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The Ideal Field Recording Setup

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jeremy
The Ideal Field Recording Setup
on Mar 21, 2007 at 6:31:32 pm

I've been putting it off for quite some time, but I really need to invest in a quality field recording setup. I've been primarily filming adventure documentaries in foreign countries.

Do you recommend that I should record straight to the camera via a shotgun boom and mic or should I have an external mixer/recorder and feed all the audio to it?

Here is the one I was considering: http://www.tascam.com/Products/hdp2.html

I would appreciate any other recommendations. I already have a decent shotgun mic and boom, so I guess I need a portable recorder to go with it. To be honest, I don't have any experience with portable recorders, so I don't know how they operate, what they record to and how to sync it with my video. I assume it's done in post.

Thanks for the help.

Jeremy


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Frank Nolan
Re: The Ideal Field Recording Setup
on Mar 22, 2007 at 12:00:15 am

Unless you have a REALLY GOOD reason for recording the audio to a separate device I would recommend sticking with recording sound to the camera. I would however, advise on getting a mixer. The Sound Devices 302 is a great little portable mixer. You can plug the shotgun mic and a couple of wireless lavs in and send the lavs to one channel of the camera and the boom to the other. The mixer has better mic pre amps than most cameras and it will give you more control over the sound. You then set the camera to receive line level signal.


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Bob Cole
Re: The Ideal Field Recording Setup
on Mar 22, 2007 at 1:25:28 pm

[Frank Nolan] "I would however, advise on getting a mixer."


I know this is the correct advice, technically. But do you think it is advisable when the cameraman is the only crew? For me, a mixer has always meant "Hire a sound recordist." If I'm the only crew, it's just another detail that I have to manage -- or, possibly, mismanage.

-- Bob C


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Frank Nolan
Re: The Ideal Field Recording Setup
on Mar 22, 2007 at 8:53:21 pm

[Bob Cole] "I know this is the correct advice, technically. But do you think it is advisable when the cameraman is the only crew? For me, a mixer has always meant "Hire a sound recordist." If I'm the only crew, it's just another detail that I have to manage -- or, possibly, mismanage."

I presumed by the question about getting a field recorder that there would be more than a 1 person crew. So if the cameraman was the only crew, then plugging a couple of mics straight into the camera would be more advisable, especially if they dont have a sound background. Definitely less things to go wrong when you aren't familiar with mixer operation.



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jeremy
Re: The Ideal Field Recording Setup
on Mar 22, 2007 at 8:59:59 pm

If I'm just running a wireless mic and boom mic, is there still a need for the mixer? I know the preamps are better and it gives more control over the sound, but does it work they way i'm doing it?

I'm limited on the amount of equipment I take due to the remote locations I film in. ie - jungles, mountains, etc.


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Bob Cole
keep it simple
on Mar 22, 2007 at 9:39:32 pm

Especially if you're alone, or in a remote location, or carrying a lot of gear, you should strip it down to the basics. Rather than add another item to the chain (i.e. a mixer), you should double up on the microphones, batteries, & cables. Throw in some earbuds in case the wires to your headphones go bad.

The value of your recordings is not going to be their studio quality, but rather, your ability to get to the most remote location, and to focus on your subject matter rather than your equipment.

Your goal should be simplicity or operation, redundancy of the vital gear, and checking the tape at every opportunity. It can all go bad so easily. (I blew an entire day's shoot by monitoring E-to-E rather than off-tape. The ribbon wires from the old Betacam door had gone bad.)

Good luck to you!

-- BC


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jeremy
Re: keep it simple
on Mar 23, 2007 at 2:43:24 am

Excellent advice! I totally agree! Thanks for encouraging me to do what my instinct was telling me... Just keep it simple.


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Frank Nolan
Re: The Ideal Field Recording Setup
on Mar 23, 2007 at 7:21:43 pm

[jeremy] "If I'm just running a wireless mic and boom mic, is there still a need for the mixer? I know the preamps are better and it gives more control over the sound, but does it work they way i'm doing it?

Yes it will work fine.

[jeremy] I'm limited on the amount of equipment I take due to the remote locations I film in. ie - jungles, mountains, etc."

I agree with Bob here, keep it simple!. But always monitor your audio, preferably after the record head.




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