Using the XLR-PRO with the Steadicam
As I said above Sign Video offers an extension cable with their new belt clip and the audio remains clean all the way through. It fastens nicely and is the proper length. The belt clip is great but if your wireless receiver doesn't have a belt clip on it as well then you're still better off hooking all your gear into a vest like mine or a slung pouch or fanny pack. And there is the slight danger of the belt clip slipping off during full-out running Steadicam shots...so assess your setup accordingly. The belt clip is a great new addition to the XLR-PRO. I've seen belt clips show up on all sorts of audio accessories but never assume that something "new" is a cure-all to lugging an accessory around. A photographer's vest, or a pouch, has enclosed pockets so gear never slips out or falls--even if I had to hang upside down for something (I've tested this!).
The Photographer's Vest vs. The Belt Clip
The photographer's vest (one with extremely huge breast pockets) with velcro sewn into the pocket flaps and fastener areas remains the ultimate solution for carrying wireless audio gear and any XLR adapter on your person. The vest is comfortable to wear in all kinds of weather and the XLR-PRO's output cables feed straight up to the rig. The beltclip is something I'm seeing offered on all XLR adapters and it's a welcome (albeit a late) addition to this type of gear. The new belt clip for the XLR-PRO mounts easily with its permanent-floating screw and would probably hold onto your belt or pants at a full run during a fast Steadicam shot. The one caveat I can think of is that if your wireless mic receiver doesn't have a belt clip (and both my Samsons do not) then I have to tuck them into the beltline of my pants to accomodate the adapter. If I'm running two wireless mics then my belt is uncomfortably full of gear and walking during a moving shot is awkward at best. I suppose a large band of velcro on my side would solve everything but I'll just stick to the photographer's vest.
One other note is that if you choose to use the belt clip for your system I discovered that mounting the clip inversely so that the XLR plugs extend away from my body prevents the lower spar of the Handheld Steadicam from tangling with the wires and gear. This also allows for easier feeding of cables up the back and over the shoulder to the operating hand.
Wires can tangle the Steadicam when plugs face forward!
Slip on your headphones, flip the XLR-PRO's mono or stereo switch into the proper position (whether you're using just one microphone or two) and plug your XLR cables into it. Turn the volume knobs up during a mic check with the talent and check the audio level with your headphones so that you know the reception/connection is clean. When using the Sony VX-2000 or TRV-900 make sure the audio volume is turned all the way up by checking the volume buttons on the flip-out LCD color monitor (forgetting to do this has screwed me over so many times!!!) Have the talent count to ten slowly in a normal voice--this is the most vital part of any sound-on-tape setup. At the camera slowly rotate the extension cable's connector back and forth to ensure the connection between the XLR-PRO and camera are solid.
Complete the Handheld Steadicam Workshop Tour!!--all written by John Brune
The Workshop Home Page!
Steadicam JR FAQ!
Setup Recipes for Handheld Steadicams!
Caring for the JR Monitor!
Balancing the VX-1000 with a Wide Lens Adapter!
Attaching Microphones & Headphones to Your Rig!
Tips and Techniques
The Support Gear Page!
Steadicam User Gallery!
Recent DV Headlines!
Using the Zoom Commander Pro with the Cobra Crane!
copyright 2013 John Brune