February 19, 2017

If You've Never Used a Wireless Transmitter with a Boom Mic, You Might Want to Now

Wireless transmitters aren't just for lav mics, you know.

There are obvious benefits to the lavalier microphone/wireless transmitter combo: it's easily hidden, it's unobtrusive for subjects to wear, and produces pretty decent sound. But what if you hooked a boom mic up to a wireless transmitter? In this video from Indy Mogul, Knoptop talks about various advantages the wireless boom audio setup can have in different phases of a film project. Check it out below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36F-0Hw1yOQ

If you're one of those "if it ain't broke don't fix it" kind of people, I'm right there with you. I've never once considered connecting a boom mic to a wireless transmitter, but Knoptop brings up some intriguing points in the video that piqued my interest.

For one, using this kind of set up will take out the moderately frustrating task of synching sound in post, because it records it directly into your camera. Second, your talent can feel free to move around, touch their shirt, etc. without worrying about causing any noise issues. The third and probably most obvious benefit is that not having to deal with any super long audio cables is pretty damn convenient.

If you're thinking of using this setup, just make sure that your mic is compatible with your transmitter/receiver. (If your mic has an XLR connector, make sure your transmitter/receiver has the same outputs. Or make sure you have an adapter.)     

Your Comment

12 Comments

if you an have external recorder + wired boompole could be useful to connect the line-out to a wireless system then connected to the main camera. for backup and useful sync.

February 19, 2017 at 9:41AM

3
Reply

I tried this on a short film about a year ago, and have never gone back. It's a fantastic way to work. 99% of your shots will have usable in-camera sound, but for the 1%, you can always pull from the main audio files. Pretty sweet.

February 19, 2017 at 12:11PM

3
Reply

How about using a lav as a handheld mic in a pinch. I've done it and the quality seems fine ?

February 19, 2017 at 9:50AM

13
Reply

There was a 'how to shoot a protest' article a week or so ago that made that suggestion, but most lav mics are omnidirectional, so you're going to get tons of unwanted sound along with the person you're trying to actually hear. if you were to gaff tape a videomic (pro/go/whatever) to the transmitter, you might get more of what you're trying to hear.

February 20, 2017 at 10:32AM

6
Reply

I remember doing this with the Lectrosonics wireless system back in the day. It works only as well as your wireless system, but it does work.

February 19, 2017 at 11:11AM

6
Reply
thomas j castillo
human
100

As a sound mixer of almost 20 years I find this article extremely concerning. Why would you suggest plugging a wireless boom mic straight into a camera?!?!

No professional would do so.

February 19, 2017 at 11:30AM

3
Reply
avatar
Matt Bacon
Sound Mixer
8

wireless signal+no headphone monitor always makes me cringe

"guess we'll see how it sounded after we shot all day"

February 20, 2017 at 10:34AM

0
Reply

Ever hear of a C100, as an example? Very professional for the money.

February 20, 2017 at 12:21PM

3
Reply
avatar
William Scherer
Writer/Director/Producer/Fine Art Aerial Photography
349

Even cleaner is using a k-tec boompole (or any with a built-in XLR) and a sennheiser handheld mic wireless adapter. Super slick setup. But it's not for every situation. I have a friend who's shot with this setup, and came back to find that the audio had been patchy/ dropping out in some locations. Some was caught on set, but not all. Nothing beats the fidelity of a wired setup.

February 19, 2017 at 2:06PM, Edited February 19, 2:07PM

8
Reply
avatar
Craig Douglas
Writer/ Director/ Editor/ Videographer
1816

Rode's wireless transmitter with XLR input seems like a smart variation on this. Sneak in somewhere that you can't/don't have time to run cables to and use it with any mic, even something basic that the venue are using.

I find lavs problematic for busy interviews - time to fit them, the possibility of rustling, as shown here. Nicer to have people sit under a shotgun/hyper-cardioid if you're sure they won't move around too much. However, this video does show how the the proximity effect of the lav makes it sound thicker and more intimate. The overhead is rather thin.

February 19, 2017 at 5:20PM, Edited February 19, 5:20PM

1
Reply

Is that really an unsecured transmitter hanging (even swinging?) right next to the mic, where it would presumably detonate against the boom pole when it's moved?

February 20, 2017 at 1:46AM

0
Reply

But whyyyyy? Because you can use the 1/8" audio jack? Seems like a beachtek or other adapter makes more sense. More reliable, and better sound quality, too.

February 20, 2017 at 9:00PM, Edited February 20, 9:00PM

8
Reply
avatar
Jon Kline
Director of Photography
242