Mixer setup

For the trip to Kilimanjaro I will use 4 wireless channels and a boom for audio.  Everything will be setup in a tight/compact little bag weighing as little as possible. All support stuff such as extra lavs, batteries, wind screens, and stuff will be carried in other bags to keep the weight down.  We’ll walk for 6-10 hrs a day for 7 days so every gram counts… 🙂

Wave8

The center of this audio setup is a Timecode Systems WAVE. It will be the TC MASTER and send out TC to the 2 TrX+ units on the cameras every 0.5 seconds.  It will also feed the Sound Devices 633 mixer with timecode.  It also creates a WiFi network to let and iPhone or Ipad get frame accurate timecode display.  This works great for visual slate’n of cameras which don’t have timecode in, which is something I’ve used extensively in the past  Show the digislate in the iphone and synk up in post.  (This is how I came to use TimeCode Buddy systems a few years ago)

Wave2
Timecode systems own IOS app to view and control WAVE and TrX+ units.

Another new feature of the Wave TCB line is their new interface “Blink”.  This COM interface will let you control and monitor all connected units through your phone.  You can set TC, change Userbit, name the units and and check battery levels and such. During my testing before this project it really is easy as pie to set up multiple units with a click on your phone. Name, change, check and control, all available in your smartphone.  The connection time of the TrX+ units to the WAVE is almost instantaneous so my setup time in the morning is next to none, which is one of the features I’ve liked most in the past using TimeCode Systems.

I am heading out into the mountains in a few days and we’ll see if this all works as great as I’d like it to.  We’re expecting rain and lots of weather as well as being up on plus 4000m altitudes to this will be a test of how well things work in real life.

Wave1
Control and overview screen i IOS app

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  No one has asked me to write this post, nor is there any promised compensation for writing it. I have No affiliation to Timecode Systems, I am just a long time very happy user.

Light your case…

We’ll be without electricity for the entire trip of 10 days.  Every night I’ll have to sort through gear and organize everything for the next day. A good headlight is a must but I also figured it might be a good idea to have some sort of lighting in my Pelicases.

caselight1

So the solution for this was to attach a 5V LED strip to the Pelican case lid and feed the whole thing off of a little iphone battery charging pack velcrod to the inside of the case.  And “voila” light in a case that should be more than enough of a dark mountain side… 🙂

caselight2

 

caselight4

Timecode solution

I am heading to Kilimanjaro in a couple of weeks trying to summit with gear and all for a show for Swedish television. I’ll be posting some of my prep on this project in the next couple of weeks.

First out will be a timecode solution for my Sony A7sii and Sony FS7 going with me.

160102_TC6
A7sii with Timecode Buddy TrX+ going into CH2.



160102_TC5

FS7 with Timecode Buddy TrX+ going into CH2.
FS7 with Timecode Buddy TrX+ going into CH2.

Since we will use many different cameras (Fs7, A7sii, GoPro and perhaps iPhone) we needed a way to have proper audio throughout the show.  Therefor all audio will be recorded separate on a Sound Devices 633 mixer.
Timecode master will be a Timecode Buddy WAVE which will send TC to TrX+ receivers onboard the cameras.  Since weight is a real issue for us we will not use the V-lock back (XDCAFS7) on the Fs7 which excludes timecode being input to the camera.

Instead I’ve made a BNC-to-XLR  cable that will let me record the TC-signal to an audio channel instead.  The TrX+ units from Timecode Systems really is a little gem in production. They are really small and lightweight and have a built in battery for about 6-8hr runtime. Timecode is collected via RF continuously and if the signal is lost the crystal inside the unit contines to feed TC accurately.

Then inside AVID we can choose to read timecode from an alternative track, in this case, CH2. AUX TIMECODE inside AVID will allow is to easy sync up the recorded audio on the 633 mixer to all footage shot with FS7s and A7sii.

More to come… 🙂

 

tags:  Sony A7sii, Sony A7s ii, Sony FS7, Sony PXW-Fs7, Timecode Systems, Timecode Buddy

Kilimanjaro shoot

On January 17th 2016 I am heading to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania to try and summit.  It is a show for Swedish TV (SVT) where will be filming a 1hr show about the trek up there and cooking along the way.

I’ll be bringing 2 x Sony FS7, an A7sii and a couple of GoPros.  It will be a 2 camera shoot and audio will be run externally.

In the next couple of weeks Ill post some thought and preparations for the trip…  It is a a pretty extensive plan as we won’t have any power or backup for the 10 days shoot.

Please have a look back for more posts. / marcus

 

"Kibo summit of Mt Kilimanjaro 001" av Yosemite
“Kibo summit of Mt Kilimanjaro 001” av Yosemite

 

Natural light

Today I shot a pilot for a documentary series hopefully coming soon.  We were a small team, sound guy and myself + producer, no budget and short of time.

