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Old April 4th, 2004, 04:00 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Tyler, Texas
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Wireless recomendations

I am researching which setup choices will be best for our application. I would like to use a wireless system on a rider on horseback. I want to record the riders ques to the horse during competition and shows. The rider will usually communicate very softly, which shouldn't be problem with a good lavalier just not with the camera mic. Dust will be about the only concern for the equipement.

I have not used a wireless system before so I also need to know if putting the transmiter under a lite jacket will hinder reception.

A Canon Xl1S looks to be the camera of choice for this project. The budget for this system is "open", but I want to be conservative with the choice (someone else's money).
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Old April 6th, 2004, 08:36 PM   #2
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Louis, I've never done that kind of recording either, but because of the likelihood of high ambient noise (wind, hooves, other riders, etc) I'd think you would want to select a highly directional mic, rather than an omnidirectional one. Certainly with a windscreen, at a minimum.

One suggestion: when I used to occasionally fly open-cockpit biplanes (which are VERY noisy), we often used a throat microphone, which,as its name implies, is in contact with the pilot's throat. You might check with Sporty's Pilot Shop, or do a Google search, to find one. It would plug into your wireless transmitter (an adapter might be required).

Another option would be a headset microphone, such as a performer uses onstage. These are readily available.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 10:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I am looking for sugestions like yours to help avoid some pitfalls a newbie like me would encounter. The setup needs to be tuff and able to stand the rigors of riding (no jumping though). Picking up sounds of the horse is OK.

Also, is the standard mic on the XL1S going to pick up an anouncer over a P.A. or is a different type/better mic recomended?
I doubt that a direct feed will an option, so picking up from the P.A. speaker is what will generally be available.
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Old April 8th, 2004, 04:59 PM   #4
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Louis...

I discovered that directional lav mics tend to be sensitive to wind noise. Since then I switched to an omnidirectional Countryman B6 and have had excellent results, even in windy conditions.

The Countryman mics are very, very small. About 1/10th of an inch diameter. It would be possible to hide this mic nearly anywhere, especially under the collar of the rider's coat or even at the base of the helmet's visor, near the hairline. An advantage of having the mic in the rider's helmet is the mic's position relative to the rider's mouth is consistent no matter which way their head is turned. In an equestrian event that shouldn't be much of a problem as they're supposed to be looking straight ahead and not glancing off to the sides or behind as a race jockey might.

I almost never use the foam windscreens and always bury the mic under shirts or coats. If the mic is hidden under the rider's coat, there's more than enough material there to act as a wind screen. If the rider's just wearing a t-shirt or other thin material, then get a 3" square piece of felt, fold it in half, and sew two parallel lines of stitching across it about 3/8" apart. Slide the mic into that narrow pocket and tape the whole thing under the rider's shirt.

The result is very wind-resistant, enough to handle any equestrian event. If this is a horse race, then that might be too much wind pressure. A test would determine how well it works.

Place the transmitter on the rider's belt under the jacket and you should get a good signal. If the transmitter doesn't have an antenna that means the first 18 inches of the mic line is serving as the antenna, and that part of the mic cable needs to be kept as straight as possible. Some of the VHF Lectrosonic mics are like this. Newer UHF Lectrosonic mics do have antennas, however.

Good luck!
Dean Sensui
Base Two Productions
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Old April 8th, 2004, 10:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. Wind noise will only be an ocasional problem as we will be in indoor areanas, but for those outdoor shows those are helpfull ideas. This equipment needs to be "invisible" so it is not mistaken for 2-way communication, which is illegal during a class, we can use 2-way any other times though. So a small hidden mic like you are suggesting is perfect.

Thanks again
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Old April 11th, 2004, 12:04 PM   #6
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I'm not sure how much wind noise will impact you. You may be able to test that out with a small recorder and a Radio Shack lav mike (rig would be cheap).

Another solution to using a wireless would be to mount a recorded on the talent and using a clapboard (gong, hammer on steel gate) to generate a synchronization mark. In post, you could match up these audio spikes.

As far as wireless goes, I recommend the Sennheiser Evolution 100 series. It works wonderfully well as is an exceptional value.

There are better systems like Letrosonics. A number of people swear by those machines.

[Live from San Antonio]
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