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Author Topic: Video & Audio  (Read 3115 times)

jasonmillard81

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Video & Audio
« on: June 04, 2012, 06:38:11 AM »
Hello all,

I am using my 60D to record sporting events, documentaries with my students, etc.  I wen to BH Photo yesterday and the very nice sales associate pointed me to the NTG-2 combo.  When I arrived home and set everything up I realized that I may be deficient in what I need.

The level of the recording and the quality is complete rubbish going into the camera.  I've read elsewhere that people plug their Rode Mics into an H1 or H4N, as well as a Tascam product of similar capabilities.

Does anyone have a good link/video that can clearly outline a nice "workflow" for audio when using DSLR.

Best,

jason :P

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Video & Audio
« on: June 04, 2012, 06:38:11 AM »

paul13walnut5

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012, 07:17:42 AM »
The NTG-2 is a good mic, I use this and the much more expensive Sennheiser K6/ME66 combo.
The Sennhieser is about 10% better (down to modular construction, power switch and perhaps slightly better sound) but costs more than double the Rode.

There are a few issues to tackle here:

Mic placement.


A mic placed in the hotshoe is going to have the same lousy perspective and pick up the same handling noise as the built in mic.   Also the Rode is a hyper cardiod mic, it is extremely directional.  Not really much use for general ambience audio.  So..

You need to mic close.  You need to boom it above or stand it below your subject, as close as possible and just out of frame.  This means a cable run, which I'll come back to in a minute.

Power supply.

The Rode can accept phantom power or an internal AA powercell.  I use the latter, you'll need a pre-amp of some sort to provide the fomer.  I find the mic hot enough off of an AA, but then I'm tweaking my levels in post, I'm not necessarily expecting stellar results straight from the camera files.

If you would prefer to try phantom power then a zoom or tascam will provide this, but it means file synching and an extra device to hit record on etc.  Another option is to look at a beachtek, the DXA-SLR model provides phantom courtesy of a 9v PP9 battery.  You also get a headphone socket, the mic does not hear anything like we humans hear.  If you are serious about sound, you really really need to monitor.  You wouldn't shoot video with the LCD switched off.  Same thing.  I like the beachtek solution as it keeps everything in the one file and mounts on the camera in place of a grip.

Connection quality / stereo layout.

If you are taking the mic straight into the camera then you must be using some kind of XLR-minijack converter, this may be of poor quality, or is trying to make the mono signal from the mic into a much weaker linear stereo track (comes up on both tracks, but at half the level)   The mic is a mono mic, so you really want it to come up on just the one channel, broadcast convention dictates this is usually the left  (for ancient tape based reasons) which you would then mix and tweak in post-production.

The Beacktek and Zooms/ Tascam will accept XLR input and you should link the mic to just one channel for the best level (less hissy pre-amps)

In short, the mic is only only part of the chain, the camera another, there is a missing link in there, be it a portable recorder, or my preferred method, a beachtek (juiced link do similar products)

HurtinMinorKey

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012, 11:51:20 AM »
Hey Paul,

Do you use soundforge or anything like it to process the audio in post? I found that proper compression and noise reduction are essential.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 02:27:04 PM »
By micing close and keeping the vu level as trim as I can i minimise any preamp hiss, so i rarely feel need to apply any nr.  If i pick anything untoward up at the recording stage I'll record a wild track.  When thereis a problem i'll go into soundtrack pro which has a sample / remove feature and used with restraint this can work well.  Before final render I'll go over my timeline with normalise audio gain fcp filter, usually to -8db, then finally i'll raise levels or keyframe out spikes as required.  If it's a big job i'll do very little on the audio other than a cut, the export omfies with handles to go to a local dolby studio, who'll mix in protools.  Not sure what filters they use.

The preamps in dslrs are crap, no doubt, but proper technique goes a long long way.  Folk bemoan mp2 and aac, but sidestep the issue that the picture is h264!!!   

If its a big job audio is recorded seperately by soundman, if its not then on camera is fine.  I think the zooms are for folk who like trinkits for their rigs.

Lloyd

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 04:52:28 PM »
Does anyone have a good link/video that can clearly outline a nice "workflow" for audio when using DSLR.

