Thread: Wireless system leads to camera failure. . .

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  1. #1 Wireless system leads to camera failure. . . 
    Hey all. . .

    Since I wasn't aware of this (it may be common knowledge, but not to us!), I thought it might be useful to post an update on what happened to us.

    In the middle of a cornfield, after having laid down 58 feet of dolly track and moved our 12' dolly into the middle of the field, our Scarlet Dragon suddenly misbehaved. It would not record for more than a few seconds.

    We were mystified. Nothing had changed on the camera set-up that we could tell, but every single time we hit record, it would work for a few seconds and then yield a recorder error message.

    We sent the talent home, and therefore lost an entire day of shooting. Later, when we got home, we were unable to replicate the failure. It was back to its old, reliable camera self.

    That's when we put an APB out for replacements.

    One of the calls we put in was to fellow KC filmmaker and RED owner, Isaac Alongi. He graciously put his Epic at our disposal, but then texted one of my crew members a few hours later asking us if by chance we had taped our Nyrius wireless unit next to the card slot on the camera. Why, yes, we had! He said he experienced the exact same thing with his Teradek one day, and when he moved it away from the card slot, it came back to life.

    Sure enough, the ONLY difference between the set-up between our jib and tripod was the position of the Nyrius transmitter, which we taped to the card slot to buy a little more room on the jib.

    Word of warning: It really does make a difference where you attach things from time to time!

    Thanks again for all the offers to save us from ourselves.

    Scarlet Dragon with Canon, Sigma, and Tokina lenses and the Optitron 2 wireless focus system
    First feature film, Works in Progress, out on DVD (Vanguard Cinema) and online.
    Second feature film, the miniseries Terminal, currently available on Amazon:
    Third feature film, The Tree, currently available on Amazon:
    Fourth feature film, The Land, currently under review at film festivals around the world.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member
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    May 2012
    Mexico City
    Thank you for sharing Stephen
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Bob Gundu's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Strange because that’s where my teradek Ace is mounted to on my DSMC2 without issues.

    VFX, Cinematographer, Photographer
    10 frame handles
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2009
    Hollywood, USA
    Teradek is pretty much the standard of the industry, and I'm skeptical when anybody tells me "this is just as good but for a lot less money." These high-powered monitoring systems are fraught with problems.

    If I was confronted with an issue like that on location, I'd say, "fine -- let's shut it down, go old school, shoot the scene, and then let's watch the playback a few minutes later." Nothing wrong with that, and even if it wastes an hour, it's better than losing a day. Movies were shot that way for many years before wireless transmission.

    And there's also a lot of movies shot that had no video playback at all. And others that just used a cable and had an assistant carefully wrangle it so that it didn't interfere with complicated crane or dolly setups.

    There are also alternatives to Teradek. Vaxis, Paralink, and Tilta are all viable systems:
    marc wielage, csi colorist/post consultant daVinci Resolve Certified Trainer
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Barry Gregg's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Pacific NW
    Thanks for sharing Stephen. Crazy digital world. Crazy things happen that don't make any sense, especially on location. That's the one thing you can count on when on location, stuff will happen.

    Glad your Scarlet is still working.
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Marcus Friedlander's Avatar
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    Jun 2014
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for sharing! Really weird to hear but good to know that is something to watch out for!

    Marcus Ian Friedlander

    RED EPIC DRAGON #03179 "Squillium the Dragon"

    "Perfection is the goal, excellence is the standard."
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Tom Gleeson's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Placing a reasonably powerful Radio Frequency transmitter right next to a highly complicated and sophisticated "computer" is potential trouble as the RF is likely to induce current and interference within the camera's circuits. I always mount a video transmitter on a Noga Arm and and and even just a few inches clearance is usually sufficient. It is definitely not the best idea to have the transmitter touching the body. The camera is probably shielded to some extent from RF interference but in this case it shows it can be overwhelmed. I find mounting the transmitter on a vertically orientated Noga Arm not only clears the camera body but also increases the range of the transmission.

    *Sound guys have often attached audio RF transmitters close to the camera body and these have never been problematic
    Tom Gleeson
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  8. #8  
    I mount a paralinx on the otherside, a little away from the body (not by much though). I've been lucky then as i've not had any issues but this is exactly the kind of gotcha that needs to be tracked. I don't know whether there is anywhere we can create a FAQ of things like this, things to be aware of when shooting. It could save someone a huge amount of time. For example, dodgy cheap batteries can also cause shut downs which is difficult to trouble shoot because this might only been seen when there's more draw on the camera - difference with prep vs location.

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