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Author Topic: Documentary 5D mk iii setup  (Read 5420 times)

threedsnack

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Documentary 5D mk iii setup
« on: May 19, 2012, 02:59:00 PM »
Hey guys, I've been browsing around for a while now for personal setups for shooting documentaries so to help improve mine. I just want to know what an effective setup for a 5D mk iii would be. My current inventory (at my school job) consists of:

5D mk iii
24-105 & 50mm lenses
H4n for audio
Azden Shotgun mic
steadicam
Lav mics

So, My main conflict is with audio. I've seen people just plug their xlr from their mic directly to a camera mounted juicedlink, or a digital recorde (to then sync in post). Realistically I will not have time to sync up all the footage in post, so it would be nice to have my audio running with my cameras video. How can I effectively go about doing that? What am I missing in my setup for a simple but powerful rig?

Should I ditch my Zoom h4n for a pre amp? (is it possible to use the h4n as just a pre amp and run audio into the camera?)

Thanks in advance for any help and/or advice you can lend me.

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Documentary 5D mk iii setup
« on: May 19, 2012, 02:59:00 PM »

paul13walnut5

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Re: Documentary 5D mk iii setup
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2012, 03:29:07 PM »
Congratulations.  Folk spends lots of time and money on the video gear and forget about the audio.
Poor video can usually be salvaged.  Poor audio is often terminal.

I use a beachtek DXA-5Da with my 7D, T3i and T2i.  This gives me the necessary AGC disable (not an issue on the 5D3 with it's manual levels) but also 2x XLR inputs and a headphone socket.  Again you don't need this for a 5D3 as you can headphone monitor straight from the camera.

So you could actually go for a more basic and cheaper beachtek that would give you synched audio within the video files off the memory card.

They do a model for camcorder users, the DXA-2T, which would suffice for your camera (as the 5D3 has a headphone socket built in) with the right microphone.

You'll need to cut the video pin off it, but apart from that it's perfect for a 5D3.

I'm not familiar with the azden brand.  I had a google and to be honest I would consider changing it.

I use a Rode NTG-2 for my home kit, and a Sennheiser K6-ME66 combo for my work kit, big price difference, but the cheaper rode is actually a very very good mic for not a lot of money.  Both these mics take an internal AA battery, negating the need for a phantom power source, and run quite 'hot' keeping the camera pre-amp levels low, so the cheaper DXA-2T would suffice.

Other benefits to the Beachteks:

mic line switching

independant channel levels (basically attenuators, use full up unless level really hot)

stereo (independent L & R tracks) and mono (linear stereo, basically both mono inputs mixed together on each of the audio tracks)

If you get the DXA-2T (without phantom) there is no power required, so nothing to charge up or forget to power on)

It fits on the camera tripod thread, so it can be left on the camera (no rig or gaffer tape, mounting gubbins required) and you can still use the tripod with it in place.

Don't get me wrong, in terms of absolute sound quality the zoom is a better file format, better preamp etc, but a whole lot more hassle.  My set up is as good as what I was getting on my ENG cameras.

I use beachteks and I'm doing this professionally.  If the sound was poor I simply wouldn't use it.

Get yourself a set of half decent closed back cans (AKG-k450s are good budget monitors, sennheiser HD-25-II's are the default ENG headphone, very very good but triple the cost)

I would also consider getting a mic stand for interviews, i use a beyer dynamic having went through about five cheap ones.  Mic stand is brilliant for micing off camera out of shot.

The very cheapest option for your synching problem would be to run a short minjack lead from the zooms headphone port into your body.  But keep the zoom headphone levels very low and use the manual record level in the 5D3.

