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ASK THE EXPERTS Wireless microphone systems for cameras with Tobias von Allwörden, Sennheiser W ireless microphone systems for cameras are used by ENG crews and reporting teams as well as for TV and film shootings, where compact size, low weight and unobtrusive miking are particularly important. A professional camera receiver like the EK 3241 is designed according to the Unislot or Sony standard, which ensures that the receiver pack will fit into the camera slots of HD cameras and has the correct connector pin assignment. The signals transmitted from the wireless microphone are directly fed into the camera and recorded in sync with the image. Thanks to their compact, lightweight design, camera receivers can also be carried in a sound bag together with a portable mixer and an audio recorder if required. This gives the sound engineer direct control of the audio 54 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 86 FEBRUARY 2014 signal, and he or she can mix and record several signals, or transmit the mixed broadcast signal to the receiver in the camera (“camera hop”), where it is recorded with the image onto the camera’s memory card. What types of microphones can I use? Handheld transmitters and bodypack transmitters with lavalier microphones are the types most often used. If you would like to use a shotgun microphone – or any other wired microphone – use a plug-on transmitter to convert your wired mic to wireless. If the wired microphone you would like to use is a condenser model, you need to make sure that the plug-on transmitter provides the phantom power that this type of microphone requires. A very common application example is a wireless boom, where a shotgun microphone is combined with a plug- on transmitter. This ensures maximum freedom of movement for the boom operator, and he or she does not need to carry the additional weight of the cables otherwise needed. The audio is transmitted directly to the camera receiver – which is mounted onto the camera or accommodated in the audio bag. What should I check before a shoot? Most important is the frequency your wireless microphone system is operating on. This means that you will first have to check the local licensing regulations regarding frequencies and output power to ensure that you are operating your system legally. On site, you need to check whether the frequency you have been assigned or would like to use is unoccupied. For this, switch on the receiver only, turn up its volume and listen via headphones. If the channel is free from any sounds and disturbance such as hissing noise, chirping and the like, this is an indication that this frequency is not in use. If you have been assigned a frequency band, it might additionally be useful to do a frequency scan with your receiver to get a more detailed picture