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Old September 14th, 2012, 12:15 PM   #1
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Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

Hi guys,

Ive bought a Zoom H4N (which I think allows individual control of each XLR input) and a Rode NTG3 for my projects (narrative, doc, music videos, etc). Ive been reading a lot of articles about sound and have heard a lot of great advice here that led me to believe that using the NTG3 AND a lavalier would be the best way to try to get the best sound for my dialogs. I was wondering what workflow to use though.

One of the next projects Im going to do has like 8 scenes and each scene has a dialog between 2 people (there is only one scene where there are 3 people for a VERY brief period of time).
Sound wise Im thinking about going with one of the following workflows. Please let me know what do you think?
1 - Shoot all the actor 1's shots/frames (who will have the wireless lavalier on him) keeping the NTG3 as near as possible to his mouth and then do the same to actor 2?
2 - Shoot all the actor 1's shots/frames and keep the NTG3 coming and going between him and actor 2 as they speak (also place some sort of dual wireless lavalier system on both) and then do the same to actor 2?

Heres another doubt, Ive never used wireless lavalier mics before. From what I can see there is a device to send the signal and another to receive, right. Id like to know if there is such a thing: you plug the received into the H4N's XLR input and it receives from BOTH lavalier mics at the same time on the same channel (since the other XLR is being used by the NTG3)...like 2 "senders" with one receiver.

Anyway, sorry for too many doubts and the sort of confusing post. I hope you guys can help.
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Last edited by Rafael Lopes; September 14th, 2012 at 04:18 PM.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 12:42 PM   #2
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

In this sort of workflow, I think #2 is done more often than #1.

This depends on having a skilled boom operator! And these sorts of workflow decisions don't have a single right answer, only what works best for your style and shoots.

2 lavs plus one shotgun = 3 mixer inputs, few ways around that. No, there are no pro systems with 2 senders (transmitters) to one receive. However, there are a couple of dual receivers. I believe the Audio Technica ATW1800 systems with the dual receiver offer the option to mix two transmitters to one audio output from the receiver.

However, this isn't how most soundies are going to approach these shoots. A mixer that has at least 3 inputs and two sets of two-channel outputs is how to do this right.

Two wireless systems get mixed during shooting to one channel of the H4, with a backup to the camcorder. The shotgun is sent to the other channel of the H4, backed up to the other channel of the camcorder.

If shooting dSLR you might only have one channel of audio to it, but it is still very worthwhile for post-sync to have it!
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Old September 14th, 2012, 01:19 PM   #3
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

So, Im guessing it would be better to use the NTG3 and ONE wireless lav on each XLR inputs. I guess this kind of narrows down the workflow: shoot all actor#1's shots with the NTG3 on his face and the lav mic attached to him, then move all the gear towards actor#2, attach the lav onto him and repeat the process.
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Last edited by Rafael Lopes; September 14th, 2012 at 04:18 PM.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 01:33 PM   #4
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

Im going to quote from my other thread


Originally Posted by Doc Bernard
"I would do the opposite. Lav the on camera talent and boom the other. switch it for the turn-around. It gives you options. A well boomed talent can sound quite nice. And if the boomed actor is off camera, the mic can be placed in the perfect position."


D'oh! That is absolutely logical. Thanks.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 01:43 PM   #5
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

BTW, any tips on a wireless lav? Ive read I dont have to be so picky as I would have with a non lav mic...which is good, since Ive just spent a lot of money on the NTG3, H4N, boom, etc. ..

Is the Samson UM1 the least expensive I can find with an XRL output?
Samson UM1 Portable Wireless Lavalier Microphone SW87SLM5-N4 B&H
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Old September 14th, 2012, 02:12 PM   #6
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafael Lopes View Post
Im going to quote from my other thread


Originally Posted by Doc Bernard
"I would do the opposite. Lav the on camera talent and boom the other. switch it for the turn-around. It gives you options. A well boomed talent can sound quite nice. And if the boomed actor is off camera, the mic can be placed in the perfect position."


D'oh! That is absolutely logical. Thanks.
Logic is just a start... it really depends on who is doing the booming and lots of other circumstances. I agree that good boom technique on a good day can sound better than a lav. Which I why I'd be booming between two talent, with lavs as backup.

On the other hand, if you are talking about fixed boom, or an inexperienced operator, what DB has suggested might be a primary approach.

It depends...
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Old September 14th, 2012, 05:32 PM   #7
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

Just another thing to keep in mind with what your trying to do is that many radio mic receivers don't like phantom power being fed into them. A Sennheiser G2 RX can be damaged, the G3's RX are OK though, some NADY RX's sound thin and hollow and Lectros often buzz when fed with the phantom powering.

This will also dramatically reduce the battery life of the H4n to about 1/4 of standard battery life.
There are several threads on various forums on this subject.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 06:03 PM   #8
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

Would it then be worth it at all to have a wireless lav into the H4N's mic-in input as a backup for the NTG3?
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Old September 14th, 2012, 06:29 PM   #9
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafael Lopes View Post
Would it then be worth it at all to have a wireless lav into the H4N's mic-in input as a backup for the NTG3?
What I'm saying is you may have problems having a NTG3 (which is phantom powered) in one channel and a radio mic RX (which is NOT phantom powered) into the other...... you will need to try it.
On the H4n it is impossible to turn off the phantom power independently on each channel.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 06:36 PM   #10
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

You mean that if I turn on phantom power it will be feeding both XLR inputs regardless of them having anything connected to them? If that is the case then I might as well have the NTG3 in one and the LAV on the other (since each input will be recorded to a different track). Right?
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Old September 14th, 2012, 11:50 PM   #11
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Re: Dual lavalier + H4N + NTG3?

"might as well have the NTG3 in one and the LAV on the other (since each input will be recorded to a different track). Right?"
- As long as the lav is hardwired with an XLR Phantom Power transformer.
Unbalanced mics, including unbalanced wireless receivers like the Sennheiser G2/3 portable100 series, should not used in inputs where Phantom pwr. voltage is present. Just because a device has an XLR cable does not mean it is a balanced. It is possible to use the 3.5mm inputs on the H4n at the same time as the XLRs in the four-track mode though.
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