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Old June 5th, 2009, 10:29 AM   #1
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Which way to go on wireless

I currently have a 700mhz range ATW100 which needs to be replaced. I'm having a hard time deciding what to do and any advice would be appreciated.

I have two options, getting a whole new Sennheiser G3 setup or getting a new Lectrosonics receiver for my existing transmitters. I haven't been using the Lectros since I have no way of attaching the receiver to the camera as I'm using a Sony V1U and have no plans to upgrade to a larger style camera.

Lectrosonics Option:
I have a Lectro UM200C Bodypack and a UH200C plug-on. Upgrading to something I can mount on a shoe would be getting a SRA receiver - $1900 + SRBATTSLEDTOP $280 + SRHARDWARE $25.

Pros - Dual channel(awesome!), Lectrosonics quality/reliability
Cons - Expensive, more limited frequency selection, difficult to change transmitter freqs, 9V batteries for transmitters, heavier, need to charge battery for receiver

Sennhesier Option:
Get a ew 122-p G3 set - $600 + SKP500 plug-on transmitter - $450. Maybe get a second receiver - could be G2.

Pros - Cheap - I could pay for it by selling the Lectros, AA Batteries, wider freq selection, light
Cons - Lower quality, less range, dual channel would be more difficult
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Old June 5th, 2009, 10:50 AM   #2
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Have you contacted the manufacturer and asked about installing new frequency chips in you old units?

Have you also looked at the Lectrosonics UCR100 reciever ?

If you call Lectrosonics ask them if you can use the UM200c body pack with a UCR100 reciever if it is in the same block (they can re chip it for you).

Also if you look around you might find a good used reciever in the same frequency block and save alot of $$$.

Mounting is easy: get a "L" bracket and use some velcro (I made my own)

Look at this: Bracket1 | HD Wireless Reciever Bracket | VISLBR1HD | B&H Photo
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Old June 5th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #3
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go and find a used receiver for your Lectro system. There's always some on the market. Then, there's no reason to mount the receiver on the camera, none. Put the receiver on your belt (simple pouch) and run a 4ft cable to the camera. Voila!
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Old June 5th, 2009, 03:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Lohninger View Post
... there's no reason to mount the receiver on the camera, none.
Unless you're shooting fly fishermen. A belt-mounted receiver is likely to get dunked.

Another reason is to eliminate dangling wires. In confined spaces a loose cable could snag protrusions or get caught in machinery. A higher mounting point also means having the antennas higher up and more likely to maintain a clean signal path.
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Old June 5th, 2009, 11:23 PM   #5
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Alright, so there's a reason to put a receiver on top of your camera - which makes the camera bigger and harder to hold - but saves life when shooting fly fishers! Careful out there.

My experience in this regard comes from reality shows where camera guys (mostly using these half-assed form factor hvx cams or ex1/3 cams) are shooting min 10 hours/day. Everything that takes weight off the cam is good! It's different with real shoulder mount cams where receivers mounted on the back end of the camera might actually help balance.

BUT, really, guys, if you're shooting fly fishing, by all means, listen to Dean ;-)
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Old June 6th, 2009, 05:00 PM   #6
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Karl...

You're saying that there's no good reason for mounting a wireless receiver on a camera. I'm saying there are a lot of very good reasons for having a receiver integrated with the camera, and perhaps help some others understand the reasons why.

Lots of people are using half-assed cameras like the HVX, EX1 and EX3 to do some great work. For those shorter cameras a shoulder-mount system is strongly recommended as it helps stabilize the camera, makes them a lot easier to operate, and provides additional mounting points for accessories. That includes placing wireless receivers on the back end where they help counterbalance the weight of the camera, are out of the way and in the clear.

It's not just fly fishing where eliminating dangling cables could be a benefit.

When going up and down ladders it's prudent to hand the camera up to an assistant before climbing. Having the mic receiver on the belt makes that process more cumbersome. People shooting construction can appreciate this as well as anyone who has had to get up and down from a flybridge on a rolling boat.

Same with boarding or stepping off a boat. Captains in Kona (Hawaii's deep sea fishing capital) will sometimes "hover" off the pier by about a foot while anglers and crew get on and off during some of the major tournaments, and a loose cable could easily snag a trolling rod, cleat or some other protrusion. The camera -- and cameraman -- can end up in the water or sprawled on the deck.

In construction sites, machine shops and professional kitchens, loose clothing and cables are hazardous. Imagine what happens if a cable snags the handle of a pan full of hot oil when shooting closeups during a cooking demo.

I did a lot of military coverage and going up and down ships' steep ladders is tough enough for cameramen without having a pair of loose wires swinging around to snag railings and hatch dogs. Cables are guaranteed to get snagged if you're running after infantry through the brush. Same if you're filming outdoorsmen in a forest.

Having the receiver mounted at the belt means there's a large fluid-filled obstruction blocking 180 degrees of what the receiver antennas can "see". At close ranges that's not a problem. But at marginal ranges it's more likely to get signal loss, even with diversity receivers. Again, having the receivers mounted high is preferable to having them mounted low on a belt.

Soundmen can get away with having receivers on a belt pack because they have the option of re-orienting themselves so antennas face the transmitters. Cameramen don't have that option.

And if you're having to switch from a handheld to a tripod-mount frequently, a belt-mounted receiver can increase the potential for disaster. Especially if the cameraman forgets about the tether and walks away from the tripod to adjust the mic on the talent -- and having the entire rig come crashing to the concrete.

So belt-mounting receivers are OK in a lot of situations. But there are a lot of very good reasons for mounting them on the camera.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #7
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Last night I did a rock band shoot handheld and had two receivers on my camera (one feed from the mix board and one from a room mic) One of the receivers was on the hotshoe and one was clipped to the hand strap. This is the first time I did this and thought it might be awkward. Much to my surprise, the extra weight made for much steadier camera moves but did not add enough weight to inhibit holding the camera with my arm fully extended up in the air.
My vote for wireless!!
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Old June 7th, 2009, 12:21 AM   #8
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Dean, that's all wonderful. I was speaking in 'general' terms and you're out trying to find instances where it's better to have no cables running. And, for sure hopping around boats is dangerous all by itself, extra care should be taken.

Hell, all cabling is a nuisance, we know that. I'm talking about these weird concoctions on top of the toy cameras, mounting one (or two!) wireless systems onto the top of them, held in place by a cheap plastic 'mounting' shoe.

PS. May I suggest to unplug the cable before you climb a ladder or whatever plugging in again when you made it up there ;-)
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Old June 8th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #9
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I have to be able to mount it on the camera for run and gun situations, hopping in and out of cars etc.. It has to be able to go in the case with the wireless attached so I can leave it on the camera at all times. So hot shoe mounting is really my best option. I also don't like changing the balance of the camera so a sidemounted bracket is out. The hot shoe provides the closest to the camera's center of gravity I think. The lighter and smaller the receiver is the better though.

As far as the tether solution goes. I've already set up retracting headphones so I'm not tethered in that way. An audio cable would be even a bigger annoyance to me.

I'd think about the Lectro UCR100 - but it lacks diversity and an easy shoe mount option. Is it so hard to design these things with a optional shoe mount?

So I think I'm going to try the new Sennheiser G3(when available) and see how I like it. I won't sell my Lectro stuff till I'm completely satisfied it will work well.

It would be nice if camera manufacturers actually thought about where the heck you're going to put these things. An EX3 size camera with a slot-in receiver would be awesome, but I doubt anybody will make such a thing in the lower end professional realm.
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