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Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR

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Ty Ford
Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Jul 1, 2010 at 4:59:28 pm

Just confirming what some of us may already know.

I was on a shoot yesterday feeding a Canon 5 and even though it says it wants mic level, the mic level output of my Sound Devices 442 was too much for it. And that was WITH the 5D's inputs backed off.

I did notice that at some point was the inputs were scaled back towards -20 on the camera's metering, that the metering stopped working. I'm thinking that there's something fundamentally wrong with the 5s input section. I have run into something like this before with some cameras when trying to send line level to their line level inputs. When I switched the mixer outputs from line level to -10 consumer line level, I was OK.

So I'm thinking the Canon 5D inputs may be engineered so that regular line level is too much for them. My suggestion would be to try a 5 or 10 dB pad in each leg feeding the camera. I can't do that today because the camera is on its way back to Canada.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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Jordan Wolf
Re: Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Jul 1, 2010 at 6:44:03 pm

Could it be that the DAC is set so that +4dBu = 0dBFS (or something like that)?

Wolf
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Ty Ford
Re: Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Jul 1, 2010 at 7:27:33 pm

Wolf,

maybe, but at mic level, not line level. They may have chosen a really low mic sensitivity (dynamic or old ribbon) and contemporary mic levels are just too high so they clip. Then again, the software audio level controls may just be whacked. That's why I extrapolated from my -10 and 0 or +4 experiences.

Similar in some ways to the RED camera experience. RED cameras were a real nightmare for audio when they came out. If Sony or Panasonic had brought cameras out that badly implemented, they would have been lynched in public. RED got away with it for some unknown reason I'll never understand.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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Tom Maloney
Re: Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Jul 3, 2010 at 2:40:57 am

You have me confused Ty , said mic level was too much for camera but -10 consumer line level was ok ? I had a shoot last month , took audio to Sony X3 ok from my SD302, also took it to a Beachtek on the #2 camera a Canon 5 and mic level out of the mixer did not register anything on the Beachtek. I hate taking sound to a camera where you cannot monitor from a return. Think I'll have to get a 702T for these kind of jobs, the camera takes beautiful images but audio is lacking. Now we just need to edcuate people with thes cameras that they need to use a double system.

Thanks
Tom

" EVERY DAY IS A GIFT, which is why we call it the present"

Alfred Hitchcock


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Jul 3, 2010 at 3:06:26 am

Tom,

Sorry, I jumped from one to another situation on you.

The 5D is at very low mic level. The other situation was a consumer camera that was masquerading as a pro level camera. Turns out it wasn't 0 or +4, it was -10 consumer.

Regards,
Ty Ford

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Bill Davis
Re: Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Jul 3, 2010 at 3:48:06 am


I've done about 25 projects on my 5d Mk ii and I've NEVER had a plug into the mic imput on the beast.

The on-board mic is enough to record a scratch track that works fine with Plural Eyes Software that will sync the sumptuous 5d video with audio off virtually any outboard recording you want to use.

For me that's a Zoom H4n for basic projects and an actual sound guy feeding a dedicated audio computer through an outboard hardware interface for important work.

FWIW.




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Peter Groom
Re: Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Jul 6, 2010 at 8:30:45 am

He said it. Sep sound.
I too have found that you have to pad the levels into still cameras way down to kep the right side of distortion. And Ive also found that the noise floor on their recordings is very poor too. Build those 2 points in with the fact that even coming into view of a 3.5mm jack makes me feel ill - and thats that. Sep sound
Peter

Peter


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Randy Wheeler
Re: Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Jul 11, 2010 at 3:16:06 am

Different DSLR, same problem and solution.

DSLR's have what I call a need for double attenuation. First you need to get it to the typical mic level then you need to attenuate it another 25 to 40dB below that mic level to get decent audio. My opinion is that none of the DSLR's out there have AGC, they have a limiter that is being way overdriven and thus acts like an AGC. Over driving these DSLR limiters also color/reducer the audio and that's why you have to attenuate them another 25-40dB so that none of the audio hits the DSLR limiter.

Among many other audio tests I've done with DSLR's, I've recently been testing out how to get a clean audio signal from the Line Out of the Sony PCM-M10 audio recorder to the GH1 Mic Input while shooting. Here are the test results and setup.

I connected a Shure SM58 handheld mic to the Sony PCM-M10 Mic Input. After much testing, I ended up having to attenuate the Line Out of the Sony M10 by 70dB, that's Seven Zero, going into the GH1's Mic Input so that it wouldn't hit the GH1's audio limiter and reduce/alter the sound quality. The room had background noise from 2 computers, a fan and a central AC was on and blowing from above. This made easier to check for any rise in background noise between words and any difference in overall background noise between the GH1 and PCM-M10.

The audio levels were not changed in either WAV file, they are at their original levels. Coincidently, the Sony PCM-M10 audio ended up being only a couple dB's louder than the GH1's audio so if you want to do a better comparison load the audio files into your audio/video editor and raise the GH1 audio by a couple dB's to even them out and then compare.


Panasonic GH1 audio from original MTS file. I put the MTS file in the timeline of Edius and exported it as a 16bit 48K WAV file:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2204694/Panasonic_GH1_audio.wav (11MB)


Sony PCM-M10 audio from original WAV file. Simply copied the 16bit 48K WAV file off the recorder's built-in memory. Here it is:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2204694/Sony_PCM-M10_audio.wav (11MB)


I'd say after comparing them myself that it's pretty close considering the GH1 audio file was recorded at 192Khz 48K AC-3 compared to the uncompressed 48K WAV recorded with the Sony PCM-M10. The GH1 audio is certainly usable for an initial edit without having to sync all the audio from the Sony recorder to the GH1 video and should provide a much more accurate sync once you do that since the audio waveforms will line up perfectly.

Let me know what you think,

Randy

Here is an audio waveform comparison screen grab



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Bob Cole
Re: Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Aug 7, 2010 at 2:52:18 pm

[Bill Davis] "The on-board mic is enough to record a scratch track that works fine with Plural Eyes Software that will sync the sumptuous 5d video with audio off virtually any outboard recording you want to use."

I recommended PluralEyes to a Canon 7d shooter/editor who found it was fantastically helpful. Then I tried it myself and couldn't get it to work very well at all, although it was my fault. I probably gave it no chance for success. I had a doc situation with two people standing and walking next to one another, each of whom wore a wireless, each wireless going to a different video camera. PluralEyes couldn't make sense of it, but I shouldn't be surprised by that given what I fed the cameras.

Are you saying that you can record the scene to your Zoom or computer, then let the Canon 5d record with its own microphone, and that PluralEyes has no trouble matching the two? That's amazing, and encouraging.

Bob C


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio to a Canon 5D DSLR
on Aug 7, 2010 at 4:46:58 pm

Bob,

Yes, not dead nuts on but with sub-frame accuracy, provided you are actually recording close enough with the camera. I'll explain my torture test in greater detail when you're here.

For dead nuts, you need to feed exactly the same audio to all cameras. Then, ba-da-bing! Pluraleyes is your homeboy. Bye-bye SMPTE.

Regards,

Ty

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