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Old March 6th, 2007, 04:00 AM   #1
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Okay - I'm buying for a short film group, these guys have little experience but are plenty eager to get going. Here's what I'm buying for sound:

mike Rode NTG-2
boom Rode
mixer Behringer Eurotrack UB 1002
cable ?
deadcat Rode
shockmount Rode SM4
wireless mike kit Azden 100LT UHF
Headphone 2 - Behringer HPS5000 Headphones

I've read Ty's book (which is great BTW) and I learned lots but these are students with little experience and I want to give them a taste of life on a 'real' film set.

I think the only things that will upset you guys is the inclusion of Behringer equip so I'll try and justify the decision.

With limited funds I want to give the 'right' experience. I can't afford to get a mixpre and rather than do without a mixer I favour getting the Behringer (yes, it needs power or an inverter) but it will do the job and give the experience without spending the money - at least that's what I think.

The headphones are not the industry standard sony but I can get 2 - 1 for the boom operator and 1 for the mixer for the same price.

Okay - over to you - tell me where I'm wrong before I actually make the purchase.


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www.justshorts.info
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Old March 6th, 2007, 05:07 AM   #2
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An industry standard set of cans ? I have never seen one mixer wear the same as another, that is personal taste, again I'd repeat a boom op does not HAVE to wear cans, that is personal choice, some do, some don't and how do you intend to send the signal to the boom op anyways ? by cable ? you are more likely to rip the headphones off on a scene where movement may occur if you try a basic cable run, better to have no headphones than hinder the boom op even if they do want them.

I'd give a HUGE warning about powering a mixer with an inverter, you may find yourself with an unusable system due to the noise an inverter will throw into the system.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 05:17 AM   #3
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How about the Behringer UBB1002 that has both battery and AC power?

Nothing wrong with the Rode gear. A lot of people have problems with Azden's budget wireless systems.

Don't know anything about the Behringer cans but I'd compare them to the arguably standard Sony MDR7506 before purchasing. If they sound too far off (as I think it's likely) go with something else.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 05:59 AM   #4
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Hi there

A very quick word of warning (something that happened to me in the last week), I would try and find a mixer that can be battery powered (I am pretty sure Behringer do one, that is still in the same range). I have recently been working with inverters and car batteries, to power some gear in the field. It was a nightmare from the very beginning and in the end didn't actually work. The inverters kept blowing fused, there was some interference caused by them and using them with car batteries weighed a ton!! Not a reliable system at all.

Good luck

Neil
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Old March 6th, 2007, 07:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Savage View Post
...and how do you intend to send the signal to the boom op anyways ? by cable ? you are more likely to rip the headphones off on a scene where movement may occur if you try a basic cable run, better to have no headphones than hinder the boom op even if they do want them.
....
Unless you're booming wireless you have a cable tethering you anyway do you not? So what's how's a snake providing fold-back from the mixer to the boomer as well as signal from the boom mic to the mixer any different in that regard? Even better, a headphone amp/preamp combo on the boomer's belt feeding line to the mixer and allowing the boomer to monitor the signal he's sending at the same time. The Sound Devices MM1 even does both, splices a monitor into the signal from the mic to the mixer as well as boosting the mic to line level and is also switchable to let the boomer listen to the foldback if he chooses.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #6
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99% of the time I work wireless but I for one would NEVER want anything but an XLR cable running to me if I was working with a wire, start making a multi and it's asking for trouble in my book, it's something I would never do but hey that's personal preference and isn't what I was replying too, the reality is that the guy is talking about some very basic kit for not a lot of cash which is what I was replying to, he does not have the budget for any of that gear from what I can read, if he wants to run a long headphone cable with his xlr cable then good luck, as I said it's something I wouldn't do on a set and in terms of helping someone with advice on a low budget venture simplicity wins every time.

We obviously have different working practices and 20 years as a boom op and my whole life in an audio family has formed mine, it's valid for people asking advice to hear more than one opinion, that's why they (and all of us) are here in the first place.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 12:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Savage View Post
...
We obviously have different working practices and 20 years as a boom op and my whole life in an audio family has formed mine, it's valid for people asking advice to hear more than one opinion, that's why they (and all of us) are here in the first place.
No disagreement there! I was just curious why ONE XLR cable wasn't a problem but using wire-ties every couple of feet to fasten a second skinny cable alongside the first one to provide feedback made it so. Seems pretty much a matter of 6's and 9's as far as reliability, convenience, getting in the way during camera moves, etc, etc are concerned. I realize you prefer to work without headphones but I am curious why you feel it's actually better to work without them? Seems that any tool you can use that can help you do the job better is a good thing to have at your disposal. You obviously feel that particular one doesn't help but hinders. How come?

