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Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice

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Charles Fairview
Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice
on Jun 6, 2009 at 5:54:59 pm

Hi all,

I am here because I love this site and it has taught me so much.

I am a new film school grad so I am learning a great many things. My problem is that I am 2 months away from going on the road to shoot a documentary. I need to wireless mic 3 people into a Panasonic HVX while we are cycling across Canada to raise money for cancer victims. I don't have budget for a sound guy but I have managed to save 2 grand to purchase wireless mics. I have heard that you can only get 2 signals into a camera without a plug into the wall setup. Is this true, what is the best way to approach this problem and what would a person like yourself do.

I am fairly clueless and trying to learn as much as possible before I go out on the road. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all.

Whatever you do will be insignificant,
but it is very important that you do it.

Mahatma Gandhi


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Thax Clave
Re: Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice
on Jun 6, 2009 at 7:48:19 pm

[Charles Fairview] " I have heard that you can only get 2 signals into a camera without a plug into the wall setup. Is this true, "

No. You can use a battery-powered audio mixer.

That said, you are under-budget to purchase 3 reliable mics and a good mixer.
You might be able to RENT the gear you need.

Also, you are going out into a tough audio situation without enough experience.
The wind-noise and clothing noise problems, alone, might give you fits.

I strongly recommend that you consult a local audio professional before you leap
into the fray.





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Ty Ford
Re: Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice
on Jun 7, 2009 at 3:00:01 am

Hello Charles and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Thax is pretty spot on. Three Sennheiser G2 wireless would bust your budget and you still don't have a mixer (sound devices 302)
cables (mixer to camera)
headphones: Sony MDR 7506
backup hardwired mic for when the wireless aren't working

And the experience to keep the audio straight and sounding good during a shoot. It's not plug and play.

The number one problem encountered by folks I run into at the local film company socials is getting the sound right. It's not brain surgery, but there's a lot of craft involved in getting it right.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Charles Fairview
Re: Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice
on Jun 7, 2009 at 9:06:35 pm

Thank you guys for the great advice. Are there any non-sennheiser mics that are cheaper but not terrible? Is that kind of stuff covered in your book?

Thank you again.

Whatever you do will be insignificant,
but it is very important that you do it.

Mahatma Gandhi


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Craig Alan
Re: Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice
on Jun 7, 2009 at 10:50:03 pm

That's about the cheapest one worth buying. But you could go with Ty's suggestion for a sound devices 302 and sony headphones. and use wired lavs. Do a search on where and how to tape the lavs to talent.

Look at this kit: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/428645-REG/Sound_Devices__302_ENG_EFP...

you can get just the mixer for $1300. But you'll need the Canare BACX25 so you can monitor from your camera. canare is a good brand for xlr cables as well.
You'll need a bag (If you don't go with the kit then sound devices makes one and porta brace is great too). The harness is very helpful.

These are good lavs though maybe Ty has a better suggestion: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/shop/13825/B3_B6_EMW_Lavalier_s_EMW_Classic_L....

You'll also need different length xlr connections. We're still a little over $2000 but a lot closer than starting with three cordless kits. get a good roll of gaffers tape. and some velcro that can be strapped to the wires for cord management. http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/336856/velcro-reusable-ties-8-black-g....



OSX 10.5.3; MAC PRO 2 X 2.8 GHZ (EARLY 2008); FCP Suite; Sony camcorder vx2000/pd170;Canon xl2; Pana consumer cams; write professionally for a variety of media;teach video production in L.A.


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice
on Jun 8, 2009 at 1:14:53 am

Hi Craig,

I like the Countryman EMW just fine. I have 5 of them. I hadn't used on in a while til last monday and when I plugged it in and listened, I thought, "Hmm, sounds GOOD!

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Ty Ford
Re: Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice
on Jun 8, 2009 at 1:03:01 am

You're welcome, Charles.

The G2 is as low as I go for pro work.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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David Jones
Re: Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice
on Jun 8, 2009 at 4:36:28 am

Hi Charles-

I hate to dump on, but I have to also agree with what's aready been said.

The fact is, it's not always all that easy for a professional sound mixer to deal with wireless mics let alone someone with no experence. As far as what to buy, keep in mind, the cheaper you go, the more problems you're likely to have. G2 is the cheapest I'd go.

I looked into renting for you; but considering the amount of time you'll need them (a month or two) you still won't have enough money to cover it.

I'm also assuming you want to have the bikers riding while talking which is why you need wireless. If I were in your position, I would get two wireless setups (one for each channel) and a pair of Sony MDR 7506 headphones. Whoever is running the camera, needs to also be monitoring the audio ALL THE TIME. Since you have no way to ride gain, you should set the audio input on the camera to "auto".

Keep in mind, this set-up is in no way fool-proof; without a mixer, and a professional running it, you're still bound to have all kinds of problems. You can think of them as "learning experiences" :o)

Regards,

Dave J


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Charles Fairview
Re: Audio for a Documentary - Wireless mic advice
on Jun 8, 2009 at 6:28:26 am

I just want to thank you people for all the great advice. I really, really, appreciate your kind and thoughtful answers. I take your advice to heart and thanks for all the links and opinions.

Muchas Gracias

Whatever you do will be insignificant,
but it is very important that you do it.

Mahatma Gandhi


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