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Unique Solutions for Video Production

26 Mar 2014

New for NAB: Little DARling Distributed Audio Recorder

Posted by Robert Rozak

At NAB, I'm going to share some information on a new product we're developing.  It's a miniature audio recorder called the "Little DARling" - Distributed Audio Recorder.  The Zoom H1 is a great recorder.  But, there are times when I really don't want the internal mic because I'm just going to use a lavaliere, and I just want something really small ... like, belt-pack sized ... but those voice recorders just don't have the quality I'm looking for.

Imagine, making these filmmaker-friendly alterations to the Zoom H1 for use with a lav:

  • Chop the top internal mic off, to make it belt-pack sized (a little smaller than the Sennheiser G3 belt-pack transmitter)
  • Make the connectors locking, so the lav can't pop out
  • Add "Audio Bracketing", so you have a backup recording in post if you blow out the main track
  • Make key buttons recessed, so a user can not accidentally stop the recording or change settings as they are active and moving around ... no "butt dialing"
  • In addition to headphones, provide a "thru" connection, so the Little DARling can be a front end recorder, then drive a wireless transmitter like the Sennheiser G3 system

 I see lots of applications for this, like:

  • ALTERNATIVE TO WIRELESS:  Say, you have more than a couple of things you would like to lav-up.  Here, having 4+ receivers at your camera would be a big pain for a one man band.  Where do you mount all of the receivers?  How do you manage the mix into the camera?  With the Little DARling, you will have to manage sync in post, but there is software to help you with that.  But then, you'll be able to roam with your camera freely, without a bunch of wireless receivers bolted to it.  And, the mix is easier, since you have an "Iso" track from each of the DARs.
  • POV/ACTION: GoPro videos and the like, are full of wind noise.  The DAR can't fix wind noise.  But, remember the lessons from the FREE eBook on Audio Production, that the GETTING THE MIC CLOSE increases the desired signal relative to the background noise (wind noise, in this case).  This is optimizing the SA/NA (Signal-Acoustic / Noise-Acoustic) in the SANASENECYA methodology.  So, if you want to add drama to your action videos, then mic up the talent directly to feel how hard they are working.  Use a DAR and mic up a skiers boots to hear the "swish" of the turns, the derailleur on a bicycle while downshifting into a big climb, the halter on a horse to feel the grunts as it lands a big jump.  All of these things on an "Iso" track you can control how much and when to include in your mix in post, and it will help communicate the feeling of your story much better than something that is mostly awash with wind noise.
  • TRUE DUAL SYSTEM FOR PRO SOUND:  People doing mission critical work looking to eliminate single points of failure in their work flow, can add a Little DARling to their talent, to compliment their normal flow.  If you have dual recordings of your boom op, and he bumps the pole or doesn't track the scene fast enough, you basically have redundant recordings of the mistake.  Lav-up with a little DARling using an independent mic and recorder for true dual-system redundancy.
  • TRAVEL LIGHT:  An iPhone for video and a couple of DARs provide a great backpack video production kit for travelling to distant lands ...
  • DISCREET PRODUCTIONS:  Cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket Camera are great for going on location to things like bars and restaurants and doing discreet live scenes.  Bringing along a sound guy with a boom kind of draws a lot of attention.  Lav-up four actors with their own DAR for shoots on the down-low.
  • COMPLIMENT TO WIRELESS KITS:  The output is a dual headphone and mic-thru.  So, it can be used as a front end to a wireless transmitter, as a backup when interference invades the wireless RF channel.

As usual, I will only be at the NAB floor for a couple of hours a day.  Send an email to nab@juicedLink.com, and the auto responded will forward my daily schedule so we can meet up.  For now, check out this video overview of the Little DARling:

- Robert from juicedLink