Landlocked by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey, the Republic of Armenia remains largely uncharted and unelplored, with conflict-prone border regions discouraging the attention of adventurers and tourists alike.

In August 2019, however, a team of mountaineers from Europe, Australia and Canada spent two months exploring new routes for climbers and documenting the experience with assistance from Sennheiser.

The destination was a 15km long rock formation near the town of Dilijan known as Little Switzerland by the locals. During their stay, the team marked three sectors of the sandstone rocks that had not been climbed by professionals. They named them The Empress Slabs, Shady Water Gully and The Nest, choosing them to meet the requirements of a varied climbing experience. In total, the team defined 22 routes, with grades of difficulty ranging from 5c to 8b according to the accepted French grading system.

‘Many climbers restrict themselves to routes that are already known – but personally, I take much more pleasure in exploring places that have so far been ignored,’ says Aleksandra Wierzbowska. Together with a climbing partner, Wierzbowska was responsible for the audiovisual documentation of the project, which lasted for several weeks.

MKE 600 shotgun used when filming the climbers on the cliff faceThe key components of the equipment were DSLR cameras, a portable multitrack audio recorder and high-quality microphone equipment from Sennheiser – including wireless systems, wired shotgun mics and headphones. With video recordings made in HD, the aim was to produce a 40-minute documentary that would not only be of interest to climbers, but that would also bring to life the country and its people.

For their journey, Wierzbowska and her colleagues packed four evolution wireless ew 112P G4 wireless camera microphones. This all-in-one wireless system comes as a ready-to-use set including an SK 100 G4 bodypack transmitter, an EK 100 G4 portable receiver and an ME 2-II lavalier microphone, as well as a camera adapter and connecting cables. The set is suited to the toughest of (outdoor) applications, offering reliable operation between -10°C and +55°C. The transmitters and receivers each weigh just 160g.

‘We operated the wireless systems in Dilijan in the range around 525MHz and there were no problems at all with the local authorities. Aplauz, the Polish Sennheiser partner, had advised us in advance to select the A band for use in Armenia,’ Wierzbowska reports. ‘No unexpected interference occurred, although of course we weren’t in a big city but in a thinly populated rural region without much wireless traffic.’

In spite of some extreme weather, the wireless equipment proved reliable. During particularly heavy downpours, the usual precautions were taken so as not to damage the audiovisual equipment.

Aleksandra Wierzbowska with camera carrying MKE 440 stereo micThe wireless systems were primarily used for interviews with the locals. The interview partners were professionally fitted with the ME 2-II microphones that were included in the sets. ‘During the wireless transmission, we never experienced any interruptions or undesired artefacts,’ explains Wierzbowska. ‘The operating period of the transmitters and receivers with fully charged batteries was always more than sufficient.’

For the audio recordings, the wireless systems were supplemented by wired Sennheiser microphones, including two MKE 600s. The battery- or phantom-powered shotgun is ideally to use with a video camera or a DSLR/DSLM. Iys elastically suspended capsule ensures good suppression of structure-borne noise, and a switchable low-cut filter minimises wind noise. Due to its high directivity (super-cardioid/lobar), the microphone can be targeted precisely at the sound source while attenuating noise from the sides and rear.

‘We regularly used the MKE 600 in situations where we didn’t want to mike up our interview partners with an ME 2-II, but still wanted to clearly record what they said without any surrounding noise,’ Wierzbowska says. ‘Sometimes, we also employed the MKE 600 in scenes that we did with climbers high up on a cliff face.’

The shoe mounts of the cameras were regularly fitted with a Sennheiser MKE 440 – a compact stereo mic consisting of two interconnected and matched mini-shotgun microphones in a V configuration. The two capsules acoustically cover an area corresponding to the recording angle of a 35 mm camera lens, ensuring coverage of the entire area with particularly high speech intelligibility in the image focus.

Climber Kim is miked with ME 2-II lavalier; EK 100 receiver on the camera‘The MKE 440 is the perfect solution for recording sound atmospheres in optimum quality,’ Wierzbowska confirms. ‘I usually used the MKE 440 for recording climbing action on the rock face. It was securely fixed on the camera’s shoe mount, with the microphone cable going directly to the audio input of the DSLR. On the other hand, I nearly always recorded the signals from the MKE 600 using the multitrack recorder.’

For acoustic monitoring of the recorded tracks, the team used Sennheiser HD 25 Plus headphones. ‘Their closed design enabled us to reliably monitor the sound recordings even under the most challenging environmental conditions,’ says Wierzbowska. ‘It only became a bit more complicated when we were wearing our helmets at the rock face – although one can hardly expect the developers at Sennheiser to predict such an unconventional job for their headphones.’

Like many events, the audiovisual documentation of the climbing project was put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic. ‘I’ve been in Iceland for some months now, even though I actually intended to start travelling some time ago,’ says Wierzbowska. ‘As soon as it’s possible to enter Armenia again, I will set off back to Dilijan to round off the project with further video impressions and interviews and then go into the postproduction phase.

‘I hope that the documentary will be finished sometime in the spring of 2021. Screenings are planned at events known in the climbing scene and the film will also be made available on popular online platforms. To be honest, at the moment I can hardly wait to get back to the region around Dilijan and to see my new friends again.’


TwitterGoogle BookmarksRedditLinkedIn Pin It An independent news site and blog for professional audio and related businesses, provides a platform for discussion and information exchange in one of the world's fastest-moving technology-based industries.
Fast Touch:
Author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fast Thinking:Marketing:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: Latitude Hosting