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Old February 26th, 2010, 07:41 AM   #1
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Cables!!!

How long cable do you use for shotgun mics, guys???
Does the lenght of the cable influence the quality, too...?
6 meter long cable is not too handy for camera attached mic, do you know what I mean!!! ;)
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Old February 26th, 2010, 08:07 AM   #2
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Approx 5 ft seems to be common for on board mics that a reporter is going to hand hold. If it's just going to stay on the camera, it would be better shorter.

Best use a range of different lengths and connect them as required. I haven't heard of people having problems cable length wise in normal location situations with phantom power, eg large room or church. Of course, they're using broadcast quality cables.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #3
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there is a chance to connect not only xlr male to female but female to 1/4 jack too!!!
will this reduce my quality???
s.
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Last edited by Salvis Are; February 26th, 2010 at 08:30 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old February 26th, 2010, 08:41 AM   #4
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That depends on the 1/4 connection - is it balanced or unbalanced? What level is it, mic or line? (1/4" mic level inputs are very rare these days.) Does your mic need phantom power? (it's almost unheard of for a 1/4" mic input to provide it).
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Old February 26th, 2010, 10:00 AM   #5
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I have run over 100 feet of shielded XLR mic cable at a wedding shoot. This was routed from the front around the attendees and plugged directly into my camera located in the back of the church. Between using my high end wireless systems and the cables, the cables have never been a problem.

Stay as far away from any cables that use a 1/4 jack. Any length makes it into a big antenna. Invest into a Beachtek system and only run XLR shielded cables.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #6
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Go with a balanced XLR using star quad cable, and you can run very long lengths.

Regarding a five foot cable to a reporter, I would disagree. The reporter might be five feet away, but the camera is five feet off the ground and the reporter holds the mic at five feet off the ground. 15 feet is the shortest I would want in that condition. 25 feet is a standard length for mic cables.

For our shoots, I have a short cable snake that runs from the camera to the bottom of the tripod, including a headphone and mic path. At the bottom is a breakaway connector. I then have a 25 foot length snake with an XLR and 1/8" connector. Finally, there is an XLR cable that runs up the boom pole. That allows the boom operator to move at least 20 feet from the camera without stress on the cable or connectors.

The breakaway connector is a real luxury. When it's time to change setups, we disconnect it and the boom op gathers the cable. For the next setup, we snap the cable in, and we're ready to go. You could use XLR connectors there too as long as they are clearly color coded. Frankly, that's the cheaper, simpler to make solution.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 04:30 PM   #7
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The reporter is usually beside the camera doing an interview. An approx 5ft length is one that can be be neatly wrapped around the mic while on the camera so that the on board mic can to be removed for quickie grab news inteviews. 5 ft isn't hard and fast, if you've got a pouch on the camera a longer cable can be stowed there.

15ft or 25ft takes time to coil and is OK as the standard cable extension rather than an on board mic extension.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 05:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salvis Are View Post
Does the lenght of the cable influence the quality, too...?
Unles you have a terribly lousy cable or a flaky mic input (unbalanced, etc.), then the length does NOT affect the quality. I have run mic cables well over 500ft with no perceptable problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salvis Are View Post
there is a chance to connect not only xlr male to female but female to 1/4 jack too!!!
That does not stand by itself as a proper question. WHY do you think you want to connect a microphone to a 1/4 inch jack? Without significantly more details, that question cannot be answered in any definitive way.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 07:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
The reporter is usually beside the camera doing an interview...
I guess it depends on the reporter, and it might vary in the US. Here, the reporters often do their reports and interviews while facing the camera. Gotta have that face time!

I was recently at the California State Capitol for a technology demo to lawmakers. The reporters all did their reports and interviews with a handheld mic in front of the camera. One poor reporter wasn't technical, and had to do the opening and conclusion of the report over and over and over to get the jargon right. I was happy to see that I'm not the only person who kerfludges words in front of a lens!

Anyway, the original poster asked about cables for shotguns, rather than handhelds. With a shotgun on a boom for narrative, I like 25 ft and wouldn't want less than 15. For a one man run & gun with the mic on the camera, one foot might do. If the camera op will handhold the mic, the cable only needs to be as long as your arm can reach, so maybe one meter would do. And, as long as you use good connectors and star-quad cable, don't worry about being too long.
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Old February 26th, 2010, 10:18 PM   #10
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A good quality cable with solid connections are good for 200 to 300 feet easy.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 03:23 AM   #11
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A piece to camera would be different, the short cable is good for media scrums and quick grab interviews. For the "to camera stuff" either connect a longer cable (commonly kept in the camera wet weather cover's pouch) or use a radio mic.

Some parts of BBC News have shotgun mics as their on board mics and they do get used as hand mics.

Of course, this is different to using them on a boom.
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Old February 27th, 2010, 04:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salvis Are View Post
How long cable do you use for shotgun mics, guys???
Does the lenght of the cable influence the quality, too...?
6 meter long cable is not too handy for camera attached mic, do you know what I mean!!! ;)
The BBC often use cables several kilometres long for sports events like golf, etc.

That's one of the reasons that the impedance of the MKH 416 is so low (and there is also a simple mod. to drop the impedance of the MKH 60 to the same level).
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 06:42 PM   #13
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The rule I've always heard is that 50 feet is about as far as you want to run a cable for a mic level signal, particularly if it is a dynamic. Supposedly signal degradation starts to be an issue after that. Line level signals can go hundreds of feet with no problem. I've broken that rule without major problems, but just sayin'...
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Old March 3rd, 2010, 07:48 PM   #14
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I disagree about 50ft
Standard mic at a live gig say a shure sm58 (dynamic) it'll be cabled to a multibox with a 20mtr cable then run down the multicore to a splitter, at least another 60 feet away , the splitter will then run one feed to the monitor mixer and send another path down through the cable tunnel to FOH which can be up to another 500 feet away ... no loss of signal

decent quality xlr cable can run for days ... far enough for it never to be an issue between a camera and a mic

on my rig I have a 6mtr cable on the boom, another red 6mtr unused hanging from my bag connected to ch4 (boom and 2 radios into a sound devices 4ch) and a 20mtr cable in the kit case just in case
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Old March 4th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #15
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FWIW, when I studied in the 70's, the educational reference handbooks always said "300 feet w/o any noticable signal degradation". Of course that may be subjective, like the self-proclaimed 'golden ears' who said they could hear the difference between gold and nickel pins of an XLR. (except in a blind test)
I would have no qualms about running 400-500' though star-quad.
That said, when I did have the luxury of some external pre-amps for music remotes, I'd put them backstage instead in the truck.
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