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Usually, I'm never on shoots that record into camera, but I have a job this weekend where I have to. I'm still using my Sound Devices recorder as a pre-amp/mixer.

The camera I'm plugging into is the Panasonic AJ-HPX3700G P2.

I want to double check some things with you guys, as I don't want to be fiddling too much on the day.

  • It would be nice not to have cables going from my recorder to the camera, so I'm thinking of using two of my Senneheiser G3 wireless systems to go from line-out to the camera. Is this safe? I won't be able to monitor the final output, and I'm worried I'm having interference or something and don't notice it.

  • If it is okay to use the wireless systems, what levels should I have them set at? My usual settings for dialogue are around -21db or -24db for the transmitter and -6db for the receiver. Would I leave it as that? Then feed it a test tone from my SD and match on the camera?

  • If I veto the wireless route and go with cables, I go line-out from my Sound Devices, and set the test tone to -20db, on the camera I match the levels to -20 (little less for safety) as well, and should be fine?

Thanks for any help/warnings.

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5 Answers 5

I have worked with those cameras before. Wireless is generally not a good idea. If you do go that way, make sure that you are also recording on your recorder as back up. What you can do is run a wireless link from the camera to your SD for timecode. If you do have to run cables, then make sure you have a great cable guy with you and good quality long XLRs. The camera has two audio pots on the side, so just run tone to the camera and set your levels on the camera. Once set don't move your master on the SD or the levels on the camera and you should be good. I recommend always recording on a second system if you have the ability. It might just save your ass.

Visual of camera with audio points marked Timecode for the camera (BNC connector)

Good luck.

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Don't go for Wireless!!! Get a cable so you can have a return signal.. that way you can at least listen to what's going into the camera...The camera crew will probably also hate having two transmitters/recievers on their camera... Always shaky business recording into camera. If I were you, and I could rent stuff, I'd get the Sound Devices 552. That way you can line out to the camera AND record on your own.
Hope I didn't scare you too much.

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haha! yes you did ;-) Nah, I think cables are way safer indeed. Just testing the waters, so thanks for the recommendation. I'll stick to my SD and feed the camera + record at the same time. Thanks. –  Andrew Spitz Jun 10 '11 at 9:26

using Sennheiser G3 for line input to the camera is fine, altough can be a little noisy. Just make sure to use line cables, they are wired differently both for the transmitter and receiver, it's all in the sennheiser manual. Hope this helps, Bartosz

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Depending on how far away the shoot is, you should get yourself a breakaway cable.

Breakaway cables tend to have female xlrs and a 35mm jack on one side, and male xlrs, a 35mm jack, and a 35mm female jack on the other - all neatly contained in one cable.

Breakaway cables allow you to monitor the headphone out of the camera so you can be sure of what's going to disk. They also do what the name says they do, which is to break into two parts with one twist of a multipin connection point so that the camera guy can disconnect from you to reposition without any help.

with this setup you can get clean audio both to the camera and to the recorder, and you can monitor both sources on a sound devices mixer. If you don't have an SD mixer and are just using a 702 or whatever then you'll just need a 35mm female barrel to monitor the camera audio - but be aware that you'll have no control over headphone levels with that setup so test it out before you get too deep. Alternatively you can just find a small portable battery powered headphone amp and plug the return into that.

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You could rent a fully digital Zaxcom wireless system and use it as a camera hop. They can be rented with a backup recorder on the transmitter, so you will have an intact recording even if the radio link has dropouts. If renting a Zaxcom is not financially feasible for you, you would have to use a dual sound system recording anyway, because Sennheiser G3 radio link may well have dropouts or clicks. At the end of the day, if the recording has flaws or is not intact, you are to blame. I wouldn't take that risk.

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