The versatility of the Sennheiser G4 wireless boom mic transmitter opens up a world of possibilities for amateur and professional filmmakers.
Over the past year, we have created a variety of tutorials on sound tools. These include tutorials on using an ambisonic mic, lavs, or shotgun mics, and a field mixer or handheld recorder. Now, let me introduce you to a tool that will change how you record audio. It is the Sennheiser SKP 500 G4 wireless boom mic transmitter.
The Convenience of Lav Microphones
Here’s the thing: I love the convenience of lav microphones. In fact, the main reason we shot the opening shots of the tutorial in extremely wide shots is to demonstrate how easy it is to shoot content with one. If I were using a shotgun microphone, I’d need to have a boom operator off to the left of me.
However, as valuable and convenient as they are, sometimes the sound clarity can be off if the positioning of the lav isn’t correct. When doing strenuous movements, you risk the lav rustling against your clothes, and when it’s windy, you can often be out of luck for good audio. Likewise, the shotgun mic just gives me that organic narrative film sound I’m looking for. It’s clean and clear. However, on the flip side of using a shotgun mic, as noted in our field recorder video, you will need a field recorder or handheld recorder to attach the XLR connection, and these mics need to be powered by the unit themselves.
If you’re a solo filmmaker, sometimes that can cause a dilemma, as it positions you in a setting where you need to set the mic along with the camera, and sometimes that can be limiting. Or, you can get creative with your mic position. Quite like this scene from my short film, “The One With The Ferris Wheel.”
The microphone here is attached to the gear knob via a desk mic holder. But the trial of cables from that shoot wasn’t great. In these circumstances, combining a shotgun mic’s superiority with a lav’s flexibility would be great.
Well, this is where the G4 wireless transmitter becomes a godsend.
Enhancing Audio with the Sennheiser SKP 500 G4 Wireless Boom Transmitter
This little device is a state-of-the-art system that allows you to transmit the signal from the microphone to your wireless receiver typically used by the lav mic.
It’s easy to mount; you attach it to your mic, and voilà. It’s also incredibly user-friendly, ensuring a seamless experience for its users. The G4 operates on two AA batteries, which provides the phantom power for these microphones, and by all accounts, it has up to 8 hours of operation time.
This versatile transmitter can quickly adapt to any wired shotgun or handheld microphone, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of wireless applications, whether conducting field interviews or engaging in off-camera boom work.
Now, of course, unlike a lav, this microphone still needs to be attached to something to hold it up. This could be a desk clamp or a mic stand, as in my short film. But without tethering the microphone to a boom operator or the camera, it allows for more interesting shots. Professionals in film sound will find this system a highly versatile and rugged solution.
It’s designed to meet the demands of professional interviews and recordings, ensuring professional sound and exceptional construction quality. The impressive wireless range extends up to 100 meters or 330 feet, providing ample coverage for most recording scenarios.
Versatility and Professional Sound Quality
The versatility of the Sennheiser G4 wireless boom mic transmitter opens up a world of possibilities for amateur and professional filmmakers, especially where fluidity is key. Imagine shooting a documentary in a bustling city street, and you, the sound operator, and the subject are walking through the street; the G4 allows you to capture crystal-clear dialogue without the constraints of cables, enabling your subject to move freely and naturally and your sound guy to keep his eye on the pavement!
This freedom is invaluable in dynamic shooting environments where flexibility is key. Additionally, for narrative filmmaking, the G4’s wireless capability enhances the audio quality of scenes where the shot is too wide for audio capture. It eliminates the need for cumbersome cable management, but more so, the need to run back and get the audio in ADR. You can easily hide the microphone in several circumstances. This device streamlines the filmmaking process and elevates the production value by ensuring professional-level sound quality in various scenarios.
Considerations and Conclusion
Of course, it’s the price if we want to talk downsides. The G4 costs around £400, but the total expense could reach close to £900 if you also need to purchase a wireless receiver. Likewise, unlike a field mixer, you can’t adjust the levels on the fly, so if things get loud or quiet, you will have to adjust in the post, which may cause issues; however, the system does offer the function to adjust the sensitivity.
So, this is the Sennheiser G4. It’s not something I use in every shoot, but the moment that audio capture looks slightly difficult and cable management will be a nightmare for a solo operator hanging back on a 70mm lens, this tool is like having a 3rd hand.
Looking for filmmaking tips and tricks? Check out our YouTube channel for tutorials like this . . .