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Eight receivers in one bag


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Hi all

 

I’m recording a film next week which is about an improv group. Its partially scripted but a lot of the time they will be performing real improv sessions and all eight actors need wireless lavs so they can move and speak freely. There will be 2 cameras moving at random so I will also need to be mobile to stay out of their gaze so this means 8 wireless receivers in one bag.

 

I have 4 Lectro SMDB’s in the 606 band with SRB receivers.  I also have 4 standard Sennheiser G2 transmitters and receivers in the Band E range (around 830-865 mhz) so theres my eight channels.  All transmitters and receivers will be using whip antennas.  I have also used the FreqFinder app to pick frequencies that avoid intermods. Theres no budget for sharkfins or any of that fancy stuff.

 

Is there anything else I can do to stack the deck in my favour and get good reception on all 8 channels?

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We need to know about the environment. Is this a sound stage with clear line of sight or a night club with a thick brick interior wall that you will need to hid behind? There is a big difference in how to rig for each.

 

Plus, you should account for at least two more wireless as hops to the cameras for a dirty mix. Yes, tc lock is a great thing but when i am rough editing i want to edit with the camera sound for quick decision making before I spend the time syncing the sound files.

 

My 2 cents

Kent

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Careful frequency choice is your friend. Try to space the channels as far apart as possible within the band, using frequencies from FF as to avoid intermods. If you can position your G2 receivers on the outside of your bag to physically separate them from each other and the SRbs in the bag, that may help a little bit as well. If any of your transmitters have a low power setting, use that - although I think your G2 units are at about 30 mW (actual power 20 mW) and the SMDb units only offer a 50 mW setting. 

 

Make sure none of the talent packs have the antennas touching skin or damp undergarments so that the RF isn't totally absorbed. 

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Line of sight is good. Is there an audience? If so, how large will the crowd be between you and the performers? People are basically large sacks of water. They attenuate RF. Tests may sound fine without a crowd but add a room of 100 people and your gain on the G2s will suffer. If you don't want to stage your G2 receivers close to the performance and cable them to your bag I recommend placing the G2s high on your shoulders. The Petrol harness is good for this.

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I think that aside from what’s already been said, in an ideal world you’d have two boom ops dancing around the cameras. Lavs are great but intermod and reception aren’t your only concerns, and realistically lavs will only work reliably with limited movement. If these people are jumping around and performing all kinds of physical activity, you may be dealing with scratchy, muffled, fallen, or even broken lavs. How willing are they to stop down in the event of any of these things? If they really care about the project, they should get you a couple of booms ops. It’s really the best contingency plan. 

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Get above the crowd: I had a similar kinda shoot years ago also no way of getting stationary larger antennae, so many people blocking me from the actors (thus the RX) so I figured, I just get up on a plateau to increase the line of sight probability a lot.

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Lots of great advice here already. I suspect in this day and age there won’t be much of a crowd so that works in your favor. 
Apart from careful frequency coordination with an app you should also perform an actual scan at the venue. Then set all your frequencies on the receivers and check that they all don’t show a lot of rf level with transmitters still off. If you have the time beforehand, get someone to walk around the stage with each transmitter  while you observe the corresponding receiver‘s display, so you can identify any possible rf dead areas. With that bag you should really not boom yourself. If you won’t get one or two boom-ops on wireless booms then there’s simply no boom. Instead maybe place a couple of mics on the stage or just before. I would also prefer those to be wireless. Keep your bag on a table or wherever, somewhere comfortable, but be prepared to get up with your bag to walk to a different spot if rf reception becomes... spotty. 

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