Watch: How to Hack Your Shotgun Mic So You Can Go 'Wireless'
Here's an interesting hack for those who want more options for recording sound on location.
Back in February we shared a video by Knoptop showing you how to utilize a wireless transmitter to create an untethered boom mic setup with fewer wires. Though it had its kinks and limitations, it was an interesting idea to us mainly because it allowed you to record audio straight to your camera without having to be hooked up to it. Inspired by Knoptop's hack, the team over at The Film Look decided to take it a step further to see if it would work with a bigger microphone that uses an XLR. Find out how they pulled it off in the video below:
The Film Look's solution is relatively simple. First, in order to use a "big" boom mic that requires a substantial amount of power you're going to need a preamp that can handle it. This is where the Saramonic SmartRig comes in. Second, to record sync audio to your camera without any wires, a wireless transmitter comes in handy (The Film Look uses a RØDELink). Bam! You've got a "wireless" boom mic. (Totally not wireless—maybe a better term would be "untethered.")
Again, both Knoptop's and The Film Look's hacks have their limitations. Being a huge fan of inexpensive handheld recorders, like Zoom's H6, H5, and of course the classic H4n, I was wondering why it'd be such a big deal to use one to record audio. For less than $400, you could untether yourself from your camera, control your levels, and use high-quality external XLR microphones. However, this doesn't solve the problem of having to sync sound in post, which can be an extremely challenging and time consuming process.
Another issue, though, is that monitoring sound will have to be done by the camera operator, and you know they ain't got time fuh dat. Unless you're one-man-banding it and hired a buddy that knows nothing about sound to be your boom operator, this could be an issue that may keep you from trying this hack. However, I one-woman-band my smaller projects all the time and a setup like this might make my life a little easier.
So, once again I found myself intrigued by the idea—I hesitated first with Knoptop, a second time with The Film Look, and even a third time as I got halfway through this article. But look, some of the greatest things we can offer each other as a filmmaking community are options. Some of these options may not be the best for your specific project your your own personal needs, but they might be a lifesaver for others.