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stories of tactics of getting great range from wireless (lav or boom) transmission


PCMsoundie
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Let's share some stories of tactics we've used to get great range from the wireless gear you have used.

 

I once was 5 stories up in a tiny building with windows on all 4 sides with a Lectrosonics UCR200 and my boom boom op was on the ground line of sight with a Lectro UM200 Tx. He was probably 3 football fields away and perfect range on 1/8 whip antennas! The shot was a binocular matte on a super telephoto shot. 

Sure I know if you put 2 Sharkfins on 10 foot tall mast you will get better range than 1/8 wavelength whip antennas 

While I've seen great walk tests with new digital wireless gear I'd like to hear some stories from the JWSound group.

These days you can remote wireless receivers on the set with Dante back to the cart and mixer parked far away and range from Tx is not as important getting it back to the mixer.

 

I wondered if I were to put a 2 Lectro 411a receivers on the top of say a 4 story building and run 2 XLRs down to street level if the range would improve greatly for 2 people on a walk and talk in urban heavy RF environment if not using Sharkfin or LPDA (log-periodic dipole array)  antennas? 

Any stories of stuff you all have done with transmission?

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Recording scene in a small car. No space in the car for me, just the two talents, director and a camera person.

 

So I wired both talents properly and put my sound bag in the trunk, starting ISO record with enough headroom, as you know the only possibility we have in that case.

 

But how could I monitor? I installed a transmitter outside the car, stucked at a closed rear door window. Two passive sharkfins were connected to the receiver.

I could hear everything without any dropouts as they were driving around a huge parking space, several hundred meters long, quite astonishing as I wasn't sure if that would work. The car park wasn't very crowded, but after all there was a truck between me and the car. As the car returned I could immediately say that the recording went fine soundwise without having to play back the recording.

 

Transmitter: Sony DWT/B01N

Receiver: Sony DWR-S03D

Sharkfins: Sennheiser A2003

frequency: around 500 MHz, free and tested in that area

 

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Well, I'm gonna derail the thread lol

 

We get to an interview in a third floor library. I set up sharkfin antenna as usual, and when I fire up the rf explorer, I notice the rf overload of the antenna is lit. Even with 6dB padding, the amount of rf noise was huge.

 

I start to look outside the windows, and I spot a HUGE cell phone station on the building across the street. So I tried switching to wips and everything calmed down enough.

 

Moral of the story: higher isn't always better!

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17 hours ago, Mungo said:

Transmitter: Sony DWT/B01N

Receiver: Sony DWR-S03D

Ah, unusual to see a Sony DWX user! How do you like them, do you have other Sony wireless or just that one receiver? Have you tried out the previous generation DWX wireless beforehand? 

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1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

Ah, unusual to see a Sony DWX user! How do you like them, do you have other Sony wireless or just that one receiver? Have you tried out the previous generation DWX wireless beforehand? 

 

I've been using it for many years mainly as a camera hop, due to it's unique compatibility to Sony camera models. Most of my work is for TV, and so I do my mix in my bag and record it, but in the end the sound recorded on camera is taken because very often it's "very urgent". So I need a hop solution which is reliable and sounds perfect.

 

But sometimes I get in touch with the handheld, the lav and the plug on.

 

I can say that I'm very happy with it. It never collapses, it always works. Range is astonishingly good. Sound is perfect, but the "N" generation and 3rd generation have a slightly better audio reproduction.

It does a bit much RF spray to older microphones when operated at full RF power. But newer mikes which are made for digital RF don't make trouble any more. You also have to be aware of leaving enough space between receiver and hop transmitter (space in distance and space between frequencies) in the bag to avoid negative effects on range. I'm also missing a little more gain on the bodypacks for weak lavs.

 

The Cross Remote function is also very nice, and in the field it's a nicer concept than having to struggle around with apps, imho. The handheld transmitter is a bit outdated, and so is the plug on (new ones will be available soon) but nevertheless it's the best sounding plug on I know.

My recommendation. The best ones are the DWR-S03 and the DWT-B03R. I also like the older DWT-B01N: It's equipped with a true balanced input which can't be found on the newer bodypacks any more (speaking of European models).

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Long time ago had a lectrosonics tx on a dogsled musher, I was using a 411 with whips. They took off down the trail and I was just standing in one spot.

 

I picked up the signal from so far away, I think I heard the musher shouting in my headphones before I could hear his shouts arrive in real time. 

 

It was really far away and I wish any of my fancy modern equipment had that kind of range.

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College football Michigan Stadium or Spartan Stadium… Lectro smqv @ 250mw. with external antenna cable .. mount the antenna with joe’s sticky stuff outside the press box, keep the actual transmitter body in the bag out of the weather..they  can hit my 411with whips all over the field and into the tunnels.  Helps that there is RF Coordinator for the games. Have tried with Betso fins and seemed to introduce unwanted rf and shortened the range.

 Also have had NHL players mic’d up with smqv  hear them in the locker room and I’m usually up in the second or third level of the ice arena the game is at. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not sure about stories of getting great range from wireless but I have had some tough situations doing college football. I do UCLA football and the Rosebowl is one of the toughest environments in Pac 12. This season it was pretty crowded with Mt. Wilson and random hits. My antennas and receiver live at the press box because getting lines to the field can prove challenging for radio. I basically bullied my way through with lectro @ 250mW. I switched from a handheld to the smqv. The frequency coordinator and myself became friends during the past season and the noise floor was such my HH outputting 100mW on an analyzer looked as if it was turned off. After I made the switch to the smqv it cleaned up everything which was a great choice as my sideline reporter's mic is hot a majority of the time. If you can imagine mixing a show with constant noise in your ears, that was what the first 3 games was to me.

 

Az St was worse than the Rosebowl this year. I showed up did a scan and immediately knew I was going to have a hard game. The entire block was full. I had to move my receiver and antennas to the field and broadcast over a low power TV station. It worked. I spoke with the TV broadcast crew and a nice lady offered me some painters poles. I gaff taped my typical antenna setup to the poles and crossed my fingers. They made it through the game. I got occasional hits when my sideline reporter was at the opposite 20. The hurdles of live radio being alone and on the road is a tough gig. I traveled with the team so I had to get a spotter to retrieve the RX while I packed up my setup before the team left. I wish I had photos of the BNC when it came back to me, I'll leave it at that. We got on air and had a sidelines reporter, successful show. Here are some photos of Macgyvered painter poles from that game. 

IMG_4934 Small.jpg

IMG_4936 small.jpg

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