Craig Kief, a Los Angeles-based director of photography, is using a Riedel Bolero Standalone wireless intercom for crew communications on his TV shows and commercials, with the system allowing him to keep all camera operators, focus pullers, and department heads in close communication.
Kief’s previous comms approach comprised walkie-talkies and a legacy wireless system that operated in the 2.4 GHz range, and he notes that this delivered less-than-ideal audio quality while also suffering from interference, short range, and poor battery life.
“Bolero has been a fantastic addition to my team,” Kief states. “Interestingly, now that we’ve gotten out of the 2.4 range, all of my other 2.4 gear is working better. Wireless lighting control, focus control, and other gear is functioning much better now, and the main difference is that we’re no longer using the 2.4 GHz system.”
He adds, “One big advantage of Bolero is that everyone leverages the intercom’s Bluetooth capabilities by using wireless earpieces. The freedom of no wires results in far fewer tangles as crews move around with cameras. With tools and gear hanging all over them and long days standing and moving around, having even one less cable dangling really means something. It’s purely a quality-of-life thing, but it’s made my crew so much happier after a long day.”
Another unique aspect of the workflow is that he powers his Bolero antenna from a 12-volt DC battery. The antenna is mounted in a cart that is moved often over the course of a shoot. On battery power, there is no interruption of Bolero’s comms while the cart is repositioned, and two small Anton Bauer Dionic batteries will run the system through the long days. “For moving shots in vehicles, no problem! We just throw the antenna into the trunk and go,” he adds.