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XL-H1a wirless mic set up

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Curt CogginsXL-H1a wirless mic set up
by on Sep 27, 2008 at 12:44:24 pm

Recently I began using this beauty of a camera to video college football and baseball games. I would like to have the capability to record audio on the sideline/dugout while recording video from 400+ feet away. I believe a couple of issues must be addressed here. First of all, powering the on board receiver. I assume that an adapter and pancake or brick from Anton-Bauer would be in order. What I do not know is abundant, but includes the integration of a receiver with the camera and power supply. Also, there is just so much real estate on the posterior end of this camera where an adapter/external power supply and receiver connected to the XLR inputs would reside. Then of course, there is the issue of choosing the best combination of mic/transmitter/receiver for this application. BTW, I am not planning on mic-ing up a given individual, but rather picking up the sounds of the action as well as chatter etc. by the coaches and players. It would be nice to have a 2 mic set up though with one as a lavalier in case we decided to do both on separate tracks. I have quite a bit of experience with the video end of the canon XL cameras, but virtually none with modifications of stock audio input/recording. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.


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Todd TerryRe: XL-H1a wirless mic set up
by on Sep 27, 2008 at 2:41:03 pm

Hi Curt...

I'm not 100% what the power concerns are... almost ALL radio mic receivers designed for on-camera use are self-powered with their own batteries. You CAN power them off camera batteries, but certainly usually don't have to.

That being said, the Anton-Bauer battery adapter for the XLH1 is a wonderful thing, and I heartily recommend it. It works well, nice balance, and with it a single brick will power the H1 for what seems like an endless amount of time. In addition, the goldmount has the usual A-B "powertap" connector so that you can juice something else (your radio mic receiver, perhaps) as well. We don't usually go this wild, but in one or two extreme conditions we have used a single brick in the adapter to power the camera, Mini35 converter, teleprompter, and small on-camera obie light.

You can indeed use radio mics for the type of setup that you suggested. You might plug a shotgun mic into your sideline transmitter rather than a lavalier and have a soundperson hold it and follow the action. Or, a mic in a parabolic dish is often used for ballgame sideline action. Be aware that some of the favorite shotgun mics out there (such as my person favorite, the "industry standard" Sennheiser MKH416) do require 48v phantom power to work (usually provided by the camera), so in a wireless situation you will need to choose a mic that requires no power or is self-powered (battery).

For transmitters and receivers, I heartily recommend Lectrosonics.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Curt CogginsRe: XL-H1a wirless mic set up
by on Sep 27, 2008 at 8:25:34 pm

As it turns out, the XLH1a does gave a phantom power switch, 48v, 2 channels, XLR input. Would the Sennheiser MKH416 then work with it?
Is it possible to have phantom powered receivers via xlr and battery powered transmitters that would power phantom shotgun or parabolic mics, or am I missing the conceptual boat here?



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Todd TerryRe: XL-H1a wirless mic set up
by on Sep 27, 2008 at 8:43:25 pm

[Curt Coggins] "or am I missing the conceptual boat here?"

Not completely missing it, you're kinda teetering on the gunwales...


YES you can use the 416 with the XLH1 (I do it all the time) because the H1 puts out 48v phantom. BUT... that is for a hardwired situation, where the mic is cabled right to the back of the camera. You were asking about wireless.

The majority of radio mic transmitters (except some very expensive and high-end ones) do not put out the phantom power needed to power the mic, and in the case of radio mics that is where you need the phantom power... it makes no difference if the camera outputs phantom or not.

I'm not sure if there are any actual "phantom powered" receivers, I've never used one that worked that way (you have to remember that while phantom power is high voltage... 48v... its actual amperage is miniscule... so phantom is much higher voltage and much lower amperage that receivers would require).

This part is pretty much a non-issue anyway... virtually all on-camera receivers operate off their own internal batteries. Or those that have additional DC inputs can be powered from the power tap on the A-B bricks. But as I said, I woudn't bother... just throw the little 9v battery in the receiver like it is intended... I've yet to see a receiver that wouldn't operate for several several hours on its internal battery.