This to me is using a sledge hammer to crack a nut, and still gives you problems of charging and mounting, etc.

link to beachtek stuff:

http://www.beachtek.com

If you really want a unit that provides phantom then look for a used beecjtek DXA-4P, which takes an internal 9v battery and provides phantom.


westr70

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Re: Documentary 5D mk iii setup
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2012, 09:31:09 PM »
I'm looking at the same issues for the same reasons and so this thread is very welcome.  I appreciate both the post and the response.  Any other experiences or recommendations would be welcome.
5DIII; 600D; 7D; 100-400mm, f4.5-5.6; EFS-18-135, f3.5-5.6; 100mm, f2.8 IS; 70-200mm, F4 L IS; 17-40mm, f4 L USM; Sigma 50 mm, f2.8.
http://500px.com/Westr70
http://www.facebook.com/JohnFosterPhotography

Christian_Stella

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Re: Documentary 5D mk iii setup
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 08:43:19 PM »
I had a professional sound man on my feature film shoot and he refused to run a line from his recorder into the camera as it would introduce noise. We tried anyway and definitely heard a loud signal noise. Don't know if that was his equipment but I wouldn't doubt the 5d having signal noise.  He used an external Tascam recorder for the shoot.  If I am not mistaken, these recorders record at 24 bit while the camera can only do 16. I am not that versed in sound though!

I do know that there is a program called PluralEyes that is absolutely incredible. It syncs up external audio in post like magic. There is no need to fear syncing with it. Even the sound guy couldn't believe that we weren't using a slate on set.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Documentary 5D mk iii setup
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 06:15:08 AM »
The noise could be ground hum, particularly if the camera was on a tripod or monopod.  Some devices (beachtek DSLR series) have a ground lift switch for this.  Would probably have been okay if using balanced connections between the mixer and camera (again via beachtek or similar)

I know these recorders can do 96k and 24bit, but are you really going to need that?  If you are doing a cinema release with full dolby mix, then I guess you are.   If you are just going to synch the audio and cut it along side your video without a seperate mix then I would say it's overkill.  48k 16bit is as good as most folk will need most of the time.

If you don't have a slate then a single clear clap in vision is a good alternative.  There's a few handy wee iphone apps with basic slades and counters.  Maybe better ran on an ipad...



DB

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Re: Documentary 5D mk iii setup
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2012, 09:19:38 AM »
I had a professional sound man on my feature film shoot and he refused to run a line from his recorder into the camera as it would introduce noise. We tried anyway and definitely heard a loud signal noise. Don't know if that was his equipment but I wouldn't doubt the 5d having signal noise.  He used an external Tascam recorder for the shoot.  If I am not mistaken, these recorders record at 24 bit while the camera can only do 16. I am not that versed in sound though!

I do know that there is a program called PluralEyes that is absolutely incredible. It syncs up external audio in post like magic. There is no need to fear syncing with it. Even the sound guy couldn't believe that we weren't using a slate on set.

The cable I showed in the picture above has -25dB attenuation (really to avoid the problems of AGC in the 7D), but it introduces zero noise whatsoever. The purpose of spending $40-50 on a specialist cable like this is to avoid problems like you mentioned by using a cheap $5 interconnect lead.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Documentary 5D mk iii setup
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 09:42:26 AM »
@DB
Quote
The cable I showed in the picture above has -25dB attenuation (really to avoid the problems of AGC in the 7D), but it introduces zero noise whatsoever.

No, I suspect the -25db attenuation is to reduce the level from the zooms headphone out to an acceptable level for microphone in.

A constant -25db attenuation would have no effect on AGC, as it would a) boost the noisy pre-amps to compensate and b) still be all over the place between noisy and quiet bits.

The AGC disable function of the beachtek pumps a constant signal on the left channel (which is actually the channel the AGC uses to meter) just above the audible range, which ticks the AGC into staying at a fixed level, you can now use the clean right channel for sound, with the level controlled via the beachtek.   At a push you can also use the left channel, though you'd want to run a low pass filter on it.

The cable on it's own will not solve the 7D agc problem.  None of which is relevant to the OP, who is using a 5D3 with manual levels.

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Re: Documentary 5D mk iii setup
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 09:42:26 AM »