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What HME’s do people recommend?


Christopher Moone
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I like the Eartec Ultralights - base station is built in to one of the headsets, batteries last a long time, good clear communication. Also, if I’m not remembering wrong, swinging the mouthpiece up out of the way mutes it, so you’re not listening to every conversation nearby. 

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Yeah, I'm terribly unexcited about using these things as I've traditionally held fast to the belief that the only thing I want to hear during a take are the people with SAG cards in front of me. Alas, this and my AC now being farther from the camera (something else I hate) and being forced off set to keep the numbers down while lighting are the new reality. Let's hope people follow good etiquette and be silent during the take. On that note, any HME's I use I wish to have the ability to feed the Comtek into it so I only have to deal with one device and headset.

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I would be too Chuck. But from their website it looks like it is something better suited for a fixed installation (studio) environment and not so much a quick location setup but I could be wrong.  To also respond to Alec about the ability to hear comtek audio on the HME's it is possible in several ways and I have done both.  If you have a MB300 base station (most people don't but mine does) you can wire and audio feed into the basestation (e.g. take a comtek receiver and wire out of the headphone jack to the basestation).  The other option is to do a similar thing and wire a comtek to an HME belt pack's mic input and then just cue the belt pack on anytime you want to hear that audio.  Only drawback is that everyone hears it on their HME and it takes up one of the TX slots available so it can limit the ability of some people to duplex talk on the HME headsets.  The third option is to have an audio person of a company like Comtronics make a custom splitter cable for a belt pack that would allow you to  hear both feeds in your headset.  I know my 1st AC uses a similar splitter on his walkie headset to hear the comtek audio.

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I spoke to a Bolero rep this week. There are some really cool features to their system, including the Bluetooth connectivity David Thomas mentions above, plus a nice looking display to switch between multiple channels (I've long envisioned an infrastructure where A and B cam have their own channels, the 2nds and loader have another one etc, so operators don't have to wade through the chatter). But it's really expensive and I'm not going there.

Last year I took a hard look at the Unity system which leverages phones (I would have supplied Ipod Touches) as the interface, it has many great features also (multiple channels, ability to feed in program which could be Comtek etc). Affordable and kinda slick. But sadly, the latency was too great. At least half a second and sometimes more, which is disconcerting if you can hear the other person and/or need to call out anything that has critical timing.

The search continues...

Steve, I've been trying to have an interface box made for years that can combine the comtek and walkie audio with some other specific features. There are various companies making them integrated with a surveillance headset, but I wanted to be able to use my own as I prefer a lightweight over the head with boom. Have tried a few times unsuccessfully (and have concluded that if getting custom camera parts made is as hard as custom audio parts, we'd all be screwed). Can you send your contact for the person you suggested?

 

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On 7/9/2020 at 4:07 PM, Charles Papert said:

Charles. 

Steve, I've been trying to have an interface box made for years that can combine the comtek and walkie audio with some other specific features. There are various companies making them integrated with a surveillance headset, but I wanted to be able to use my own as I prefer a lightweight over the head with boom. Have tried a few times unsuccessfully (and have concluded that if getting custom camera parts made is as hard as custom audio parts, we'd all be screwed). Can you send your contact for the person you suggested?

 

I use this one. Works great. Just turn off the comtek when not using it.

 https://www.amazon.com/Set-Headsets-FILMPRO-Surveillance-Headset/dp/B076F6Y25R/ref=sr_1_20?crid=1WWM7WH9XSWJ3&dchild=1&keywords=on+set+headsets&qid=1594571536&sprefix=on+set+%2Caps%2C171&sr=8-20

 

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Yep, I have that one too, but as I mentioned I don't like using a surveillance headset so I have that one cut apart to take advantage of their circuit in there that mutes the comtek when there is walkie transmission. Have been trying to work with that company to make a headset-agnostic version but they aren't interested.

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I'm in NYC and the best vendor for Clear-Com HMEs is Gotham Sound, email Nick Huston for a quote (nickh@gothamsound.com). FYI I don't work for Gotham or anything. 

DPs kept asking me for them so I went to the dark side and bought a kit. I like the ClearCom HME's because they're lightweight, you can still hear "through" them, and the sound department doesn't complain about the noise. They are the most expensive however. UPM's have a hard time understanding what the extra rental is for though given that they already have walkies and no one seems to want these but the DP,  but Covid has made it easier to get on set and they are becoming more and more standard. 

I built a custom "L" bracket with an AB plate and a baby receiver so the ACs can just throw it on a triple header with the wireless video receivers and power it with an Anton Bauer :).

Overall I'm glad to have my own kit. I usually ask for around $300/day or $600/week for them. And it makes the DP happy. I've gotten used to wearing them. And I've been very lucky to work with people who turn off their mics! But in case they don't, there is a button on the base station that says "unlatch" which will turn all the mics off. 

The MB100 is nice because it's really mobile. Only 6 headsets can be "full duplex" at one time (meaning talk and listen simultaneously), which hasn't been an issue because you can connect up to 15 headsets. The kit I have is the same one that Monster sends out with their Technos.

My kit Includes: 

1 - MB100 base station

7 - Clear-Com WH220

21 - Wireless HS BAT50 belt pack battery

2 - AC50 Battery Charger - US

1 - Anton Bauer Custom “L” Bracket for Base Station

1 - Complete Set of Cables

1 - Pelican Case

 

 

 

IMG_8568.HEIC IMG_8569.HEIC IMG_8570.HEIC IMG_8571.HEIC

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I have been using the 2.4ghz Clearcom HME system for the last 2 weeks. Our cameras live on remote heads when on the dolly so wearing headsets are crucial.  The base station does have an input for the Comtex and this is a great feature. But we had to get rid of this system as we were getting a very loud high pitch morse code type interference that was ruining takes and deafening. It happened randomly in only certain headsets that changed to certain other headsets daily. We are on stage and I'm sure there is something in all the RF flying around. A tech/rep from Clearcom came out and couldn't figure it out. We even exchanged base stations.

Now we have a more expensive and sophisticated Clearcom 4 channel 1.9ghz system that has belt packs only but works flawlessly. Comtex goes into the base station.We have 12 belt packs.Camera/dolly grip on channel 1, Grip on 2, Electric on 3 and 4 reserved for Crane techs. Couldn't recommend it more.

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Has anyone used 2 of the Hollyland Syscom 1000T-8B systems paired together or 1 of them? 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1478765-REG/hollyland_syscom_1000t_8b_syscom_1000t_full_duplex.html

 

Things I like about them:

-16 headsets, (having the whole department on them which Im sure the 1st would like not wearing 2 headsets)

-Using any 3.5mm headphones with a mic. 

-Program audio feed input (comtek input) 

-you can mute all the beltpacks in case someone leaves it on 

-gooseneck mic on the base station if needed

 

concerns I have:

-not having different channels for different cameras and/or grip and lighting 

-having to press a button to talk (or press and hold for "latch" mode meaning on all the time) 

-having the belt pack

-battery life. (8 to 10 hours)

 

Would love to know if anyone is using these in the field before I buy. 

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