When a wireless system is used with a camera, a more stringent set of requirements arises. The typical 1RU or half-rack receiver format in need of an AC plug is much too bulky and heavy, so many manufacturers offer a compatible ENG receiver.
Many pro cameras provide a slot into which a compatible receiver can be inserted. This allows antennas, controls and display to remain accessible. Wireless mic manufacturers use the dimensions and connection specifications of these slots to design specialized receivers, and some provide several rear-panel kits to correctly interface with particular camera models. When slots are not available, trays and brackets — or even Velcro — allow miniaturized receivers to be attached to the camera.
Because receivers must sometimes endure field conditions, resistance to water, dust, temperature and rough handling must be integrated. In addition, these receivers must be powered during use, either via their own detachable battery packs or through the camera’s battery.
Where is it going?
A prominent manufacturer of both wireless microphones and video cameras has interfaced systems so that when the receiver is mounted in the slot, the camera operator can monitor the status of the wireless mic through the viewfinder, and even control the receiver and transmitter through the camcorder’s menu. Though this degree of integration takes major commitment, it can be expanded by cooperative agreements, common protocols and sharing of information between engineering departments.
In summary, the latest digital wireless systems are keeping up with advances in video technology, giving viewers breathtaking visuals with the dynamic, full-bandwidth audio to match.
—Gary Parks is a freelance writer, formerly with EV, Vega Wireless, Clear-Com and Meyer Sound.