I’ve done a few upgrades to my mic rigging; while travelling I was very keen to find a way to use a single stand to rig four mics – my MKH8040s ORTF and a pair of DPA 4060s in spaced omni. First was to get a more stable tripod, which would also be used with my 5D and after doing lots of research decided on the Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod
I’ve been using a wider four position stereo bar for my MKH8040 mics, the K&M 236 stereo bar as I sometimes like spacing the mics wider… I already had the Manfrotto 088LP adaptor to match the thread of my stereo mic bar on to the thread of the Manfrotto quick release plate. Next I added two tiny Giotto ballheads, and unlike some small ballheads these are metal & can be properly tightened: Giottos MH-1304 Pro Series II Mini Ballhead and the last part in the puzzle was finding a light boom. I came across these Fat Gecko carbon fibre modular boom arms – they are made for mounting GoPro cameras so I am not sure they would handle heavy mics, but are fine for spacing my DPA4060 omni mics. Being modular means they break down into pieces: “the five sections include a 10″ handle, a 10″ shaft with a ball head, a 10″ extenstion shaft, and two 15″ extension shafts. The ball head has a 1/4″-20 male thread to attach your camera, and the handle has a 1/4″-20 female thread to attach it to a tripod or other compatible equipment”
update, here is how the pieces of the boom join together:
The latter part is key – the end of the boom has a thread in it! So I screw the end into the Giotto mini ball heads and add as many pieces of boom as I want for spacing and then attach the DPA 4060s to the end. I’m just using a tiny velcro cable tie to hold the 4060 in place… If I used all the pieces of the boom each side would be 60″ = 1.5m, so with the two of them it would be feasible to space the mics 3m apart!
Anyway here is what the rig looks like, when I was using it yesterday recording traffic ambiences on a roadway thatw as like a mobieus strip
The other rig I’ve updated is for my cameras – I’ve never liked using a neck strap, with a small camera its ok but a 5D with hefty lens does not sit right at all hanging from the neck. So I went into Yodobashi Camera and bought a Black Rapid strap for each camera – a LS7 Curve strap for my 5D and a Snapr 35 for my x100s. The big difference with these straps is they are shoulder straps and cross your body so when not in use the camera hangs down beside your waiste, and when you want to use it, it slides up the strap.
The Snapr 35 is also a small camera bag and is just the perfect size for my x100s with its wide angle lens adaptor and lens hood are attached, and has space for a couple of batteries, cable release etc… The bag can also actually be fully detached, so the strap can be used as per the Curve strap ie with no bag attached.
The one potential downside to the BlackRapid straps is that they attach to the tripod mount on your camera, via a small metal loop that screws in and when you think the weight of the camera & lens is hanging off this point it is very important it is tight. But especially with my 5D I usually have the Manfrotto quick release plate attached there so it would mean removing the BlackRapid one and attaching the Manfrotto one each time I want to use my tripod, which kind of defeats the idea of it being ‘quick’ release.
The solution I found online is due to the great design ideas of Manfrotto – the quick release plates I have used in the past required a screwdriver to attach them to the camera tightly ie the mounting bolt was a flat screw. But the Manfrotto plate has a metal loop that once tightened, is folded over so as to be out of the way when on the camera is on a tripod. But this same loop is similar size as the Black Rapid loop, so I have just been using the Black Rapid strap directly hooking on to the Manfrotto hook.
Yesterdays session was my first using both, and both worked brilliantly!
I actually found that location when looking for places to record industrial ambiences, but unfortunately the factories I found were too close to traffic to be recorded cleanly. They looked great & there were some great drones coming from them, but impossible to record without getting onsite access and my Japanese isn’t up to being able to talk my way into such a place. But walking further through the area I came across that spiral motorway which went up to a bridge, and suddenly realised it had a footpath & cycleway all the way up & across the bridge! So I lugged all my gear up there & went half way across the bridge, and stayed up there until after sunset.
Carrying all that gear meant I didn’t really get to appreciate the Black Rapid straps, but today I am heading to an old part of Osaka and I am only taking the cameras so will be a better test. Will post a few photos from the locations soon, I really enjoyed yesterdays session but OMG was I tired by the time I got home!!! beer never tasted so good!! Kampai!