17 December 2008

Coffey's On

The winter edition of The Coffey Audio Files is available for download here (pdf read link).

16 December 2008

Sanken and Zaxcom Team Up To Design Mic, Fight Crime

Via ProSoundNews:

Sanken has announced the COS-11D, the latest version in the COS-11 lavalier series. The new design incorporates design advances that deal with digital and digital/analog hybrid wireless transmission...

President Glenn Sanders remarked, "Zaxcom is excited to recommend the Sanken COS-11D for use with our TRX series of wireless digital recording transmitters. The COS-11D, with its immunity to RF interference, provides the audio quality that sound mixers have come to expect, while Zaxcom's digital wireless technology ensures transmission quality that is equivalent to that of a hard-wired connection..."

In today's wireless transmission systems the microphone must remain unaffected by the new forms of transmitter signals. While the benefits of these new systems are obvious, they present new challenges in the area of emission protection. Sanken Microphones has designed the COS-11D specifically to reduce the instances where interference is an issue...

No word yet on which of the two companies will have the cooler super-hero costumes, though my money's on the Big Z.


And In "Throwing Us a Bone" News....

Both Lectrosonics and AKG have announced a trade-in policy and rebate offer, respectively, for owners of their wireless systems in the 700 Mhz band. Snips:

The plan offered by Lectrosonics allows owners of current generation products in these blocks, including SM Series, UM400-type, UH400-type, UT, LM-type, IM and MM400-type transmitters, and UCR411-type, UCR401, Venue-type, SR-type, UCR100 and R400-type receivers to have the frequency block changed to a lower range for a nominal fee.

AKG's offer is conditional in that the rebate can only be applied towards the purchase of their WMS 450 system:

...AKG announced a trade-in program for customers of any brand of wireless system that operates in the over-698 MHz range on its popular WMS 450 system. This rebate program gives customers a $100.00 instant rebate when they trade-in their “700-MHz” wireless system against the purchase of a WMS 450 from a participating contractor or retail dealer. A $100.00 mail-in rebate is available via a downloadable PDF form for new customers when purchasing the system from a participating online or catalog retailer.

Link to AKG.

Lectrosonics press release, via ProSoundNews.

12 December 2008

FCC Plans On Making "Smut Free" Wireless Broadband; In Related Story, Scientist Quoted As Being "This Close" To Making Perpetual Motion Machine

From Ars Technica:

Federal Communications Commission Chair Kevin Martin's campaign for a free, smutless, wireless, national broadband service for the people opened a new chapter on Friday with the release of a public comment cycle on the plan. The agency's Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNOPR) advocates "public access to free, nationwide, high-speed wireless broadband Internet services using a portion of the winning bidder’s network in the 2.1GHz Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum."

Free wireless broadband? Spectacular, assuming it happens. "Smutless"? Futile, for many reasons, not the least of which is that there is no legal definition of what constitutes "obscene" ("knowing it when you see it" notwithstanding).

Attempting to create a catch-all filter will be a waste of time and taxpayer money. First, most filters are easily circumvented by today's teens (witness the ongoing efforts to prevent students from accessing social networking sites on school computers). Secondly, if the filters are set too stringently, they may end up blocking legitimate health education sites (by preventing anything with the word "breast" from being accessed, for example).

All of this just gets my inner curmudgeon up in arms. I can completely understand parents wanting to be able to control of what their kids surf on the net, but not at the expense of my own access as an adult. Personal responsibility has to factor in here; if you are that concerned, then put the computer in the living room so that you know what sites your kids are visiting. If you can't trust your children to use the net according to your rules, then take away their mobile device and replace it with a bare-bones cell phone. If you're worried about the computers at school, address your school board.

People want the world to be re-oriented around their own children, and the rest of us are expected to be ad-hoc babysitters, making compromises so that some of these parents out there don't have to face the burden of watching their own kids every single minute. Unfair, but also unrealistic.

The world can be a dangerous, dirty place, and try as some might, you can't bubble-wrap it and call it good. Parenting, like most of life, requires patience, common sense, and above all, follow through. This means learning how to properly use that big ol' scary computer. It means becoming a more sophisticated web surfer in your own right, so that you can pass that tech wisdom on to your kids.

Finally, it means communication, which is what the net is all about. Talk to your kids, about computers, about adult material, about whatever they're doing when they're online. The only people qualified to know what's best for your kids is you, parents. It may be intimidating, but the internet is an undeniable part of our modern world, and kids need to be taught how to use it responsibly.

You will be better at determining what is and is not appropriate for your kids than any filtering software ever devised.