Also, a lot of the folks here aren't working feature style with a mixer at his cart plus boom ops. Instead for most it's more likely to be more or less an ENG/Doco style with one guy on camera and another on sound with the sound person responsible for both mic aiming and levels. If the sole sound op doesn't monitor sound, nobody does.
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Last edited by Steve House; March 6th, 2007 at 12:35 PM.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 01:54 PM   #8
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Since the boom op in this proposed case will have no experience, I think it will be important for them to monitor in order to hear just how much noise they can create with handling the boom, even with a good shockmount.
Plus with a directional mic I also think they'll need to monitor how they're doing with staying on the subject and avoiding ambient and wind noises.
If you have no budget and must go wireless back to the boom op, there is a cheap and dirty tool that works as long as you stay within 15 to 20 feet. Use high-quality FM walkman-style receivers for the boom op and anybody else that needs to listen. Use a small FM transmitter that's designed to link your mp3 player to a nearby radio. Hook that to a line-level or lowered headphone-level output from the mixer or camera. The sound quality on some models is actually very good (mine's a Belkin). The only problem is the very short range for reliable reception. If you use a headphone extension cable, even bundled up, between the output and the transmitter it will extend your "broadcast" to about 25 feet max by acting like an additional antenna. I have used this for quick and cheap steadicam situations where I was never further than 10 feet from the camera op and it worked fine.
There are a number of other ways to monitor, including using a second wireless receiver tuned to the same frequency that your wireless plug-on transmitter back to the camera is using. This will have much greater range since it's a "real" wireless system, but you won't know for certain about any RF hits you hear (or don't hear).
If you use high-quality cables for both send and return, you shouldn't have any problem making your own snake for wired use, especially with sensitive headphones that won't require much power in the return signal.
Somebody needs to monitor a direct signal from the camera, that's really crucial. Even if they aren't making any adjustments on the camera in order to stay out of the camera op's way, they can listen for distortion or problems without also being distracted by having to operate the camera or the boom.
Lastly, I've heard the Rolls version of the boom-op monitor amp works well and is much lower cost than the SoundDevices, but I haven't used one.
Headphones are certainly important, and they all have a different sound. If you've tested yours with a known source and recognize that you're listening for "problems", not necessarily making critical sound decisions, you can get by with regular phones. But you won't regret investing in a pair of 7506's.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 02:09 PM   #9
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The Eurotrack UBB 1002 is possible to power with 9 V batteries inside.
I bought a few years ago for the same need a Samson Mixpad 4 which
is not as heavy and seems to run longer time with batteries.
The thing with the Samson is that you have nearly no visual control
for the level. you have to experiment and do it by ear (headphones).
The Behringer is slightly better with visual control:
The clipping leds for the mic level control of the UBB 1002 are not working
with batterie mode but the level control of the out does.
Phantom power with batterie is 18 V (same with the Samson).
This is a link to the Behringer manual in english:

http://images4.thomann.de/pics/prod/...manual_eng.pdf

Felix
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Old March 7th, 2007, 05:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
No disagreement there! I was just curious why ONE XLR cable wasn't a problem but using wire-ties every couple of feet to fasten a second skinny cable alongside the first one to provide feedback made it so. Seems pretty much a matter of 6's and 9's as far as reliability, convenience, getting in the way during camera moves, etc, etc are concerned. I realize you prefer to work without headphones but I am curious why you feel it's actually better to work without them? Seems that any tool you can use that can help you do the job better is a good thing to have at your disposal. You obviously feel that particular one doesn't help but hinders. How come?

Also, a lot of the folks here aren't working feature style with a mixer at his cart plus boom ops. Instead for most it's more likely to be more or less an ENG/Doco style with one guy on camera and another on sound with the sound person responsible for both mic aiming and levels. If the sole sound op doesn't monitor sound, nobody does.

