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Building My 1st DSLR Package: Audio + Rigging Advice?

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Brian Baker
Building My 1st DSLR Package: Audio + Rigging Advice?
on Jan 20, 2012 at 7:07:19 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm assembling my first camera kit -- an exciting + nerve racking process.

I've decided to go DSLR -- the Canon 7D to be specific. I'm going to be shooting mostly sit-down interviews and run-and-gun style documentary interviews + b-roll.

This package is being designed to shoot as "one-man-band" who can fly under the radar; and shoot photos + videos quickly and simply.

I feel good about my body and lens choices (f/2.8 17-55mm and a f/2.8 70-200mm) but I'm having difficulty deciding on the best audio + camera rig solution.

For when I'm on a tripod, I plan on doing the following:

Having a shotgun microphone (thinking the MXE400) either mounted on my camera or mounted as a boom -- depending on the day

Having a lavaliere microphone on the talent -- not sure which one I want to go with here, but I don't have the budget for an $800 system. More like $300.

Using an external audio recorder (Zoom H4n) to record both microphone sources, record ambient sound on it's build in microphone, and feed audio out into the 7D and a set of cans.

I feel pretty confident in the wide-range of sound this set-up will provide me with -- the only thing I'm not 100% on is microphone choice.

My true challenge comes in figuring out a run-and-gun, hand-held audio configuration.

I'd love to run the MXE400 right into the camera -- but then I need a solution to bypass the AGC of the Canon 7D. Maybe an MP3 rig ( ) But I don't like the idea of the MP3 component (1hr of tone / another battery to monitor / only 1 channel of audio recorder to camera).

I've thought about a JuicedLink or similar system (instead of even using the H4n), but I don't see these guys hand-held friendly.

My other thought is to develop a hand-held rig that can allow me to mount my H4n, shotgun, and maybe even wirelress mic transmitter. I like what this fellow did with what appears to be a Cowboy Studio Arm.

The drawback I see here is the Studio Arm utilizes the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera -- leaves me to wonder how I'd attach a nicer hand-held rig. I'm thinking the new pocket rig ( ) or a DIY job.

Anyway, I'd love some feedback on audio + hand-held solutions for my package -- after hours of research, I'm not sure which direction to take, and I could really use some field-tested opinions.


-- Brian

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