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SONY NEX VG20 -- Arrangement for best Audio input for Long range boom mic shooting?

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Crye Biggie
SONY NEX VG20 -- Arrangement for best Audio input for Long range boom mic shooting?
on Dec 29, 2012 at 4:36:18 am

I have a SONY NEX VG20 and Sony indirectly recommends ECM-CG50 Pro Shotgun Microphone in one of their handbooks. However, the cable for this is too short, and someone said the mic is designed to be camera-mounted (made for direct on-camera plugging for best results). He added that when a mic cable gets to the 10-15 feet or longer length, the cable can turn into an antenna that can pick up Radio Frequency Interference and Electro-Magnetic Interference (RFI & EMI)

ISSUE -- I would like to shoot short movies which will need Medium to Long shots, some in noisy environments, and so I need to boom the mic. I need a cable up to say 30ft (914.4 cm) long (I know I can use a Lav somehow)...

SHIELDING - As advised, I could get a 1/8" (3.5mm) male to 1/8" (3.5mm) female extension cable, but sources said it will most likely not be shielded (Lord, whatever that' too, means).

Sources said the *best* option is to "get a shotgun mic which uses an XLR connector (I don't know if this means the admired ECM-CG50 doesn't/can't), connect it using XLR mic cabling to a XLR adapter (then he referred to "see juicedLink or BeachTek") - and the XLR adapter plus into the VG10". (well, mine is actually a VG20).

He rounded up that there are several options in between, but the goal is to use shielded cable for long cable runs; XLR mic cables are shielded/balanced.

---> My VG20 has an "external XLR adapter (sold separately).".

A complete noob on sound issues, I want to get the best I can. What's the implication/advantage of that info ("external XLR adapter")? I looked around all yesterday but it can be daunting to get what info you really need, given all the technical terminology and fact that responses may not necessarily refer to your model/brand/situation exactly. Since ECM CG50 is suggested by Sony itself, I trusted it but I don't know how to use it with an XLR and as the cable is short. In simple terms, I can't tell from all the absorbed info if it is possible, and if possible, what is needed besides the mic, how to do the connection to get the best possible for the sacrifice.

Please any input will be so much appreciated, and alternatives (with similar cost) and/or general advise and considerations to get equipment which can help achieve my 'shooting distance' goal too!

Here's my camera --

Altitude is not all the problem. Taking steps is more of it.

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Bill Bruner
Re: SONY NEX VG20 -- Arrangement for best Audio input for Long range boom mic shooting?
on Jan 17, 2013 at 3:10:00 pm

Hi CB - you need a powered mic with a balanced output and shielded XLR cable if you want to reduce the possibility of RF interference. You will also need a way to convert the low impedance of the mic to the higher impedance of your camcorder input. You can get expensive JuicedLink or Beachtek solutions, or you can do what I did - buy a used professional mic on eBay, along with some XLR cable and an inexpensive line matching transformer.

For powered mics below $500, I recommend the Sennheiser K6/ME66, the Audio Technica AT897, or an old AT835, if you can find one (I picked one of these up for $75 on eBay).

You will also need a wind muff for outdoor shooting (I use this $55 wind muff on my AT835), a $30 shock mount, a $49 boom pole, a $45 coiled cable to run down the boom pole, maybe some more extension cable, and the $15 line matching transformer.

If you buy an unpowered mic such as the $173 AT875, you can save some money on the mic, and you won't have to deal with dead batteries as often, but you will need to provide external "phantom power". And after a long cable run, especially if you use multiple sound sources, you may want to think about a preamplifier and a mixer - but this is all probably more complexity (and expense) than you want to deal with.

The setup outlined above will work, and will provide your VG20 with clean audio, if you get your mic close enough to your talent. I have shot with the VG20, and it is a great camera for sound and video.

Here is a picture of the Audio Technica AT835 mounted on top of my GH2:

Hope this is helpful,

Hybrid Camera Recolution (more details on my blog)

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