Above: Me and Mike Carlson, lying down on the job getting our focus set. I use auto focus to focus on the spot where I think the players will come through the smoke (Chip Litherland and Casey Brooke Lawson were our stunt models for focusing position), then once the focus is locked in, I switch Auto Focus off (Photo by Casey Brooke Lawson)
OK, the remote shoot wasn’t exactly “Epic” but to be fair, my buddy Mike Carlson (who shoots for the Bucs) warned me in advance that because of a series of factors, it’s very hard to get an epic shot of the player intros at Raymond James Stadium.
One being that the pyro comes out on these big rubber wheels, and they are incredibly distracting (he was right, and it was worse than I thought); plus you have a huge Publix sign in the background (awesome grocery store, butâ¦.), and it was a gray overcast day (I could go onâ¦.), but what really killed it is that once again, my remote camera didn’t fire consistently (to say the least). Arrrrrrrggggghhhhhh!
Above: Here’s my lonely little rig. f/plate, a Manfrotto ball head, a Canon EOS 1Ds body with a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, and the evil PocketWizard Plus X remote (more on the evil part soon).
Above: There were three of us firing remotes. The guy on the far left isn’t really a scary stranger — he shoots for the Bucs too, (nice guy in fact) I’ve just never been introduced, so we’ll just call him “Scary Stranger” (Danger!). Then Mike’s rig behind mine, and then mine pretty up close on the far right. It’s the triple threat! (not really).
Above: When we were both lying there getting our focus set, I look over and Carlson is taking a picture of me, so I rolled over and flashed this devistatingly sexy pose. Sorry you had to see this. (Photo by Mike Carlson — his best photo of the day).
Above: I stand behind my remote camera and do a number of test shots — everything’s working perfectly. Of course, we have to move way away from the pyro, so I back-up about 40 feet away so I can shoot a different angle of the player intros with my 70-200mm. Here’s the Defense taking the field as a unit — the individual Offense intros are next. This was actually shot with the remote camera. Not terrible. Not great. But the individuals is where it gets good!
Above: Here’s a shot from my shooting position on field, taken hand-held with my 70-200mm f/2.8 at 70mm. The guy in the red kneeling on the right side — that’s “Scary Stranger.” He probably thinks his remote is firing, too.
Above: Here’s what the shots look when I zoom into 200% from the same position. In this case, I kinda like the other shot (zoomed out to 70mm) better, but this is kinda cool. But I’m not worried, that remote has me covered (snicker, snicker).
Above: Here’s Vincent Jackson leaping through the smoke and up in the air. Doesn’t look like much from the remote camera and the wheels look really huge!
Above: The same moment from my hand-held 70-200mm 40-feet away. Not great, but certainly better.
Above: Well, at least the remote fired, right? Right? Right? (Man, those wheels ARE distracting).
OK, here’s the problem with the remote
It did fire. Occasionally. Just like in Denver. You see the three shots in a series above? Well, I fired the remote 17 times and it only took those three photos. For the player intros, I fired around 196 shots total, but the remote only fired 28 times total. That’s around 166 times it DIDN’T fire. There are a number of players where it never fired, so I missed them altogether. It would fire maybe one or two frames, or not at all.
It wasn’t just me
Right before kickoff, I went over to Mike and told him my remote didn’t fire most of the time. He said he had the exact same problem (and this wasn’t the first time this has happened). We were both using PocketWizards (we checked — all three of us were on different wireless channels), but I was using the PocketWizard Plus X, and Mike was using the PocketWizard Plus IIIs and yet we’re both having firing issues.
Mike may have figured part of this out
I stood there and tested the remote (just like in Denver) and when I was close to it, it worked perfectly — fired every time, but when I walked to the shooting location 40 or so feet away on the field (like in Denver), it didn’t fire every time. Mike said the same exact thing — when he’s close to the camera — it works every time. When he walks away it stops firing consistently.
Don’t PocketWizards have like a 400 ft range?
Nope. According to their Website, the Plus X’s range is actually 1,600 feet (500 meters). So, why aren’t they firing when you’re just 40 or 50 feet away? That’s exactly what I’d like to know. Could it be some sort of interference? Could be, but I have no idea from what. The three of us are firing the only remote cameras. There’s something seriously wrong here, and I’m not the only one having the problem, so if you’ve run into something like this and you’ve found a solution, please let me (and Mike) know ’cause this is really starting to get old. I don’t want to blame PocketWizard because they are the gold standard when it comes to stuff like this, but I’m stuck and very hesitant to rig any more remotes until I get this figured out, so any help, ideas, or advice would be really appreciated big time.
