Tips & Hints

Here are some notes for people who are unfamiliar with hiring equipment from Richmond Film Services. Please look at the website to make sure you understand what you are asking for, it is fairly informative and should give you details of all the necessary equipment.

Please do not leave booking equipment until the last moment, we always check equipment before it leaves and this will take us time so please think in advance as to what you require. If we have the time we can send it by the cheapest means.

Try and be specific when ordering equipment. If you ask for a boom that is what you get, just a boom pole that you put a microphone on. Remember the microphone is not the boom so you will have to ask for a microphone as well as the pole. If it is a microphone that is normally used outdoors or on a boom pole it will come with all the necessary windshields, shock mounts etc. Microphones that are normally used indoors say for music recording or on a small table stand don't normally come with these windshields but if you wish to use them outdoors, let us know because we can probably provide them.

Microphone Powering:

This can be a source of confusion to some people.

Dynamic microphones (moving coil or ribbon microphones) do not require any power.
Condenser microphones do require powering.

Normally this is 48 volts (Phantom Power) fed from the recorder or mixer along the cable to the microphone.

If you are using a recorder such as a camcorder that has a minijack input it won't have 48 volt power. There are 2 ways round this. One is to use an electret microphone that runs from a battery inside the microphone. The other is to use a separate phantom power supply, this can be a small box that runs off a 9 volt battery.

Personal microphones require a lower voltage and can be run off a smaller power supply running off a battery or the box can be Phantom powered.

Radio Microphones:

Radio microphones consist of two main units a transmitter and a receiver. One radio microphone consists of one transmitter and one receiver, a pair of radio microphones consists of two transmitters and two receivers.

There are three types of transmitter.

  1. Hand Held Transmitter - the type use by singers and reporters, in other words a microphone that transmits.
  2. Plug On Transmitter - a box with an XLR that connects to any microphone that converts it into a radio microphone.
  3. Pocket Transmitter - that can be put in a pocket or worn on a belt and have a small personal microphone plugged into it. The personal microphone can be one of many different sorts and the choice is up to the user and is frequently just user preference.

Receivers can be mains powered, as would be used in studios or theatres or they can be small battery powered devices as used on location.

There are two types of receiver.

  1. Non-diversity are just a simple radio receiver with one aerial and provides adequate reception in good conditions.
  2. Diversity receivers are really two receivers operating on the same frequency in the same body with two aerials on different planes. The aerials receive different strength signals according to the position of the transmitter. Inside the receiver is a device which switches the output between these two receivers according to which one has a better signal.

If you hire radio microphones from us you will get them preset so that the transmitter and receiver are on the same frequency.


Radio mics are subject to licensing rules in this country we hold a licence for radio mics on channel 38. This licence permits us to hire them to you and you use them at no extra cost. If you wish to use more than 8 radio microphones at any one time some of them will have to be on another set of frequencies and this will require a separate licence. We can help you obtain the information on the suitable frequency for the location and obtain the licence which has to be paid for to If you are wanting to use radio microphones abroad please remember that rules and regulations are different in different countries and frequency allocation is different so radio mics that work in this country may not be suitable for foreign location so please let us know where you are going and we will try and help you.

The following websites may be of some assistance if you are travelling to Europe or Asia Pacific

Walkie-talkies are also radio devices that require a licence. We again hold a licence for our customers to use them so there is no further charge for this.

Time Code and Multi Camera Shoots:

If you are doing a multi camera shoot it is essential that all the cameras remain in synchronisation. This can easily be achieved by using tri-level sync boxes. These are simple small video sync pulse generators and time code generators. They can all be set so that they all generate video syncs in synchronization with one another and all generate the same time code so they can each be plugged into a camera. If your audio recorder is sufficiently accurate it won't require one of these boxes otherwise a further one will be required for the audio recorder. If you are using DV cameras that do not have a time code input, it is still possible to use them for a multiple camera shoot by putting time code on an audio track. In this case you only need the simplest time code generators called sync boxes.

Phone: +44(0)20 8940 6077Local Rate: 0845 644 1640

The Old School
Park Lane