Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tomorrow We'll See If This Works

We’ve got 4 cameras, 2 audio tracks each, for a total of 8 tracks. We’ve got 1 boom mic on the contestant and 3 wireless mics on the judges. Contestants will cycle through all day, one at a time, and the judges will trash or praise them.

The 3 wireless systems will enter the mixer in channels 1-3.

The boom mic will input in channel 4

The direct outs for channels 1-4, post fader, will be sent to 4 isolated tracks on cameras. (This uses 4 of the available 8 camera tracks.)

The 3 wireless mics will be panned Left and sent to Left Master. This will go out to another "wireless mix" track on a camera (1 more camera track used, total 5 now). I’ve been told that this mix track of the wirelesses is what the editors will probably use for the wireless audio, because it’s easier for them to use this one track than to deal with the 3 isolated tracks. But if one mic on this mix is screwing up the whole mix, then they’ll go to the isolated tracks.

If it were me editing, I’d want to use the isolated tracks only, because even if the 3 wirelesses are behaving properly, there will be phasing problems between them on the mix track. But the production may not have the money and time for its editors to deal with the isolated tracks unless they really need to, or they may not care about the quality that much, or they may not know that phasing could be an issue.

The boom will be panned Right and sent to Right Master. This output will be split via y-cable and be sent to both tracks on the Talent Camera. (2 more tracks used, total 7 now)

The Mono Out (mono mix of everything) from the mixer will go to the 8th track on a camera. Also, all mics will go to an Aux which will feed a y-cable which will send one feed to the camera operator's intercom system, and another feed to a small mixer which will step the audio down to mic level so that I can feed a second-rate wireless mic system which will substitute for first-rate wireless headsets for the director and producer.

Each camera will be fed by 2 or more 50’ XLR cables (for the two tracks/camera) joined to an ENG duplex cable which will attach to the camera itself.

It’s not enough just to send audio to the cameras. I have to be able to listen to the audio on the cameras. So, I need to bring all their headphone outs (a stereo output for each camera making a total of 8) back to the mixer and input them to 8 more channels.

To begin this link, the ENG duplex cable has a mini stereo return feed from the headphone out on the camera. At the other end of the ENG duplex cable, this mini stereo headphone return will go through the following adapters: stereo mini female to stereo 1/4” male; stereo 1/4” female to female turnaround; stereo 1/4” male to XLR male. It’s got more simultaneous male/female linkages than Behind the Green Door.

A third 50’ XLR cable for each camera will continue the headphone return back to the mixer where it will go into a XLR female to 1/4” stereo male adapter; then into a 1/4” female stereo to Left/Right split TS males, which each feed two more inputs on the mixer (8 total).

These 8 inputs of audio on the mixer will be what I use to monitor the audio on the cameras. They do not get recorded to anything.

The wireless tracks, isoated and mix, will go to Subgroup 1. The boom tracks will go to Subgroup 2.

On the Control Room/Phones selector, I will listen to Subgroups 1 and 2 and fade up the returns from whatever camera tracks I want to listen to at any moment. Now that’s power.

I will calibrate meters as follows. I’ll use my tone generator to send tone to all cameras. Left and Right Master will be set to Unity. 0 dB VU on the mixer will equal -20 dB on the cameras. Then I set all return input trims and faders, and all subgroups, to Unity. Then I set the meters so show the levels of the return inputs, and I set each camera headphone monitor level until its level on the Mackie meter reads at 0 dB VU.

Or, actually, I may have to turn the Trims way down for these camera monitor returns because they are really meant for headphones and may be pretty hot.

In any case, the point is that when the camera is getting -20 dB tone level, the meters for the returning monitor audio read 0 VU. This way, I can double check on the levels on the camera meters by checking the return levels on any return whose fader is set to Unity.

Got that? If it works, I’ll raise your children for you.


Jenny said...

I could use a good caretaker for my as yet unconceived children. Thanks for the offer.

Anonymous said...

Uh-huh. Why did I think you were interesting? ;) --Lisa