Portable Gear Hits the Road

Taking the heat in the real world
Publish date:
Social count:
Taking the heat in the real world
Image placeholder title

Australian company Røde introduced a professional-quality directional microphone that attaches directly to an iPhone.

Sometimes the best test of your mettle is the one you don’t see coming.

For the growing spectrum of technologies that fall into the portable production arena, that’s all too often the case. It might mean testing out a new lipstick-sized iPhone-compatible microphone during an unexpected rainstorm or finding out how truly portable and compact that switcher is when you’re forced to shove it into the overhead bin on a last-minute red-eye flight.

Tests, tests and more tests seem to make the newest class of portable production technologies a success, from miniature multidirectional mics to handheld storage drives that offer 2 TB of on-the-road storage capacity.

That was exactly the case for Noel Dannemiller, an independent location soundmixer and owner of Lock 18, who found that an unknown situation can prove how valuable a technology can be.

“When I go on location for a job, I never know what I’m going to run into,” he said. “The camera department [at a shoot] might tell me what’s technology is coming, but [then they] might not have accessories that go with it.”

What he found he needed was a sort of Swiss Army knife of audio devices.

“Numerous times when [I’m on a shoot and the director says] ‘we don’t have the adapter box to plug into,’ I still have to make it work,” Dannemiller said.

For Dannemiller, it was an Audio-Technica System 10 camera mount wireless audio system that came to the rescue during a high-profile NBA playoff game. During setup for the game, Dannemiller found he didn’t have an assigned frequency.

“I had to go wireless from my mixer to the talent, because you can’t really interview a player with a cable on a handheld mic; you could trip somebody,” he said. “I had the System 10 with a wireless handheld mic and I handed to one of the reporters for ESPN. I was nervous because we’re in an arena with all other media that are using RF devices and cell phones.”

“I just kept monitoring it and it worked flawlessly, especially in a crowded environment where there are no second takes,” he said.


Dealing with interference issues when out and about is a constant concern. That was one consideration when designing the Sennheiser AVX-835 SET digital wireless microphone. The system has link protection, the company said, and detects interference before it becomes audible.

According to Sennheiser, the AVX selects the best operating frequency before any interference becomes audible and then automatically switches to a clean channel. The result, the company said, is clear audio transmission between the microphone and camera.

The AVX has a compact receiver that fits directly into the XLR audio input of a camera or recording device, making it a good choice for impromptu interview situations.

The company also recently introduced a second mobile recording solution—the ClipMic digital—which is a clip-on microphone that includes an external signal converter designed to provide plug-and-play recording via an iOS mobile device.

What about storage on the go? That was a problem that Sony addressed with its newest professional portable storage systems, the PSZ-HB1T and PSZ-HB2T, respectively 1 TB and 2TB miniature storage systems. The systems are designed for portable storage for transport, back-up and transfer of content.

Image placeholder title

Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema Camera

Based on customer feedback, said Bill Cubellis, director of the professional and storage media sales and marketing team at Sony Electronics, these portable systems include a Thunderbolt port that offers a top transfer speed of up to 122 MBps. That’s nearly a gigabit of data per second.

The drives are also designed with durability in mind, the company said, pointing to a silicone cover that withstands splashes, dust and typical drops to the ground.

The drives include Sony’s Memory Media Utility software, which allows users to manage device information display, reformatting and disk status check.


Heading out on the road is a literal translation for the Broadcast Pix Roadie, which took a road trip across the pond to IBC this fall where the company showed off its new mobile integrated production switcher.

“This is a ruggedized portable production solution … along with built-in HD streaming and recording and an eight-channel audio mixer to keep clutter to a minimum on location,” said Steve Ellis, CEO of Broadcast Pix, who proved his point by bringing the portable system on the plane as a carry-on.

Weighing about 20 pounds, the Roadie includes an integrated 17-inch HD touchscreen display that can be controlled through a built-in virtual panel, companion control panel, or via an iPad through a iPixPanel app. The Roadie’s multiformat production switcher features up to four SDI/HDMI and two IP inputs, along with eight internal switcher channels.

Roadie supports embedded audio and the switcher natively supports Avid DNxHD and Apple ProRes formats. Those features are designed to meet the demands of live production, the company said, pointing to the eight-channel audio mixer, dual clip players, CG and customizable multi-view.

It’s been put through its paces for live productions with a single operator. And although the Roadie has no cupholder to speak of, it does have itself a built-in handle for portability.

Image placeholder title

For-A HVS-100 production switcher

Portability was also the point of the Vitec series of Focus FS-H recorders, which include the FS-H50, 60 and 70. These portable H.264 proxy recorders range in resolution up to 1080p/30 with bit rates up to 8 Mbps. Features include composite and analog audio inputs, an HDMI input, and an HD/SD-SDI input.