Your remote shotgun (or other type) microphone would need to be self-powered (with an internal battery), or need no power at all. A mic requiring phantom power such as the 416 would not be a good choice, unless you had some other external way to power it.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Curt CogginsRe: XL-H1a wirless mic set up
by on Sep 27, 2008 at 8:52:30 pm

Your responses have been extremely helpful. Thank you very much. It sounds like if I were shooting video on field level, the Sennheiser MKH416 on camera would be an excptional choice. If shooting from the press box or in the case of baseball, shooting from centerfield wanting to get the game sounds at home plate, I would need a totally different solution. Therein lies the rub.
Thanks again for your help with understanding the issues involved.
Curt



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Curt CogginsRe: XL-H1a wirless mic set up
by on Sep 29, 2008 at 2:40:08 am

Todd,
After further review, I have decided to look at this a bit differently. Rather than looking at a wireless option, I would like your (and others) thoughts on the very best long distance shotgun mic for under 2 grand. As we are discussing this for on-camera use on the Canon XLH1a, phantom power is certainly an option.
Thanks,
Curt



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Todd TerryRe: XL-H1a wirless mic set up
by on Sep 29, 2008 at 4:27:17 am

Hi Curt...

If you're talking about something in the sort of "standard" shotgun range, you can't go wrong with the Sennheiser MKH416. It's the mic that I use for almost all location shooting... it has such a beautiful natural and open sound that we have almost abandoned putting lavaliers and radio mics on talent unless absolutely necessary. They require 48v phantom power, but your H1 outputs phantom and it's a perfect fit.

The 416 is one of the "industry standard" mics for boom use... but it can also pull double duty as it is a great voiceover mic for narration purposes. I was trading some emails recently with Beau Weaver... (Beau is one of those guys that no one knows his face or name but everyone knows his voice... he is one of the really really big Hollywood voiceover actors, lots of movie trailers, etc.), and Beau actually uses the 416 in his studio as his primary voiceover mic.

For the quality, they are a bargain, too. Last time I checked the 416 was about $1100, if I recall.

Now, all that being said... if you are looking for really really long throws (like center field to home plate) then there may not be any conventional shotguns that will do exactly what you need. They are extremely directional, but there is still a bit of spread to the pattern. They might work, but might not... it would just require some experiementing. For distances that great the usual setup would more likely be a mic placed in a parabolic reflector... probably not as clean a sound as a closer-placed shotgun, but can grab from greater distances. No one mic is going to be the absolute perfect choice in all possible usages... it's all give and take.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Curt CogginsRe: XL-H1a wirless mic set up
by on Sep 29, 2008 at 11:38:39 pm

Todd,

Thanks for your very helpful suggestions. After considering all of the options, I think it will be best to start with the Sennheiser MKH 416. After experimenting on the field camera in football, I will have a better idea as to whether I want to go with the parabolic mic for baseball. It sounds like I cannot go wrong with having the mkh 416 as an all prupose mic for all other applications. Thanks again,
Curt



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Todd TerryRe: XL-H1a wirless mic set up
by on Sep 30, 2008 at 3:33:51 am

Cool... you'll love it.

Couple of things you might consider are the accessories you'll probably want for the mic itself. I'd suggest a pistol-grip shock cradle, fishpole boom, a foam windscreen for calm outdoor use, and for more windy outdoor usage you'll want a blimp cage with a fur windjammer (the classic "dead cat" or "monkey fur" mic cover). You can buy the mic itself and trick it out with all of the above in the $1500-$1600 neighborhood total.

Another thing to note: I'm betting that you will end up liking this mic so much that you prefer to use it in place of the stock on-camera mic in run-n-gun situations as well. It works well, just get a very short XLR mic cable and run it into one of the inputs on the camera rear. BUT... the diameter of the 416 is much smaller than the diameter of the stock Canon mic... so you will have to fabricate some kind of little sleeve if you wish it to fit snugly in the on-camera mic mount. This can be done easily by taking just a short length (say, 2") of appropriately-sized rubber hose and splitting it.

Another another thing to note: both Canon and Sennheiser will tell you that you should NOT connect the mic to the camera with the phantom power ON... that power should be OFF, then connect the mic, THEN turn the phantom on (the phantom for each channel is one of the two little switches above each of the XLR inputs). We try to be faithful to this practice, but it's actually very easy to forget and there have been several times that we have simply forgot and unhooked the mic with the power on, or connected it without checking to make sure that it was turned off first. I've never noticed any ill effects when we accidently did this, but it did make me nervous the first couple times. It's probably just a cautionary measure, but then again I don't like the idea of risking damage to a thousand dollar mic.

Good luck and happy recording!


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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