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Old February 4th, 2008, 11:26 AM   #1
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Radio boom vs wired

Hey I am a boom op and was trained to always use cables, but lately I have seen some crews who use wireless boom for everything. It seems to good to be true. Just wondering what you all think off this subject.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 11:39 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Sacha Rosen View Post
Hey I am a boom op and was trained to always use cables, but lately I have seen some crews who use wireless boom for everything. It seems to good to be true. Just wondering what you all think off this subject.
I did wireless for a show. Seemed to work very well but we used the Zaxcom TRX-900. Most of the wireless boom rigs I've only seen the top end wireless transmitters & receivers (Zaxcom TRX900, Lectrosonics 400 Series) used, which are great in themselves. The only downside to them and this is true of all wireless is when you take a RF hit. It's nice not having to drag around the cable everywhere, but a full rig can set you back quite a bit money-wise, so you obviously have to weight that against convenience.


Wayne
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Old February 4th, 2008, 08:51 PM   #3
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But do you think cables sound better?
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Old February 4th, 2008, 09:08 PM   #4
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But do you think cables sound better?
I see the wireless as pretty well equal to wires when using the TRX900 and UCR411 series. There are advantages such as the lack of wires, but there is also the disadvantage of having to replace batteries, RF hits, and range issues depending on terrain.

So I guess the answer in my case was no, I didn't think the sound would have been better with wires.

Are you using a wireless boom now?

Wayne
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Old February 4th, 2008, 09:21 PM   #5
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No, I have used wireless the odd time for 360 degree shots or running around in a forest, but otherwise I'm always cabled. I think that the mixers I boom for would rather not take the chance with wireless.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 09:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sacha Rosen View Post
No, I have used wireless the odd time for 360 degree shots or running around in a forest, but otherwise I'm always cabled. I think that the mixers I boom for would rather not take the chance with wireless.
The guys on Prison Break are always wireless unless indoors on a set. But that show mostly shoots exteriors so they are always wireless. I think they were using Lectro 400 series.

Dan
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Old February 4th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #7
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not to show my age ;) but I've been doing wireless boompoles since lectro 185's were new. the mobility factor was more important then the quality loss. back then I had to talk directors into using DAT vs Nagra's.... and they always said the same thing after hearing it the studio "the DAT sounds so much better...". once a few takes were done without the wire, they also came to like the freedom of wireless boompoles too. got a shadow, just move around to the other side, no wire to wrangle.

its also not like wires don't go bad too. I've had it happen. even had a bad XLR on the boompole, and wired with pins 2 & 3 backwards. plenty can go wrong with wires too when an actress in high heels plants her heal into the middle of your wire on a hard floor.

with high end wireless as about as good as a wire, why not. wireless gear has become extremely dependable. don't forget the lith-ion rechargables.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 04:56 AM   #8
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don't forget the lith-ion rechargables.
I always use lithium ion rechargeables... I hate working on a set where nobody wants to use them. I haven't figured that out 100%, but if you have a system for keeping batteries charged, they work great and usually last longer than non-rechargeables.

Wayne
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Old February 5th, 2008, 08:18 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=Wayne Brissette;820516]I always use lithium ion rechargeables... I hate working on a set where nobody wants to use them. I haven't figured that out 100%, but if you have a system for keeping batteries charged, they work great and usually last longer than non-rechargeables.

Hey Wayne, which Lit-ion rechargeables do you use? I've been eyeing the IPower set up that Trew sells for about a year now. Been waiting to talk to someone who uses them (recharge-lith-ion) but haven't. The set-up I'm refering to is at http://www.trewaudio.com/store/produ...0&cat=2&page=1

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Old February 5th, 2008, 08:20 AM   #10
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[QUOTE -I always use lithium ion rechargeables... I hate working on a set where nobody wants to use them. I haven't figured that out 100%, but if you have a system for keeping batteries charged, they work great and usually last longer than non-rechargeables. -


Hey Wayne, which Lit-ion rechargeables do you use? I've been eyeing the IPower set up that Trew sells for about a year now. Been waiting to talk to someone who uses them (recharge-lith-ion) but haven't. The set-up I'm refering to is at http://www.trewaudio.com/store/produ...0&cat=2&page=1

Thanks
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Old February 5th, 2008, 09:10 AM   #11
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I actually just picked up some lithium rechargeable, The Ipower ones haven't used them yet but all the reviews I've read have been good. I will probably be using them mostly for the 411's running into the camera's. My last show the amount of batteries we went through was disgusting. Just trying to help out mother nature as best as I can and maybe scoop up some extra rental along the way.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=Allen Green;820575
Hey Wayne, which Lit-ion rechargeables do you use?[/QUOTE]

I don't think anybody else is making LiIon. I bought from Thomas Distributing, but Trew's price is actually better since you're getting four batteries and the charger.

I also run some non Lithium-Ion 9v batteries using the NiMH by iPower and Tenergy. I did try some of the Powerex 9.6v in the Lectro 411s, but ran into a strange problem where both showed low battery indications. Larry at Lectro told me that apparently the extra voltage was triggering a circuit that was suppose to prevent damaging the circuit, so I stopped using those. The polymers work fine and last much longer. The only downside to these is when the battery indicator tells you that you are low, you better change them right away, or you'll be dead pretty quickly.

Wayne
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Old February 5th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #13
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What about monitoring? How can you hear what's recording to the camera? I know you can get inexpensive FM transmitters for the return feed, but I'd sure be nervous about it. If you get a dropout, how do you know it's not just in the return feed?
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Old February 5th, 2008, 01:42 PM   #14
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What about monitoring? How can you hear what's recording to the camera? I know you can get inexpensive FM transmitters for the return feed, but I'd sure be nervous about it. If you get a dropout, how do you know it's not just in the return feed?

Marco:

If you're running wireless boom, then you probably have a mixer. If you don't, I'm not sure why you're going wireless. You can use either something as complex as IFB or simply a Comtek on a different channel. But you really need to work with the mixer. The mixer may be monitoring the boom (if they are using that in their mix)... for those reading this who don't work with a mixer and boom op, on most productions you have the talent mic'd via wireless and you boom. The mixer will make decisions on the set to determine if they are going to use the lavs or the boom. Usually all sources get recorded (if they are using a multi-channel recorder/laptop), but only lavs or boom are used for the "mix" track, that's the track that is sent to the camera.

If the mixer decides to use the lavs for the mix track, the boom op doesn't get to take a coffee break, they still boom the shot, but since the mixer isn't monitoring the boom, it's the boom op's responsibility to monitor. And the answer to Marco's question isn't quite that simple. Because he's right did the RF noise you heard in the monitor come from your feed to the mixer, or from the return audio? Comtek does get some RF interference, but I find it doesn't nearly have the RF issues that the 411 and TRX900 have. Usually if you hear RF noise, quickly communicate that to the mixer, let them decide if they want a retake of the shot. Depending on length of take and equipment used, they may be able to playback your boom and see if the RF hit was there.

When I've boomed for a mixer, we talk and will usually ask for another take. It doesn't make us the most popular people in the world and you have to be careful at times, but you also want to make sure post has something to work with.

By the way, Marco, I think you're asking all the right questions!

Wayne
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