Well for a start I am a location Boom op, not a Mixer, I have no wish to be therefore anything I mention will be as just that, a Film/Drama boom op, a Mixer working alone holding a mic on a boom is a Mixer or to be technically accurate at that point he becomes a Sound Recordist, he wears headphones to monitor.

What we are discussing though is how a location Boom op works, now as far as an XLR cable with another smaller cable attached, well to be honest it's not at all a professional answer to a problem that need not exist, so what happens if you need a longer cable ? what happens in situations where cables need cleaning, 2 cables tied together never coil properly, I'd not work that way and it would let me down on a set, and I can say that with utter confidence,Half the time what I see people of late doing on location is what happens in a studio, different place, different rules.


As far as it affecting work,well first off a boom op wearing cans can often fall into a trap of thinking he is doing ok, in other words he stops trying, seen and heard that all too often, it does without any question use up one of there senses for the wrong thing, you should know by mic position alone what you are getting and where you are, you should know the mic pattern as a shape in your mind, it's part of the job to know, your ears are for more than just hearing dialog, they are to hear your entire surroundings, both ears, not both listening to a mono track, your ears aware of all, you'll be amazed how many times I can say to a question of 'Was that take ok' a big fat NO due to hearing things others didn't and having worked more than once with boom ops that do wear cans I can state I hear it quite often when they don't and yet there it is on the track, the work of a boom op is a dance, it flows and personally and in the opinion of others (mixers and boom ops) it flows better using your eyes over your ears, the other main point is that of team work, a boom op is part of a team bigger than just the audio dept, he must be utterly aware of the camera dept, boom ops wearing cans can become cut off from there surroundings very easily and I have many times seen a boom op just lost on a set and the camera crew are never impressed and I could see quite obviously it was due to being sucked into another world via a set of cans, awareness of the set is a HUGE part of the job, a lot of boom ops do wear cans and are really very good at the job wearing them, that suits them and i'd never say it's wrong to do so, it's great it does work for them as it's the captured audio that's important after all BUT there are those who do the job better without and the point of it all is to tell people who ask questions that there are other ways to work that are used in the professional world, one persons view is never a good way to form opinions to do the work to the best of anyone's ability.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
Since the boom op in this proposed case will have no experience, I think it will be important for them to monitor in order to hear just how much noise they can create with handling the boom, even with a good shockmount.
Plus with a directional mic I also think they'll need to monitor how they're doing with staying on the subject and avoiding ambient and wind noises.
If you have no budget and must go wireless back to the boom op, there is a cheap and dirty tool that works as long as you stay within 15 to 20 feet. Use high-quality FM walkman-style receivers for the boom op and anybody else that needs to listen. Use a small FM transmitter that's designed to link your mp3 player to a nearby radio. Hook that to a line-level or lowered headphone-level output from the mixer or camera. The sound quality on some models is actually very good (mine's a Belkin). The only problem is the very short range for reliable reception. If you use a headphone extension cable, even bundled up, between the output and the transmitter it will extend your "broadcast" to about 25 feet max by acting like an additional antenna. I have used this for quick and cheap steadicam situations where I was never further than 10 feet from the camera op and it worked fine.
There are a number of other ways to monitor, including using a second wireless receiver tuned to the same frequency that your wireless plug-on transmitter back to the camera is using. This will have much greater range since it's a "real" wireless system, but you won't know for certain about any RF hits you hear (or don't hear).
If you use high-quality cables for both send and return, you shouldn't have any problem making your own snake for wired use, especially with sensitive headphones that won't require much power in the return signal.
Somebody needs to monitor a direct signal from the camera, that's really crucial. Even if they aren't making any adjustments on the camera in order to stay out of the camera op's way, they can listen for distortion or problems without also being distracted by having to operate the camera or the boom.
Lastly, I've heard the Rolls version of the boom-op monitor amp works well and is much lower cost than the SoundDevices, but I haven't used one.
Headphones are certainly important, and they all have a different sound. If you've tested yours with a known source and recognize that you're listening for "problems", not necessarily making critical sound decisions, you can get by with regular phones. But you won't regret investing in a pair of 7506's.