Best,

jason :P
Jason, it might help to know what video editing software you are using.  For example, I am using Final Cut Pro X and, as a beginner, I found it rather easy to synch audio from external sources to the audio taken from the camera.  Therefore, I can get a quality recording on a Zoom H4n, using its internal mic, and then use the lesser quality audio from the camera to sync it to the video.  Since you indicated you were working with students and therefore I assume that price is likely a consideration, you might be surprised at the sound you can get from an inexpensive digital voice recorder attached to an inexpensive lapel mic for an interview.  I also like having the sound isolated from the camera as I don't have to worry about adjusting the camera (or having some other camera sound such as image stabilization) and have the noise transfer to the on-board audio recorder.  Plus you can use multiple cameras and sync them all together using the on-board audio, but rely on the external audio for the final output.  It also keeps the sound consistent, instead of it changing as you edit between different cameras.

I am just an amateur (who apparently likes trinkets per the post above :) ) so take all of this with a grain of salt.

Kindest Regards, Lloyd
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 05:09:21 PM by Lloyd »
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paul13walnut5

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 05:23:40 PM »
Quote
I am just an amateur (who apparently likes trinkets per the post above :) ) so take all of this with a grain of salt.

Hi Lloyd, the zooms are nice bits of kit, but the built in mics are not what I would use for close micing (XY pattern vs preferred hypercardiod) and I see folk with a zoom plonked on their rig, next to their follow focus gears thinking "I've spent money on what Philip Bloom uses, so thats the audio sorted"

I just don't want any extra hassle, another device to hit charge up and remember to hit record on, files to synch up and housekeep.  For the majority of stuff that I do it's solo operator and if I'm lucky/unlucky, a producer.  So one button is good.  The beachtek method is on camera, one file and keeps the compact DSLR form (up to a point) which is after all one of the significant advantages of a DSLR.

When we use a sound recordist for bigger jobs they'll have their SQN and a recorder (not generally zooms, seen a few marantz's) and will give me a reference feed.

I think my objection to zooms is that folk buy them and then don't buy a decent mic, or think about positioning all that much.  I'm old school and there may well be better ways, but I only ever recommend what I know works for me.


jasonmillard81

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 07:13:13 PM »
As much as I was tempted by the beachtek option i went with a Tascam  DR40...budget and availability.  I am doing interviews tomorrow and will have my students use the NGT-2 as if it were a regular microphone for interviews.

If you have any suggestions on how best to set up my rig for this please advise :)

Gear:

Canon 60D
Lenses (tamron 17-50; canon 50; sigma 85)
NGT-2
Tascam DR40
Livewire XLR 25ft (ngt-2 to tascam DR40)


I was going to be about 5-10 feet away from interviewer and interviewee; have the tascam near me, interviewer holds the ngt-2 during interview.

Thoughts?

Jason

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 07:13:13 PM »

Cornershot

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2012, 07:13:38 PM »
I think running dual system is useful for DSLR video because you can keep the sound running when you have to restart video every 15 minutes. That can allow you to make clean cuts or drop in something if you missed something important on the video. Also, you can monitor your sound more easily and make adjustments without having to fumble with the camera. That can create noticeable vibration and noise. I run a separate recorder all the time as a one man operation. I have the recorder attached to a tripod leg using a Manfrotto Superclamp or on a small lightstand if I do interviews with the LCD turned towards me. Works great. No need to stop and start. Just leave the recorder running and clapboard.

DB

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2012, 07:37:08 PM »
I think running dual system is useful for DSLR video because you can keep the sound running when you have to restart video every 15 minutes. That can allow you to make clean cuts or drop in something if you missed something important on the video. Also, you can monitor your sound more easily and make adjustments without having to fumble with the camera. That can create noticeable vibration and noise. I run a separate recorder all the time as a one man operation. I have the recorder attached to a tripod leg using a Manfrotto Superclamp or on a small lightstand if I do interviews with the LCD turned towards me. Works great. No need to stop and start. Just leave the recorder running and clapboard.

