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

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Old October 4th, 2009, 09:54 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Concord, NC
Posts: 39
Frustrating wedding audio problem

I taped a nice wedding this weekend only to find out that I was not going to be able to plug into the church house sound system. Ok, not a huge problem. I'll have to rely on my rear of church stationary camera mic for background audio. I was looking forward to trying out my new AT Pro 88W on camera wireless lapel mic system to capture the all important vows. I had very little time to set up the mic on the groom because I had been filming the bride's wedding party riding a trolley bus to the church and they ran really late. Shortly after I did a quick mic check, I had sound and then the wedding march music began. To my horror, I had both his voice fading in and out coupled with a squealing sound as he was talking to his best man in a back room as they walked out to the alter. Too late now. My greatest worry was the upcoming vows and if I was going to be able to get it. I started playing with the coiled cord from the camera to the base unit and found that if I moved it away from the side of the camera to the top of the handle, the noise disappeared completely and the vows were recorded crystal clear. Has anyone had the issue and how did you you solve it? Do I need to get a shielded cable? It must have been picking up electronic noise from the zoom motor inside the cam. This was my fault because I had a chance to try the system the previous night during rehearsal...but was over confident.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 12:44 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
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Sorry to hear about your audio woes. I think any of us who capture a good amount of weddings have dealt with a similar issue at one time or another. I can sympathize even more, since my first wireless was the same Azden units. At first, they performed well (enough) so long as we were within 50 ft. line of sight. Within a short period of time, we began to notice more and more dropouts. Since I was the shooter and editor for the studio, I felt that the quality of our work was being affected by the weakest chain in the link. Eventually, after the boss got one too many complaints from a couple, he caved in and allowed me to choose our next wireless. I gave him a minor stroke by picking the Lectrosonics (which are damn expensive, but built like a bunker and have a stellar reputation). That was back in 1999. When the boss sold his video company, I purchased those Lectro's and they are still with me today. Even though they are VHF units, they will mightily spank the rear of almost any system you can put it against. Ten years with a wireless that hasn't shown its age is a mighty fine investment indeed. Not once in 200+ weddings have I received an audio complaint related to those mics.
So the moral of my story (as if you didn't already guess)? Sell the Azden to a competitor you wish to see fail (ha!) and pick up something good. If the Lectrosonics are out of the question, $600 will get you a very decent Sennheiser or Sony system. (Feel free to search the forums for happy users of decent wireless mics. I doubt any of them are Azden fans).
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