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Old July 30th, 2009, 01:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Keep in mind that this is an unpaid job, and I'm working with a team of people with limited experience. It might be the camera op's job, but I want the redundancy of the boom op hearing what is actually being recorded.
Again, I understand BUT what the boom op is hearing is what is coming out of the preamps before it hits the recorder, unlike in the "olde" days where headphone monitoring COULD be E-to-E which meant that you were listening to playback off the repro heads and THEREFORE could tell if you'd overloaded the RECORDING stage and not the PREAMP stage.

Now that you've mentioned that this is unpaid, I understand a little better but I would still suggest that as a matter of course, this is a bad approach, albeit possibly the only one available to you in this case due to lack of budget.

I guess what I'm suggesting is that the method you have proposed doesn't provide the NECESSARY feedback to the person being held responsible for sound gathering that I would need to feel comfortable that I was getting good (or even SERVICEABLE) audio.

To sum up: in this case I will defer to what you need to do in your circumstance but I would never support this methodology as Standard Operating Procedure, even in a low/no budget situation.

I hope this helps and I do wish your crew luck.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 01:53 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Again, I understand BUT what the boom op is hearing is what is coming out of the preamps before it hits the recorder, unlike in the "olde" days where headphone monitoring COULD be E-to-E which meant that you were listening to playback off the repro heads and THEREFORE could tell if you'd overloaded the RECORDING stage and not the PREAMP stage.
The 5D Mark II with the Magic Lantern firmware monitors the signal after the A/D converter and digital processing stage. It doesn't monitor what is actually encoded into the MOV file and written to the card, but the recorded audio format is uncompressed PCM, so what you hear is the final, digital product.

So, this setup does tell us if we've overloaded the recording (A/D) stage, but doesn't ensure that it got on the CF card. If the camera isn't writing the A/V to the card, we've got bigger problems do deal with.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Any idea where I can buy 8-pin breakaway connectors? My first choice would be from a DVInfo sponsor, but they generally sell finished goods, rather than components.
I think you're right - there isn't a DV-Info sponsor that stocks raw components. I've been happy with Redco Audio for raw snake cable, connectors & such. A friend who built my breakaway cable used a 7-pin Neutrik XLR for the break - probably ganged all the grounds. I've not taken the meter to it to find out, but it works fine (2x XLR plus Headphone).

A good breakaway will also include a paralleled headphone jack at the camera end, so the cam op can listen on cans if he/she wishes. A nice velcro hanger to strap the short end to a camera or tripod handle. Color coding on the channels... etc.
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Old July 30th, 2009, 04:59 PM   #19
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Quote: What exactly does this thing do besides what the combined mic+headphone return already does? You still need 2 (!) cables? / Karl Lohninger


The way it is used requires a cable from the mike to the monitor, which is the boom cable; the monitor is usually worn on the operator's belt. Then one from the monitor to the mixer or camera. The monitor is in the middle between them, so there is, in effect, only one cable running from the boom to the camera or mixer, rather than having a mike cable and a monitor return cable dragging behind one../ B Vaughan
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Old July 30th, 2009, 05:50 PM   #20
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So the boom op/sound person does not get a monitor feed from the camera if I understand that correctly. If so, that gadget puzzles me. I still don't know in what way this box is helping? If the sound person doesn't get a return feed from the camera how does he/she know the signal actually arrives there?
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Old July 30th, 2009, 08:46 PM   #21
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As I said in my original message, this works well if the boom person is monitoring the mike itself, which is the traditional duty. If one is to monitor the camera -- hey, it's not my production, but I should think the DP would have phones on --- then, of course, it would require a return cable. Thus my suggestion to make the return cable from an xlr cable with xlr to trs adapters, rather than trying to find a 25 foot or so headphone cable.....bv
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Old July 31st, 2009, 11:22 AM   #22
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...make the return cable from an xlr cable with xlr to trs adapters, rather than trying to find a 25 foot or so headphone cable.
This makes a lot of sense. I know that there are long headphone cables out there, but they aren't necessarily as rugged as mic and snake cables. Also, if all the cables are XLR, that gives better flexibility in case of a failure.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 08:41 PM   #23
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So, I built my cables, including breakaway connectors, and I have a question: it seems that the breakaway connector holds tight when you pull on the cable, and pops out if you pull it by the body. I was assuming that it would pop off if somebody tripped over the cable, but that clearly won't happen when the thing is in it's natural state.

Are people inserting a ring to keep the connection loose? Are you hooking up a safety cable that pulls on the body when the cable is pulled? Or is this more of a quick-disconnect than a safety feature?

Thanks!
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Old August 13th, 2009, 05:06 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
So, I built my cables, including breakaway connectors, and I have a question: it seems that the breakaway connector holds tight when you pull on the cable, and pops out if you pull it by the body. I was assuming that it would pop off if somebody tripped over the cable, but that clearly won't happen when the thing is in it's natural state.

Are people inserting a ring to keep the connection loose? Are you hooking up a safety cable that pulls on the body when the cable is pulled? Or is this more of a quick-disconnect than a safety feature?

