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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old November 18th, 2005, 06:13 AM   #16
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,961
"the iRivers are great units to use as backup (I have 4 of them)"

Aah! Four backups? Jeez, either you have serious problems with your primaries, or I need to start making more money so I can afford more backups! :)

I'm on Oahu and have done about two hundred weddings and event videos. Mostly, I shoot, but sometimes edit. I haven't been persuing weddings much lately and have been doing a few commercial jobs. I've also been working on some small independant shorts with students, etc. to improve my lighting and on-set skills. I actually did a wedding over on Maui in July for a friend of mine on his FX1 and it turned out well. It was a beautiful location up in Kula at a flower garden. Great views of central Maui and the temperature is perfect.

For the Lectrosonics, you may only be able to get those from a dealer. They seem (at least in '99) to like to stick with local dealers. My dealer was a guy at his house. The key thing for Oahu at the time was "Block 29". That best avoided the HD broadcast frequencies that share the UHF band. There were some other blocks that were good, but 29 seemed the best from their chart at the time. My model is the UM100 transmitter and UCR100 receiver. It is not a diversity system, but that doesn't matter. It is perfect in any church I have worked.

I looked up the frequency charts for Maui, and it looks like Blocks 24, 25, and 26 are totally free of interfering stations and 27, 28, and 29 only have one station in each block range. Lectrosonics "blocks" are broken up into 4 chunks each, so each transmitter should easily be able to get around one or two stations in it's block by changing frequencies. There are lots of frequencies available for selection on the unit by a small dial. In fact, for Maui it looks like you could probably get away with just about any block since there is no more than one nearby station in any of the blocks.

Call Lectrosonics for prices, and if you are scared off you are probably safe with any frequency sold on ebay. They still sell for a high percentage of their original price, but they are very rugged so I wouldn't worry too much. I am 100% sure that the metal cases of my system can be run over by a car without bending (not that I would try). You say you are replacing aging Samsons, I don't ever expect to replace my Lectrosonics unless they are stolen or dropped in the ocean. If I were to need a replacement and didn't have the money, I would consider a Sennheiser, but they really aren't that much cheaper.

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Old November 18th, 2005, 06:37 PM   #17
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The best way to get good sound is by placing the mic as close to the source of the sound as possible. Event video will always have a challenge regarding audio because of the lack of structure inherent to live events. A lot of people will use a wireless lav mic with a shotgun. Others use camera mounted dual wireless system, sometimes in tandem with a shotgun. Both of these approaches can be made to get results, but I have always had a problem with them.

My approach has been to use four wireless mics with an audio mixer, sometimes with an iriver backup. The entire system is baded upon flexibility.

My mic systems are all NADY mfg. As described below, my total mic investment, including 500' of XLR cable, is under $1200.00. I did my homework and identified unused frequencies in my local area before ordering the systems. Were I in a metro area instead of a rural area I would have chosen tunable receivers with eight or more frequencies for each receiver, with an invenstment increase of $1500.00. Two UHF and Two VHF receivers are in a roadcase that sits on an Ultimate light stand that can be extended to 8'. One of the keys to good RF (radio frequency) reception is to insure line of sight with no physical obtructions between transmitter and receiver. All receivers have both hand mic and lapel mic transmitters. The lapel mic receivers can take either mic, instrument, or line level inputs. I have a variety of lapel microphones to attach to the transmitters. Two of the hand mic transmitters can be attached to any XLR source.

All four mic systems feed into a 4 mic, 4 line audio mixer made by Berringer. I have individual control over each mic via the mixer, and bring each or all into the mix as needed. The main outs of the mixer feed into my camera. Secondary outs can be sent to a PA system or audio recorder as needed.

As you can imagine, all this gear demands one camera be mounted on a tripod. Set-up time is significantly increased. I allow two hours just to get ready for a ceremony. That is before my half hour of site shots and guest arrivals.

Microphone assignment is usually as follows:
Ch 1: Officiate.
Ch 2: Groom.
Ch 3: Family/friend commentary during ceremony, or open for house ambient sound.
Ch 4: Musicians or ambient house audio, whichever seems more appropriate.

The iRiver back-up is usually placed in the vicinity of the ceremony site and connected to a Shure condenser lapel mic which is hidden in the decoration.
I add a mini-plug mono to stereo adapter on the iRiver to resolve the input confusion that sometimes occurs. So far, no issues.

For iRiver users, the following information may be useful. I copied it from a post on another forum, then edited the information to bare bones for quick review. I never thought I would be adding it to a post of my own, and didn't have the sense to include the author's name. My sincere apologies to the author:


(NEW) Upon initial use, hold down the record button (far right of top three buttons) until you get the 4 selections to choose from (Mp3-Radio-Voice-Line in). Select "Line In"

Timer (manual section 5-17)

- Sleep power off - OFF / Beep OFF
- Stop Power off - 60 min

Control - (manual section 5-22)

- Line in recording mode:
160 Kbps

44.1 KHz
320 Kbps

- Line In Rec Volume: 45 (Giant Squid Mic) 50 (MT830 mic) 50-55 (Azden 503)

- Line In Auto Sync: OFF

- Line In / Ext Mic: EXT MIC


1. Connect mic to line-in jack
2. Set line in rec mode as above (SETTINGS)
3. Press and HOLD "Mode/Rec" button
4. Select Line-In mode
5. Press "Nav/Menu" button to go to PAUSED record mode
6. Press REC
7. Engage the LOCK!