Thank you and good night. {steps off soap box, runs away from angry mob carrying tar and feathers}

10 December 2008

Apron Strings (The Good Kind)

Via Pro Video Coalition: the EQE Boompole Apron. Snip:

Our unique Boompole Apron attaches to the side of your cart and provides storage sleeves for up to four boompoles, antennas, or small stands. Because it is made of rugged cordura fabric, it weighs almost nothing and folds flat.

Currently, I just use a cheapie bungie cable to strap the boom to my cart, but this is only practical when it's stationary. If you need to wheel around to get closer to the next setup, or move out of the way of lighting equipment (which inevitably happens), it gets a little wonky. An apron like this seems like the most practical way to store booms, short of a far more expensive custom-built cart.

MSRP: $89

Link to Equipment Emporium.

(P.S. The post at Pro Video Coalition lists today's date, but a Google search brought up a post from Videomaker.com from 1999 that lists the Boom Apron. Seems as though it's a older product with a new announcement making the rounds.)

04 December 2008

Setiquette Part Two

Mr. Patton continues:

You have a responsibility to deliver good sound. It doesn’t matter whether you are the Production Mixer or the EPK guy. There will be times when you need something from the people around you, like quiet. It may be that the people around you will not give you what you need, even after you ask them nicely. EPK crews don’t usually get “quiet on the set.” They are expected to work around everyone else, including the guy with the power saw. You don’t have the authority to tell them to be quiet, but someone probably does. Talk to your director, your director can talk to the ADs and maybe figure out a better set-up or one of the ADs might help you get some quiet.

With the breakdown of the apprentice system, this kind of hard-won wisdom in invaluable. New crew members have fewer ways to watch over a veteran's shoulder to see how it should be done. There should be far more articles like this if we expect to maintain a base level of professionalism in the industry.

Link, via Trew Audio.

03 December 2008

Blimpin' Ain't Easy

Okay, if anyone feels the need to make any "full of hot air" jokes, get it out of the way now...

Anything above the lightest breeze necessitates a blimp- or zeppelin-style microphone suspension, which surrounds the mic with a volume of air that is kept at low velocity, while still allowing enough motion to proved a good, clear pickup of intended sound. This is generally achieved by building a semi-rigid plastic frame, lining it with silk or some other acoustically transparent fabric, and pairing it with a slip-on cover with longer fur, for even heavier winds.

Rode, known for their mics, has debuted its entry into the field, and Trew Audio got their hands on it. The short version:

Barely two years after releasing their extremely popular NTG series shotguns, RODE microphones has developed the RODE Blimp. RODE has studied the market, taken the best aspects of the competition, and melded it into a lower cost dependable wind protection solution...

All in all, the RODE Blimp seems to be a very good value. While slightly heavier and possibly a little less refined in appearance than the most popular brand of zeppelin there are some good ideas at work here. Owners will be satisfied with the performance and the economics of this windscreen system.

Link to review.


Klassic Overuse Of the Letter K

K-Tek, purveyors of fine boom poles (one of which your intrepid reporter owns himself), have introduced the K-Tek Klassic Traveler, a budget-minded boom/suspension/windscreen package that would be perfect for an on-the-go ENG or a back up to a heavier system. Snip, via b-roll.net:

The K-87CC extends to 7′3” (221cm) and can be compressed to 1′10” (56cm). Crafted of high-density graphite fiber, the pole offers the same great benefits as the top-of-the-line Klassic 5-Section Boom Pole series...The K-87CC comes outfitted with an internal coiled cable and a bottom XLR connector.

The K-Mount microphone suspension (K-MT) offers users both the ruggedness of a shock mount and the isolation characteristics of more expensive suspension systems. The system features K-Tek’s unique 4-point polymer microphone suspenders (K-SUS) fitted precisely into a handsome cylindrical aluminum frame.

The K-Tek Slip-On Fuzzy combines a high-quality faux fur exterior with a tightly woven fabric backing — making it the only slip-on windscreen with an extra layer of wind protection. Users have a choice of a small, medium or large windscreen to fit a multitude of microphones.

Purchased separately, these items retail for $685.00. K-Tek is offering the Klassic Traveler Kit at a package price of just $575.00.


State Of the Rebate

From the "Wow, They're Being a Lot Cooler About This Than I Thought They Would" Department:

Shure has started a rebate program of up to $1,000 for the trade-in of Shure 700 MHz frequency band (698-806 MHz) wireless systems and other related components purchased before February 1, 2007--and for any other manufacturers' qualifying 700 MHz frequency band wireless systems and their related components.

The part about "other manufacturers" is interesting, although there's nothing specific on Shure's website about who qualifies.