Going Wireless in Guatemala

Going Wireless in Guatemala

Ever thought of going wireless boom as a sound op who carries their own mixer?

Something I’ve seen done for a while now is the wireless boom – using a wireless system to transmit sound from your shotgun mic to your mixer. No more boom cable! No more wrapping cable around the boom pole, no more cable rattling against the boom pole, and no more coiling and uncoiling the boom cable. It sure looks like an improvement over traditional cabled operating.

Now I never thought of going to a wireless boom since I carry my mixer with me and I’ve used an internally cabled boom pole for over a decade now – minimal boom cable issues. But when my VDB boom pole started to creak from years of service I thought I’d look into it. I do still have concerns about RF stability, but wireless systems have gotten so good and transmitters are smaller and lighter then ever. It’s time to give it a go.

 

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So here’s what my wireless boom setup looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I jumped the plane to Guatemala, I saw Dion at Trew Audio in Burnaby who set me up with a new Ambient QX565 boom pole (I love this boom pole) and a clamp to connect the wireless transmitter to the shotgun mic. I connected my Shure UR3 transmitter plug on adaptor, the one I use for going wireless with a hand held mic, and it works like a charm.

The added weight from the transmitter isn’t that much since I now don’t have the weight of a boom cable. The Shure UR wireless system is a diversity system so it’s 100% rock solid – no hits or drop outs.

It really is a lot easier and way more efficient. I honestly didn’t think there’d be that much of an improvement! Since I record on my Sound Devices 664 mixer, there’s now no cables to deal with. I’m faster then ever at getting ready to shoot and there’s no cable noise like I’d sometimes have with my internally cabled boom pole. If I need two hands to do something, I just ask someone to hang on to the boom pole, easy.

Now something that I’d never done before, because it was such a pain in the butt and took too much time, was use my shotgun mic as a plant mic. But wouldn’t you know it, the first shot one day was a big wide shot of talent walking through a field with long morning shadows – no chance at all to boom it! But within a couple of minutes I had my shotgun mic including the Rycote hidden under some brush in perfect position to record – it was awesome!

Hiding my wireless boom mic.

Hiding my wireless boom mic.

I’ll continue shooting this way for the rest of this show and evaluate the tracks in my studio, but it’s sure nice when you discover something that makes your job a whole lot easier – even if it’s not really that new.

 

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10 Comments

  1. July 26, 2014, 8:05 am   /  Reply

    Is there no penalty for going wireless? Okay, so I’m a Sennheiser G2 user, I always assumed that with the compression at either end, I was losing something by going wireless.

    • Dean Miles
      July 26, 2014, 8:55 am   /  Reply

      Compression is something I was also worried about. We use lavs and handheld mics with wireless systems, so why not shotguns? The film boom ops are also going wireless boom. I think the quality of the wireless system comes into play – I’m pretty happy with the sound quality of the Shure UR5 I’m using right now.

    • Dean Miles
      July 26, 2014, 8:58 am   /  Reply

      Matt, I also want to add: I do notice a difference in sound quality between the Sennheiser G3 and the Shure UR wireless systems.

  2. jp
    July 26, 2014, 8:27 am   /  Reply

    Ways using that setup (beyond just eliminating the cable) can make it a go-to option. Nice.

    At my level, since I don’t have Digital wireless (Lectro, Zax or Wisy), wireless-related issues do come up. So, trusting wireless for critical sound has been a bit of a concern.

    • Dean Miles
      July 26, 2014, 8:46 am   /  Reply

      The Shure-UR wireless system I’m using isn’t digital, but it is a diversity system.

      I 100% agree. I didn’t entertain trying this until I got a wireless system that was virtually drop-out free and a transmitter that was light weight. Since the transmitter will be no more then 16-feet away (the length of a long boom pole fully extended) with clear line of sight to the receiver in your mixing bag, most wireless systems, G2 included, should be fine.

      I gotta say, it really is a lot easier and more efficient then using a cable.

  3. Pete Stover
    July 27, 2014, 10:41 am   /  Reply

    Frequency or transport of transmitter issues/concerns there?

    • Dean Miles
      July 27, 2014, 5:55 pm   /  Reply

      No problems at all! I scan for a clean frequency at every location and sync the transmitter, no concerns or issues so far. Okay, one concern, forgetting to change the batteries. Since I’m not a huge wireless user (mostly boom) I don’t think about batteries much.

  4. Bob
    October 5, 2015, 9:19 am   /  Reply

    I am trying to connect my Sennheiser G3 to my Rode boom pole. I have it currently attached to the top of the shockmount using the belt clip on the transmitter. This is not a long term solution and only a proof of concept, as I suspect it could spring off at a sudden twist. I would like to find some sort of clamp to attach to the pole and to the back of the transmitter and mount it on the pole, right under the mic. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    • Dean Miles
      October 5, 2015, 11:44 pm   /  Reply

      Bob, I’ve never tried attaching a wireless body pack transmitter to a boom pole, and from the little poking around I’ve done on the net I couldn’t find anything. The Plug-on transmitter for handheld mics seems to be what sound ops are using (same as in my article). I have seen the small Letrosonics transmitters at the end of boom poles but I’ve never stopped to look at how they are fastening them.

      Jump on the net and search “wireless boom pole” and click images. There are a couple of photos in there that might give you ideas.

      Cheers,
      Dean

      • Bob
        October 22, 2015, 10:46 am   /  Reply

        After looking around and searching online, I decided that for what I need, a DIY solution would be best. So here is my result…

        https://youtu.be/zDf_aFSjPYw

        This worked out perfectly. It is strong, durable, easy to set up, does not modify my G3 transmitter, and cost next to nothing.

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