RF Explorer used by Sound Recordist
Nick for location sound RF analysis

Sound Man Nick Teti has added a useful tool called the RF Explorer which is a sophisticated RF / radio frequency analyzer used by several audio & radio professionals. Many lavaliers have the ability to scan for open frequencies, and are generally foolproof, except in situations with intermittent radio interference occurs.  This intermittent interference can reek havoc on a sound recording during critical takes. The absolute goal of any worthy location sound recordist / mixer is to have unwanted RF interference eliminated from all recordings on every production they are hired on; that is every take without RF interference, distortion or other noise.

From Nick: In my professional experience any type of RF interference is not acceptable in any recording, even in B Roll, as if the client needs to any or all portion of the recording that has been interfered with. As a skilled video editor, I have had the frustrations of dealing with other sound recordings that have not had clean, RF free recordings that had to be omitted from the production, as there is not current technology to eliminate RF interference. One justification for costs of hiring myself or another skilled sound recordist, sound man, sound guy or woman, etc. is the ability for the camera person to free their creativity that is benefit from hiring a sound person for assistance. Other clients or crew members many not as well know the symptoms of RF interference, intermodulation, over or under modulation that is more familiar to a skilled sound person, sound or audio engineer or editor.

Use an RF scanner instead of using the wireless receivers scanning feature?

The scanning feature of many wireless receivers does not analyze the RF (radio frequency) spectrum as intensely as a sophisticated scanner or spectrum analyzer, therefore increasing chances of sporadic interference that may result at the worst time in a critical take. Hiring my services includes this hardware to enable a more proficient and speedy production schedule. Aside from using this RF scanner, (called the RF Explorer), using the scanning feature also enables more efficiency to your production schedule as to eliminate delays caused by surprise RF issues.

Category #A, Solutions to RF interference on your shoot / production

  • As a location sound mixer use multiple wireless when possible, and bring a back up pair, as well.
  • Production sound mixers often also use hard wire microphones like shotguns or lapel based hard wired microphones in tandem for backup purposes.
  • Split audio into channels into the camera, or in external mixer recorder. Assign each wireless, and or microphone source to it’s own dedicated channel. Multiple track mixer / recorders enable redundancy in recording, as often microphones in proximity
  • Use frequency agile wireless and change channels / frequencies when RF intrusion is present on your video, film or television production.
  • Hire a sound guy to use multiple track recorders that can record embedded time code into the audio for recording & mixing sound, enabling the editor choices when audio challenges occur, or when surprise unwanted radio interference occurs that you are not familiar with as a camera person.
  • For receivers that have no RF scanning abilities, bring an external scanner to scan for open RF, or turn on the receiver by itself, to check the RF light status if this is available on your wireless.
  • Plan ahead with location scouting with your sound recordist if possible to scan the area for RF issues or ambient noise issues to reduce intrusion or delays on your production day. If location is not feasible or in the budget suggest arriving earlier to scan the area the day of your production with a scanner or wireless receivers to analyze the areas for RF intrusions, as well, ambient noise intrusions.
  • Use your frequency agile wireless lavaliers on the receiver side to scan for an open frequency, then tune your transmitter to the same channel / frequency that has no intruding RF present.
  • MOST RECOMMENDED: Hire a skilled sound man like myself using the techniques listed above in category #A that will enable you as a camera person to focus on shot composition, story telling, producing, directing and other needed tasks, making it a hassle free shoot. Contact me at (720) 299-2084, Denver & Colorado areas, USA, United States of America, Mister Photon Media llc, contact@misterphoton.com


Definitions and External Links

RF – radio frequency – Most all wireless microphone systems, aka radio microphones rely on radio frequencies, that are similar to those used by television broadcast, or other radio controlled devices. Wireless microphone optimum use is dictated by the sound recordist’s abilities, including the skills of understanding the use of unassigned radio frequencies or using white spaces in the RF spectrum to enable intrusion free communication between transmitter(s) and receiver(s). Here is a definition by wikipedia.org to the website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_frequency

Interference – undesired noise, sound or intrusion of a sound recording cause by either a radio frequency, intermodulation by another similar frequency most commonly. Intrusion can have several associated sounds like a static spike or abrupt loud statIc “hit,” sound similar to a radio continuously tuning, squelching noises, odd sounds or anything else that makes the recording undesirable.

Intermodulation – this is best referenced by wikipedia.org with this definition link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermodulation

RF Explorer Website: http://j3.rf-explorer.com/

Wireless, wireless microphone, or lavalier – these are the most common synonyms or nicknames for a lavalier microphone system.

Synonyms for Location Sound Personnel

Listed below are some of the most common nicknames in production lingo / language terminology for sound people or personnel

  • Sound Man, Sound Guy or Audio Guy – the male nickname assigned to a sound recordist
  • Sound Woman
  • Sound Person
  • Production sound mixer
  • Production sound recordist
  • Location sound mixer
  • Location sound recordist

The fastest method to book me, Nick is by telephone at (720) 299-2084, alternately by email at: contact@misterphoton.com