Sound Unleashed

"Sound Unleashed": the cheesiest title of all time, deal with it. This past weekend I boomed for some pickups/wrap arounds for a feature I've been working on for almost a year. I worked with a mixer I've never boomed for before which turned out to be a good but new experience for me for sure.

I've always been wary of booming wirelessly because of UFOs (Unidentified Frequency Objects)/RFI. I figure if you're in a bad spot for radio frequencies, at least you still have the hard wire boom to rely on when lavs fail. Luckily, the mixer's lectrosonics are top of the line and RFI is very rarely an issue. So, not being connected to the mixer with a cable or to camera or monitor in any way to or from sound department at all was a real nice free feeling. Sound was ... "unleashed"...

Lately I had been going back to my cable wrangling routes with my over under to clean up my cable coils but this luxurious weekend shoot got in the way of that practice. Too bad. Comtek to camera, Comtek to monitor/Director, lectrosonic receiver on my belt along with a transmitter. Not to mention, my boom pole has an XLR built inside of it, so other than a few feet of cable, I didn't have to deal with any cables all weekend. It was a very weird, naked feeling.

However, booming wirelessly does have its own issues that I only learned the first morning I started doing it. You cannot stand near any power cables or especially power boxes. The current cycles from the energy interfere with my wireless transmission. It's not technically RFI, but you do hear a nasty buzz and it's often hard to avoid power cables on set when you also have to avoid reflections, shadows, moving talent, and of course frame which sometimes moves as well.

I quickly got used to this issue and it didn't seem to be as difficult to avoid as I was worried it might be. But of course, flickering/dimming lights cause a real bad sound. Luckily, if you can make friends with G&E, they can put a sound blanket in front of the light which cuts down its high frequencies a ton.

Lectrosonics makes me wish I was in a normal career to afford to get Lectrosonics...
The mixer also had an app on his phone specifically for his Lectrosonic wireless lavs which he could turn on, off, change frequencies, etc. for each set of wireless straight from his phone. A $20 app; just if it could change batteries for you too.

Now I'm back booming the feature from which I took off for a few days, and now I appreciate how clean many of these simple locations and setups sound.

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