) level? I wish you that the DP has an ear for the sound. But there are definitly a lot of options out there to lower the fan noise.

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On 8/23/2018 at 7:12 AM, Joe Dunlap said:

I talked a little more with the dp and it looks like they’re just planning on using boom only for that day because it’s mostly just for b roll anyway. 

 

 

You can of course choose a frequency hopping system like the Sennheiser AVX. It's working in the DECT frequency spectrum around 1.9GHz, and it essentially coexist and share the frequency band with other DECT units, like cord-free phones etcetera. It sounds great together with the Sennheiser MKE2 lavalier mic, and you won't be interfering with any other professionals in the venue.

 

Another option is to put a small recorder on the talent, and sync the video and audio later.

 

Regarding the fan noise coming from the RED camera, use another camera? 😉

 

 

Good luck

Fred

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My understanding of the situation with RF coordinated events is that you get to use exactly zero of the spectrum without it being cleared by the coordinator.  You can use your cel phone (as well as it will work in that environment) but anything else that transmits has to be ok'ed.  It isn't just an RF spectrum allocation thing, there are also security concerns in play.

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Someone at NFL Network should know who to contact. :-)

Totally your call, but if it was me, I'd still try to get assigned a frequency just in case production happens.

 

I've only dealt with frequency coordinators a couple dozen times (not a humblebrag; that's nothing compared to lots of people here and it means my experiences are basically anecdotal), but I find the coordinators are pretty responsive and helpful if you contact them in advance.... The closer you get to gametime, the less responsive and helpful they are (from their POV, that totally makes sense). Also note that IME, "responsive and helpful" usually did not mean "flexible." :-)

 

Anyway, check out this interview from a few years ago with the guy who was at the time NFL's Lead Frequency Coordinator:

https://www.rfvenue.com/blog/2014/12/15/karl-voss

 

One excerpt:

 

What do NFL coordinators actually do? 

Right now, our duty is to cram 500 MHz of users into 25 MHz of spectrum. Everybody seems to think that RF is their god-given right. And essentially the job of the coordinator is to make sense of that—to try and give as many people tools that they need to do their job within reason. There’s a lot for rules we have to use. We have to follow the FCC rules. There are some guidelines that we have written within the NFL, too. Because there is just so much RF that shows up at a football game that you have to set up some sort of priority of use, beyond what the FCC has already defined. 

=====

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13 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

Right now, our duty is to cram 500 MHz of users into 25 MHz of spectrum. Everybody seems to think that RF is their god-given right. And essentially the job of the coordinator is to make sense of that—to try and give as many people tools that they need to do their job within reason. There’s a lot for rules we have to use. We have to follow the FCC rules. There are some guidelines that we have written within the NFL, too. Because there is just so much RF that shows up at a football game that you have to set up some sort of priority of use, beyond what the FCC has already defined. 

 

Off topic.

 

Digital radio is the future.

 

This Monday, I got a demo of the new Shure Axient Digital system and together with Wireless Workbench, it solves a lot of potential headache during big events.

 

It sounds great, channels can be stacked next to each other much more efficient, bi-directional communication offers the possibility to change the whole frequency plan in seconds, and the system do seamless frequency hopping whenever interference is encountered.

 

Cheers

Fred

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