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Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?

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Jared Cicon
Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 1, 2010 at 8:33:48 pm

Hi Everyone,
With my H4N I get great sound. But Plural eyes really only helps once you've identified the parallel/corresponding video track. There remains the very time consuming task of identifying and pairing all of the audio/video tracks. I would love to go return to the spoiled luxury of video production where everything is imported together. In an attempt to simplify the editing process of syncing sound to video I am considering doing the following.

Connecting my mics to the Juicedlink pre-amp, then directly into my 5D after installing the newest 2.0.8 Magic Lantern update. As many of you know, the magic lantern update claims to remove the noisy background caused by the Canon implemented AGC. In combination with disabling the AGC, and the much touted noise reduction native to the juicedlink pre-amp, would we agree this would be an adequate way to capture high quality sound without negligible reduction of nuance from the input signal?

On set, I would still send a signal to my H4N as a back-up, but I would so dearly love to pass the tedium of separate mediums. (sorry for the rhyme).

I will also post this question on the appropriate Canon/DSLR forums to cover my bases.

Respectfully, and thankfully.
Jared Cicon


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Ty Ford
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 1, 2010 at 8:51:13 pm

Jared,

Your job, should you decide to accept it, is to find out and report back here.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Jared Cicon
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:00:01 pm

Great, and I was just about to ask you specifically about this after seeing that you offered the audio bootcamp. Okay, I'll report back buddy.
Jared


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Ty Ford
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 1, 2010 at 9:59:09 pm

Jared,

You are in uncharted territory, the potentially bleeding edge of technology.

Those cameras were never made for audio, originally. I'm not sure defusing the AGC will improve things. I don't have either camera here. So my advice is proceed slowly. I don't particularly like the Juiced Link boxes either.

Do some tests, send some short 48 kHz, 16-bit wav files around to folks with good ears. We may find that this fix works, but it may not.

Regards,

Ty Ford

PS: Don't experiment on a real job with a real client.

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





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Jared Cicon
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 1, 2010 at 10:16:59 pm

Hey Ty,
Okay. I guess I should just proceed with the ML update and see where it takes me. coming from a point of dissatisfaction with JuicedLink, what other pre-amp would you recommend? Please keep in mind that although most of the time, my sound guy will be hand holding whatever configuration I finally come up with, there will be times when it will all be attached to the Handy SLR rig that I use. Between the camera, the marshall monitor, ballast, shade, everything adds up in weight pretty fast so the lighter the better. Neither could it be a pre-amp that is overly bulky with relation to mass.

Thanks in advance for your help on this amigo. Flux capacitor replaced.
Jared


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Ty Ford
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 1, 2010 at 10:36:13 pm

Jared,

A Sound Devices 302 mixer.

http://www.sounddevices.com/products/302master.htm

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Brian Reynolds
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 1, 2010 at 10:54:13 pm

Jared, I was talking to a friend of mine who does Film / TV lighting recently about DSLR production, his comment "its on the way out"...the reasons being the problems you have experienced.
Panasonic have just released a camera that fills that market EXACTLY and solves the audio problems for less than $5k, and uses existing SLR lenses.

http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/af100/

The difference between Knowledge and Wisdom is... Knowledge is the knowing of facts.... Wisdom is the sensible application of good quality knowledge...


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Ty Ford
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 1, 2010 at 11:10:12 pm

[Brian Reynolds] "Jared, I was talking to a friend of mine who does Film / TV lighting recently about DSLR production, his comment "its on the way out"...the reasons being the problems you have experienced."


Brian,

Thanks for this. It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Format wars continue. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Jared Cicon
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 1, 2010 at 11:37:03 pm

Hey Brian,
Thanks for adding your voice to the discussion. I am familiar with that camera and I was a little disappointed that Panasonic didn't achieve a full frame 35mm sensor like the 5D. While the camera does have redeeming value in the marketplace, it's footprint is still quite large when compared to the 7D and 5D, which factored large in George Lucas's decision to use Canon DSLRs for the airplane cockpit footage of his most recent feature endeavor.