Mobility was also RUSHWORKS’ priority when the company introduced a lighter configuration of its Remo integrated PTZ remote production system called the Remo Lite.

“With the rise in remote content production from all sectors, we’ve enhanced the ability to set up and strike very quickly,” said Rush Beesley, RUSHWORKS president.

Weighing in at 20 pounds, the Remo Lite has a 17-inch touchscreen interface, four

analog and SDI inputs, and a padded rolling case. Likewise, the Remo Pro 48 has a built-in 22-inch touchscreen with support for up to eight analog or SDI inputs.

According to Beesley, the Remo Lite and Remo Pro 48 include the Classic, Producer and TalkingPoints production interfaces, which include an on-screen display of all input sources, preview and program windows, a virtual switcher display, and a dozen video transitions and effects.

For-A has kept small broadcast vans and flypacks in mind during the design of its key mobile production switchers, which include the HVS-110 and 100. The HVS-100 has a separated main unit/control panel, while the HVS-110 has an integrated main unit/control panel. Both units include mixed HD/SD input, a built-in Web server, frame synchronizing, 2.5D wipe effects, DVE and chroma keyer. The switchers include a clip memory feature in the still store that supports playback of video or animations.

Creating a viable flypack was a key priority for the San Francisco-based video production company Express Media, which integrated the For-A HVS-100 portable video switcher into its customized flypacks. The company selected the portable switcher to use in live Webcast and broadcast productions in corporate, entertainment and sporting situations.

“The HVS-100 was one of the few switchers that … allows SD, HD, 3G and 4K operation all from one compact unit,” said Steve Barger, president of Express Media.

Barger said the company also appreciated the switcher’s ability to produce effects on each of the aux outputs.

“It’s very useful in instances when we’re cutting one show to air and maybe another to a LED wall or projection screen,” he said. “The HVS-100 allows each output to do dissolves and other effects even when cutting from the aux bus itself.”

Image placeholder title

The Shure FP wireless mic system has a variety of transmitters and receivers.


This fall, the Australian company Røde renewed its focus on mobile production with half a dozen new product introductions, from a professional-quality directional microphone that attaches directly to an iPhone to a compact microphone designed for small cameras.

Riding on the ongoing popularity of using mobile handheld camera photos to capture video, in September Røde introduced both the VideoMic Me and the VideoMicro.

The VideoMic Me is a directional microphone for an iPhone or iPad that is designed to reduce surrounding noises. Likewise, the VideoMicro is designed to provide high-quality on-camera audio and is combined with a Rycote Lyre shock mount and windshield.

The company’s slew of portable production announcements also included the i-XLR, which allows users to record directly into their iPhone with a range of microphones, and the RødeLink Newshooter kit that combines a camera-mount receiver with a TX-XLR wireless transmitter.

MORE INFO Audio-Technica: www.audio-technica.com

Blackmagic Design: www. blackmagicdesign.com

LG: www.lg.com

Broadcast Pix: www. broadcastpix.com

For-A: www.for-a.com

Røde: www.rode.com

RUSHWORKS: www.rushworks.tv

Sennheiser: www. sennheiser.com

Shure: www.shure.com

Sony: pro.sony.com

Vitec/Focus: www. vitec.com

For remote productions for PEG and cable-access operations, Shure introduced the FP wireless system, a videography and electronic field-production solution that includes handheld, plug-on, bodypack, headworn, lavalier and combo options.

For users working in unpredictable RF conditions, Shure introduced the UHF-R wireless system that can reach 2,400 selectable frequencies across 75 MHz bandwidth. Features include automatic frequency selection, transmitter sync, menu-driven system functionality and the company’s Advanced Track Tuning Filtering technology that allows the UHF-R to deliver up to 40 simultaneously compatible systems per band without audio degradation or interference, the company said.

Blackmagic Design has mastered the camera in miniature form with its Micro Cinema Camera. This miniaturized Super 16mm professional digital film camera includes a built-in expansion port with PWM and S.Bus inputs, allowing users to use—of all things—a model airplane remote control to operate the camera wirelessly.

With the Micro Cinema Camera set up for remote control, users can adjust focus, iris and zoom wirelessly. The camera’s features include built-in RAW and Apple ProRes recording, 13 stops of dynamic range, and an interchangeable MFT lens mount.


Production Gear Stretches the Limits promo image

Production Gear Stretches the Limits

Field video crews are already taking into account the growing need to do their work for multiple platforms such as smartphones and social media sites; but what is now somewhat optional will soon become mandatory and commonplace.