When it comes to video production it doesn’t matter whether it is a large TV advert production or for social media content, audio quality is essential to the success of any piece of video content whether your business is big or small.
“Films are 50 percent visual and 50 percent sound. Sometimes sound even overplays the visual.” – David Lynch
With that in mind here are our thoughts on one of our favourite pieces of audio gear, the RØDELink Filmmaker Wireless Audio System. We have 2 sets of these and use them on a regular basis on a wide variety of projects from documentary production to simple talking head corporate interview videos.
We are going to give you the need-to-know specs along with our personal opinions on the good and bad points of this kit and let you know whether you should purchase it to help increase the quality of your video production.
The filmmaker kit comes in 3 parts, the RX-CAM receiver, the TX-BELT transmitter and the Lavalier Microphone.
The system operates on a Series II, 2.4GHz digital transmission with a 128-BIT encrypted signal, and can constantly monitor and move between different frequencies to maintain the strongest signal strength with a max range of 100m and the system has up to 8 channels available.
The system can be powered off either 2 AA batteries or via USB power located on the side of each unit. And each unit features 3 level gain control, the receiver having 0, -10db & -20db and the transmitter having 0, +10 & +20db.
The Lavalier microphone is a Permanently Polarised Condenser with an omni-directional polar pattern with a frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz and a dynamic range of up to 83db.
Pros Of The RØDELink Filmmaker
Though being made from plastic, these units are very strong and robust, and although any waterproofing features are not stated on any supporting literature we have used these in some rather wet and windy conditions and they have lived to tell the tale.
Quick Tip: Always check the weather forecast before starting your 8 hour hike.
The audio quality is very good as we have all come to expect from a RØDE product. The mic that comes included in the kit gives a clean and very usable signal. Though the transmitter will except any other microphone with a 3.5mm jack so you always have the opportunity to upgrade your mic in the future.
The kit also includes a small windscreen for the microphone which comes in very handy when filming outside in order to ensure you get the best audio quality possible.
The LED screen located on the receiver unit is clear and easy to read and clearly displays the battery life, signal strength, and the channel, which is very useful if you are using multiple transmitters to just the one receiver.
Regarding battery life, they are very efficient. We are able to get about 20 hours of usage from a pair of AA batteries, though we would recommend picking yourself up some rechargeable batteries as this will save you money in the long run.
Quick Tip: Ikea’s rechargeable batteries are the best we have used and are very affordable.
Cons Of The RØDELink Filmmaker
Though these are in our opinion a great piece of kit, they are not without their flaws;
Unfortunately you cannot use multiple transmitters to one receiver at the same time, which would be handy for two-person interviews. Though you can have each transmitter set to different channels and swap the receiver channel between them if you need to. This could be done if you have someone micing up the next speaker at a conference, whilst the person speaking wears the other mic pack.
RØDE have stated that they can operate with up to 8 systems working in the same area at the same time. Though we would recommend not using them in an area where more than 2 other pieces of equipment are using a 2.4GHZ signal as this can cause interference.
We would have also liked to see some more precise gain controls available on the units rather than just the 3 settings available.
And finally, there is no XLR adaptor within the kit itself. This would be useful for using the kit with cameras such as the Sony FS7 which has XLR audio inputs or if you are using an external recorder. Though it is available to be purchased as an accessory from RØDE separately.
In conclusion these are a great piece of kit that I would recommend to any filmmaker out there. Though slightly expensive, retailing at around the £200 mark, you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck and they will definitely help to increase the quality of your videos.
We will give these a Tech Tips score of 4 our 5.