Cable management on location
Old 11th July 2013
  #1
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Cable management on location

Wireless still not bein suitable for all applications and reliability not 100% - I wonder about some practical "cable management" solutions on the set... We use long cables for the boom operators and to send sound to the camera and the flexibility gets limited when the need to change some positions requires speed and the cables get entangled, messed, etc.

So, how do you deal with cables on location or better - on the movie set? And not to mention all those distressed people tripping over cables, etc. )

Do you use some sort of retractable cable reels? Any suggestions for the really good and practicle ones? Reliability and good built quality are desired...
Old 11th July 2013
  #2
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If runs are not exceedingly long, cable reels are less convenient than hand-winding. I keep my 4/8-channel snakes < 30m in length. For good quality reels, try Schill from Germany.
Old 11th July 2013
  #3
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Boom ops on UK films/tele are on radio links now
Expensive,nearly as good as cable,sometimes better for elfinsafety.
Old 12th July 2013
  #4
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Boom operators in the USA are mostly all wireless now; especially in television with it's high page count. Some old-skoolers still use duplex, but mostly on features where the department gets rehearsal time. So often in television, the utility soundman, who use to wrangle the boom cable, is now so often pressed into service as a second boom that hard wired boom mics become untenable.

Also, most of the ENG/Bag soundmen are sending wireless hops to the cameras. On TV, the sound to the cameras in my experience are only for reference to the picture. I have been using age-old Comtek PR72 to feed the cameras leaving my Lectro IFB for the boomers who need a more detailed sound to do their jobs.

D.
Old 12th July 2013
  #5
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Isn't it less complicated, with better end result, to not record (the quality sound) into camera?
Old 12th July 2013
  #6
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Cable wrangler working behind/with boom op.
Old 12th July 2013
  #7
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Properly winding that cable is the key to quick and safe cabling. Over/under has proven best.
BUT: Modern wireless systems are completely reliable as long as people properly plan their frequencies and proactively change batteries. Indeed, we have less trouble now using wireless booms than we had when we still cabled (XLRs not being properly locked, folks tripping over cables, interference from lights PSUs, and so on...)

Usually we feed our mix (which also goes to Comteks) to video village or camera for reference, on-set playback, and easy dailies. Sometimes a Comtek is enough (scratch track), sometimes they want to actually use the camera audio, then we cable. We always try to convince production that if they want sound fed to cam they either have to pay for another two wireless channels, or to have someone ready to take care of the cable.
Old 12th July 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
Wireless still not bein suitable for all applications and reliability not 100% -
What have you tried? The last movie set I worked on was all wireless. This was a Robert Altman film and the sound was stellar...all wireless on the actors.

My hunch is that it's going to cost you more to get what you want, but it's there if you have the $$$/Euros/Yen.
Old 12th July 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
Isn't it less complicated, with better end result, to not record (the quality sound) into camera?
IMO, yes, no question, but sometimes people like dailies editors and first-cut guys want some reference sound with the picture files. For the work I do, the double system sound, 788T or the like, is used in the final mix. Some would say that the soundman shouldn't provide such a HQ sound to the cameras to ensure that they use the mixer's HQ sound in the mix. Don't know for certain that is true but Comteks seem the proper answer for me.

D.
Old 12th July 2013
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys View Post
Cable wrangler working behind/with boom op.
Great if you are on a job that will hire a three-person department. Often untrue on lower budget jobs.

D.
Old 13th July 2013
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys View Post
What have you tried? The last movie set I worked on was all wireless. This was a Robert Altman film and the sound was stellar...all wireless on the actors.

My hunch is that it's going to cost you more to get what you want, but it's there if you have the $$$/Euros/Yen.


We have Sennheiser ew100 g3... We do use Sennheiser and Sanken lavaliers on actors but I much prefer the sound from the shotgun...Maybe I'm not good at setting up frequencies but the damn things work well for some time and then you just start getting some interference or reception breaks etc. Actors having transmitters in their pockets, sitting on them, walking into another room, behind the wall, hill, etc. doesn't help eithet I guess... Anyway, we send reference audio to camera by cable since it sounds better and is completely reliable, I don't need to check if transmission is ok all the time. We are an audio crew of two - recordist and a boom operator.

How do you make a wireless boom without battery powered preamp with 48v phantom and transmitter attached to it? I tried attaching the Sennheiser transmitter to the mic directly but it couldn't power it... Also when using everything wireless there's too many batteries to be changed and recharged for a two man operation... I prefer cables... :-)
Old 13th July 2013
  #12
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Liberty Studio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
We have Sennheiser ew100 g3... We do use Sennheiser and Sanken lavaliers on actors but I much prefer the sound from the shotgun...Maybe I'm not good at setting up frequencies but the damn things work well for some time and then you just start getting some interference or reception breaks etc. Actors having transmitters in their pockets, sitting on them, walking into another room, behind the wall, hill, etc. doesn't help eithet I guess... Anyway, we send reference audio to camera by cable since it sounds better and is completely reliable, I don't need to check if transmission is ok all the time. We are an audio crew of two - recordist and a boom operator.