Above: Parting shot: So where does all the smoke go after the player intros? At Raymond James Stadium it gets sucked down the tunnel and back into the media and locker room area. I took this quick shot so you could see what it looks like as I headed back in to the photo work room to tear down my “it works sometimes” remote rig.
Ah wellâ¦maybe next season, as this was the Buc’s last home game of the season (and after all this time of shooting the Bucs, this was my first time setting up a remote camera at a Bucs game. Sigh). Thanks and a shootout to Mike Carlson for his help and advice — I hope to repay his kindness by solving this “we only fire sometimes” mystery. To be continued…
Hi Scott, Do you need the stadium to test the Pocket Wizards to see if they are the problem? Could you not use any remote location and stand back 40 or 50 feet and see if you get the same firing ratio? If you do, it’s the Pocket Wizards; if not, back to the drawing board.
I’ll have to try that — that would certainly help to narrow things down as to cause, but the result would probably still be the same at the stadium.
Meter your cable for continuity. I was using (or not using) my hockey net cam this weekend (it was in the goal as an ornament) and thought I had an RF problem too. Did extensive testing- but discovered that my cable- N90M-ACC had a short. Doubtful that all three of you had bad cables but worth a look.
I’ve had the same problem with the PW’s, especially if I’m too close.
Scott, How do they fire the piro? Maybe the signal to the piro canons is interfering with the pocket wizards.
Hi Bryan: I think they are hired wired, but I’ll check. Thanks.
Have you considered that the smoke may interfere by somehow scattering the signal? Or perhaps the use of a remote trigger for the smoke or pyros.
Scott, I’ve had problems with PW intermittently firing as well. I sent them back to LPA and they were great. They did extensive testing of the devices, found a problem, replaced it at no cost (even out of warranty).
Hey Kevin. Who is LPA? :)
LPA is the parent company of PW, at least from how I understand it.
Here’s the link that I used to contact them: http://www.pocketwizard.com/home/misc/company/
Scott, It might all the metal in the goal posts, seats, and stuff on the field that is interfering with the signal. I have never shot a pro game but I have had the same problem at a high school game. I had to set up a another PW in repeater mode to get consistent results.
Hmmm. That is a really interesting situation. I’m wondering if this “LPA” parent company is really related to the guys that make Sex Panther cologne. Because, you know, “60% of the time it works everytime”!
Those Pocket Wizards really sting the nostrills.
Yes, its the bits of real Panther that cause the interference.
I’ve just about given up on those Pyro/intro shots. Between the TV cameramen and the parabolic sound guys, they’re almost always in the shot! And why this parabolic guys have to stand RIGHT IN FRONT of you is beyond me. I thought the reason they used those things was because they could focus in on a spot from a DISTANCE”. Anyway, I digress. Those are always tough shots to get.
The only thing I know about PW’s is from your blog and a few mentions here and there by other users. But do they each have their own frequencies and/or are those frequencies close enough hay they getting interference (15 yard penalty BTW) from each other. There must be ton of radio signals from all sorts of sources on game day.
Hope you get it sorted out. The sweat we expect but we can do without so many tears. I’m I right?
But the keepers still rock!
Another local photographer and I had the same problems with PW. Even to the point of returning and replacements. It drove me insane. I switched to Pixel Opas, and he to Yongnuo 622, neither of us has had a problem since. Not once have mine failed to fire either to strobes or remote. I don’t want to bang on PW as you said they are the gold standard, but you are seeing the same issues I had..
INteresting there is no issue with the $35US Yongnuo triggers. Hmmmmmmm…..
Too bad you weren’t able to fire Schiano while you were there.
I tried but there was a line of people in front of me trying to do the same thing. LOL!! ;-)
Hey contact Robert Benson, he has a 20 mile remote. I know for a fact we got it too fire about 2 miles away and very consistent. Just google his name and 20 mile remote
Hey Scott… I enjoy reading your posts… good to know you’re human like the rest of us ;) Cheers
Is there any way to raise the pw on your setup? the higher the antenna is the better the range. watch how you hold the transmitter. how about using a lens with a smaller field of view. you will miss some of the action but maybe you won’t get the wheels in the shot.