Ditto on the separate audio recorder - I have a 16Gb SDHC card in my Zoom H4n and it will record 24-bit 48,000 Hz .WAV files for hours and hours and the file sizes will never be that big. I also use 2 x 6m LiveWire XLR-to-XLR extension leads from the recorder to the lavalier mics. I like to record both voice + ambient, then adjust the balance in post e.g. interview vocal channel set between -6dB to -3dB, then clean camera audio or external recorder audio (if recording 4Ch) mixed in @ -18dB to -12dB depending on the clarity. It just makes it more natural to have good lean background noise as well as crisp vocal recording.

paul13walnut5

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 07:57:59 PM »
Quote
I was going to be about 5-10 feet away from interviewer and interviewee; have the tascam near me, interviewer holds the ngt-2 during interview.

Basic mic stand with boom.  $30.  Overhead if subject seated, underneath if subject standing.  Avoids handling noises. 

paul13walnut5

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2012, 08:05:28 PM »
Quote
I also use 2 x 6m LiveWire XLR-to-XLR extension leads from the recorder to the lavalier mics

Really not keen on lavaliars anymore.  My ECM-77s need good robust preamps, just a little cold with internal AA.  Apart from that I don't like mics in vision at all, even for factual interview type stuff.  I know this is just me.  Lavaliers were just too prone to breath rumble (even facing down) and fabric / jewellery noise for my tastes.

I take the point about the second audio channel, when I'm shooting on my ENG cameras CH2 is always on the front mic with auto.  Haven't really considered an option for my DSLR shooting.  I do gather some wild track in difficult situations where possible.

The beachtek gives me a headphone socket, although this is at source not from the recording device, so I usually do a test clip and playback (get the subject to spell difficult names detail designations etc) for most interview dialogue, with a sensible headroom level set and monitored I rarely have to tweak the controls.

Different nuts, different ways to crack 'em.

DB

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012, 03:47:27 AM »
I appreciate the logistical difficulties using lavs, I had a situation once where I placed one on a seated interviewee on his tie facing down, just above the belt buckle (so out of shot) and he kept moving his hands (gesticulating) and it rendered the sound unusable given that his sleeve rubbing against the mic head dominated the audio.

With regard to sound quality/power issues, I use a couple of professional Cannon XLR Lavalier Mics from a company called 'Micronic' (found them on eBay) and they are exceptionally good when paired with H4n for 48v phantom power (not dual powered like Sony ECM-77 but similar spec 63dB SNR, 110dB input + 50Hz to 20KHz few range, only difference is resistance @ 600 ohm instead of 150 like yours, so perhaps your lower resistance requires more power). I use these all of the time with 6m ext + 3m base lead, so we're talking 30 feet cable length and quality is 100%

AG

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2012, 07:08:12 AM »
There is one thing that everyone seems to be skimming over here.

He is using a 60D as his main source of audio input, then adding the secondary sound via the Rode mic combo and recorder.

The guys at BH Photo should have sold you a decent on camera mic also like the (cheap) Rode Video Mic. Nothing fancy but enough to make sure you have a clean secondary audio source incase the off camera sound is not so good.

Will save a hell of a lot of time in post if you have to clean up the Tascams audio.

Plus if you are using Pluraleyes or Final Cut X its pretty easy to sync the audio together for editing.
Yes, i shoot video on a DSLR.

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2012, 07:08:12 AM »

DB

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2012, 08:19:01 AM »
You cannot use in-camera audio as primary source, as the original comment says "it's complete rubbish". Camera recorded sound (typically mono) should only be used as ambient or to sync up in post. Speaking of which Adobe Premiere Pro does this simply & it is really cheap to buy for students & teachers.

AG

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2012, 08:25:35 AM »
You cannot use in-camera audio as primary source, as the original comment says "it's complete rubbish". Camera recorded sound (typically mono) should only be used as ambient or to sync up in post. Speaking of which Adobe Premiere Pro does this simply & it is really cheap to buy for students & teachers.

Your missing the point.

If the on camera audio is made to be usable with the help of decent mic on the camera such as the Videomic Pro etc it gives you a better opportunity to capture that ambient audio. There has been many occasions that our audio tech has screwed up a part of a shot due to technical difficulties and that clean on camera audio has saved our asses.

On saying this the whole argument for on camera audio becomes mute when you take the next step and change the camera to something like the FS100/C300 etc.
Yes, i shoot video on a DSLR.

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Re: Video & Audio
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2012, 08:25:35 AM »