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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 11th, 2003, 08:30 PM   #1
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Wireless vs. MD For Weddings

Hi all,
Long-time listener first-time caller.
Just getting into the weddings and can't decide which way to
go. Hoping someone with experience could help.
With the wireless I like being able to monitor the audio, the
security of mini-xlr connect, not having to sink in post, and the
easier set up. Too, I'm not one who likes to mess much with
small buttons and scrolling through menus like are found on
MD. And in general, I don't trust 1/8" miniplugs.
Just wondering if you could share your thoughts on my following concerns:

1. Am I going to have to mic the reader's podium too
and if I go MD I'll need two MD recorders? If I go
wireless, can two receivers (groom and reader) be set
up to go to the one transmitter?

2. How common is it really that a church doesn't allow
wireless? If I ran across this, I guess I'd need to get
an MD anyway?

3. With something so important as the vows, how much
of an occurence are dropouts and interference? What's
your plan B if the wireless goes bad? (Considering the
Samson diversity, located in Milwaukee.)

4. And how much of a concern is it that a MD could
inadvertantly be stopped from recording through, say,
clothing brushing up against the buttons?

I've never used wireless nor MD so I'm really in the dark.
Thanks for your concideration.
Dave.
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Old August 11th, 2003, 08:45 PM   #2
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Re: Wireless vs. MD For Weddings

<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Largent :

1. Am I going to have to mic the reader's podium too
and if I go MD I'll need two MD recorders? If I go
wireless, can two receivers (groom and reader) be set
up to go to the one transmitter?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, you can set up as many receivers as you want on one transmitter, but you will still only get the audio from the mic attached to the xmitter. In general, whether MD or wireless, its one mic per xmitter.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. How common is it really that a church doesn't allow
wireless? If I ran across this, I guess I'd need to get
an MD anyway?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
That one I do not know the answer too. I suspect that there are more churches that do not allow cameras or camcorders than will ban wireless mics.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. With something so important as the vows, how much
of an occurence are dropouts and interference? What's
your plan B if the wireless goes bad? (Considering the
Samson diversity, located in Milwaukee.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
A good professional system with good technique goes a long way in preventing problems. Something as simple as installing fresh batteries before a shoot leads to a surprising number uneventful recordings. UHF systems seem to have less problems than VHF.

Will MD work better. I do not know, but I think it would be less reliable than a really good wireless.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. And how much of a concern is it that a MD could
inadvertantly be stopped from recording through, say,
clothing brushing up against the buttons?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tape all the controls so that does not happen.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Old August 11th, 2003, 09:07 PM   #3
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Hi,
Dave Largent again.
To clarify my question #1 above: I was wondering if I can
put one mic/transmitter at the reader and also one mic/transmitter on the groom and have them go to the same receiver so that the audio from both transmitters is captured to the same dvtape?
Sorry for the cofusion.
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Old August 11th, 2003, 10:21 PM   #4
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Dave,
Multiple transmitters require multiple receivers. I'll wire the podium and run the 2nd receiver to my 2nd cam-of course the prime goes to the groom. I used to wire the officiant but got too many hassels from them so I don't bother anymore.

I haven't had any venues say no wireless in the last hmmmmm, 10 years at least.

I'm not into the MD myself but I know guys that use them with varying degrees of sucess.

Your choice I guess.
Good Luck,
Don
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Old August 12th, 2003, 01:45 AM   #5
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Hi Don,
What kind of trouble have you heard of people having with the
MD?
Also, how has your wireless worked out for you? I hear so
much about interference and dropouts, but is all this just talk
and it's really pretty reliable?
Thanks,
Dave

P.S. Any particular brand you've heard is reliable? I was just
at the Sony site and they offer a transmitter/receiver/lav
combo that runs on 900mHz FM with choice of 3 channels
for $150. Of course I'm skeptical about getting anything
at this pricepoint, especially since I've not even heard
of it before.
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Old August 12th, 2003, 05:29 AM   #6
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The thing about MD is there is no way to monitor it, so if it goes south you don't know. I know 1 guy that had a problem with the mic pulling out of the recorder, happened to him a couple times. I guess it just depends on the person wearing it, the brand and the model.