Thanks!
The break-away connector is definitely intended as a quick-disconnect, not a safety. When a run-and-gun news team, where the idea originated, are working on the move while tethered, the last thing you want is for the cable to easily break apart in mid-shot. My cable, purchased from Trew, uses a latching Neutric connector for the break-away explicitly so it WON'T come apart with a simple tug.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 12:47 PM   #25
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Thanks Steve,

I must have misread some other posts. They were talking about breakaways in the context of producers tripping over cables.

Probably the main safety item is to use a cable tie at the bottom of one of the legs of the tripod. If somebody yanks on the cable, it won't have the leverage to topple the tripod. I made the cable from the camera to breakaway connector long enough to go from top to bottom with the tripod fully extended, so I'm good to go...

One tip that I stumbled across is that you can't simply connect the inline male and female breakaway connectors (OSC8M and OSC8F). You need to buy the MC8 shell and use that, rather than the standard shell on one of the connectors.

Neutrik USA Inc Neutrik OSC8F & OSC8M Connectors Neutrik Neutricon Connectors at Markertek.com

Neutrik USA Inc Neutricon MC8 Cable Mount Housing Neutrik Neutricon Connectors at Markertek.com

FWIW, I ended up using a two-channel star quad Canare snake cable.

Canare Corporation Of America Canare L-4E3-P Series Multi Channel Star Quad Audio Snake Cable Bulk Audio Cable at Markertek.com

I used Neutrik XX-series XLRs.

Neutrik USA Inc Neutrik 3-Pin XX Series Female and Male XLR Cable Connectors XLR Connectors at Markertek.com

Neutrik USA Inc Neutrik 3-Pin XLR Right Angle Female Cable Connectors XLR Connectors at Markertek.com

And for the headphone link, I went ahead and soldered 1/8" stereo male and female connectors directly. Yeah, I could have used XLRs and adapters, but That would just mean more cost and more points of possible failure. XLRs might offer more flexibility, but, frankly, I just want a mic send and headphone return.

I used shrink tubing to keep everything strong and clean.

The cables are all together and test out fine. I'll bring my older, separate cables as backups.

Thanks to everybody for providing your inputs.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 01:20 PM   #26
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Got mine ready made from Trew. Has a 10pin Hirose on one end for my 442 mixer, the other end breaks out to 2xXLR plus 1/8 plug for headphone return. The phones return line has a tap to an inline jack so the camera op can also plug in and listen if he wants. The nice thing about this one is the breakaway is just a few feet from the camera end and they have other camera ends available such as one with 2xXLR plus a 5 pin for playback from many HD cameras.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 05:57 PM   #27
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Going ready made isn't a bad way to go. I've been soldering stuff since I was a kid, and I have all the tools, but it still took a number of hours to put everything together.

Overall, I modified my Boosteroo 3-output headphone amp plug to mate with the 5D Mark II A/V out, and provide a composite video output. I made the six foot camera breakaway cable, as well as the 25-footer to the boom. I also made a star quad mic cable with right angle connector for the boom itself.

The worst connector by far was the 4-pin, 1/8" AV cable. The solder points on that thing are tiny! I wonder if it was missing a piece. It looked like one would solder to something larger and slip it over the tiny pins. Oh well. It works, is solid, and the ohm-meter claims that it's all good - and I have a back up strategy!
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Old August 13th, 2009, 11:01 PM   #28
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I always use Switchcraft XLRs because there is no platsic end to break off when someone rolls an Anvil case over one like the Neutrik ones do. I noticed they say they are redesigned, though, so maybe they are better now.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 02:03 AM   #29
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I always use Switchcraft XLRs because there is no platsic end to break off when someone rolls an Anvil case over one like the Neutrik ones do. I noticed they say they are redesigned, though, so maybe they are better now.
The XX-series has a metal business end, but the part at the cable-end is plastic and rubber. A wheel would have to roll just right to put weight on the plastic without getting enough support from the metal to protect it. Of course, Murphy's Anvil case would find a way...

The bigger problem that I see is that once you slide the female connector piece into the shell, I cannot see how one would be able to get it back off. That could make repairs difficult. (I bet there's a trick, but it stumped me!)
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Old August 18th, 2009, 02:47 AM   #30
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Sunday night, we completed a 48-hour film (with eight minutes to spare.)

The 2-channel snake with quick disconnect was VERY nice to have. It allowed us to have the camera and tripod pre-wired and tied down with Velcro. The boom op could plug in at a moment's notice, and we didn't have to deal with the tangle of multiple, parallel cables.

The star quad did it's job. I'd tell everybody to turn off their cell phones, and I'd turn mine off too. Except that when it looks like it's shutting down, and I close it, it stays alive! Fortunately, we didn't get one beep's worth of cellphone buzz. Both the boom op and I (AC) were monitoring with headphones. We caught every stray noise. We could hear cars in the distance before anybody on the crew could. The crew started asking us the make, model, and year of the vehicle!

Anyway, we got no preamp noise worth mentioning, and no clipping whatsoever. (We used a juicedLink CX231 into the 5D Mark II and Magic Lantern firmware.) A better mic than our AT815b (outdoors and in a large theater) would have sounded sweeter, but I can't complain. We produced a technically solid and credible result. The clients (our crew and I) are very pleased. :)

Thanks to everybody for your assistance!
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