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Old August 28th, 2004, 11:09 PM   #1
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everyones wearing headphones!!!

i feel like an idiot asking this, but if i dont ask and pretend that i know everything than i'll never learn.
on set the director, producer and whoever else i see always sport a set of head phones...i understand that they're hearing the audio feed but i want to know more.
whats the actuall name of the set up?
how do i do it myself?
thanks for those in the know.
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Old August 29th, 2004, 03:34 AM   #2
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depends, could be communication system or a tap into the recording system, sometimes people are wearing two or 3 system at same time. Sets are very noisy, so the use of headphones seems obvious.
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Old August 29th, 2004, 07:07 AM   #3
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i wouldnt just consider them for sets though, any type of professional video recording SHOULD be monitored...

If you dont, your just leaving yourself open to potential problems
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Old August 29th, 2004, 08:39 AM   #4
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Jason, those systems are called "Comtex", named for the primary manufacturer and used as a generic industry term, as in "the actors' girlfriend is visiting the set, get her a comtex". The sound mixer wrangles the transmitter feed from his system, and his utility person distributes the headsets to the various people who need them. It's really nothing more than a wireless headset.

Like all wireless systems, it's prone to dropouts so it shouldn't be used to seriously monitor an audio feed for sound quality. It's really meant to allow the dialogue to be heard from a distance.

I would think the cheapest way to achieve a homegrown version of this would be with inexpensive walkie systems/"walkabouts" that have headphone and mike jacks, all tuned to the same frequency. You'd just have to feed one of them out of the camera or mixer.
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Old August 29th, 2004, 10:51 AM   #5
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aha, comtex. the mystery is sloved..thank you
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Old August 29th, 2004, 10:10 PM   #6
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I don't know if you were wanting the brand name or not but the typical set term that I've heard it called is IFB, like what news people use. Hey, can someone get me an IFB over here?
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Old August 30th, 2004, 12:32 AM   #7
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I believe an IFB is different then the headsets. I think an IFB is an ear peace monitor for on camera personality, not crew.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 12:56 AM   #8
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My students at one time didn't wear headphones on a shoot. Guess what? The boom op forgot to turn the boom mic back on, and without a headphone monitor (the visual was okay, but inaccurate), the DP and director didn't know all they got was camera mic sound.

Same with another class...Only for about 2 minutes of edited footage as NO sound...

Those were the shoots I wasn't there on; they learned a very valuable but DIFFICULT lesson...

heath
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Old August 30th, 2004, 06:55 AM   #9
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Alex, it doesn't matter what you hear IFB with whether it's headphones or earpieces, it is still IFB. It is used heavily on reality shows to help with writing storyline notes as the action happens.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 08:21 AM   #10
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What's in a name? It's been years since I was a Betacam slinger, had forgotten about the term "IFB" but then it came back to me. On film sets, such as I think the original question was oriented, I have never heard them referred to IFB, only Comtex. I can imagine that reality shows, being more from the video/broadcast world, would use the terminology of that side of the business.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 10:59 AM   #11
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IFB...Though I've been out of TV news for around 5 months, I remember those things.

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Old August 30th, 2004, 07:20 PM   #12
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I agree with you Charles. On the two films that I've worked on they were referred to as Comtex and all of the reality and other broadcast tv shows I've worked on the studio or field producers referred to them as IFBs.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 07:37 AM   #13
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IFB is a broadcast television term. If you are on camera then you hear the director, if you are the talent then you hear the producer, etc.

Comtex is a film term. You hear the audio being recorded.

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