The wireless has been absolutely fine. I've not had any dropouts or interference with either unit. I use the Azden500UDR but I would think any of the better UHF Diversity types would work as well. They are a bit more than $150 though, about $4 to $500 each, transmitter, mic and receiver but if you can invest in the better audio equipment now as you only get 1 chance to get the vows and if your audio equipment isn't up to the task, your career in the wedding and event industry could be short.
Just my $.04 worth (adjusted for a slow economy)
Don
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Old August 12th, 2003, 08:43 AM   #7
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Unless Sony has improved that 900 MHz $150 system I wouldn't buy one. The crazy little unit had dropouts at 10 feet let alone the rated 50 feet.

There are a number of excellent UHF systems available. I like the Sennheiser Evolution 100 system with omni lav (EW112p). Its a great system that despite its list price of $800 can be had for about $450 or less. I have had mine for over a year and it works great.

The Azden Don speaks of is also good.

If you want to learn more, try searching this board on Sennheiser, wireless, Azden and see what you get. There are piles of posts on this issue. There are also several threads about using MDs too.
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Old August 12th, 2003, 05:32 PM   #8
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Most Sony MD recorders have a lock button that electronically locks out all other controls until it is slid back to unlock. So if you tape the microphone cable to the unit, unless someone drops it, you are good to go.
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Old August 13th, 2003, 12:58 AM   #9
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Thanks guys. I'm gonna go with a wireless diversity system.
What type of mic would be best to put at the podium? Would
a lav be okay? And how would the mic be attached to the
podium? A stand?
If I can slip in a related question here. What portion of your
weddings are you allowed to shoot from the left/behind the officiant? Any particular religion give you more trouble with this? Is it best to always ask first before taking up this position? Have you ever had where they would okay an unmanned cam only at this position?
Thanks again.
Dave.
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Old August 13th, 2003, 01:04 AM   #10
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I always use an unmanned camera with a WA adapter. It's a Sony PC110 so its very small. I turn the LCD screen forward and tell the Bride that if she will center herself and the Groom they will get some great footage.

Even the officiant normally will get out of the way for this.

It sometimes gets better sound and picture (the go-to camera when I screw up) than the other two cameras I normally employ.
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Old August 13th, 2003, 07:01 AM   #11
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I usually just tape a lav to the podium mic and put the transmitter on top of the podium.

As for camera placement, I always attent the rehearsal, even if I've worked at the church before and if the officiant isn't there (many times not) I ask the day of the event again even if I've worked with the officiant 10 times already this year. Some will let you put a cam on the alter some not, some manned, some not, so you really need to talk to the officiant.

Each has their own policies.
Don
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Old August 13th, 2003, 07:20 AM   #12
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Nathan,

Seems that the Senn Series Evo 100 system only comes with an unbalanced 1/8 mini plug. Is that your understanding? Also, they're available in different MHz ranges. Does that only matter if your using more than 1 transmitter/receiver combo?

Bob
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Old August 13th, 2003, 07:51 AM   #13
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Yep, Bob, the 100 system is unbalanced unit. I haven't heard where that is a an issue for most people.

The only thing that is real important if you are planning to have multiple systems be interchangable or backup each other. There are suffixes that designate the frequency range of the gear. If that's the feature you want then get them in the same frequency range.
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Old November 8th, 2003, 08:01 PM   #14
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Don,
Actually, "Multiple transmitters require multiple receivers" is true most of the time, but my Azden receiver has two "front ends" operating on 2 separate frequencies for the 2 transmitters in the kit. OK, maybe technically it's 2 receivers, but it's one little box with one (stereo) cable going to your camera.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 06:07 AM   #15
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On the topic of cheap wireless, does anyone have any knowledge about the AUDIO TECHNICA ATW-601/L?
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