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4 channel adapter, I don't get it...

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James Cordell
4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 1:15:35 pm

I just don't understand. I can't find any kind of 4 channel adapter for a pro series camcorder. They can all record four channels but there is no way to get 4 into it. I know a person could use a mixer but I want something that gets attached right to the back of the camera and allows for 2 extra inputs.

Right now we have a Panasonic AJ-D910WAP DVCPro 50 camacorder with a AJ-CA910P 4 channel adapter. The adapter gets screwed on directly to the back of the camera then the battery adapter goes onto the back of that. See pics of what we have...














I need to know if any of the major pro camcorder companies sell anything like this anymore. Sony, Panasonic, JVC, any of them. There has to be something out there. Is it custom order? custom built? I was not around when the one we have was purchased so I have no idea how we got it.

Any input or discussion will be greatly appreciated. Thanks


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David Jones
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 4:06:31 pm

I know Sony never did. The only camera/deck that had four inputs was the BVV-5 Betacam SP dockable deck. All their one-piece cameras only had two inputs (but recorded to four audio tracks). That setup you have looks like it would be extremely back heavy.


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James Cordell
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 4:35:05 pm

I just don't get how we have an adapter and apparently no one makes them anymore. It's actually not to bad. Although it does add a little extra weight that adapter only weighs maybe a pound and half.





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Jan Crittenden Livingston
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 6:07:57 pm

Hi,

That 4 channel adapter was made by Panasonic to work with that camcorder. You might think that it was easy to make, but I don't believe that is true as it took almost a year from the time we knew the factory was going to make it to the time it was delivered. Anyhow so that is why you can't find them as we made it for that camera.

Hope this helps,

Jan

Jan Crittenden Livingston
Product Manager, HPX500, HVX200, DVX100
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems



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James Cordell
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 6:18:19 pm

So does that mean that no other versions were made for other Panasonic cameras? It says your with Panasonic but but you might know the answer anyway. Does that mean there is a far chance that other brands don't even have any kind of adapter?

Is there some other way that I am overlooking to get four channels of audio into a new camcorder (HDX900 or XDCAM HD) other than an external mixer or recorder. And if using a external mixer, how do you even send the four seperate channels to the camera if the mixer most likely just has two outputs. Gahh these seems so confusing for some reason. I don't get how other shows do this. Are most shows that need more than two people mic'd using a external sound recorder? Thank you for the information on the model we have, that is good to know.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 7:00:57 pm

If there were another model made that was available for sale by any other company, Jan would know. Jan knows everything.

When I grow up, I want to be just like her -- well, except for the girl part.

;o)

I may be goofing around here but I am QUITE serious that if Jan tells you there is no other source available, there isn't.

Ron Lindeboom
creativecow.net


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Jan Crittenden Livingston
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 8:23:49 pm

[James Cordell] "So does that mean that no other versions were made for other Panasonic cameras? It says your with Panasonic but but you might know the answer anyway. Does that mean there is a far chance that other brands don't even have any kind of adapter? ."


That is exactly what I am talking about. There is not another Panasonic camera made that has this feature(adapter), our other DVCPRO50 camera that had four channels of audio, actually had more inputs on the body, that would have been the AJ-SDX900.



[James Cordell] "Is there some other way that I am overlooking to get four channels of audio into a new camcorder (HDX900 or XDCAM HD) other than an external mixer or recorder. And if using a external mixer, how do you even send the four seperate channels to the camera if the mixer most likely just has two outputs. Gahh these seems so confusing for some reason. I don't get how other shows do this. Are most shows that need more than two people mic'd using a external sound recorder? Thank you for the information on the model we have, that is good to know."

On the HDX900, you could put 2 mics into a break out from the stereo mic input, a 3rd mic into one of the back inputs and the 4th has to go in via the wireless pocket receiver area. This was the same with the SDX900 standard def camera.

You cannot get there with the mixer idea. Short of using the HDX900 as above, a slaved audio multitrack recorder would have to do.