1. Unlock
2. Press "Mode/Rec" button
3. Press and HOLD the STOP button

Expected record times based on 512 Mb model (256 will be half...1Gb will be double the record time below)
In mono:
44hz 32kbps = 35 hours: 31 minutes
" " 40kbps = 28 Hours: 25 minutes
" "" 48kbps = 23 hours: 21 minutes
" " 56kbps = 20 hours: 18 minutes
" " 64kbps = 17 hours: 45 minutes
" " 80kbps = 14 hours: 12 minutes
" " 96kbps = 11 hours: 50 minutes
" " 112kbps = 10 hours: 09 minutes
" " 128kbps = 8 hours: 52 minutes
" " 160kbps = 7 hours: 06 minutes

In Stereo:
44hz 64kbps = 17 hours: 45 minutes
" " 80kbps = 14 Hours: 12 minutes
" "" 96kbps = 11 hours: 50 minutes
" " 112kbps = 10 hours: 09 minutes
" " 128kbps = 8 hours: 52 minutes
" " 160kbps = 7 hours: 06 minutes
" " 192kbps = 5 hours: 55 minutes
" " 224kbps = 5 hours: 05 minutes
" " 256kbps = 4 hours: 26 minutes
" " 320kbps = 3 hours: 33 minutes

Make an adapter to for mono mic to the iRiver, as the iRiver records the right channel as the left when in mono.

Radioshack part and a stereo cable from the dollar store.
• Cut the cable leaving about 4" of wire from the male mini.
• Strip 1/4" of the outer plastic case,exposing the 2 wire and shielding
• Use ohm meter, identify the "ring" lead.
• Cut the OTHER wire short.
• Using the meter identify the sleeve of the inline jack.
• Make sure you have the collar on the wire before soldering.
• Solder the shield from the stereo cable to the sleeve terminal of the jack.
• Solder the "ring"lead of the cable to the other terminal of the jack.
• Crimp the cable holder on the jack around the outer case of the wire.
• Make sure no wires are exposed to touch the others.
• Done"
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Old November 19th, 2005, 05:21 AM   #18
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Thanks for the Iriver how-to. Thanks also to the original author. I think I'm going to look into these further, even though I love my Lectrosonics. Redundancy is never a bad idea.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 02:51 PM   #19
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thanks for the info
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 07:46 PM   #20
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Just a personal opinion, but I can't imagine relying on a stand alone, unmonitored audio recorder for an event like a wedding. I would never use such a device in a groom's pocket for example.

There is no substitute for a quality UHF multi-channel wireless system. We've been using Samson UM32s for years with no issues. Wearing headphones, you can monitor and control levels for every word.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 03:00 PM   #21
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I've read the posts about the iRiver and some posters are quite adamant about having that "live" audio via wireless. The concern being that you want to able to monitor the audio. Fair enough. The immediacy of monitoring and tweaking audio has merits.

But if you're $1500 wireless lav system goes down what are you going to do? Interrupt the service so that you can replace the transmitter?

Of course not. If you have experience with the iRiver's it would be reasonable to assume that you'll know what you're going to get from the audio barring a failure. Additionally I'd use a shotgun mic as a backup in case this did happen. If there's a failure? Either way you're going to know. If not now, then when you get back to the editing suite and access the audio files. Either way there's not a lot you can do about it while the service is going.

That and you only spent $150 for a piece of equipment that you won't feel too bad about having been stolen or broken or fail.

Just my two cents and intended with respect to all who have posted.


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Old December 15th, 2005, 03:43 PM   #22
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I'd sleep a lot better with a $1500 wireless than a $150 iRiver in my bag. Granted, if either option fails, you're in deep ---- but I'd still rather monitor audio. How does an iRiver user compensate for a bride who barely whispers her vows?
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Old December 15th, 2005, 06:22 PM   #23
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If you have $1500 to spend go for it but personally i can’t see many people buying a wireless lapel for that kind of money.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 08:45 AM   #24
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I have been using wireless mic devices for over 10 years now.
First started with something cheap (bought in Singapore), then I bought a Samson VM1/VT3L combination which works 60% of the time without freaking out and dropping the signal.
I now bought an ENG 100 from Senheiser. Finally something you turn on and that works reliable and has a good signal-to-noise. The price it goes from around $700. It's worth every penny, if you had the experience of dropping mic's at those crucial moments.

My advice if you go wireless: buy something good or don't do it at all.
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