To know the amount of noise you make handling a boom it takes roughly 15 mins with the cans borrowed off the mixer, it'll shock anyone into being as quiet as a mouse, it really is that simple, it's an old but very effective method and it's called 'teaching' and it's a method we used this year with a 3rd assistant, he was fine for understanding boom handling noise after that, same applies to learning what the mic can do, that is called 'practice' and once learnt, it becomes just that, every mic you use should be learnt, if it means using cans on takes due to no practice time then fine BUT get the boom op to try some takes without cans, it'll teach them if nothing else what to do on the days no cans are able to be used and in location work those days WILL come, As for wind noise, well that I'm afraid is a call that happens BEFORE a take, gusty day ? then be ready to fit whatever is deemed necessary,that's called 'experience'.

As for monitoring from the camera, erm think you'll find that is the Mixers job, he should be listening to the return, that's kind of the whole point.


As I have said before it's a classic case of working practices being different in other area's of the world and indeed the business, the great thing about the net is it's global and experience can be shared, this is just my experience of the world I work in, others will have different ones, all are valid and at the end of the day if someone wants to learn a skill there are more often than not more than one way to do everything, the end result is what is important.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 08:16 AM   #12
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I don't disagree with your points, but the group the original poster is talking about has no experience and no experienced leader. They may not have even clearly defined what each of their roles should be during production, or they may not even have enough people for each to handle just a single role that would be the norm for a professional environment. So it's going to be an interesting learning experience for them for find out what works best in their situation with their team and particular equipment.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 10:46 AM   #13
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Tis a fair point well made sir and it was in my mind the whole time, I do think a good piece of advice to them in the situation they will be in would be to seek some experience of working with pro audio guys, even just for a few days, they'll learn so much very quickly, we have worked on a few film courses for various age groups (from 10 year olds to pro actors) and it was some of the most fun times I have had filming, without a doubt though ALL of them found that time spent with pro's from all departments very valuable indeed.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 11:54 PM   #14
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Paul,

Mixer - I used to have a Behringer UB1002 and they're a pretty good mixer. A lot of people will discourage the purchase of Behringer equipment, and I think a lot of that is jumping on the bandwagon of "pro" audio people who need to prove their knowledge by selecting products as "good" and "bad". Although Behringer is certainly not as robust or clean as many more popular or expensive brands may be, it's a heck of a good deal for those on a tight budget. Just two things to keep in mind: The UB1002 can operate off of 9v batteries (three of them), which is a good thing for mobility, but when running off of batteries the phantom power is only +18v, which is not sufficient for all microphones. Some will either have a dramatic loss of dynamic range, or not work at all, when not supplied with +48v. For your NTG2 this point is mute (bad joke there) because it has internal battery power, but it's something to keep in mind for future upgrades. Additionally, the UB1002 is intended as a desktop mixer not as a field mixer, so it's not optimal for hanging over the shoulder and knobs/faders are prone to being moved accidentally when used that way. If you can afford a little more, the Rolls MX442 field mixer can be had for around $400 if you know where to look, has +48v on all 4 inputs, and is an actual ENG/EFP field mixer with test tone and good meters.

Wireless - I have a friend that has the Azden wireless set and although it works pretty well, you would be better off with a Sennheiser G2 series kit. They're a couple hundred dollars more (at B&H, $600 for the 3-piece with bodypack and XLR plug-on transmitters, or $500 for just the bodypack transmitter and camera mount reciever) but are constructed solidly out of metal (it feels like a solid chunk in your hand) and have a good reputation. I'm very happy with the audio quality from mine.



It seems like you are in a position of being just short of being able to afford the best-quality-for-the-money line of equipment. If at all possible, expand your budget a little (like 25%) and get some of the equipment commonly recommended around here. You won't regret it when the package comes in the mail; I didn't. Assuming that isn't an option though, your existing choices are pretty good ones. Best of luck.
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Old March 9th, 2007, 12:30 AM   #15
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great stuff!

Thanks guys - you've given me lots to think about. Budget is (as always) the big restriction and I'm finding it difficult to get good if ANY prices on equip that is everywhere in the states. Our film industry in Aus may be in the doldrums but finding a retailer who's interested and helpful is not easy.

DVi is so bloody good! I waded through the forums and learned heaps and there's always someone to help and offer an opinion (and someone else with a different opinion) - but that's what makes this place.

thanks again
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