TV Timecard and Sound Report Writer apps

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Whip It Good

This IFB antenna now sits atop the vehicle
I do a lot of car-to-car stuff for Catfish and finally have a great solution for our needs. I typically just drop the bag in the trunk of our compact SUV, pot up the car plants and let everyone listen in on IFB. This "auto-pilot" method works best for us because our cast will sometimes travel along without us, so having the bag in another car wouldn't work on a consistent basis; not to mention all the extra antenna rigging I'd need. We are much too fast paced for all that. Having said that, I would still only get mediocre results when listening in on IFB from another vehicle. That's what prompted me to find a better solution for a situation that happens several times on a daily basis.

Just gaff the cable down, and BAM!
I have tried a dipole mounted inside the car before, which proved about as useful as the existing whip on my T4 -- sometimes worse. I finally came across a magnetic remote whip antenna from Vark Audio, the Mag Mount, that is designed specifically for this purpose. I use a Lectrosonics T4 250mw transmitter and Lectrosonics R1a receivers. I simply disconnect my bag whip and connect the BNC from the remote whip. Getting the antenna outside the shell of the car is the most important key to get maximum range, but having it atop the car helps as well. The car itself acts as the ground plane needed for the whip antenna. This thing is a big breakthrough for me and has proved to be one of the tools that allows me to have one less thing to worry about. On a related note, it's time for some Devo.

It's super easy to install and holds up well to the wind

When I drop my bag, I just replace my bag whip BNC with this guy

For reality shoots, this thing is practically invisible

You really can't see it here

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Sound Devices 788T & 664 Wireless Keyboard

The Sound Devices mixer/recorders are fantastic tools, but they lack a user-friendly keyboard for metadata entry. They do, however, come equipped with a USB port for keyboard access. The 788T has a standard "A" type USB port while the 664 has an annoying "B" type USB port. After a decent bit of research though the forums, I found this little guy to be the perfect fit for me. It's the 2.4GHz Rii Touch N7 Mini PC Laptop Keyboard. It has a physical on/off switch, LED backlight and "clicking" feedback. It also has an auto-sleep feature that will power down the unit until you press a couple buttons to turn it back on. It boasts a rechargeable 810mAh internal Li-Ion battery, chargeable via USB. The 664 allows for pre-programmed shortcuts and the 788T even allows for some user-programable keyboard shortcuts. You will have to use an A-to-B adapter for the 664, but it will plug right into the 788T without a hitch. Make sure you get the 2.4GHz model and not the Bluetooth model. The SD unit may not give enough power to the receiver with the Bluetooth model. See my link below for the correct model.

I also use the back of the keyboard to write my frequencies on since there is no handle on the Petrol 607 bag(!). The touchpad is useless for this particular application, but I've found a use for it when streaming movies on my laptop in my hotel room. Just plug it in and you've got a pretty sweet remote control!

For about $35 you'll be up and running in no time. Even if you do have a CL-WiFi, this is a good backup.
This should give you a good idea of the size

It's very slim; fits pretty much anywhere in the bag (by my SRs)

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