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tom davicory
need clarification
on Dec 27, 2008 at 11:37:13 pm

I am a consumer/ amateur/ teenager, etc, but i really want to go into film. I recently decided to step up my audio equipment (meaning moving to something above an on-board camcorder microphone). I got a consumer level shotgun microphone, and a consumer level recording thing originally ment for guitar. I specifically asked the guy who sold the recorder to me if it would work with a external microphone, and he said it would. Of course i try them out together and the recorded sound comes out really faint.

From stuff i've read/ researched: the problem is that the microphone and the recorder have wildly mismatched impedance values. Digging further, and getting information from ty ford (thanks) I found that I need a pre-amplifier. This is where I get totally lost.

ok: microphone- plugged into preamp (gonna have to be consumer level as well)- plugged into recorder and it will work? Do I have to have the pre-amp, or can i just buy a recorder that is more suited for external mics? If i dont, what would the advantages of a pre-amp be? Do I need a mixer? Some mixers come with pre-amps... is that good? i only use one mic, so i'm guessing i dont need a mixer. If i do need a pre-amp, i need it to be battery powered cause i do almost all of my filming outdoors and cannot afford a generator. Are there cheap battery powered preamps (all i found were like 400 dollars, and if i were to buy that, then i would have to do some serious thinking as to how badly i want good audio)?

sorry about the waterfall of questions, but i am going into things that are way beyond what i have ever dealt with, and really need some basic guidance.


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David Jones
Re: need clarification
on Dec 28, 2008 at 4:59:12 am

Hi Tom-

Most (if not all) professional mixers have mic pre amps built in, as do professional recorders. You can get small portable battery-powered mixers and/or recorders with pre-amps built in. If you're using professional gear, designed for recording, you don't have to worry about impedance issues ether.

The bottom line is this: if you want good sound, then you need professional gear, the right professional gear. You'd be better off buying good used gear, than buying new consumer-grade stuff that won't work the way you need it to. Even the cheapest, used, mixer or recorder you can find is going to be several hundred dollars.

What is it that you want to record? Are you using a camera or do you just need an audio recorder?

Dave J


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tom davicory
Re: need clarification
on Dec 28, 2008 at 5:08:34 am

I am 15 years old, and am looking towards going into the film industry (hopefully director, but thats unlikely). Anyway, I am doing small amateur films, or school projects almost year round. I have a half decent camcorder, that has great picture quality, however, as usual, the onboard mic is crap. At the time that i got it I never thought of using an external mic, so i did not get a camera with an input for an external microphone, and so that is why i need to record separately.

Thanks for all your help.

Sorry, but do you know any universally good/ reliable brand names?



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David Jones
Re: need clarification
on Dec 29, 2008 at 4:25:11 pm

What is the make/model of the camera you're using? What kind of projects are you looking at filming? Dramatic, documentary, or music? Or something else? All of this can depend on what type of mic you use. There are so many different types and brands out there that a little more info is needed first :o)

Also, if you want to learn about recording sound for film, a good place to start is http://www.equipmentemporium.com. Go to that site and click on the "articles about prod. sound" buttom (on the left) and start reading. I recommend reading the one called "Hollywood Approach To Production Sound" and "Production Sound" an overview". These will give you a good idea as to what goes into recording good sound.


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tom davicory
Re: need clarification
on Dec 29, 2008 at 10:09:11 pm

Thanks, What i film: if its for school, then either documentary, or dramatic. On my own its usually dramatic (im not a good enough writer to come up with a script for comedy). I also do vacation video's, but thats not important.



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