It is never a bad idea to record a backup when doing single system work directly to camera. Having a high quality direct copy available for post can sometimes save productions. It is always higher quality because I am recording at 24 bit 48khz and the preamps in a sound devices, deva or fostex recorder are and will always be much higher quality. Some people may question why record at 24/48 instead of 16/44.1 if this is only a backup. Well with my new 702T and a 32gb Compact Flash (CF) card I have about 31 hours of record time so I don’t have to worry about running out oof space. I usually copy the CF card every 2 days at night while sleeping. Since I have a 500gb drive I just keep the back ups until the drive is full and then replace older back ups. If a client ever wants a back up I charge them to copy it over and then sent it. It has only happened once but I am always ready if it happens again. On commercials and non reality jobs I usually mirror to the dvd-ram drive and provide the client with the back up everyday, which is standard practice. I firmly believe whenever possible it is my job to safe guard the audio and make sure we have all of it. Doing a back up recording ensures this.
To better serve my clients and there productions: I have added a Sound Devices 702T to my kit This powerful 2 channel 24bit 96k recorder with timecode capibilites for all HD and SD formats including the New RED Camera. Will allow me to better serve all my clients
For a Eng/ Reality/ News/ Corporate mixer I own quite a few boompoles but each one has a different purpose:
Firstly I only own Ktek boompoles and despite what other mixers may say I think they make the highest quality boompoles at the best price point. I am considering adding a Loon Audio boompole ( A newer Company) which has some interesting innovations and designs. But that will be a 2009 addition to my kit. The following are the poles I own:
Ktek 79cc- It is my smallest boompole it will fit in a 1510 pelican case and is great for shows, Which I don’t use my boompole very much it is easy to clip onto my bag. Due to its small size it is great except it only extend about 7 feet
Ktek Avalon News pole extend to about 10 feet great for most of my Reality and news gigs
Ktek Carbon Fiber Stage pole- Extends to almost 17 feet. By far my favorite pole. It is like driving a BMW or other high end car. The others are more like driving a Honda do a good job very robust but not pretty. I don’t use this pole much anymore since it doesn’t collapse down past 3 feet and is over $600.00 dollars. But it is so smooth and easy to use. The other day I had to a scene in a swimming pole alot of wide shots and movement. So I used this pole it made my life so much easier and made me glad I didn’t sell this pole last year when someone wanted to buy it!!!
I personally don’t like VDB poles as they are plastic and find the locking collars less than satisfactory and haven’t used any other brand poles. So this is just my 2cent. The avalon news pole cabled is less than $200.00 well worth the $$$$$
On a serious note this is a hotly debated topic in the sound industry today. Some mixers even claim with some of the newer all digital transmition systems that they cannot tell the difference between a wired and wireless boom. Here is my take on the situation: I definately hear a difference between my lectrosonics plug on tx and plugging my boompole in. However at the pace I have to move in the reality world having my boom free from me and quickly moveable as well as quickly being able to stick it on a stand for an interview. It is a trade off but in the reality world with all the background noise and situations I am in you will never hear the higher noise floor.
I think wireless camera links are the best advance in technology to happen to the location sound mixer because it gives you the freedom to do your job the best way you can, I have rarely had an issue with my zaxcom system but here is a list of things to do before shooting and a list of possible problems you may run into:
1. Make sure your camera man is always listening to the wireless feed via his camera headphone jack since you have no way of knowing what it sounds like.
2. Make sure all attennas and power cables are secure to the unit. The only issues I have ever had it a lose power cable or attenna.
3. Make sure the unit is secure in a saddle bag or BEC box. I have mine wrapped in velcro, which keeps them extra tight in the saddle bag or BEC box.
4. Have extra cables and attennas in case something breaks.
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS:
1. Unit will not power on: Check power cables are tight by removing them and reinserting them. Check batteries if your using them. Check Power Switch.
2. Unit is on but Camera Op hears no audio: Check headphone volume knob on camera, check transmitter in your audio bag, make sure camera is set up to recieve audio correctly.
3. Poor Range: Check to make sure tx and rx attennas are tight and secure, Make sure they are in good condition. Scan for new clear frequency.
With these simple tips and tricks your Zaxcom should preform well for you and make your job much easier.