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Old June 10th, 2011, 09:42 PM   #1
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To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

The wedding I am shooting this sunday, I am going to mic up the officiant and groom. Each will have a Zoom H1 recorder. The ceremony is outside and my buddy is gonna let me borrow a good sony wireless mic and a generic one he has as a backup. I am paranoid about the wireless after reading all the threads here.

So should i go and buy 2 wired lavs the Sony ECM-CS10 for a total of $100 or just take the chance? Also I am thinking the way the setup with the wireless mics will be is the wireless to its transmitter on them, then the receiver to the zoom on them or by the tripod.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 11:08 PM   #2
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

Hi Sean

It all depends on what frequencies are available and also if there is likely to be any interference. I don't use zoom's at all cos I'm lazy and like my audio synced!!! Also I like to be able to monitor my audio continuously!! Zoom's do an awesome job but make triple sure it's actually recording before dropping it into the guys pocket. Something like Pural Eyes is a good idea for syncing in the NLE!!

I use a twin channel Azden 330ULT on the groom and Church lectern and then an Azden 105LT single channel on the officiant...PLUS one cam is also close enough for the Rode mic to grab emergency audio on the 2nd XLR channel as well. If you are worried you can also hide a Zoom around where they are standing as a backup. Audio is tricky if it's not good and a disaster if it's absent so pay special attention to your setup

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Old June 10th, 2011, 11:19 PM   #3
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

I decided to buy 4 Zoom h1's instead a h4n. This was mainly because I had a corporate job that I needed them for. It has worked out really well. I just usually use at least two during the ceremony. If I can hide another on stage I do this. Monitoring the audio has never been an issue. I just make sure that they are recording. I just make sure that they are recording. I just make sure that they are recording. Truthfully the H1's eq'd sound so good.

Good luck

David

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Old June 10th, 2011, 11:50 PM   #4
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

I'm like Chris. If I can't monitor my audio I get very paranoid. In all honesty, in all the years I've been doing this, I've only had trouble with the old VHF units and that's going back a lot of years. Currently th system I use is the AT1821 dual channel receiver with 2 lavs (generally used for ceremonys in a church-otherwise I might use 1 lav and a drum mic with the plugin xmitter for music and the DJ or musician's PA system) and I can truthfully say I've had no problems with wireless. I check freqs when I get to the venue and the only audio drops I've ever had was when I didn't push the XLR into the receiver fully. My bad.
However if you're more comfortable with the H1s go for it. Different strokes for different folks.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 01:13 AM   #5
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

I dont think ill be able to monitor too much. The plan is, to have a wide shot, 2nd camera guy on cam b with a side mcu of the grooms face, and then me running and gunning shooting some of everything
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Old June 11th, 2011, 02:38 AM   #6
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

The quality of the DVRs has gotten so good they now rival the better wireless setups for 25% of the cost.

I can see for those who always have monitored their audio where not doing so could be a tad stressful. But if you hadn't ever gotten into that habit, at the cost of DVRs you can mic up anyone/anything that makes sound and cover your butt that way.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 05:20 AM   #7
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

Sean, my 2c is with Chris and Don.

I come from far enough back to have lived through the problems or rather rigamarole of syncing the sound recording (crystal controlled and slaved to the film camera) to welcome the ease and security if knowing that my audio is laid down with the video and will never move out of sync unless I separate them and cock it up in the edit.

My four channels of radio are all VHF on licenced channels (two per unit) - my units predate affordable diversity units but we're working over short distances and so the potential problem of drop outs doesn't arise.

Apart from the security - and remember the Zoom units aren't really considered professional quality in terms of syncing - the ease of editing would never lead me to use separate sources for my main sound. Of course, I do use an H4 for non-critical sound recordings, wild sound, church organ etc.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 05:33 AM   #8
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

For spoken audio I use two Sennheiser g2 wireless mics and the recivers hooked on my camera on ch1 and ch2. I have one H1 to capture the music in sterio, usually placed on a mic stand. For solo singer I either use shennheiser 416 shotgun mic pointing towards the singer connected to my second cam. Never had an interference from the radio mics. Just turn on the recivers first to check if the frequency you are using is free and without interference, and be sure not to turn on the transmitters on this check.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 05:41 AM   #9
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

I use 2 Olympus DVR's, and never want to go back to wireless again. I understand that they're not technically "professional" quality, but I've used them repeatedly and have achieved amazing results every time.

At first I was a little anxious about not being able to monitor the audio, but, as others have said elsewhere, what are you going to do in the middle of the ceremony if the wireless cuts out? Nothing. My DVR's have performed so reliably that I set them to record and put them out of mind -- it's great to have one less thing to worry about.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 06:32 AM   #10
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

Hi Corey

I have 4 mics feeding 2 x XLR inputs and my two main mics are feeding XLR1 and XLR2 via a switching unit on the camera's cold shoe up front....If I have a problem I can switch either channel to the standby mics....and monitor them as well!!