Best,

jan


Jan Crittenden Livingston
Product Manager, HPX500, HVX200, DVX100
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems



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James Cordell
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 8:57:28 pm

Well that is refreshing to hear because I have been chasing my tail trying to dig up something for a while now.

I have a question though. Let's say I have the HDX900. I plug two mics into the back inputs and use this from Lectrosonics Dual CH. Slot Load for the other two channels. Does it look like this could work?



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David Jones
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 6:11:14 pm

That's actually the first adaptor like that, I've ever seen! And I've used or am familiar with all Panasonic and Sony cameras. Most new Panasonic/Sony cameras now have the ability to control (independently) all four channels, which is nice. I checked Panasonic's website and couldn't find anything like that. My only suggestion is to try Ebay or The Broadcast Store (on-line). There's got to be someone out there trying to unload one.


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James Cordell
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 6:37:56 pm

David, So how does this independent control work? Can you physically plug in 4 separate mics? If you can't plug in four seperate mics than how do the 4 channels get put into the camera? I tried to look at the manual for the HDX900 (online don't actually have the camera, research) and there was like page and a half on the audio setup.



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Jan Crittenden Livingston
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 6:55:18 pm

Hi,

The Adapter allows for two addional mics to be plugged in and controlled. Keep in mind that not only does the adapter have to work but there has to exist within the camera a channel for the audio from the adapter to make it into the recording. So just having one of these doesn't get you there, Having one of these and a camera designed to work with it does.

Hope that helps,

Jan

Jan Crittenden Livingston
Product Manager, HPX500, HVX200, DVX100
Panasonic Broadcast & TV Systems



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David Jones
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 10, 2008 at 9:38:20 pm

You can independently control channels 3/4 (volume, pads, etc.) on newer cameras, but there are still only two mic inputs in the rear (one in the front). The idea is to do stereo recordings, or have backup tracks. The 900 actually records 8 tracks. There are really a lot of options on these cameras, but you have to be willing to have some things mixed.

As far as having more than two independent tracks, you need to use an audio hard drive recorder (like the Deva 5.9, Fostex PD-6, HHB Portadrive or Sound Devices 744T) all of which have at least 4 tracks and timecode; run all your mics into seperate inputs, and then jam sync timecode from the camera to the audio recorder (via Comtek wireless). Then you sync up the audio in post. This is how it's done in Hollywood, anyway.


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Ty Ford
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 11, 2008 at 11:22:47 am

Hi Ron, Jan, et al,

I've only seen 4 channel backs for a few Sony cameras (I think there are 4 ch backs for Sony Digibeta camcorders, maybe just for certain models), but Jan knows the Panasonic line very well. I don't. (Nice to see you here, Jan.)

You can get 4 channel operation in some lesser cameras but the audio becomes problematic because it's not 16-bit, 48 kHz. Some NLE just dn't know what to do with the audio.

David Jones has the best solution here, double record. My Sound Devices 744T records polywave files. That means you get all four tracks showing up as one file icon, drag it drop it and all four channels are on the time line all synced up. Pretty cool.

To James Cordell; Jim, do you really need 4 tracks? What are you trying to do?

Regards,

Ty Ford






Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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James Cordell
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 11, 2008 at 10:16:11 pm

We film a fishing and hunting show. Not so much for the hunting but for the fishing show we often have 3 and 4 people fishing at the same time and like to have them all mic'd separately. Unfortunately because we are in the field and in a boat and all over the place a external recorder just isn't a solution. I think I may have found my answer though:

Let's say I have the HDX900. I plug two mics into the back inputs and use this from Lectrosonics Dual CH. Slot Load for the other two channels. Does it look like this could work? With this is the idea that I select 1 and 2 to the back and 3 and 4 to the wireless dual chan receiver.



