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Broadcast Mics

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Broadcast Mics
on Jun 22, 2007 at 2:49:05 pm

I am looking to buy the DVX100B to shoot some 30 minute pilots where I am profiling businesses, events, how thing are made, locales, etc. My goal is to license the shows to networks. My question:

Is there a minimum standard for wireless microphones when shooting content intended for broadcast? Are there specs I can look for? Right now I have an Audio-Technica Pro 88 package which cost me about $200. It's a wireless receiver and transmitter and it came with a lav and a wired handheld. They have always sounded fine when I've used them with my Sony High8 camcorder. Do you think they are good enough to use when I get the DVX and are they broadcastable? You can visit my site and click on Videos to listen to them:
Please ignore the "hosting" clip because it's mostly the on camera mic and some of the Renaissance Festival clips are a more upscale mic, but the rest of them are the Pro 88. Can you suggest broadcast ready mics, receivers, and transmitters that are on the low end of the cost spectrum?
Also, if I want to have more than 2 mics, is the best way to do this a portable recorder that a camera person can strap to their belt or attach to the camera? If so, can you please suggest a recorder that's broadcastable and not too expensive? Most of my shooting will be on the move, not studio.
Any feedback would be great.
Thanks ya'll.

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Rodney M
Re: Broadcast Mics
on Jun 22, 2007 at 3:53:59 pm

There's a very large difference between what's acceptable from a local cable access standpoint and network quality, though that difference is shrinking (for better or worse). If you want network quality, hire a competent audio tech to work with you on the shoot. Someone who will have their own broadcast quality equipment and knows how to capture the audio correctly. You need to be able to focus on the visuals while you're shooting.

LectroSonics is generally considered the standard of broadcast quality wireless systems. Even their entry level systems cost $2500. There are numerous reasons why they are superior sounding, from the companders, squelching, etc... However I don't know any broadcast mixers who use the included Lectro lav mics. We all have high quality lav mics that will work with these systems. So there's an additional expense.

Most broadcast shoots (non theatrical or "reality shows", that is) that require more than two microphones generally get mixed to a stereo mix that is sent to the camera. If there are two or more cameras, the additional microphones might get a dedicated audio channel on one of the other cameras.

A multitrack audio recorder with timecode capabilities will cost you at least $4K. You have to have one with timecode sync if you want to prevent drift.

I see a large push in the industry to get away from having audio techs on shoots. If you really believe in these pilots then spend the extra money to have an audio tech with you. Honestly, you're just wasting your time and money if you don't because the quality will suffer without one. If the show catches on, you'll make whatever money you spent on audio back at that point. If you don't spend it up front, the chances of the show getting the attention it deserves diminishes greatly. Besides that, whatever money you don't spend during production, you'll spend in post trying to fix things. Kind of a catch 22. Quality programming has never been cheap.

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Re: Broadcast Mics
on Jun 22, 2007 at 9:17:52 pm

Thanks Rodney.

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Ty Ford
Re: Broadcast Mics
on Jun 28, 2007 at 11:08:20 pm

>>I see a large push in the industry to get away from having audio techs

It's a matter of perpective. There are a lot of new shooter/editors who think they don't need an audio person (or can't afford one given what they are hiring out for.)

They do this until they get in a jam due to their own ignorance and end up with crappy audio and lose the client. The smart ones learn that, at some point, a one person band can only do so much. Then they hire someone who can provide them with professional peace of mind. It's all part of growing up in the business.

I get gigs from these folks all the time because I know how to help with the video and lighting and gripping. So the key, really, is versatility. So from my perspective, I'm working more, a lot more, not less.


Ty Ford

Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" was written for video people who want better audio. Find out more at
Download Ty Ford's "Existential Boogie" from iTunes now.

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Ray Palmer
Re: Broadcast Mics
on Jun 22, 2007 at 8:45:40 pm

I just took a look at the Audio-Technica Pro 88 package. It appears that it is NOT a diversity receiver. If that is correct, then you are asking for trouble.
A diversity receiver has two receiving stages and typically two receiving antennas. The two built in receivers will both receive the transmitter. The receiver with the best RF will be the receiver that passes the audio along to your camera.
With a single receiver, you have a good chance of having "PFFFF" or dropout. This is due to the primary RF Sine wave and a reflected RF sine wave arriving at the same antenna but 180 degrees out of phase. Think of it as a black hole of RF. If you stand in one spot or move through that black hole, you will not have audio.

With a diversity receiver, if the drop out RF occurs, the second receiver is just far away enough to still have a good signal.

The Audio-Technica Pro 88 package that I located on the web was VHF. I also suggest that you look for a UHF package. Shorter antennas and I have found that the UHF band causes fewer problems for stray RF from other sources.

Ray Palmer, Engineer
Salt River Project
Phoenix, AZ
602-236-8224 office
There are three types of people in this world, those that can count and those that can't.

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Re: Broadcast Mics
on Jun 22, 2007 at 9:16:57 pm

Thanks Ray.

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Re: Broadcast Mics
on Jul 31, 2007 at 2:31:26 am


I own a 100A in addition to my broadcast gear.

What I use on it is the Sennheiser 100's. $600 for diversity and 1500 channels and a handheld transmitter. Plus they come with a clip to mount on hot shoe. Plus there are adpators you can buy to mount another on the bottom so you have 2 wireless going. Perfect for run and gun.

NOTE: the cables that come with them suck. I had my audio guy build new ones.

I have adapted a few of my trams over to the Sennheiser mount. The lavs that come with 100 are passable till you can afford more.

I agree with Ty. It is a matter of perspective. The newbies do just what Ty said. Undercut everyone, then screw it up with bad audio. Seen it 100 times.

ALWAYS, work with an audio tech. They save my butt regularly! :)

Good luck,

Ikegami HL-V59
Ikegami HL-45 Digital
Panasonic Varicam
Panasonic DVX-100A

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