I actually had the same issues with the III’s and went to my backup II’s for when I am remote firing wtihin a 100ft radius and it that have yet to fail me…
I have had the same issue with the new plus X. Intermittent firing and cannot tell if it is from the hot shoe or on the strobe. They have been replaced once by B&H but still have the same issues. Have tried using an old +2 as the trigger and everything seems to fire and then all of a sudden the new pocket wizards.
Stop Receiving the signal, but the old pocket wizards keep humming along. I don’t know what the issue is either but it is quite embarrassing when you’re with a client.
I’m currently embroiled in a discussion with Pocket Wizard about a similar problem with their Flextt5 units. It is very maddening.
FYI: I’ve resolved my Pocket Wizard problem – I have replaced them with Yongnuo YN622C’s to use with my Speedlites. They are a lot less expensive and they work every time. I’ll use my Pocket Wizards with my studio gear but never again with my Speedlites. The support folks at Pocket Wizard gave me a lot of things to try but nothing worked. When they stopped answering my emails I took that to mean they had suggested everything they could, so I went looking for other suggestions. I found others that were having the same problem I was on a Canon users page and a number of folks suggested the YN622C’s.
North American Pocket Wizards are in the 340-354 Mhz band. That is the mobile trunking radio band (among other things). There is a REAL good chance that the NFL teams themselves are using the band. Every NFL Team has what is known as a “Game Day Frequency Coordinator” (a good friend was the coordinator for the Jets – W2ML – RIP Steve). The Bucs email contact for this is
They will tell you want is in use, what isn’t in use, and will actually try to allocate a frequency for for you (as I said, it is probably in use, and is taking out your pocket wizards)
Interesting answer and great point. I didn’t know this before. Thanks.
Only reasons I know is 1)Having Steve as a co-worker and friend, and that QST Magazine (The magazine for the main Ham radio organization in the US) had an article on GDCs a few years back. Most GDCs are hams. Interestingly, the cover photo of that article has a picture of Steve walking up behind a cameraman on the sidelines of a Jets/Pats game with a frequency counter. It is the moment where he caught the Pats taping on the Jets sideline. Yep, that’s how the Pats got caught, the GDC saw a signal he wasn’t supposed to be seeing, and tracked it down
You could talk to David Hobby and see if he figured it out. He had the same exact issue here: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2010/09/on-assignment-radio-silence.html
I’d guess your problem is EMI from somewhere. Maybe the fog machines, they have big heaters to heat the fog juice. I see a massive power cable running to one of the pyro carts???? You could try getting a frequency counter off ebay and check if it’s an interference problem. I use a power wheelchair and believe it or not EMI from my chair can kill an entire Walmart handheld radio system if I go too fast. EMI can be fun if used at the right time ;), but in your case…. NOT.
I’ll throw in mine 2 cents. I’m sure one of the other sports photogs or Joe McNally will have better ideas. I know this isn’t you main problem but in focusing, you could use an old street photographer trick and use hyper focal distance rules. This is very handy if using a wider angle lens. So, for example, with a 35mm lens, you can set the focus for 12 feet (just use the distance indicator of the lens) and the aperture at f16. Hyper focus will dictate that anything half the distance of the hyper focal distance (in this case 6 feet) to infinity will be in focus. You don’t need to use auto focus or guess where people will be. I use ‘Simple DoF’ app on my iPhone to determine my hyper focus. In terms of the pocket wizards, I suspect there’s a lot going on during the intros. The radio signal will naturally be strong up close, but as you go further away the inverse square law will kick in (in a big way). My math could be off, but at 400ft, you’re around 1/128th the original signal strength. So it’s far weaker and any other closer signal that’s near the frequency or on a harmonic (even more annoying) can mess with it. You can either hook up a stronger antenna to the PWs (some come with external hook ups) or you can use the relay function and put a second PW setup between you and the primary cameras to then help relay the signal over.
Just in case any Pocket Wizard guys are looking into this. It would be great to get some more antenna options (specially more directional antennas).
The only problem with your thought is many newer lenses do not have a hyperfocus scale on them.
