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Small Things Can Make All The Difference

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Apart from the essentials like microphones and mixer/recorders there are many small items that make the job of a location sound recordist easier, many of them introduced recently, writes Nigel Woodford.

The French firm Cinela makes the OSIX range of microphone suspensions, designed to significantly reduce handling noise by tailoring each one to a specific microphone and incorporating a short lightweight XLR and thin cable into the design.

Cinela also make the Zephyx, Piano and Pianissimo range of microphone windshields the first to elastically suspend the microphone but also the windshield itself from the boom pole thereby reducing handling noise even further. There is even a rain cover for these windshields called a Kelly, this deadens the sound of the rain falling on the windshield.

With the growing popularity of radio microphones in drama productions there are now various ways of attaching both the transmitters and the microphones to the members of the cast. URSA make a range of comfortable belts to fit different sizes of waists, thighs and ankles in a various colours to minimize visibility. They also make "soft circles" fabric discs used with self adhesive pads to conceal personal microphones underneath clothing whilst reducing rustle.

On the subject of radio microphones, iPowerUS who have for long been known for their rechargeable high capacity 9V batteries, now make rechargeable lithium AA cells. These maintain an almost constant voltage throughout their discharge cycle. This makes them particularly suitable for use in digital radio microphone transmitters because, unlike other types of batteries, where the voltage falls and consequently the current increases during discharge resulting in the batteries and the transmitter getting hot, the lithium cells stay cool.

Modern batteries used to power a recordist's entire kit are now smart batteries. These are lightweight rechargeable lithium batteries that incorporate a microchip. Audioroot make these types of batteries and a range of power distribution boxes, both for in the bag, and larger ones for trolley use. The distribution boxes have a display that has a "fuel gauge" and readouts for Voltage, current battery temperature, number of the battery's charge/discharge cycles and very importantly a calculated display of time remaining.

Small lightweight time code generators are proving to be essential on many multi camera shoots. Betso have recently introduced two units the SBOX-2RF and the TCX-2. Unlike other small units these have a display of time code and status. They are linked by radio but each one incorporates a highly accurate time code generator. If the SBOX-2RF is used as the master it will transmit time code to the TCX-2 units, which will jam sync their generators to the incoming code. This means that physical access to camera mounted units is not required, and should they go out of radio range then accurate synchronisation is maintained.

All these useful products and many more are available from Richmond Film Services.

This article is also available to read in the latest edition of Broadcast Film & Video here, page 37.

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