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David Jones
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 12, 2008 at 12:38:53 am

I may be wrong about this, but if I understand the 900 correctly: You will still have to assign two mics to channel 1, and two to channel 2 (so that each channel will have two mics "mixed" on it). Channels 3 and 4 are only mirror channels you can't use them as two seperate "input" channels from 1 and 2. So, in the camera menu you would assign channels 1&3 to the wireless slot, and channels 2&4 to the rear XLR inputs. If I'm wrong about this, hopefully someone else will point me (and you) in the right direction :o)


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Ty Ford
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 12, 2008 at 3:04:12 am

An elegant solution, however, given the price of the HDX900, you could buy 4 744ts.

Regards,

Ty Ford




Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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James Cordell
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 12, 2008 at 6:39:13 pm

David, That wouldn't make any sense though. Because the camera has the ability to record 4 seperate channels. Unlike DV which sets it to 1/3 and 2/4 and 12 bits. I think it might be possible, the only thing I might see as an issue is telling 3/4 and four to get the seperate channels from the slot load receiver.

I hope this is an option for us because we just don't have the ability to have a seperate mixer/recorder. The cost of the camera isn't the issue. If we had three of the 744T's and no camera it's kinda hard to film a show like that. (jokingly)



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David Jones
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 13, 2008 at 4:17:36 am

I agree with you; it doesn't make any sense. But I think you'll find it's true. I really don't understood why Panasonic and Sony make cameras with four channels, but only two inputs! In the days of analog cams, channels 3 & 4 were suppose to give you higher quality audio. But with all this new technology: high-def, hard disk, and digital, we STILL only really have two channels of audio. I hope you prove me wrong, but based on my reading of the instruction manual for the 900, I don't think what you propose will work.


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Ty Ford
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 13, 2008 at 2:18:38 pm

Hello David,

In (way too many) conversations with company reps, I have asked that and several other questions about camera audio and have received pretty much the same answer.

1. In a professional world where 16- bit, 48kHz stereo audio is baseline MINIMUM these days, why are cameras still at that spec? Why can't we at least have 24-bit, 48 kHz? It has LONG been proven that well-implemented 24-bit audio is substantially better than 16-bit. Especially in the field, 24-bit audio allows a wider variance of unexpectedly low levels to sound good back in postproduction.

1a. How did the spec for HDV audio EVER get set at MPEG audio that is 1/5 the data rate of 16-bit, 48 kHz?

2. Why are camera headphone outputs frequently underpowered and distorted.

3. Why aren't all camera headphone outputs stereo. With many, you can hear left, right or a mono mix of both.

The answers I have been given have ranged from unsympathetic shoulder shrugs to the comment that, for the best audio, we should double record.

Personally, I think the real deal is that camera mfgrs are so focused (pun intended) about getting the video right, that they don't want to hear about audio.

Technical reps from manufacturers (among others) become part of standards committees. These standards committees wrestle over the specs and how best to implement them. If there are any audiocentric members of these committees, I presume they get gagged at some point while the video members try to figure out how to make, yet, another compressed video format. Higher bit rate audio, of course, would eat into the video data stream.

As to the where and why not of regularly implemented, 4-channel (and pitiful) 16-bit, 48 kHz audio, fine, I have no problem with cameras that make the 3 + 4 channels part of an optional package. There are only so many XLR connectors you can punch into the case of a camera body before structural integrity is compromised. (Besides, with the major attention on video, the importance of placement of audio circuits in cameras is usually secondary or tertiary, resulting in less than ideal S/N figures.)

I don't really "buy" the position that good audio circuits can't be put into cameras. Quality components and proper shielding are required. With today's SMT (surface mount technology) there is no reason why good audio circuits can't be designed and implemented......well, other than the videocentric attitudes of camera makers.

It's about money, and camera makers being deathly afraid that their new cameras will not be adopted by the large volume buyers. Competition is fierce. I am sympathetic. What goes on behind closed doors when camera makers try to sell the new gear to networks isn't pretty. It's like being in the closing cell of a used car dealership.

How would the hardware work? In the analog world, we'd need to accept a new connector format, most likely a fanout of four solid TA3 connectors with a dedicated, 5-pin TA5, 4 channel headphone return. That would mean adapters for all existing gear and new mixers and snakes for everyone. Maybe digital mixers could implement existing MADI technology. Still that's a major revolution and it won't come cheaply. Impossible? No. Not likely to happen due to the status quo? Pretty much.

