On the Set: Filming With the System 10 Wireless System

In our latest guest blog, award-winning photographer and journalist Mr.Bonzai gives a behind the scenes look at the production of video segments for the 2015 TEC Awards. Read on as he explains how the System 10 Digital Wireless System was used throughout the recording process.

Mr. Bonzai and KamranV during the filming in the Studio A control room at United Recording Studios.

Mr. Bonzai and KamranV during the filming in the Studio A control room at United Recording Studios.

For the past few years, my film partner KamranV and I have filmed the TEC Awards video tributes for such honorees as Record Plant recording studios’ president Rose Mann-Cherney and legendary drummer Hal Blaine. The films are presented on a 50-foot-wide screen with theater-quality sound at the ceremony held at the Winter NAMM Convention. The 2015 TEC Hall of Fame award honored recording producer/engineer Ed Cherney.

Ed Cherney hails from Chicago, and honed his chops under the tutelage of the legendary engineer Bruce Swedien, including work on some of Michael Jackson’s biggest-selling records. In the year that Cherney won a Best Engineered Album Grammy Award for Bonnie Raitt’s Longing in Their Hearts, he was, remarkably, the engineer for three of the five nominated albums in that category. Highly respected by his peers, he’s amassed six Grammy nominations and two wins, in addition to seven TEC Award nominations and five wins and three Emmy nominations.

During the AES Convention in NYC in 2014, I dropped by the A-T booth to check out the new wireless A-T System 10 Camera-Mount that I had been reading about. Gary Boss, A-T’s marketing director, gave me a quick rundown and I told him that I’d like to check it out for use with my Nikon D5100 DSLR, a workhorse camera that we’ve used for the past few TEC Awards tributes. The lens is a fairly expensive 12-24 mm zoom that gets a wide-angle cinematic look. For the previous tributes, we have recorded audio on the camera for backup, with the primary audio being recorded on a separate recorder with audio later synced to the video.

Mr. Bonzai and KamranV at Bedrock Studios testing out the A-T System 10, with both lavalier and handheld mics.

Mr. Bonzai and KamranV at Bedrock Studios testing out the A-T System 10, with both lavalier and handheld mics.

We unpacked the A-T System 10 at Bedrock.LA studios in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Within half an hour, Kamran had easily configured the receiver mounted on the Nikon’s hot shoe with the lavalier mic and transmitter, as well as the handheld mic with transmitter. We then tested it out and the results were so stunning that we decided to record the primary audio directly to the camera during the actual tribute filming, thus eliminating a separate audio recorder requiring synchronization in post-production. We did have a backup audio recorder, but it wasn’t used for the final video.

We filmed the TEC Awards video tributes at United Recording (formerly Ocean Way) in Hollywood. Our guests included famed drummers Jim Keltner and Anthony Braunagel, producer Peter Asher, producer/engineer and keyboardist CJ Vanston, and Village Recorder CEO Jeff Greenberg. We filmed each guest individually in the Studio A control room, while the others waited in the large Studio A recording space.

Setting up each of our guests with the wireless lavalier was a breeze and the entire production process worked flawlessly. In the final video tribute we used additional video clips that were sent in via the Internet, so the video and audio quality varied quite a bit. But the clips using the A-T wireless mic System 10 were rock-solid.

Watch the full video tribute to hear the results:

We’d like to thank Mr.Bonzai for taking the time to share his experience with us!

Audio-Technica

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