I was referring to the normal distance scale you see on lenses. There’s no practical way to print a hyper focal scale directly on a lens. You have to calculate hyper focus based on the aperture, sensor size and lens mm. Wider angle lens work really well for this technique which is why many street photogs use 35mm.
My point still applies. Many modern (newer) lenses have no distance scale, which is my overarching point. granted this is DX format but it is one example. There are many. http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Camera-Lenses/2183/AF-S-DX-NIKKOR-35mm-f%252F1.8G.html
Wow, I don’t know they started doing that. All the more reason not to use DX lenses. Not sure why they would cut that out, it costs almost nothing to print the scale.
There are plenty of FX lenses and third party lenses too. I do lots of night photography, star trails, before sun-up at the beach, etc. I specifically had to go shopping for an old lens with the scale on it.
Thankfully, so far, my modern Nikon lenses have it. Will certainly keep an eye out for this on my future purchases. Thanks.
I experimented some this fall on college soccer with a remote camera behind the goal using the PW Plus III’s. It was a mixed bag just like your experience. I was about the same distance away you were but in a very small college soccer stadium so no other photographers shooting remotes or many other possible outside interferences. My camera fired about half of the time, or less. When I use them indoors for basketball and volleyball to fire strobes, however, they rarely misfire so apparently there are severe limitations outside (even more so than normal with wireless triggers). I’ve used RadioPoppers from sideline to sideline to shoot team photos in the stands with no problems but unfortunately the RPs don’t work very well firing remote cameras.
I wonder if adding another PW as a relay would help but that seems ridiculous to do since you’re not that far away. Too bad you can’t hardwire them but that would, of course, be a lawsuit waiting to happen and I’m sure not doable anyways.
Here’s an idea . . . call me next year and I’ll come and kneel beside your camera and fire it “remotely” for you so you can confirm that its firing properly :)
I just saw a Pocket Wizards video yesterday about setting up remote cameras and he (his name escapes me) did exactly that. He set up one PW III as a relay because his camera was not firing consistently.
I think this Spring I am going to try this with baseball and lacrosse to see if that helps. Thanks for confirming, Mark.
Hey Mark: Do you have a link to that video?
It`s seems that you 3 were not only remote shooters there(in 500 m radius), note that it worked fine prior the show, because nobody was shooting, but things changed when whole camera world there released their `krakens` and your remote was lost in radio signal whirlpool(some bandwidths could overlap).
That sure could be it. Sadly.
I’m in total agreement with everyone. At a football stadium, especially and NFL stadium, RF and and EMI interference is going to be a HUGE issue. I have a background in television engineering and we dealt with this issue many times. I’ve even had one instance where we were taking an audio feed from the radio guys calling the game and I was getting an FM radio station for somewhere else on top of their audio. We used a Double Mint gum wrapper over the connection where the radio guys were located and the interference went away. But now, that was a hard wired situation. The concept is still the same, though. Just think of how many wireless devices are being used in that stadium. I bet there are hundreds. If you get off a few shots, that’s a win in my book.
Scary Stranger is using a PW Jammer! He use to adore and idolize you until you failed to autograph a vintage Killer Tips book for him outside Wendy’s in the Anchorage Airport. Now he’s out to ruin you. Little did he know you were on a 40 minute layover between ORD and DFW. Misdirected rage is a terrible thing.
And I know for a fact he is related to Canadian border guards.
Ah ha!!! Another Canadian Border Guard Conspiracy! :)
OK, I have to ask the obvious question. Something not discussed in the blog text ( or through comment #33), is this only happening with Canon or are people seeing this intermittent problem with other cameras, too?
Also, I like the thought brought forward by another person about frequency interference.
I don’t think it’s camera related at all (especially since my buddy was hand-holding his remote — it wasn’t even on his camera). That and the fact that it does fire perfectly when you’re close to the camera.
I have had the same problem with PocketWizards when it came to strobes for basketball. I went with the AlienBees system and it was more consistent. While I still use the pocketwizards for portraits and other situations, whenever there are a lot of other RF signals they seem to fail more often.
I never got a custom signal that they offer. I wonder if those who have a custom channel are getting similar problems?