How do you make a wireless boom without battery powered preamp with 48v phantom and transmitter attached to it? I tried attaching the Sennheiser transmitter to the mic directly but it couldn't power it... Also when using everything wireless there's too many batteries to be changed and recharged for a two man operation... I prefer cables... :-)

I feel your pain! The g3s and g2s can be very frustrating –*and the antennas are falling about on mine*–*not durable at all. As far as the wireless boom, especially if you already have g3 receivers; I got this: Sennheiser SKP 300 G3 Plug-On Transmitter SKP 300 G3-A B&H Photo

Seems to work pretty well – functions with and without phantom for stickmic or boom mic.
Old 13th July 2013
  #13
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Working with a 2 person sound crew or alone I'm always looking for ways to eliminate cable feeds to anything, esp any cable that has to hook up to my rig. The reduction in work gained by this approach makes a good day better and a bad day tolerable, it is that big a deal. Wireless is an expensive battle (that we are slowly losing to the tech companies etc) but the research and expense is worth it for me. For booms, the key to it all is having a great pre with a great limiter in front of the TX (there are several ways to go--I like the Sound Devices MM-1) and then getting your gain structure together.

philp
Old 13th July 2013
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
We have Sennheiser ew100 g3... We do use Sennheiser and Sanken lavaliers on actors
Sorry to say that you're working with entry level live sound stuff, not professional, mission critical wireless gear. I'd estimate around $2500/channel to get into the realm of performance and reliability that you desire... and that's just for the transmitter/receiver part. Add in premium body mics after that.

Otherwise, make do with live band stuff lie the g3 and take your lumps.
Old 13th July 2013
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys View Post
Sorry to say that you're working with entry level live sound stuff, not professional, mission critical wireless gear. I'd estimate around $2500/channel to get into the realm of performance and reliability that you desire... and that's just for the transmitter/receiver part. Add in premium body mics after that.

Otherwise, make do with live band stuff lie the g3 and take your lumps.
Ok, so for just for the sake of it name what is a "premium body mic" - I see Sanken COS11D to be highly regarded, DPA4060? Not that much different I think... And I am interested in those pro transmitter/receiver options... Which ones would do the trick? Maybe the next budget will allow it... or at least rental...
Old 13th July 2013
  #16
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Rent em
Old 13th July 2013
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
IMO, yes, no question, but sometimes people like dailies editors and first-cut guys want some reference sound with the picture files. For the work I do, the double system sound, 788T or the like, is used in the final mix. Some would say that the soundman shouldn't provide such a HQ sound to the cameras to ensure that they use the mixer's HQ sound in the mix. Don't know for certain that is true but Comteks seem the proper answer for me.

D.
Another way of going about it is to have someone synching the soundfiles after each day of shooting.
Old 13th July 2013
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
Another way of going about it is to have someone synching the soundfiles after each day of shooting.
And that's what many production companies don't want anymore, since that someone wants to be paid, and since it takes more time.
And how would you replay a take right there on location?
Old 13th July 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
Ok, so for just for the sake of it name what is a "premium body mic" - I see Sanken COS11D to be highly regarded, DPA4060? Not that much different I think... And I am interested in those pro transmitter/receiver options... Which ones would do the trick? Maybe the next budget will allow it... or at least rental...
Yes, DPA.

lectrosonics

rent

Running an RF spectrum analysis program is almost mandatory these days.

Want to make money in the industry?

Become an RF wrangler,.
Old 13th July 2013
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
And that's what many production companies don't want anymore, since that someone wants to be paid, and since it takes more time. And how would you replay a take right there on location?
Good points.

- Taking into consideration how little time is normally allowed for sound, and how much time is spent over obsessing with picture, we're talking about relatively little extra time, since it simplifies the sound recording process.

- Your point about replaying a take on location makes sense if the camera
cannot role scratch sound and/or if the director is sincerely interested in
in checking the sound more critically on location (but not from the recorder
without image (?) ).

It depends on the particular production and people involved, how many persons are in the sound department, and how well the camera records
sound if there is risk that the camera recorded sound will be used in post.

If sound recordists give in to concepts of sound generally shared by camera operators, without a struggle, the art of sound recording on film location declines.
Old 13th July 2013
  #21
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Proper recorders chase sync,so playback with camera is always possible.
Old 13th July 2013
  #22
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
Good points.

