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sd 302 to HD video cameras and tascam hdp2

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Michael Clardy
sd 302 to HD video cameras and tascam hdp2
on Jul 17, 2009 at 8:24:54 am

I have an independent feature coming up soon, and I am in charge of the sound! I recently made a very exciting purchase, and I chose to go with a Sound Devices 302 (XLR out) to Sony EX1 HD camera(L+R), and SD 302 (tape out L+R) to Tascam HDP2 (rca ins). I have two sennheiser wireless G2 Lavs and a MKH 416. Lithium Ion power, and I'm set. So I hope.

I'm curious what approach you all would take to setting levels on each unit, and what recording levels I should be seeing on both devices while recording for example... standard dialog vs. someone yelling.

From my personal experiences...

I recently recorded dialog from my 302 to a red camera using the red camera miniXLR to XLR pigtails (not sure if they attenuate my line level feed or not) with the camera set to line Input (no attenuation options on camera). The 0db 1k tone from the 302 hit well into the yellow on the red cam (no numbered meter). I havent heard anything back from post yet on the final verdict, but I feel I ran the levels a little hot, the dialog would peak on the 302 at +4 sometimes, but
strangely the red camera never appeared to clip even once. I even monitored the red headphone mix with no noticeable distortion. I think i have the 302 limiter set to +6. The camera guy said it sounded fine. I usually try to make the dialog peak at 0db on the 302, and just shy of clipping on the hdp2 and other recorders.

(note) Tascam HDP2 rca ins are line level, the xlr ins are mic level. A 0db 1K test tone sent to the RCA ins from the 302 tape out reads -35 on the tascam meter with the gain knobs at null. Where should i set the 0db tone on the tascam? and where should levels be hitting for general speaking?

Does anyone notice anything that I should or shouldnt be doing with my gain structure? Also, the G2 lavs transmitters have 3 sensitivity settings (-10,-20,-30) and the AF out on the receiver goes to +12 (not sure if its dbs). I seem to get the best levels on the mixer (course and fine gain set to around 12 o'clock) with the AF out set all the way to +12. As far as the transmitter goes, I try to set it where the AF peak light never lights when the dialog peaks.

But back to the feature, I had a trial run with the sony EX1 camera, and 0db tone was really low on the EX1 (set to line Level), couldnt get any numbered meters to show up either, just a colored peak meter. I'm assuming you want to get the level as high as possible without clipping, then they can just turn your dialog tracks down in post if they are too loud, but your levels will be strong. Am I not leaving enough headroom? I have to get this right the first time. I am running comparative tests soon when my battery system and shotgun come in. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you for all of your suggestions.

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