Keep it up and you’ll have another book to write. A collection of Short Stories, by Scott Kelby “Epic Remote Fails” :)
It won’t take too many more and I’ll have enough for a book. LOL!!! ;-)
10 to 1 it is wireless interference. I deal a lot with this in my job. Im a soundengineer for livebands, musicals etc. Wireless technology is a science in it self. Being from Denmark I don’t know much about the american frequencies, but I could only imagine the amount of wireless equipment at a big show like this. TV-reporters, walkies used by the sports teams, walkies used by the stadium crew etc. Some of these are probably transmitting on a pretty high output as well (50mW or so). Even though they may not be on your exact frequency they can definately confuse your wizards.
You could contact the Frequency coordinator like kg2c suggest or perhaps hire someone to measure the radio frequency activity on the day. That should give you a good indication about what is going on.
Altso from the manual:
PocketWizard radios will have reduced performance if deployed close to the ground. Try to get them up high â€“ 4 feet or higher improves range dramatically. Consider using any miniphone/headphone extension cable (including a PocketWizard MMX cable) to locate the receiver higher up.
I hope you get it figured out Scott. I’d like to see more of your photos! (As I’m sure you would as well!)
I know dealing with RFI issues is a black art in itself. I have problems with my PW mini-Flex system and RFI from the Canon flashes I use often bringing effective range down to around 40 ft or so. I’m wondering if some of the Canon cameras might have RFI issues as well? It will probably take some extensive testing and at least a spectrum analyzer to help narrow down the cause. Good luck!
I would do two things:
1. Raise the unit off the ground. Signal propagation is a problem when the antenna is near the ground and grass makes this worse. Pocketwizard actually sell standoffs to help combat this problem.
2. Take a Multimax or other device capable of scanning frequencies to see if you are getting interference.
I have Flex units and Plus 3’s. But if I’ve got to bet the farm on my remote, it’s Multimaxes every time.
Thanks for the suggestions. :)
I’m a former newspaper photographer and work as a television RF engineer. After reading all of the comments, have you considering measuring what the distance your pocket wizard will fire in an open environment like a empty field? It would give you a base line ideal how far the pocket wizards really can be fired apart. I deal with a lot of RF issue with various pieces of equipment. My guess is there’s a lot of RF signal floating around in the stadium causing interference. The power output of the power wizard is probably not strong enough to overcome the interference. The antenna pattern from the pocket wizard is omni-directional. A directional antenna for the trigger would help focus the signal to the receiver if it was available.
Hi Ben: I’ll have to do a test like that. But what’s weird is this — right before the player intros, when I’m standing close, they work fine (so the RF issues aren’t an issue), but once they come out, that’s when the issue’s start. Also, I believe all the pyro is hard-wired (not wireless). I may just be using the wrong PocketWizards (at least, PW thinks so). Going back to my Plus IIIs for the next game.
Units capable of 1600′ shouldn’t be bothered by rogue frequencies over 40′. My guess… and no I’m not being a smart ass… batteries. Install quality fresh alkaline or lithium ones. Avoid rechargeable crap.
OK, I’ve never shot an NFL game in my life but, I have to agree with everyone else there is some interference somewhere. Just looking at the photos I was wondering if the pyro carts had something on them due to their proximity to the cameras. the other question is do you have any problem with remotes at other times during the game or just at intros?
I only run remotes during the intros. They seem pretty picky about having remotes on the field during the game. ;-)
Hi ya Scott, as you can see from the posts, there are lots of possibilities for the radio frequency problem you are experiencing. You need to find an engineer who specializes in RF problems. You are close to the Cape, and the mother lode of RF engineers in the space program. Find one who likes photography. I can see opportunities for a trade of skills. Why not tweet for engineering assistance in trade for photography assistance. Keep us posted.
Hey Peter> I actually know a guy who has covered launches at the Cape using wireless remotes — he’s one of the pioneers of the technology. I’m going to contact him — thanks for the idea. :)
It’s the a Nikon Gods, they are chastising you.
That’s always a possibility. ;-)
I’ll throw out a suggestion that I think might be of value – as valuable as it could be for someone who was not there at the time. If, at least, it gets the old brain cogs turning, perhaps it leads to something more valuable.
I’ll not go through the “charged batteries, are you sure the camera was on manual (so it wasn’t trying to focus), etc” kind of troubleshooting, I’m sure you’ve gone through all of that. What I’d like to do is pose a question based on your environment.
