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Old February 13th, 2009, 03:55 PM   #1
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Interviews during bicycle race...

The situation:

Me,cameraman on the back of a motorcycle with PDW-530
Reporter on bicycle riding along with the race

The idea is that the reporter is riding along on his own bike, meanwhile interviewing a couple of cyclists.
The reporter will have a TX with a lav mic hidden somewhere on his person.
The difficulty will be that we somehow need to mic a couple of the cyclists without needing them to stop to attach a lav mic.
So we need something that we can easily attach and remove.

I've seen shows where members of the audience get some kind of sling neck purse with a TX and lav inside. This is possibly the most viable solution. We just can't get 5 or 6 wireless sets on this budget.

Will the neck purse give us problems in any way? The cyclists are constantly moving, and seeing it swing around their necks isn't very pretty, but perhaps we could make some adjustments to it.

Any thoughts are very welcome!
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Old February 13th, 2009, 04:44 PM   #2
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You definitely need a few rehearsals. The Lectrosonic transmitters are pretty small and could fit in a small pouch with a short mic cable. Heavy windscreen is recommended. The bikers could probably deal with it but it may be a bit of a distraction.

Lectrosonics - SM Series Digital Hybrid Wireless Transmitter
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Old February 13th, 2009, 05:53 PM   #3
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I would be amazed of the race organizers and the coaches would let such a thing happen. I can't imagine trying to affix a wireless mic on a bicyclist with one hand as they are riding/racing.

I would also consider a boom operator on another vehicle (bicycle or motorcycle) who could pull up close enough to use a boom mic (assuming all are traveling fairly slowly during this?). I just can't imagine pro or even semi-pro racers taking a pouch with a wireless mic transmitter in it, putting it around their neck, then affixing a lavalier mic to their jersey? This just sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Are there stops for water or fixing the bikes? Sounds like of you could catch up to the bicyclist as they come in for water or a repair, quickly put the lavalier setup on them before they go back out. But trying to do it as they ride? Sounds like a recipe for accidents, delays amd interference with the riders to me.

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Old February 13th, 2009, 07:45 PM   #4
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I did one season of bike racing and can say for certainty that the cyclists -- if they're racing -- aren't going to let you hang anything on them if it weighs more than a postage stamp.

Bike racing is hard enough without having to break your cadence, concentration and breathing with something like an interview. And if another cyclist suddenly tries a breakaway or other tactic during the distraction, the whole process might be frowned upon.

I'm assuming this is a longer road race and not a criterium (that would be suicidal) or a time trial (all you'll get is a lot of heavy breathing and some annoyed looks).

That said, better to get a blimp on a boom. The audio guy can be on a very quiet motorcycle, like a Honda Goldwing.
Dean Sensui
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Old February 13th, 2009, 07:56 PM   #5
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From another perspective, back in my bike touring days, the worst 1-bicycle accident I ever saw was a young woman whose purse swung down into her front spokes on a long downhill. Head over heels at 35 mph. was a very sorry sight. She was lucky, got away with a concussion and road-rash all over, including her face - it could have been much worse.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 07:52 AM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions and concerns!

First and foremost I am looking into how we could do this technically. How the producer is planning on getting the bikers to agree and keeping it safe for everyone is unclear to me at this stage of production. We still have a month to tackle these issues.

It's 'only' a 50 mile race, and I don't have any details yet other than that he wants to do a couple of interviews during the race.

I will need to know more about the route before I'll suggest a soundguy with boom. It might not be practical or safe at all.

Thanks again!
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Old February 14th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #7
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If the riders are in competition mode then they won't want to pause for much of anything as 50 miles is a relatively short ride as a race. If the reporter can keep up with them then he is a very good rider. You may be able to give him a wireless boom mic set up so he can point it at the rider he is talking to while riding next to like a news reporter with a handheld. If the race is more a social event then people are usually more cooperative.
I would make sure the producer has figured out whether he can get any interviews at all before getting all tied up in technical issues which might be moot.
Since you say they don't have a budget for 5 or 6 wireless units to pull this off my guess is they don't realize how ambitious they are being in other areas of the endeavor as well.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #8
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If you haven't done so, I'd recommend watching a few races on TV. The Tour of California is starting today--dunno if it will be available for you; I suspect it will--Lance is in it.

While it may be feasible to wire your host, I think a boom is a better choice for the guest.

I'd be a little concerned about a lav mike picking up ambient noise--in a riding position, one's chest is much further away than standing or sitting. I've only seen lav mics used in pre-race riding not during a race. One bicycle is quite quiet but 50 or 100 together make some noise! You may want to consider a headset style mount that brings the mic much closer to the mouth.

What Daniel says is true: in a 50 mile race, yr gonna be going flat out the entire time. It would only be a much longer race where riders might have time/inclination to yap to an interviewer.
Andy Tejral
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Old February 14th, 2009, 08:19 AM   #9
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Hi there
I don't know anything about your race amateur or Pro... but I've done a few in my time... Paris/Roubaix, Tour de France, Paris/Nice etc...
The races are strictly controlled by marshalls on motorcycles and press access to the riders during the race is nill. You are allowed to get to a certain distance to shoot photos, but if there are several motorbike mounted photographers this can get a bit competitive during the key parts of the race. The key part to all the races is the skill of the motorcycle rider..if he can't place you you get no usuable shots however good a shooter you are.

TV and video rights on all the races I have done are bought by one of the networks. And they usually have priorty on the race... I've never seen even the main TV crews attempt this type of thing...

In my experience if this is a professional race a journalist wouldn't get within 15-20m of a rider, so asking questions to a guy in full competition mode is unimaginable. Best I could imagine is a quick word before an after the race in the paddock areas.

The fact you say that the reporter will be riding too, makes me think it is not a pro race in which case the rules will be different. I still can't see how it could be done though if there is any sort of competition involved.

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Old June 29th, 2009, 03:03 PM   #10
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About time I posted an update.

The shoot I was researching for got canceled. Some two weeks ago I received a call to shoot a similar event: a training session of a group of bikers and the interviewer would be riding along.

I bought a small plastic clamp from Home Depot and cannibalized a camera pouch. Stuck the receiver in there, a nice windjammer with velcro, so it wouldn't get blown off the mic, and off we went.

It worked surprisingly well! Only downside was that the mic was omni-directional. I was shooting from the back of a motorcycle about 10 feet from the subjects, and the mics picked up the motorcycle's engine noise...

Other than that I think this is something that works great for this kind of shoot.
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