- Taking into consideration how little time is normally allowed for sound, and how much time is spent over obsessing with picture, we're talking about relatively little extra time, since it simplifies the sound recording process.
I was surprised that it is so... but that's probably because they HAVE to get the picture in the moment of shooting and they know that they can do ADR, foley, etc. after the actual shooting or in many cases that's even planned in advance and the location sound is just for the reference... Not in this case... we will have to use most of it...

They do wish to have sound for replay on location and the production syncs my audio with the picture every day, too... Six 50 minutes episodes have to be shot and roughly cut in 36 shooting days... Overkill...

Anyway, today we were shooting in a restaurant - in the kitchen with many of the actual staff - chefs, cooks, waiters, etc., they used two cameras at once which were both fed reference audio (via cables), one boom via cable, five wireless lavaliers... smallish kitchen - moving out of the frame all the time with all the cable salad... We survived... )))

Anyway, thanks for suggestions although the idea moved towards wireless, I guess that's the future, not some self-winding cables

Btw - did anyone try DPA's movie kit? Sort of 4060 pre-equalized for speech and under clothes placement?

This thing: DPA Microphones :: Products ?

Although Sanken COS11D don't sound too bad when the placement is decent (not under too thick layer of clothes) and wireless connection established well... Sennheiser ME-2 neither... both are quite decent lavaliers... but shotguns are something else altogether - MKH-70 and 60 sound like Hollywood (to me)

Does Lectrosonics provide much better wireless connection than the mentioned Sennheiser which doesn't seem too reliable in dynamic situations like during car drives, behind obstacles (walls, pillars, mounds, etc.), at longer range, streets...)? I managed to get the dialogue recorded, but was always clenching my teeth that I won't get interruptions during speech, but I have bursts of noises around it... Usable, but I don't like that...
Old 14th July 2013
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
We have Sennheiser ew100 g3... (snip) Actors having transmitters in their pockets, sitting on them, walking into another room, behind the wall, hill, etc. doesn't help eithet I guess...
That's one of the biggest disadvantages of the Evolution series. And you can't even quickly (!) replace a broken antenna.

Quote:
How do you make a wireless boom without battery powered preamp with 48v phantom and transmitter attached to it? I tried attaching the Sennheiser transmitter to the mic directly but it couldn't power it... Also when using everything wireless there's too many batteries to be changed and recharged for a two man operation... I prefer cables... :-)
You need either an adapter cable that makes P48 out of the typical 5V powering a transmitter gives you (Audio Ltd 2020 / 2040 series), or you need a dedicated plug-on transmitter (Lectrosonics, Zaxcom, soon Audio Ltd EN2 series). There are also a few small battery-powered P48 supplies that can be mounted to the boom.
What you also have to establish when working completely wireless is a battery/charging strategy that is reliable. The easiest way is to have a bag full of charged batteries (at least for a whole shooting day) and enough charging bays. If all devices use the same kind of battery, it's easier.
Boom person and Mixer should always have a few charged batteries with them, of course. The more stressful a shoot is going to be, the more batteries each of you needs to take. And make sure no used battery gets mixed up in the "charged" bag.

Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
Working with a 2 person sound crew or alone I'm always looking for ways to eliminate cable feeds to anything, esp any cable that has to hook up to my rig. The reduction in work gained by this approach makes a good day better and a bad day tolerable, it is that big a deal. Wireless is an expensive battle (that we are slowly losing to the tech companies etc) but the research and expense is worth it for me. For booms, the key to it all is having a great pre with a great limiter in front of the TX (there are several ways to go--I like the Sound Devices MM-1) and then getting your gain structure together.

philp
For one-man banding, the most relieving thing is the wireless camera hop as they need to hold the boom themselves and therefore always have a short cable run from mic to bag.
For two-person crews, especially when cart based, it's the wireless boom. They can more easily throw a cable over to video village or camera.
However if both are wireless it's the least hassle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aracu View Post
Taking into consideration how little time is normally allowed for sound, and how much time is spent over obsessing with picture, we're talking about relatively little extra time, since it simplifies the sound recording process.
Still that "little" time is too much for some producers and editors. Editors have begun to complain directly with production instead of trying to solve the issue with us first when they think there's something wrong with sound, the issue usually being some editor f*ck up. But once fingers have been pointed, things get more difficult than they need to be, especially when the finger-pointers don't know the word "sorry".

Quote:
If sound recordists give in to concepts of sound generally shared by camera operators, without a struggle, the art of sound recording on film location declines.
I don't know what "concepts of sound" you mean - regarding to what device sound should be recorded. There are cam ops that have the "concept" that sound is made in post and we're just monkeying around to get a scratch track for ADR (action cam folks specialized in car stunts). Others think everything has to be recorded to camera (ENG cam folks). Others don't want any cable to the camera, and no little box like a hop RX or even a Lockit at all (some movie folks). And then there are those who just know the craft of filmmaking and how it all works together.