These kinds of things, I imagine, can get pretty crowded and the comment somewhere about a “parabolic guy” triggered (sorry) a thought. How often was there someone between you and the remote camera? I quickly experimented with my theory in the back garden. I put a flash with remote (taped vertically to the side for antenna orientation) on one side of the garden and stood on the other side of the garden (about 50m away) with the transmitting remote (both Plus IIIs) in my hand. I triggered it several times and it fired perfectly on every occasion.
Then I put the remote behind my back and pressed the test button again. Nothing. A second time, nothing. Put the remote in front of me again, remote flash fired.
Then I got my better half to stand at the flash location and I returned to my original spot. I asked her to stand in front of the flash. Nothing. A second, third and fourth time, nothing. She stood to the side, remote flash fired.
Perhaps you had someone running interference (sorry, again), which is why your camera fired and then did not fire, simply because a body was between you and the remote camera?
Just to update, I tried the same experiment today (just to account for changes in RF interference which I’ve seen spike in the evenings for reasons I am not technically educated to explain). Once I get to the 16 metre mark, I get consistent firing line of sight, no activations if the remote is behind my back. Less than this distance and it fires consistently with the remote in front of, or behind, me.
Hi Morne: There were a lot of people between me and the remote (cheerleaders, video camera guys, other photographers, etc.). We did have the remote positioned in front of us (mine on my hot shoe, and Mike actually held his in his hand), but you might have a point about the body interference, but if that is the case, there’s not a whole lot I can do about that. You might have something here, though because when I shoot at the Falcons, I have a pretty clear line right to the cameras and I can fire five at once without missing a single shot. Hmmmmm. Thanks for the comment. :)
Should my theory prove to be correct, I would attempt to solve the problem by creating a triangular or zig-zag system in order to get around the issue. My first thought was to ask one or two of the cheerleaders to hold onto (or pocket) PWs that are in Tx/Rx mode so they would relay the signal – but then I took note of their outfits …
I still think it would be the way to go though, effectively shorten the distance to the camera (and so benefit from a stronger signal) by using the Rx/Tx relay. Yes, it would mean using four PWs instead of two to perform that one function, but I believe the reliability would far outweigh the inconvenience. In effect, you would shorten the distance the signal had to travel considerably as the signal would travel just a quarter of the original distance by hopping from remote to remote so it would be more likely to overcome interference from anyone between you and the destination trigger.
Please keep us posted regarding the outcome, I believe that I would not be the only person interested to know how things turn out.
Scott, I was having problems with the Plus X’s as well when trying to fire on the Ship’s Flight Deck but i couldn’t figure it out. I switched from the D4 body to the D3 and it was fine. It could have just been the cable or the Plus X’s. I’m not too sure.
Hey Bella, Bella Cucina! The PocketWizard folks suggested I switch to the Plus IIIs, and I have some, so I’m going to try that next. Have a slice of pizza for me!
Only a Slice? Italians get offended if you don’t eat the whole thing!
I’ve never used the Plus IIIs on the ship, only the Plus X’s and Plus IIs but that was only in our little studio. The Plus Xs worked great on the D3 for the triggered shot of the X-47. I haven’t found much here that I need remote firing for but if I do, i’ll see if I can find some IIIs.
Only a Slice? It’s rude in Italy to not finish your whole pizza :-)
technology is great… when it works
Scott I had the same trouble a couple times this past summer at an outdoor equine event. I could not figure out why my Plus III’s would not fire consistently past about 15 feet. The second time I set them up I used another Plus III as a relay and was able to get about 50 feet away and get consistent firing. For the person who asked I was using Nikon equipment and had new batteries in all of them. There was no one else using remotes either time. I have also never had any issue with them firing flashes.
Anyways, if you (or anyone) contact Pocketwizard and they give you any kind of solution, I’d love to read it in a future post… keep up the good work!
I really suspect the pyro units in the RF interference. The ignition system to ignite those flames, and possibly the charged air that the flames could produce would easily cause interference. The smoke could carry a static charge in the air. So the question is whether they were firing better in testing before they brought out the pyro units or after they put them away?
Nice shot of Jackson, Scott.
So Scott, I actually have had a similar problem on the set. When others are using radios, as in walkie talkie Motorola kinda of thing, it will occasionally jam the frequency of my remotes. In my case randomly fire the strobe or misfire a strobe. I either change channels or wait for the set to thin out. Maybe with all the pregame stuff going on you just got jammed.
