Wireless lavalier sound has long been a staple of filmmaking, even showing up as a TV trope when actors forget to turn their packs off. However, with an increasingly full wireless broadcast spectrum leading to more and more radio interference, wireless microphones are simply less useful than they used to be, especially in densely populated areas. The possibility of dropouts, combined with the high price—the popular Sennheiser package you see most often on set starts around $600—has left many filmmakers to rely on cable audio wherever possible.

With the Tascam, you get 10 hours of broadcast quality record time available off a single triple-A battery.

But there are times where cable audio just isn't the most convenient choice. Tascam has a rather elegant solution to the problem: its new DR-10L recorder device.

Tas-dr10lTascam DR-10LCredit: Tascam

Using the familiar layout of a cable with an integrated lavalier microphone and clip that plugs directly into a small belt-mounted pack, the Tascam changes things up so that the pack functions as a recorder instead of a broadcaster. With 10 hours of broadcast quality record time available off a single triple-A battery, you can set it in the morning, change a battery at lunch, and make it through an entire shoot day recording all of the audio you need locally—without worrying about radio interference or dropouts.

The unit is set up for dual-record mode, simultaneously recording the audio at two levels.

The screen is easily readable in daylight and the controls are easy for your actors to learn (when they want to shut off recording for privacy reasons, for example). The unit is also set up for dual-record mode, simultaneously recording the audio at two levels (one high, one low) so that a backup lower volume track is available if your main track gets too loud and you lose resolution to clipping the audio file. This feature is a great backup since you won't be live-mixing the audio on the recorder as you might with a broadcast unit.

1475004929000_1281085Tascam Record Unit DR10LCredit: Tascam

There is an auto limiter that can turn down the record level if it detects a volume change, but those don't always catch short, loud sounds, so having a second record channel set lower to catch a sudden shout, punch, or gunshot is a great backup to capture even loud noises in a clean manner.

Of course, since the audio is recorded separately, post-synching of your audio is required. But considering the power of automatic synching tools in Premiere, Resolve, and using plugins like Pluraleyes, that extra step in your post workflow seems well worth it to ensure that you have the safety of knowing that your audio is being recorded directly, and that radio interference won't ruin your perfect take. 

The product is shipping by late October and is available now from B&H.

Tech specs

  • 44.1kHz/48kHz, 16/24-bit linear PCM mono/poly BWAV File Format
  • Up to 32GB on microSD or microSDHC Card
  • 1/8" Stereo Headphone Output
  • Single AAA Battery Records 10 Hours
  • Built-In Limiter Function
  • Low-Cut Filter Reduces Wind and Rumble
  • Dual Recording Mode and Automatic Level Function
  • 63G weight including battery
  • Lavalier microphone with microphone clip and windscreen included (cable length: 160cm)
  • Sliding record switch and hold function to prevent misoperation during recording
  •  Automatic file closing function to prevent the loss of already recorded data
  • Low/Mid Low/Mid/High/High plus recording level settings
  • Built-in clock function, supports BWF files with included time information - convenient for editing and searching
  • Time track incrementing function can create new files at regular intervals (about every 15 minutes) during recording
  • Playback function allows recorded data to be checked immediately
  • Easy-to-read organic EL display
  • micro USB B port enables easy data exchange with computers
  • Unit settings can be created as a computer text file
  • Firmware can be updated using a microSD card
  • Case, Windscreen, Mic Clip & USB Cable, Belt clip and Custom case for storing the unit and accessories included
  • RoHS-compliant product