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Unique Solutions for Video Production

14 Sep 2016

Little DARling Firmware / User Manual Updates

Posted by Robert Rozak

Little DARling Firmware and User Manual Updates

The Little DARling Downloads page contains updates. Updating the firmware is as simple as using the new bootimg.bin file on your microSD card. The firmware changes have to do with commands used in the config file:

  • The DSP could get confused by commands that started with numbers. So, two of the command names were changed to SAFETY_10MIN and STITCH_10MIN.
  • The RX_BUZZ logic was interfering with some of the other config file commands. I haven't heard that RX_BUZZ was being used by anybody, so the command was eliminated.

Recessed Power Button Tool

The User Manual and video have been updated to provide specific guidance on what tool to use for the recessed power button. As opposed to a slide-switch 'hold' function (which can still get changed when in the pocket of your talent), I really like the recessed button so you know that none of your settings can change or the recording accidentally stopped when the DARling is with your talent. But, the recessed button requires a tool to engage. I have updated the User Manual to specifically call out using the tip of your 3.5mm headphones or the microphone as the tool. First, you can never lose them (as you have to plug a mic into the unit anyhow). Next, we had a customer that used an ink pen, and the ink gunk-ed up the switch and he had to use other tools and more and more force to engage the switch, until the switch finally failed. So, use the tip of your 3.5mm plug.

 

 

30 May 2016

Lav Mic Suggestions for Little DARling

Posted by Robert Rozak

I'm often asked to recommend a lav mic for use with the Little DARling.  The DAR has an excellent juicedLink low-noise preamp at its front end.  In this overview video of the DAR, you will hear a SNR comparison with a full-sized Sound Devices 702 (at about 3:00).  So, the SNR performance of the mic will set the SNR performance of the system.

POWER AND COMPATIBILITY

The DAR input is a 3.5mm locking TRS (tip/ring/sleeve) jack. Plug-in power (which is not the same as phantom power) is provided on the tip and ring for electret
elements common in lav mics. The audio feeding the low-noise preamp input is taken from the connector tip.

Basically, if you are using an electret microphone that will work in the 3.5mm jack of your computer or audio recorder (H1, for example), then it will work in the DAR. 

Translating this to filmmaker-speak, a mic that works in the Sennheiser wireless kits have the same standard pinout and will also work in the DAR.  

The lavs that come with Sony wireless kits with 3.5mm do not have a standard pinout (they won't even work in Sony camcorders or recorders).  Unmodified, they will not work with the DAR.  They could possibly work with the DAR inputs, if the pinout is rewired.  I have not done this, and do not have guidance to provide.  There may be other non-standard pinouts used on other brand wireless kits.

MY COMMENTS ON LAV OPTIONS

This is not an exhaustive review of every lav you could get from Amazon or something.  I'm just addressing pro level gear here.

SENNHEISER ME-2:  This is the lav that accompanies the G3 wireless kit.  If you are happy with the signal-to-noise performance of the G3 kit, then you'll be happy with the ME-2 with the DAR. Very forgiving handling noise from the chord.

SANKEN COS-11D:  This is my favorite. It's probably the lowest noise mic I've found, and you can hear the improvement over the ME-2.  I find that it is also brighter than the ME2.  More handling noise from the chord than the ME-2, so use care in micing up talent.

COUNTRYMAN B3:  This is in between the ME-2 and Sanken in terms of noise.  The chord handling noise is on the Sanken end, so use care.  I think this deserves consideration over the Sanken if you have a very special situation with a tight fit, as the capsule is shorter in length.

RODE LAVALIER:  Rode makes great mics.  Unfortunately, I couldn't test this one out.  I had trouble with the MiCon connector becoming flaky, which makes me also a little nervous for field use.

30 May 2016

Customer comments on the Little DARling

Posted by Robert Rozak

This comes from a production company that has done work for PBS Nature:

When it comes to small crew vérité style documentary work the Little DARlings have been tremendous on many levels. Simply the fact I can place a mic on someone in the morning and let it run all day is tremendous. I don;t have to worry about poor transmission or battery failure that regularly occurs when using wireless mics. In addition I am able to gather natural and spontaneous remarks since the unit is always on regardless weather the camera is rolling. In situations when I am doing run and gun work getting those key sound bites is extremely important regardless weather the camera is rolling or not.

The fact that is recording two channels for each mic capturing both highs and lows makes a big difference when filming discreetly. One minute someone could be whispering and the next shouting, so having that protection is really valuable.

I generally have a reference mic for syncing so for the most part it has been working great. In my fantasy world I would love to have timecode, and would love to see that as an option for the future. I would be willing to pay more for a unit if it had such a feature, but not the price point of similar Zaxcom systems.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you a bit of feedback since I have been using the units regularly over the past couple months.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

To answer the question regarding timecode, the Little DARling will never have timecode.  It's not a technical issue, but I'm not going to elaborate further.  For syncing multiple DARs and cameras, use the slate feature of the DAR124RX01.  For more details, please see the User Manual "DARlink Multi-Recorder and Multi-Camera Production Flow" section.

13 Jan 2016

Release of Little DARling Distributed Audio Recorder

Posted by Robert Rozak

Little DARlings Released!

A great alternative to using wireless lav mic transmitter/receivers, the Little DARling Distributed Audio Recorder overcomes limitations in wireless range and dropouts.  This opens up new creative possibilities for events. Sprinkle the DARs around ...  one for each member of the wedding party ... and beyond.  Features for filmmakers include:
  • Audio Bracketing (aka Dual-Mono) 2-track recording of a single lav mic
  • Super-long battery life
  • Locking audio connectors
  • Locking battery / card compartment
  • Aluminum enclosure: durable ... no plastic ...
  • Recessed button - talent can't accidentally stop recording or alter settings
  • Wireless control / slate (DARlink enabled units)
  • And MORE ...

Volume Discounts

Discounts are available for purchase of multiple DAR124RX01 units:

  • 5% for 2 units
  • 10% for 3 units
  • 15% for 4 units
  • 20% for 6 units
  • 25% for 8+ units

Multi-Camera, Multi-DAR Flow with DARlink

DARlink wireless control / slate provides a production flow to help align the audio from multiple DARs and multiple cameras.  The DARlink handheld transmitter will simultaneously inject a slate tone on each of the DAR124RX01 audio recordings (to align the DARs) and also out the output connector (to send to the camera audio to align each video clip to the DARs).  The production flow is such where wireless range of the DARlink is not important.
Click on the DAR124RX01 link to learn more ...

I love designing stuff for you ...

I have so much fun designing these products for all of you.  Thank you for this opportunity ... really.  I've got more coming down the pike, so make sure you subscribe to the juicedLink Blog ...


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