Sony F55 V Lock problem solved

Sony F55 V Lock problem solved

I have been using for some time a pair of Audio Ltd 2000’s as a camera hop, they make a great hop and I have a couple of different Hawkwoods bracket type arrangements that I use to attach them to a camera. My favourite puts the radio mic receivers inside a box which attaches between the V-Lock and the battery on the back of the camera. It has integral leads for connecting the receivers and the camera. My other option also involves a V-lock plate but places the receivers at the side of the camera on a bracket. I’ve used both these set ups on a variety of different cameras but recently came up against a problem with the Sony F55 and Sony FS7. The V-Lock plate appeared to lock on to the camera but any reasonable pressure from underneath – eg if the camera operator tried to guide the shot by putting his hand under the battery and the plate popped off. You can imagine this was pretty annoying. It took us a while to find a solution but it was simple in the end. HawkWoods supplied me with a new “V” for the plate. It’s the bit of plastic held on with three screws. You can see in the picture that the lower plate has an extra bit taken out of it. This allows the plate to latch on the F55, the plate above is the old one for comparison. One annoying problem solved – thanks HawkWoods. We didn’t like the Sony FS7 by the way. Lots of spongy buttons that can get annoyingly knocked and auto functions that trip you up. I hated the fact that you could only see the audio levels and the timecode in the viewfinder, it meant it was impossible for me to look over and check them every now and again which we were recording, which I like to do. Anyway the VLock is now as solid as a rock and I have had the XLRs on my the integral leads replaced with right-angled plugs which suits the F55 much...

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Sound Devices 633 – First look review

Sound Devices 633 – First look review

I’ve been using my 633 for just over a week and I have to say I am loving it! All the things I thought might be a problem seem not to be so far and I’m slowly sorting out the settings and work flow that suit me. I had wondered if using my Audio 2040 radio mics would be a pain with it as they are mic level rather than line (and 3 of the mixers inputs are line level only) it’s been fine so far. I’ve had leads made up that feed from the headphone out of the 204o’s rather than the mic level output and this works fine. I have heard some people complain that the ISOs are low level if you do this – but you can increase the channel gain in the menu to suit the 2040’s so it’s not actually a problem at all. One thing I really like over the the 664 firmware I am running at the moment  is that when you switch monitoring to the confidence return and power down your mixer – when you power back up it’s still on the confidence return. This was a little trick I always used to use on my SQN when I unplugged from the camera and powered down. I’d always leave it switched to RTN so that I plugged back in when I switched back on for sure. It’s something I really missed when I switched to sound devices – so I’m glad it has been introduced. The main advantage of the 633 is the small size and weight of course, so space had had to be saved and some functions that are controlled with switched on the 664 have become menu driven on the smaller machine. Things I miss are the pan controls on channels 4-6 which are not menu driven – quick to change but I wish there was a permanent visual reference on the screen somewhere to show how they are set, as it’s the kind of thing that can catch you out when moving between set ups. Likewise, but not quite so annoying is the menu driven bass cuts on all the inputs, I’d like to see at a glance how those are set without having to push a switch. At least there are bass cuts on every channel – unlike the smaller SQN machines where this function was left off two of the channels completely. My only other minor gripe at the moment is that I would like a clearer indication of the battery condition. The battery indicator does not “empty” like the 664, it just changes colour which is not – to me – as obvious. The...

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Parabolic Reflector

Parabolic Reflector

Yesterday I had a lovely job in the Forest of Dean recording a piece about the Dawn Chorus. As well as having a trusty Sennheiser 816 on hand it also seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out the parabolic reflector I have been getting set up over the last couple of weeks. The reflector was rescued from a loft a fair while ago and I recently dusted it off to try out with a few of the mics I had around the place. Nothing I had was suitable for the original microphone bracket that was attached to the dish so the process included the slightly scary procedure of drilling a hole in the dish to provide a new mounting point for a small Rycote suspension. After a few trips to my own loft for some long forgotton microphone suspension parts and one trip to B&Q – mainly for rubber washers from the plumbing section the new version of the reflector was born. The reflector currently contains a Scheops CCM41 mic, it’s a hyper cardioid, but I’ve always thought of it as a bit wider than the shotgun mics I’m used to using for most of my work so I thought it was worth a go. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results, so here are a few recordings from the Forest of Dean by way of example. Next though will be to try it out with a cardioid or an omni mic. I also found an illustration of my original dish from an old book on Wildlife recording, You can still buy an almost identical dish...

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Always sound help on the internet!

Always sound help on the internet!

I lost count many years ago of the amount of times the internet has helped me out with a technical problem that has been driving me mad. Today’s was trying to get the sound to sync up on my very old copy of Final Cut Express when the change needed was less than a frame. This video kindly put up by another user had my problem sorted in five minutes. Thank you to all those techies out there that bother making these things!  ...

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Protools upgrade nightmares

Protools upgrade nightmares

Am I the only one to find upgrading or adding plugins to a ProTools installation a nightmare almost every single time? It always seems to be a question of trial and error with each product to jump through the hoops of downloading a product, authorising it and getting it working. There’s a plethora of codes and passwords and ilok codes to get through before it will let you use the software. I nearly gave up this time – I was having a weird problem where the registration screen would not load – so I could not even download the package. Then I tried it in the Google Chrome browser rather than Firefox – and bingo it suddenly worked! I hope this helps someone else!...

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Handheld recorders & Roland R05’s – hidden menu

Handheld recorders & Roland R05’s – hidden menu

Just a little trick if you use this little recorder, the Roland R-05 (pictured) – I have one that I use for my own use for community radio and it’s also good for collecting the odd sound effect. There is a “secret” set up menu, if allows you to (amongst other things) turn off the recording light to give a “stealth” mode and change the mic pre-amp gain, the nominal gain value is +18dB, but it can be changed to +13dB or +28dB. You access the menu by holding the “A<>B” button while pressing the “MENU” key and then go to the 8th item in the menu. I really like this little recorder and I am on the look out for a small personal mic that will work with it. I’ve used a few similar machines and this one is my favorite for the size and money. I previously used the Roland R09, it gave great results but the build was a lot less robust and more plastic. Handling noise wasn’t bad but it did develop some random faults, like hideous results when playing back files on the machine which turned out to be fine when downloaded onto a computer. Others also reported seeing the record light lit and numbers turning but when they got home no file was recorded.. The Zoom H2 was great value but I’m not keen in the arrangement of the front and rear microphones if you want to use it as a machine for recording interviews. It’s great as a “one box” music recorder as the front and rear mics give you a choice of pick up patterns for different sizes of groups – but if you want to use them both together as an omni for interviews they don’t match that well. The Zoom H1 is a bargain at the price, fairly easy to use – but feels a bit “plastic” and you have to be very careful how you hold it the reduce handling noise. I’d recommend using that particular recorder in manual level mode as the automatic level is often fooled by the din the pressing the record button makes into making a very low level recording. It can of course a all be bumped up in the edit, but it’s not a great start! The Zoom H2n I’ve only had a brief play with, it looks fantastic, the mics match very well in all configurations and the machine has a very solid feel to it which also helps keep handling noise to a minimum. It’s available now at a very reasonable price. I’d say the only downside in comparison with the other models is that it’s a bit more chunky...

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