The "art" of recording movie sound on location is delivering a great mix track, and it doesn't really matter if that mix track is recorded to a 788T, a Deva, or an Alexa. Heck, lots of great sound have been done with an analog Nagra.
You need to know what you want to hear first, and then know your tools and how and when to use them. A big part of that is psychology.

Booming is a completely different "art" which has a lot in common with dancing.

Hiding lavs and making them sound good is more like a craft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
MKH-70 and 60 sound like Hollywood
That's because Hollywood uses them too. And other mics as well.
It's not the mic models, however, that make the sound good or bad. It's the surrounding conditions. And it's the effort put into post, and into matching lav sound to boom sound using EQ, room simulation, and so on.


Quote:
Does Lectrosonics provide much better wireless connection than the mentioned Sennheiser which doesn't seem too reliable in dynamic situations like during car drives, behind obstacles (walls, pillars, mounds, etc.), at longer range, streets...)?
Any wireless system with enough TX power and a true diversity receiver will provide much better wireless connection than the G3. Especially if you can use a remote antenna pair (dipoles or sharkfins, typically) at the receiver end.
G3s have, iirc, only 10 mW - proper systems in Europe often have 50 mW as this is the highest power allowed, and in the US up to 250 mW are legal. However, in smaller rooms, you're sometimes better off with reduced TX power because of less reflexions.
Old 14th July 2013
  #24
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Power is not the answer
An excellent diversity RX is
These cost big money
Old 15th July 2013
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Proper recorders chase sync,so playback with camera is always possible.
The only portable digital-file type field recorder I've ever used that would actually chase incoming TC on playback was the Tascam HDP2. I haven't figured out how to do this with any of the Sound Devices machines I've used and owned, and haven't heard of it being possible with the Zax recorders either. Can a Nagra VI do this? (Good trick if it can.)

philp
Old 15th July 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Proper recorders chase sync,so playback with camera is always possible.
Only if you you have some TC connection between cam/video and sound. Wireless TC is also sort of expensive, and when you do wired TC for playback, you have a cable as well, so you can also use an audio cable. Unfortunately, the usual way of jamming in the morning and after lunch and then having all devices in free run doesn't work for playback.

SoundDevices 788 outputs the recording's original TC when playing back. Haven't figured out a way to make it play back in sync with incoming TC.

The easiest way to achieve on-set playback as well as quick dailies is sending the mix to cam or video village, depending on where they play back from.
Old 15th July 2013
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
The only portable digital-file type field recorder I've ever used that would actually chase incoming TC on playback was the Tascam HDP2. I haven't figured out how to do this with any of the Sound Devices machines I've used and owned, and haven't heard of it being possible with the Zax recorders either. Can a Nagra VI do this? (Good trick if it can.)

philp
Yes
It says it can
Luckily that task is not required from me any more ,but it would be brilliant.
Old 15th July 2013
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
We have Sennheiser ew100 g3... We do use Sennheiser and Sanken lavaliers on actors but I much prefer the sound from the shotgun...Maybe I'm not good at setting up frequencies but the damn things work well for some time and then you just start getting some interference or reception breaks etc. Actors having transmitters in their pockets, sitting on them, walking into another room, behind the wall, hill, etc. doesn't help eithet I guess... Anyway, we send reference audio to camera by cable since it sounds better and is completely reliable, I don't need to check if transmission is ok all the time. We are an audio crew of two - recordist and a boom operator.

How do you make a wireless boom without battery powered preamp with 48v phantom and transmitter attached to it? I tried attaching the Sennheiser transmitter to the mic directly but it couldn't power it... Also when using everything wireless there's too many batteries to be changed and recharged for a two man operation... I prefer cables... :-)
the g3s are not exactly the devices that people mean when they say "almost as good as a wire".

What they mean are either excellent analog diversity units (Audio Ltd, Lectro, Sennheiser) or digital ones (Lectro, Zaxcom).

There are P48 adapters to drive your mic for these units.

Nobody uses G3s on a professional filmshoot for booming or wireling actors. They are more used for IFB, in-ear monitoring or less critical applications and ENG work (and even rarely there).
Old 15th July 2013
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Proper recorders chase sync,so playback with camera is always possible.


There's not a single location recorder in the top range (SD, Zaxcom, Aaton, Nagra) that is able to chase LTC. Or are you talking about simple word-clock sync.?
Old 16th July 2013
  #30
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Page 70 of the VI handbook
Chase Mode
The recorder will chase an external incoming time code
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