Ancillary:
Those people who purchase the Panasonic will have to live with their purchase and build the inevitable support gear list during their ownership period, in much the same way I am with my 5D and 7D. I am not in a position or of the mind to abandon these cameras for the Panasonic flavor du jour. With that in mind it is prudent I pursue the best support gear strategy for the equipment I currently own and have become quite familiar with. I can offer that having produced national commercials with various types of equipment, I and am very happy with the performance and results I am getting from the 5D and 7D. so I am not sure these Canons will become obsolete in the way most gear does.

With that as a background, is there any help you can offer relative to my current needs?

Jared


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Bill Davis
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 1:08:42 am

Jarred,

Simply accept this REALITY.

The Canon 5dMkii was an ACCIDENT. NOBODY (including from my reading, the original designers!) really expected the DIGIC processor at it's heart to have the capacity to reliably blast frames using a significant portion of the HUGE raster of the sensor out at video speeds. There was much concern in the early days about chip overheating and other problems about using the camera for extended video shooting. None of that came true. Which was great. But the REAL astonishment was that nobody expected the results to be such INCREDIBLE, BEAUTIFUL video imagery. In short, nobody ever expected this thing to work like it does.

They were caught short - just like the ENTIRE market - when they learned just how STUNNING the video was from this camera.

For proof, look at how they've scrambled to re-program the camera to add video features AFTER THE FACT.

So we were all given a wonderful, dynamic accident. But it was still an ACCIDENT. There was NO parallel accident on the AUDIO side of this camera. It's audio capabilities are MARGINAL at best. They're about what you'd expect from a Flip camera. Limited bandwith, lo-fi, "always on" Auto Gain Control (AGC) audio that will NEVER be acceptable in any professional workflow - no matter HOW many interim boxes you attach to the gizmo.

The issue is that, on a scale of 1 to 10 - the VIDEO from a 5dMkii managed by accident to be a 20. Therfore all the ruckus.

However, the fact you have to FACE is that the AUDIO will never be better than a 2 or a 3. That's the NATURE of the design of the audio section of the beast.

You can work your ass off to make that 3 the best 3 it can by by chasing it with tricks (pilot tones) and adding expensive mics and pre-amps, and other stuff - but ALL YOU CAN DO IS GET IT UP TO A 3 because that's all the audio it was EVER designed for.

3 is fine for home birthday parties. 3 is NOT fine for real professional work.

So we use the Zoom or something similar because it gets us an audio 10 which matched with the VIdeo 20 is pretty damned amazing. And some folks with HUGE budgets use the video 20 of the 5d with a whole hollywood sound department to match the Video 20 with an Audio 20. Which is why you get HOUSE and Lucas Films in the game, etc.

But ACCEPT that the camera is an Audio 3 and will NEVER be anything else, no matter how much you WISH it would be. The lightening struck in the Chip and in the Processor. There was NO lighting left to hit the beast's Audio circuits.

Sorry.



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Danny Winn
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 5:25:22 am

Bill, I mean no disrespect and I do mean that, but do you even know what Magic Lantern does? It doesnt sound like you do because you mention that the AGC is always on which it is NOT with the Magic Lantern because this Firmware disables the AGC.

ML also added audio meters and turns the 5D Av jack into a headphone jack in addition to many non audio related features. Did you know any of this? Again, no disrespect but it just sounds like you answered this thread without knowing what was being asked.

A JuiceLinked unit in conjunction with ML drops the Audio input noise seemingly to 0.

Magic Lantern is a free 3rd party Firmware for the 5D not a Canon written product.

We all know that there are several ways of getting "Lucas" quality sound out there, but the question here is, does anyone out there have a lot of experince with both the options mentioned above and how do they perform?


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Jared Cicon
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 6:47:45 am

Hey Danny,
As usual, I love your passion. Good to see you posting your thoughts here on the C.C.. When we believe strongly in something, I believe it is our responsibility to stand and be counted. You are a stalwart. I am invigorated by your passion and refuse to accept Biill's assumption that the 5D will only ever offer a '3' out of '10 where the audio is concerned. Funny thing: It is always proponents of the status quo (Biill) that inspire mavericks like ourselves to prove them wrong. Let's aspire to a a 5D audio '8' or a '9' eh? "Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead."
Jared


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Rodney Morris
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 5:29:40 am

This news piece was shot on a Canon 5D. Audio (Sennheiser wireless) was recorded directly to camera; no other details were given. Sounds decent enough on my laptop - seems like it's better than a "3".