Hey Hollywood — I think you may be right — some interference problem. Trust you are well ol’ bean :)
THIS: “Raise the unit off the ground. Signal propagation is a problem when the antenna is near the ground and grass makes this worse.”
I had this situation whenever I tried to use PW’s outdoors. I finally bought a Dual Flash Bracket and it gave me some improvement.
I might have to give that a try! :)
Sorry if someone has already covered this but don’t both pocketwizards have to be in the same orientation for maximum performance? I’ve noticed that some photographers set up their pocketwizard horizontally on their f-plates but have their pw on their trigger camera set up vertically. This could be a source of the issues.
Hey Tim: Both were vertical .
Sound like you had a fund time @ScottKelby:disqus. Happy Holidays ~Roz
Scott, clearly it’s a radio related issue and plenty of thoughts and solutions already mentioned. Here’s an alternative – since you’re shooting Canon, then the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT can sit on a remote camera in Linked shot mode and when the main camera also with an ST-E3-RT or Speedlite 600EX-RT on fires then the slave/remote will trigger too. No cables needed if the remote camera is an EOS-1D X.
Despite Canon claims about range I’ve had mine work over 300 yards reliably.
I did a test of firing range with my $200 each PW TTL’s in a city alley and got about a half a block reliably. The same test with my $20 each Yongnuo RF-603’s gave me 2+ blocks, I actually ran out of alley to go any farther. Not bashing PW, but there is evidently something wrong with their firing algorithms, probably over complicated, and one little bit gets scrambled and they don’t work.
I picked up a wifi release from Hong Kong through eBay for less than
$30. Connects direct to the Nikon D3x… works brilliantly even at a
distance of 50 metres +. Have used it to shoot star trails on top of a
mountain in Switzerland whilst sitting inside of a bar, and even used it
to shoot remotely at an event at the Royal Geographical Society in
London. I was by the stage doing close-ups, and the other camera was on a
balcony… better still there is a red light on the top so you can
check it is firing… there must be a Canon version too!
Do prefer your telephoto shots though – the one of the guy coming through the smoke is epic!
Hi Scott, I can guarantee you your problem is caused by radio interference. Studio environments are usually fine, but out in the open, could be an issue. This is more an issue with US market pocket wizards than EU pocket wizards. As explained by others the frequency they operate on is one that’s got a lot of noise in the US. The EU versions work at a slightly higher frequency and therefore are less susceptible to the interference. You could try buying those, but they may have to be imports. Due to how radio frequencies are governed, you cannot get the EU pocket wizards in the US. The alternative is using other triggers. I wouldn’t go as far as using cheap china stuff from flea-bay, but the phottix stuff is pretty darn good.
Hate to ask an obvious question, have you tested the remotes at, say a park full of trees and maybe, 100′ or so? I agree there is lots of interference, but I’ll bet they take some into account. Kind of like a 2 mile radio that only gets good reception for 1/2 mile in actual use. We’re talking 50′ versus 1600′. I’d look to make sure it works in line of sight outside a stadium and gradually ratchet up the interference. When it is setup before the game, can you test a burst of 20 shots? Does it work before everything gets going?
Great pinup shot that Carlson took of you.
Where did you buy the kneepads? Miguel on one of your guest blog posts mentioned about using kneepads for golf photography.
I need to get a pair for The Masters 2014 practice round on Monday, April 7th.
Don’t know if he answered you on the knee pads but he mentioned those in a sports photography video of his. You can get them from Home Depot. Specifically mentioned to get the “gel” knee pads.
Great pinup shot you laying on the field. But I have a question?
Where did you get the kneepads? I haven’t found them on B&H yet. I think that Miguel Olivella in a blog post mentioned about the use of kneepads when doing golf photography.
I’ll be making my first trip to The Masters practice round on Monday 2014. First try in The Masters lottery for practice round tickets, first time score! I should buy a lottery ticket!
Source for kneepads?
Hey Ralph — you get the gel-filled knee pads at either Home Depot or Lowes. Hope that helps. :)
My pocket wizards plus x works great inside studio or house, but not at all outside, unless under a cover????
Hi Scott, now 5 years after… do you fixed? am having the same problem and i think its the grass level. Best regards from Chile.