Using a wireless mic system is sometimes a mandatory choice for various types of shooting scenarios and situations such as documentary or corporate productions, interviews, seminars, broadcasting and live events and many others. Besides dealing with the potentially awkward situations when you need to attach a lavalier mic to somebody, there are many other important considerations that you definitely need to keep in mind when using a radio microphone.
First and foremost, it’s recommended to pick a system that allows you to change the channel the units are transmitting on, whether it’s a VHF (very high frequency), UHF (ultra high frequency) or a digital system. Higher quality analog solutions are typically stated to have a little better audio quality performance but have more chances of interference due to the use of the analog signal.
Digital systems, such as the Sony UWP-11 series or the new Sennheiser AVX on the other hand, are considered as more stable and viable option as audio is converted digitally into a signal at the transmitter, thus eliminating the possibility of constant drop-outs as it happens more often with the analog transmission.
When picking a wireless mic system, you also need to pay close attention to its range, a number of channels, feedback resistance, sound-pressure handling, and frequency response. At last, but not least, it’s essential to know how exactly to set up such a system.
Audio distortion and radio frequency interference are one of the most common issues you may come across while using a wireless lav mic. In order to set up your system correctly you need to tune both the transmitter and receiver to the same frequency.
An interference happens when a receiver is tuned to a frequency band that is already in use by another pair of wireless devices. You can easily tell if that’s the case when you see a high remote signal on the receiver while the transmitter is still turned off. To resolve the issue simply switch both devices to another frequency band.
Unlike a set-up where a simple microphone is tethered to your camera, there are three possible sources of audio distortion when it comes to wireless lav kit – the transmitter, the receiver, and the camera’s input. If audio distortion occurs in the receiver or transmitter, for instance, you won’t be able to fix this by lowering the gain of the camera’s input. Each part of the wireless system need to be distortion free in order to get a high-quality audio recording.
This is the main reason why you need to set a particular level separately on each of the three main components of the system. As a rule of thumb, your audio level should be targeted somewhere around two-thirds of the peak value on your audio meter while recording in order to get enough headroom for the recorded sound thus eliminating the chance of possible distortion issues and clipping.
Ultimately, it’s also generally a good practice to have a fresh pair of batteries each time you are about to use your wireless mic system. Checking the battery level and switching off the transmitter and receiver is another useful tip that you can utilise, especially when you are planning on using the system for an extended period of time.
There are many wireless mic solutions on the market to choose from, so which one is the best is pretty much determined by the given project and your personal needs and preferences. The fact that the wireless gadgets offer unprecedented freedom of movement to the person in front of the camera is one of the major reasons behind their popularity in the filmmaking community.
[via:Wolfcrow, Source: Video Gear]
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