Want to nudge this along? Feel free to copy and paste this post as much as you'd like to as many places as you'd like and add whatever features you think deserve it. Change will only come if the wheel squeeks get loud enough.

Regards,

Ty Ford








Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Ty Ford
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 13, 2008 at 2:19:04 pm

Hello David,

In (way too many) conversations with company reps, I have asked that and several other questions about camera audio and have received pretty much the same answer.

1. In a professional world where 16- bit, 48kHz stereo audio is baseline MINIMUM these days, why are cameras still at that spec? Why can't we at least have 24-bit, 48 kHz? It has LONG been proven that well-implemented 24-bit audio is substantially better than 16-bit. Especially in the field, 24-bit audio allows a wider variance of unexpectedly low levels to sound good back in postproduction.

1a. How did the spec for HDV audio EVER get set at MPEG audio that is 1/5 the data rate of 16-bit, 48 kHz?

2. Why are camera headphone outputs frequently underpowered and distorted.

3. Why aren't all camera headphone outputs stereo. With many, you can hear left, right or a mono mix of both.

The answers I have been given have ranged from unsympathetic shoulder shrugs to the comment that, for the best audio, we should double record.

Personally, I think the real deal is that camera mfgrs are so focused (pun intended) about getting the video right, that they don't want to hear about audio.

Technical reps from manufacturers (among others) become part of standards committees. These standards committees wrestle over the specs and how best to implement them. If there are any audiocentric members of these committees, I presume they get gagged at some point while the video members try to figure out how to make, yet, another compressed video format. Higher bit rate audio, of course, would eat into the video data stream.

As to the where and why not of regularly implemented, 4-channel (and pitiful) 16-bit, 48 kHz audio, fine, I have no problem with cameras that make the 3 + 4 channels part of an optional package. There are only so many XLR connectors you can punch into the case of a camera body before structural integrity is compromised. (Besides, with the major attention on video, the importance of placement of audio circuits in cameras is usually secondary or tertiary, resulting in less than ideal S/N figures.)

I don't really "buy" the position that good audio circuits can't be put into cameras. Quality components and proper shielding are required. With today's SMT (surface mount technology) there is no reason why good audio circuits can't be designed and implemented......well, other than the videocentric attitudes of camera makers.

It's about money, and camera makers being deathly afraid that their new cameras will not be adopted by the large volume buyers. Competition is fierce. I am sympathetic. What goes on behind closed doors when camera makers try to sell the new gear to networks isn't pretty. It's like being in the closing cell of a used car dealership.

How would the hardware work? In the analog world, we'd need to accept a new connector format, most likely a fanout of four solid TA3 connectors with a dedicated, 5-pin TA5, 4 channel headphone return. That would mean adapters for all existing gear and new mixers and snakes for everyone. Maybe digital mixers could implement existing MADI technology. Still that's a major revolution and it won't come cheaply. Impossible? No. Not likely to happen due to the status quo? Pretty much.

Want to nudge this along? Feel free to copy and paste this post as much as you'd like to as many places as you'd like and add whatever features you think deserve it. Change will only come if the wheel squeeks get loud enough.

Regards,

Ty Ford








Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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David Jones
Re: 4 channel adapter, I don't get it...
on Mar 14, 2008 at 6:30:03 pm

Hi Ty,

This is a great post! It needs to be copy and pasted in several of the other forums. I also find how amazing it is that audio is still the bastard step-child of film making, and video shoots. And, unless you're shooting a big budget Hollywood blockbuster, fixing IT in post, isn't an option; more people need to understand that BEFORE they shoot. A cinematographer friend of mine told me about a shoot where the "crew" put a mic on a table in the middle of a room to capture sound. Of course, none of it was usable, but it's stories like that, that drive me crazy. Just hire a sound guy! Ok, I'm done :o)


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