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IFB 30 talent cast flexible for producers


Mike G

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Hello guys, may I pick your brain?

I’m pitching for a job.

Requested is a way to record a cast with 30 talents mobil in a way, that different producers should have the possibility, to listen into everyone talking or

pair 2 and more talent, to follow the different conversations.

Thank you

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30 talent is a lot!  Maybe a more experienced reality mixer will chime in with a better idea, but my starting point (really, the only gear I know can handle it) would be Zaxcom wireless + URX50 IFBs.  You can program frequency presets for all the wireless channels, and producers can choose the presets they want to listen in on.  If you name the transmitters appropriately, they'll be able to identify which preset is which.  You'll also probably want a GUI Bridge and some form of Zaxnet for remote configuration ... 30 talent + IFBs is way more than you want to manage one-by-one.

I suspect it may be normal to hire a second mixer to do manage specific producer mixes (necessary if the producers need to listen to more than one channel at the same time), but you could also potentially do it with submixes and an additional transmitter at your cart for each submix.

It sounds like a huge job!  I hope you find the help you need.

 

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I haven't worked on any multi-bagged reality of this scale, but depending on the way in which groups of subjects are being followed in the field, could you use party-dialling?

 

A field producer paired up with a cam-op + sound mixer. The mixer switching between predefined "groups" saved to their receivers with the party dialling feature. The field producer then gets the specific IFB mix from the sound mixer.  The producer can move to different camera teams, tuning into the IFB mix from the sound mixer from that team. But this obviously only works if you have talent that you know will often be together.

 

If you instead have predefined and recurring shooting locations or zones (like one of those dating reality shows where everyone lives together at a villa) would you instead cover your zones with antenna / Dante runs back to your sound production office?

 

All talent is then picked up as they enter and exit these zones of coverage, and you have your sub mixes wirelessly transmitting - producers can choose their mix.

 

(This interview with Richard Meredith from The Audio Dept mentions something like this. Section on 12 Dates of Christmas and Aerial Distribution Equipment.)

 

As far as giving producers the flexibility to pick out 2 or 3 talent that randomly join together in a conversation - seems tricky! I think doc sound guy is right - you presumably would need someone dedicated to creating sub mixes on the fly based on how the action unfolds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you truly need to dial in any combination of talent then i would think a console with a dozen sub mixes would get you there. More likely though is a mixer for each camera creating a mix of what is being seen on that camera would give your producers all the feeds they need. 
you don’t really provide enough info to nail down a specific workflow, so maybe you need to get a little more information before settling on a workflow?

no matter what, it sounds like a multi mixer job. 

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get in contact with Zeigermann Audio in Hamburg/Germany. 
He did the sound on a few impro shoots where all Lavs could be chosen on iPads to listen into whatever you wanted. I believe director / producer etc could combine as many as they needed. 40 Tracks in total iirc.

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Thank you ALL, for your helpful and inspirational comments!

 

It all led me to think a bit outside of the box and I remembered my musical days...

So I came up with a solution that is a compromise of budget, flexibility and minimal manpower.

 

A 42 Channel ALLEN & Heath SQ-5 small digital mixing console with 19" form factor and 32 channel multitrack recorder.

You can add a DANTE Card and it features an iOS/Android app.

The clue:

In the app you can select up to 16 channel as listen source at the same time. And apply volume levels.

8 mobile devices are supported. This feature is meant for musicians on stage to mix there own monitor mix,

without bothering the mix engineer.

 

This seams to be a great solution for my problem. I try to get my hands on a unit and test it in real life.

Again thank you all for your input!!!

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Hi Mike 

I have an A&H SQ7 and have used it in a similar way you describe. It works perfectly and has proven to be very reliable over the years. 
 

I have a Dante card installed and I record to my Scorpio. I wouldn’t rely on the SQ’s USB for the primary recording. My advice would be against that as a primary record. The USB  recording does not record time code however you could input time code on a channel input and route that to the USB stick. I’ve never bothered doing that though as my Scorpio is time coded. I’ve had a full house of 32 tracks and it’s been flawless. 

 

The I/O routing matrix is where you need to assign channels to the USB. Definitely unassign any tracks you don’t want to record otherwise you’ll get too many record errors on the USB stick. 
 

A Dante card to connect with another pro recorder would be preferable as this will also give you track names, time code etc. 

 

The SQ 4You app can actually handle more than 16 channels. 17 onwards need to be assigned to another “group” in the app. Each group can only have 16 assigned to it. Slightly inconvenient but but once the producers get used to it (which takes no time at all) it’s, totally fine. The app works fine on both Apple and Android devices. 

 

The beauty of this is you can make

the system wireless however, this can also stitch you up if you don’t have good wifi coverage and good routers. A producer might be miles away from the router and you’ll hear a call that the app doesn’t work only to find out they’re out of wifi range from the router! It’s also limited to the range of the IFB system. I’ll generally avoid this and set up the tablets on a table

with wired headphones and the producers sit in the control room watching the pictures at the same time as listening to their own mix. 

 

As you say, 8 devices is the max. If you want to use SQ Mixpad as well, you’ll only be able to have 7 other devices. 
 

If you need more than 8, you can also use the A&H ME1 connected to the S Link port. Daisy chain as many of these as you want. Users can make scenes and recall anytime if they find a certain group is always chatting together for example. Very easy to use. 
 

Regarding the front end of your wireless system, most reality guys here use an antenna combiner like the Wisycom or RF Venue Zone 4 for coverage with multiple antennas. I use the Zone 4 and it’s been excellent. Long RF cables and place yourself in the control room or close by so you can feed the headphone amp for your producers mixes. 

 

The SQ itself is quite intuitive however you will need to refer to the manual for some things. 
 

Hope this helps 

Let me know if you have any questions 

Regards 

Peter 

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