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


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Old May 15th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #1
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Audio backup for weddings

I am looking for a backup solution for the vows. I would like to purchase some type of data recorder to go along with our wireless system, Sennheiser ew 100 G2. Our last wedding the officiant wore the mic. The plan was to have the groom wear it but last minute he said no. The officiant put on a 'necklace' of bells unknown to us until the wedding started. We believe the necklace interfered with the signal causing a lot of static and dropouts. I've read a lot of the posts on the IRiver but that sounds like old technology. Also some on the Sony mini disc. What is a good affordable solution?

thanks
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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:45 AM   #2
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The iRiver, or the Sony minidisc will both work great attached to one of the wedding participants-- particularly the groom. I only have experience with the Mini Disks, but they will fit smartly in the inside breast pocket of most coats, and you, with a lav mic running off. Sounds like your real problem was getting cooperation from the groom that would have lead to a decent recording. And you would likely have had the same problem with an iRiver or minidisk.

First, if you get a Mini Disk, you need to be sure you get one with mic input. Don't be fooled that line input is the same as mic input. It is not.

Second, the HiMD version of the mini disk recorders is the way to go. The primary reason is that using the Sony Sonic Stage software, you can actually off load the recorded digital file. With the regular mini disks, you had to actually record and capture your sound through the line outputs. It worked okay, but the PCM capture on the HiMD and file transfer capabilities, makes it much cleaner and nicer. When you off load the recordings, you still have to go through the Sonic Stage transfer process, but you can convert the file to a wave file within Sonic Stage.

The iRivers, are model specific, as I understand, as not all iRivers take mic input. Model 700s and 800's is what I recall. Then, you need to get a specific lav mic from Squid. But calling this "old technology" is not right. From what I have heard, it is a fairly inexpensive way to go for a pretty good result.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:56 AM   #3
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Janice,

Did you check before the ceremony if you were using a clear frequency? I would guess the mic picked up whatever jingling sound the necklace made, but unless it was some sort of electronic device, I can't imagine how metal bells or whatever could have caused interference. Methinks it was another electro device either inside or outside the church that caused the problem. That being the case, an iRiver or minidisk might have saved the day.

Yes, the iRiver is old technology, and the only way to buy one with the mic line in feature is to get a refurb at an online auction. However, I've been using one for quite some time and I think it's terrific. Using a Giant Squid mic, I can capture 6 or more hours excellent audio. So, it's not only useful as a backup for the vows, but also great to leave at the reception head table to record those planned as well as impromptu speeches.

I haven't done any looking lately, but for the price of the iRiver plus mic, I don't know of anything else close to the quality or (small) size for the price.

BTW, I'm at the other end of the state from you, around the Morehead City area.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #4
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Thanks Chris and Tom

I will see what I can find online for both the mini disk and the iRiver. I had checked the frequency channels the day before on the wireless. There must have been something else on the day of the wedding. I thought the necklace might have been brushing against the antenna. I am just getting familiar with all the settings on this wireless mic. This is the first problem I have had with it though.

Tom, have you been doing weddings in your area for a while?

thanks again
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Old May 15th, 2006, 02:42 PM   #5
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Janice, yes, I've been doing this for more than a few years. I pick up local clients strictly by word-of-mouth recommendations. I don't do any advertising nor do I have a website. I probably miss getting some business because of that, but then again I don't end up wasting any time with low-ball shoppers, showing demos and/or discussing all kinds of details only to never hear from the blushing bride/groom/parents (whoever has the checkbook) again.

Getting back to your wireless problem. I imagine you were using a lav mike attached by some length of wire to the transmitter. If the officiant was male, the transmitter would normally be in an inside coat pocket, clipped on the belt, or in a rear trouser pocket. If female, then, well, where ever there was an out-of-sight location to place it.

Anyway, my point is that since the antenna is on the transmitter, and the transmitter is not normally placed anywhere that it could come in direct contact with anything other than cloth, it believe it's unlikely the necklace is the culprit.

