Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Don't buy a wireless microphone, and Other News

One of the best audio purchases I ever made was a wireless lapel mic. If you're a one-man documentary crew, wireless mics are about the easiest way to get "pretty good" audio, in most situations. Sure, they aren't perfect, but I'd tried shotgun mics and hand mics before that, and they had their own problems.

I bought a Sony unit years ago, but I had to replace it back in 2010 when the FCC cracked down on the use of the 700MHz frequency, so I bought another Sony unit.

The secret problem of wireless mics is that they are operating in available spectrum (currently 600MHz), not spectrum that's been specifically made available for them, and if the FCC decides to change things, we'll find ourselves having to replace everything. As we already did.

And now it appears we are about to again, as the FCC is planning to have an auction next year, and the 600 MHz is going to be up for grabs.

At the moment I have no idea what this will mean for current models of wireless mic (Sony just released a new range of mics, but they still operate in the 600 band.) Sennheiser is "optimistic" that nothing will actually change until 2016, but that doesn't mean that nothing will change. You might want to hold off on spending any money on new units this year.

Here's a couple of articles, and an interview from News Shooter.

TV TechnologyMic Companies Await FCC Auction Rules

Sennheiser: Sennheiser Updates Customers on Pending Spectrum Reallocation While Encourages Microphone Owners to Support of its Petition to FCC
Audio specialist Sennheiser, which continues to file comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in light of the pending spectrum auction scheduled to take place in 2015, has launched a website to keep its customers informed on recent developments concerning the future of wireless microphones and the UHF spectrum.

Other News

Very interesting take on the YAGH interface unit for the GH4. It does seem to have some limitations, and you might be better off buying the upcoming Atomos Shogun.
5 Things I Learned about the Panasonic GH4 at NAB | Filmmaker Magazine
I finally got a chance to actually play with the camera and interface unit and get a rundown from Panasonic’s Matt Frazer. I learned a few new things I didn’t know before — some good and some bad.

Jan C Livingston retires from Panasonic USA | HD Warrior
If there was ever a lady who was more passionate about Panasonic video kit it was Jan, she knew her products inside out and was always a pleasure to interview. Our last outing together was at IBC 2011, Jan was unique in the world of Broadcast Video Sales you point a camera in her face and there is nothing she did not know about her subject.

This just looks at the published specs:
Head to Head: Blackmagic Design URSA vs the AJA CION – Which one’s better? | Wolfcrow
Is it just me or is it extremely curious why neither mentions the ISO range anywhere? In any case, going by technology and the price point, I’ll be extremely surprised if either camera can shoot beyond ISO 1600. In the case of URSA, it looks like it’s using the same sensor as the Blackmagic Production Camera, and that means you can’t go over ISO 400 and expect perfect quality.

The Best Action Camera: Spring 2014 Edition | Gizmodo
But ultimately, if you want the action camera that shoots the best footage, then you want the GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition. It gives you so many ways to get the best-looking footage, and there's a reason this is the camera the most of the pros use. It's not just good marketing. It's a great camera.

PVC at NAB 2014 - GoPro and the GoPro Studio Software | ProVideoCoalition
I spoke with Craig and he was one of the original creators behind Cineform, the original intermediate codec that was around before DNxHD and ProRes. GoPro acquired Cineform a few years ago and they technology is the base of GoPro Studio. Craig shows us around a bit and answers a few questions about Cineform.

This might not look good in the court case:
‘Midnight Rider’ Producer Made Controversial Comments About Local Filming Days Before Sarah Jones Death | Deadline
Savin “went on to talk about CBGB and was bitching about how our former film commissioner Jay Self kept showing up to set, telling her she couldn’t do this, she couldn’t do that and that she was so glad he was no longer film commissioner. [Savin] said, ‘We make movies by our own rules.’

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