Here is an example of what natural light can look like in a hurry.  Very simple setup.  I taped some 250 diff (3/4 stop loss) to the windows (RED marked) and put a 1/4 stop silk flag on the top window to take the harsh edge off.  Then a little bounce from the left.  The only light in this shot was a small LED (with 1/8 Minus green) that hits him ever ever so slightly on the right cheek.  That it!!  We shot this on the Sony FS7, in Slog3, XAVC.

Other things I wish I would have done: Add a black flag to the right hand side to give a little more contrast face right. Remove the plant in the way back.  Never ever happy… 😉

Nat light
Nat light2

This is the final frame.  Slog3. NO grading


Nat light30 uncorrect0

Same frame but added a Rec709 LUT, NO grading.Nat light30 copy

The compression artifacts in the frame grabs are due to hard JPG compression for the web!

GoPro car rig

We just finished a project (Anne på väg, SVT) where we shot interviews with multiple GoPro camera inside a car. I was asked to setup the solution for this and one of the things we wanted was to be able to monitor the cameras from a follow car to make sure the cameras were rolling, composition etc.
The rig is pretty simple. (After all the HDMI mess) we hook up each GoPro to continues power to bypass the battery problem. A micro HDMI is also attached to each camera and all the cables are run to the back of the trunk. Here we installed the control plate with the HDMI-SDI converters and our quad split. The signal from the quad so then transmit to the follow car for monitoring.

First we have the control panel.

Contol panel
Contol panel

1 Convergent Design Odyssey 7q which acts as our monitor and quad split.  We could easily switch between full frame (for composition) and the quad. Then we have 3 Aja HMDI-SDI converters which converts the GoPro signal to SDI for the quad.  The 4th camera in the car was wild and unmonitored. Everything in the back is DC powered by V-lock batteries.  We left the OSD (On Screen Display) on in the GoPros so to see that the REC was on. The quad signal from the Odyssey 7Q was sent to a Pix240 which recorded a proxy with timecode for logging purpose and the signal was looped on to the link.

The trick here was to sync the GoPros for the edit.  For budget reasons external recorder with locked TC was opted out which would have been the easy choice. Instead we had our Master Timecode in the Sound Bag, which was a TIMECODY BUDDY, feed an iPad with synced code.  This code visually slated each go pro to easy sync in post.  (Actually every goPro clip was later transcoded into a new clip with correct/soundmatched timecode and DNxHD.) Very easy way to establish correct Timecode to non-timecode cameras.

CarRig4

 

Timecode buddy
Timecode buddy
Timecode Buddy
Timecode Buddy

For the link to the follow car we chose the Bolt2000 from Teradek. We put the antennas externally on the car with helped with range. This is a line of sight system which looses the connection if you drive around the corner of a street. It will reconnect however one yore back in line of sight.  The system has one problem though.  If power is lost the units they don’t reconnect, it seems, without a reboot.   This needs to be addressed in future firmwares!   The system worked ok. It had some drops but recovered once back in range. It was really only a backup system for us to be able check that the cameras were rolling during the 20-30 min takes.  Audio was easily monitored via a wireless boosting a 1w transmitter, with great quality and reliability.

All in all this was a very successful setup. The wireless link had it’s dropout, mostly due to to travelling at speed in a car, but the rest of the system was rock solid! During 18 days, and countless hours of footage, we did NOT  loose 1 clip due to a GoPro shut down. The new firmware in the GoPro with options to the flat picture profile was great.

Bolt2000 receiver in follow car
Bolt2000 receiver in follow car
CarRig3
Teradek Bolt 2000 transmitter in the hero car
CarRig2
monitor setup in follow car
CarRig6
antenna on the back of the hero car.

 

Running everything on DC, including some lights is a bit of a charging mess at night though.   I think we had something like 14 V-lock batteriers in use. 😉

CarRig11

 

 

HDMI mess part 2

20140510-082029.jpg

So this finally got a solution. After a looooot of trial and error, ordering new/different HDMI-SDI converters, quad splits etc etc, AJA was the solution.
I am trying to monitor 3 GoPro cameras to make sure they are recording inside the main vehicle as we are riding in the follow car. My thought was simple enough, run the GoPro signal with on-screen display (OSD) into an HDMI-SDI converter, connect to Quad split and transmit signal to follow car. In reality is proved not so easy.
The Atomos Connect didn’t work at all, would not convert 1080/25p to SDI.
The BMD battery converter converted the signal to SDI but somehow corrupted it. It showed up fine on Sony OLED monitor but would NOT monitor on Marshall 5 inch or our Odyssey 7q (our quad solution)
Ordered the Decimator Quad split box. Is converted the signal in 4:3 and only put out a SD/SDI and I needed to have and HD out.
20140510-082130.jpg
So it was as easy as AJA. It converted the HDMI to SDI and showed on the Sony and the quad mode in the Odyssey 7q.
The reason I tried Atomos and Black Magic Design first was that they had a built in battery, which the AJA does not.
Also I need to give lots of credit to Scandinavian Photo I Malmo which has has been so helpful in ordering gear and helping out.

Here is first try on a finished rig. Missing some wiring and stuff but I now see the light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂
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