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Dear All,

I may be blasted for a non-sound-design question but since most of you have worked on movie sets and live productions I want to risk it anyway: (Hopefully Colin Hart sees this)

I have been trying to find a reliable wireless communication system to use for the shooting of a TV series. The range would need to be about 100 meters of quality RF signal that sounds good and is reliable.

On the sets and music shows I work on, the audio guys need to be communicating with the video guys, producer, director, etc. etc. You know the drill.

I was wondering what you guys have used in the past that you have found reliable, rugged, dependable and works well in terms of wireless communication systems?

I went to NAB to search for this type of thing but didn't come away too satisfied.

I have tried Clear-Comm already. They seem to be the best, though we still had a few problems with it.

Other systems I have used are just too faulty, sound horrible, and the headphone/mic and belt packs remind me of fisher-price toys and they break easily.

What have you guys used and consider quality wireless systems?

Thanks in advance!!

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@Colin Hart - Please come read my question and answer it! –  Utopia Jul 5 '10 at 23:46

2 Answers 2

up vote 0 down vote accepted

If you're looking for IFB, I agree with the Comtek m216. It's a very solid device that is easy to use. It runs about $700 for the transmitter, and $350 per receiver pack new. I'm not sure the price used or for rentals. This is for one way monitoring of the audio coming from the sound people on set only.

It sounds more like you're looking for 2-way communication. If that's the case, go with Motorola UHF or VHF walkies and get some ear-pieces. They are very rugged and won't easily break. You'll need a lot of these - they are used to call quiet on set, call for equipment, radio for traffic control or crowd control. Often this has little to do with the sound guys (other than keeping things quiet), but they are generally responsible for providing both the IFB and walkies.

If you're on a tight budget, 4 or 5 good bullhorns will run you about $300 and you can shout all over set!

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@VCProd Thanks VCProd. I am going to check out the m216. Does it provide for multiple channels of comm? And is it 2-way? I am not sure walkies will do the trick. Mostly because I think we want private channels because on some live-shows you never know who wants to listen in.. –  Utopia Jul 8 '10 at 0:01
    
@Ryan the m216 is one way (transmit) only. It's just to be able to monitor the audio coming from the sound recordist if you are running off-camera sound. If you're looking for a secure intercom, there are plenty of options - ClearCom has wireless com packs that have the traditional push to talk buttons. There are also some government spec intercom setups that are encrypted, but I think when you see the price, encryption won't be so important ;) There's also one that is a telephone hybrid so local intercom can also tied into a phone call - pretty cool. –  VCProd Jul 9 '10 at 15:49
    
@Ryan drop me an email at colin@vcprod.com - we can talk a little more about traditional intercom, which is what you're looking for. I can get you some product specs and recommendations. –  VCProd Jul 9 '10 at 15:52

The best system i've used were the comtek transmiter/receiver m216, at least in the shoots we've used them at, well.... no complaints and virtually fool proof We've also used sennheiser em2050 receiver with Sk 3063 transmitter with good results, but the receiver was in rack format and AC powered which might or might not be acceptable to your situation. I have no idea of the price points though, i was just using the thing.

Hope that helps a bit

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Thanks Filipe! Yeah - this helps. Does the comtek provide users with two-way and channels - like a producer channel B and a lighting channel A and a sound channel C? –  Utopia Jul 7 '10 at 23:59
    
@Ryan No, i'm afraid you'd have to use a transmitter for each way, at least to my knowledge. I just checked the website and couldn't find a 2 way system, sorry.... –  Filipe Chagas Jul 8 '10 at 8:18

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