A true to life case was a wedding in May where the priest walked up to the lectern to "turn on" the Church mic and in all innocence actually switched my transmitter from "audio" to "standby" ...the right channel in my headphones just went silent as he cleared his throat to recite the Gospel....I immediately switched my box over to the standby mic and all was well....now, if I had a Zoom there and he turned it off, I wouldn't have known (I was busy getting him in shot at the time) so without any monitoring I would have been dead without knowing it. OK, the audio wasn't great as I had switched to the cam's Rode mic about 10' away from him BUT I did get audio and the bride was quite happy.

I know DVR's give excellent quality but the monitoring side would be my worry...I'd end up feeding the DVR into maybe a bluetooth transmitter just so I could satisfy myself that audio is running!!!
BTW: That might even work...I use a BT transmitter on my camera's headphone jack so I can still keep tabs on the audio while I'm shooting cutaways maybe 10' or 20' away with a pait of BT headphones !!

Chris
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Old June 11th, 2011, 06:35 AM   #11
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

Corey

Of course, you'd be correct, if there really was nothing you can do if a radio channel goes down, but that's not the case - there's plenty you can do.

Immediately you can make sure that the quality from your second channel, in most cases the gun mic is directed at the source your now missing radio channel was taking. By judicious signals to your colleagues you'll also alert them to your problem so that perhaps someone nearer can make sure their gun is getting the best possible alternative sound.

After that you'll be planning contingencies for solving the problem at the next available opportunity. First will almost certainly be to change the batteries - first in the receiver since in our case that will also indicate if there's a carrier signal coming from the transmitter; if there isn't then we'll change that battery at the first opportunity. If there is then we'll start looking for strained connections - fortunately all our units use locking connectors so it won't be a simple problem of a jack being pulled out.

In comparison, unless you're very methodical and regularly check the recording you've got on your DVR, my guess is the first time you'll find there's a problem is when you get back to the edit suite and start to transfer the files.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 07:02 AM   #12
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Of course, you'd be correct, if there really was nothing you can do if a radio channel goes down, but that's not the case - there's plenty you can do.
You're assuming that I work the same way you do -- which I don't. For the majority of the weddings I shoot, I'm a one-man band. There's no one else to signal to, and since I'm running the main camera, I don't have time to check batteries/connections/etc., or else I'd likely miss my shot.

The way I look at it is that it's a calculated risk. With wireless, I have to worry about range, interference, the venue's permission, etc. With a DVR, those worries are gone. The tradeoff is that I don't hear the audio while recording, and that I have to sync in post. Neither of those is a worry to me, as reliability has been 100% and sync is no big deal.

I'm even thinking about procuring a couple more DVR's with corresponding mics in order to do "stealth" mic'ing close to the officiant/bride/groom, for the purpose of usable backup audio in the highly unlikely event that the other main DVR(s) malfunction.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 07:59 AM   #13
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

There are worries with recorders like the Zoom. I have personally experienced the loss of everything on the memory card in my Zoom H4N. Something happened, I never figured out what exactly.

When I used to work in laboratories, I saw instruments more expensive than my house go down from a discharge of static electricity.

When I lost the contents of the card, just like Philip said, I didn't know there was nothing on the card until I went to capture it. And yes, there was something originally on the card. I'm absolutely anal about monitoring my audio. I do a sound check on everything with headphones before the action starts too.

When I use the zoom, although I can't monitor it live, I do a sound check just like all the other audio devices by recording a short file. Then I play it back, listening through headphones. The time I lost everything, I had checked the sound check file, and it was there.

I use my wireless all the time, and I have run into problems with interference with them too. Because I was monitoring the audio, I was able to quickly improvise. Any technology can fail. It's a good practice to always have backup in place.
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Old June 11th, 2011, 07:59 AM   #14
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
A true to life case was a wedding in May where the priest walked up to the lectern to "turn on" the Church mic and in all innocence actually switched my transmitter from "audio" to "standby"
Hello Chris!

What I like about the DVR's is the "hold" switch, which deactivates every button on the recorder. Then I tape over the switch, so even if someone tries to mess with it, it's that much less likely that anything will be affected.

I completely understand that the inability to monitor the audio can really bother you . . . I always end up checking my DVR's several times because of the paranoia :)
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Old June 11th, 2011, 08:19 AM   #15
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Re: To stick to the wireless lavs or not to stick with them...

And always use new batteries. I tested my Zoom H1 when I first got it to see what happend with the recording files using a battery that was almost flat. Before H1 shuts down it will stop the recording and closes the file so no harm done to the already recorded materials.
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