Tips When using a Zaxcom Wireless Camera Link

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:

SETUP:

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.

Countryman B6 Lav you can hide it in plain sight

The Countryman B6 has always amazed me with the quality of audio it can provide for such a small microphone. It has become a life saver as an example. My go to lav microphone is usually a Countryman EMW because I usually fond it the easiest to hide and the best sounding. When I need to avoid noisy clothing or have a women wearing something very sheer I will use a Sanken Cos-11 since it is is a top element lav I can just peak it out the top of wardrobe. But for impossible wardrobe and noisy mens dress shirts I use the countryman B6 I just peak it out a button hole and bam you can hide it in plain site. It also has a variety of different color caps so you can match the cap to the shirt color. So everyone should have atleast 1.

Dealing with the unexpected on location

Sometimes despite your best efforts to be prepared things always don’t work out and that is why being over prepared is better than not being prepared enough. As an example always carry every special thing you could need to save yourself in a pelican case near by. Things like Heavy duty wind protection if you ended up shooting at the beach without knowing (Like me the other day) Always carry a Zepplin with you if possible, carry enough batteries to record for 24 hours if needed, always carry a spare lav microphone or two and spare cables. Remember that your spare doesn’t have to be as good as your everyday item it just has to work long enough to save yourself. Just be like a boy scout (Always be prepared).

The Boompole is always your best friend

It amazing me how much I have to fight to use the boompole sometimes. As an example on my current show we do alot of formal well lit sit down interviews in addition to on the fly interviews. This sitdown interviews are often very emotional and have caused the talent to starting moving alot while sitting and crying which has made the lav less than ideal in sound. By having the boompole set up for each of these sit downs I was able to deliver great sound without having to stop the interview because of an audio issue. Even though sometimes I am tired and don’t want to go get the C-stand and the mic mate but that is what I am hired to do get good audio and fight the good fight to get it. A shotgun microphone always sounds better than a lav and even though the lav may get ok sound it is my job as the sound mixer to get the BEST sound possible at all times and to never take the easy way out. I also get satisfaction from getting amazing clean high quality audio for at few hours everyday when I can and I know an editor somewhere will be greatful.