However, I sympathize with you. I guess it was about 3 years ago that I checked out my VHF wireless at the rehearsal and all was well. I did not re-check on the wedding day, nor did I use headphones to listen to the audio during recording. I ended up recording all sorts of static that drowned out a lot the audio I needed to capture.

As a result, I dumped the VHF, switched to UHF, and got a stand-alone backup audio recorder, which currently is the iRiver.

I should add that I've never used a mini disk, so I'm not recommending against it. I've just never had any experience using one.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 03:10 PM   #6
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iRiver

Tom, I am looking at iRivers at eBay to see what I can find there. If you have any suggestions as to where to find one please share. I did find an IFP-799T on eBay but I am not sure what mic this one would use. I did see on the forums where someone else used this model.

I thought I had solved my problem when I switched to UHF also. I will be double checking everything on the wedding day from now on. And adding the audio backup. Do you use something else to capture the music? The wedding with the mic problems also had some talking by the Officiant that would not be proper to include. However he was talking to the groom during the Prelude. Fortunately it was the popular "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" so I replaced it.

I look forward to the day when clients seek us out.

thanks for your help
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Old May 15th, 2006, 05:12 PM   #7
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Janice, I see you're also posting in the iRiver discussion that's active right now. I'll just remain in this one.

I have the 895 which has the 512MB chip, and will save about 6 or 7 hours of high quality audio. The 899 I think has a 1GB chip. The 795 is 256MB, I think.

I'd have to dig thru my files -- which aren't in any order -- to see what I paid for my 895. Seems to me with shipping it was just a notch over $80.

I just took a look at eBay, and I would say pick and choose carefully. It really irritates me to see outrageous shipping charges. $17 or $19 shipping would be a non-starter for me just on principle. The iRiver in a factory package probably doesn't weigh over a pound, 2lb at most, and could easily be shipped for the basic USPS Priority rate w/o any special packing.

The Giant Squid lav mikes are custom made for the iRiver by a guy in Ohio or somewhere around there. (Just do a search for Giant Squid to find him.) The mike input for the iRiver is backwards as compared to a standard input (the positive & ground are reversed). A lav mike with a standard plug will work ok, but not as good as a properly wired Giant Squid. Also, depending on which iRiver you get, you'll want to order a lav mike with either a straight mini-plug or a 90-degree mini-plug.

The reason is because the 895 has the plug-in on the side, so most people would prefer to get the 90-degree mini-plug so that the cord goes straight up. I think the 795 and 899 have the plug-in at the top end, so in that case, a straight mini-plug will work best.

If you haven't searched here already, this website is a good place to find a lot of info on the iRiver. You just have to spend a bunch of time searching thru discussions, but there are some really good ones that give specific settings for the iRiver.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 07:32 PM   #8
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iRiver

Thanks again Tom. I am looking on eBay and did find the Giant Squids. The info on the straight versus 90 degree is very helpful too. I never would have thought of it. I am looking forward to having solid audio from here on.

Have a nice evening
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Old May 16th, 2006, 06:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
What is a good affordable solution?
Making sure the groom wears a mic.

Seriously, how often does this happen? I tell them this at signing and I've never had a problem. And if a groom bailed out on this committment at the last minute I'd be sure to point out his "silly" decision will reflect in the video.

I do try and put an iRiver on the officiant as well but you can't always guarantee they'll agree to wearing it.

Bottom line: if the couple won't cooperate with the production in this, they shouldn't have hired a pro.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 09:28 AM   #10
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Groom and mic

I agree with you Rick. I will make sure to mention this during signing also and make it clear what the impact will be.
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Old May 18th, 2006, 09:02 AM   #11
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I also agree with Rick's comments. The B&G have to take some responsibility for their decisions. I would not invest in any additional recording devices just because a groom might bail out on using a wireless mic. BTW, I let the groom know that recording will only begin during the processional in case he's worried about off color remarks.
Bob
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