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Old August 31st, 2007, 05:34 PM   #1
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Wireless mics on athletes

I've seen football refs wearing Sennheiser G2s, but does anyone know how sports broadcasters go about putting wireless mics on athletes (football, hockey)? Do they just use really small transmitters and place them somewhere that won't inhibit the athlete or potentially cause injury on impact? I think I heard that they sometimes take apart a normal wireless transmitter's components and build a flatter, spread out housing for them.

I'm sure they take a beating either way, but does anyone know how the broadcasters do it?
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Old August 31st, 2007, 07:12 PM   #2
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As far as I know, they don't. There is a major risk (especially in football or hockey) of them getting damaged. I have never seen any athlete wearing a wireless mic during a game.
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Old August 31st, 2007, 07:39 PM   #3
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I'd like to solve this problem as well. Plays in larger theaters use wireless microphones in which the microphone is mounted in some sort of clear tube that looks like a growth on the actor's head. I'm just commenting from seeing these devices, so perhaps someone in that business can help.

I did try a wireless microphone on martial artists. The first time, I clipped the microphone to the athlete's shirt top and ran the wire into the pocket that held the transmitter. The wire loosened, and the footage was "cheapened" by the presence of the wire. The second time around, I wrapped the black wire around a black leather belt under the t-shirt, although the athlete was wearing jean shorts. Aftert a round of fighting (martial arts), the microphone popped. I was thinking of trying another night with the microphone on the backside until I tried to buy another replacement lav for the Sennheiser. They charge $140, and a cheaper lav microphone would still be in the $30-40 range.

In any case, for the two rounds that I have, the sound was almost too weird and kinda fake-sounding. Perhaps the addition of some room ambience would help. Hard to say. I sacrificed one microphone, and really, two were needed to cover two players.
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Old August 31st, 2007, 07:49 PM   #4
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Depending on the sport.. atheletes are pretty much never mic'ed from what I've seen. In football, people with parabolic mic dishes are set along the side line as well as a boom ops. In hockey, boundary mics are sometimes used taped to the class around the rink. Booming is a lot easier and more natural than lav mics when it comes to a lot of movement on the body.
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Old August 31st, 2007, 09:30 PM   #5
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I've heard some mic'd football players. They record the audio, then find the best bits that the FCC will allow. They then play back a few hard hitting plays under a special segment called "Sounds of the Game", or something like that. I'm 99% sure that this isn't just a parabolic mic. The examples I'm thinking of focus on a single player, and the announcers have said that the guy was mic'd up.

Also, quarterbacks have two way communications with the sidelines. This never airs though. It's almost certainly encrypted.

Sorry, I don't have the equipment details...
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Old August 31st, 2007, 11:13 PM   #6
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I've seen miced players before. The Lectrosonic wireless mics with the metal case were used. I believe from the SMH line. I was reading about it being used with the US Women's natl soccer team. Broadcast sound was excellent.

The problem with micing athletes is the potential for injury, especially in contact sports. You have to tape the transmitter to soft flesh away from the spine and kidneys.

I've thought of trying this for making demo videos.

If you do this, let us know how it goes.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 01:17 AM   #7
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I always thought the mics were mounted in the helmet somewhere. Maybe I'm wrong!

Wherever they are, they're expendable (The mics, not the players). And if your budget were anywhere near theirs, you'd probably consider almost anything expendable.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 03:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffery Magat View Post
Depending on the sport.. atheletes are pretty much never mic'ed from what I've seen.
In both football and hockey, I've seen segments - as Jon said - called something along the lines of 'Sounds of the Game' or 'Mic'd Up' on TSN, where there is definitely a wireless lav on the athlete.

Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muJryhBev_k

The transmitter isn't in the helmet because you still hear good sound during the fight. I think the components would have to be built into a new, flatter housing.

Any ideas?
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Old September 1st, 2007, 07:41 PM   #9
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Interesting.. news to me.. thanks guys :)
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 12:18 AM   #10
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Did some digging and found this: http://q5xinc.com/Default.aspx?tabid=122

I didn't notice before but the Youtube video says the mic is placed in the hockey players' shoulder pads. Probably the same for football, but I don't know about baseball. Lower back, perhaps?

Anyway, I guess this answers my original question. Looks like anything bigger than that Quantum5X transmitter might be too big.
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 01:47 AM   #11
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last summer in Australia for at least a couple of matches during the cricket season, the commentators were talking to the players out in the center of the field while the matches were being player. If i remember right, it was during the 20/20 matches. Guessing they used a wireless mic lav
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