Rodney Morris
Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Jared Cicon
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 6:18:37 am

Hi Rodney,
Thanks for taking the time to provide perspective from the side of the argument that hopes for appreciatable atmospheric static electricity even if it doesn't rise to the level of the all out lightening required of some of the creatives here at the C.C.. I watched the entire news report link you provided for viewing on the vimeo video engine and my opinion of the audio potential for the 5D has been strengthened.
Jared


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Jared Cicon
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 6:01:58 am

Biill,
Biill said: "But ACCEPT that the camera is an Audio 3 and will NEVER be anything else, no matter how much you WISH it would be. The lightening struck in the Chip and in the Processor. There was NO lighting left to hit the beast's Audio circuits. Sorry."

I have to tell you that I do appreciate the passion with which you explain the fluke that is the Canon series of DSLRs. As a wedding photographer for almost two decades, I expressed similar disdain when the digital world started to encroach upon the testosterone of my Bronica SQA. No one could tell me that anything digital could compare to the warmth and realism of my mediaum format film negative. As a teacher I would tell my students things that were eerily similar in tone to your thread comment. I find myself wondering how embarrassed I would be today were I to meet those same students.

Things changed Biill.

Let me know if I have this right. Based on your thoughtful analysis of my predicament, I am stuck with a camera that provides me Vista-Vision equivalent quality, and can purchase/own it all for what it would currently cost me to rent a PanaFlex Panavision camera for just one weekend. And worst case scenario, I can capture the sound separately similar to how the purists have done it for 80 or so years.

Biill, no apology necessary. I think I am in just the place I'd like to be. Here's to lightening striking in the same place twice. Cheers.

Jared Cicon


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Rodney Morris
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 12:31:04 pm

Jared,
While I think Bill's assessment of the audio quality is a little off, he is correct in stating that the current 5D/7D audio offering (with ML) is not as capable as the video imaging and is still not as good as recording double system to a "quality" recorder (I'm not sure the Zoom falls into that category). It would be an interesting comparison to do an A/B test of audio recorded on the camera and recorded to the Zoom H4N. Neither one has great A/D conversion, though they are perfectly acceptable in many situations. Lucas film sound quality they are not, but most projects that I work on day in and day out don't require that level of audio precision. It's all about what the situation demands.

Rodney Morris
Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 2:41:50 pm

To All,

This is a great string. I really appreciate everyone's approach and comments. We are here to throw the bones out on the table and pick them apart with passion to constantly improve our work.

As a tangential thought, I don't like the HDV format because the audio is only 384 kbps mpeg 1. There's the video compression too. I thought I had heard that some networks limit the amount of HDV. Perhaps someone can fill in the info about that. Anyway, my dislike and complaints by others have not stopped tens of thousands of people from using HDV professionally.

The conversion of analog to digital audio was a bumpy ride. Golden eared folks complained about the hardness and edge of digital audio. Most of those complaints went away after the shift from 16 to 24-bit recording.

Where are the Canons on this spectrum? Dunno. As mentioned there's A/D conversion and AGC and who knows what else to consider.

Rodney's clip sounds OK on my laptop, and I guess it's been compressed to play on the web. That doesn't help, but it's not necessarily unfair because even broadcast DTV and cable are compressed to some degree. I'd be curious to hear what it would sound like before these compressions. Rodney, was this video shot with the firmware upgrade?

If the 5 and & can be fixed, like the Hubble space telescope, that'd be nice. That Panasonic may already have a piece of gear to replace the 5 and 7 is typical of the "buy the new thing" marketing approach that keeps companies going. The revenue from new gear funds more research to find better looking better sounding even newer gear.

Side thought: I don't know but, perhaps part of the problem is that people have been sending line level to the cameras. That's usually the preferred way to send audio to a camera but that was established back when feeding line level meant the preamp at the input was bypassed. These days, it's much more likely that they just stuck a 40 dB pad in front of the mic preamp.

Has anyone tried sending mic level from a mixer?

Again, nice string folks!


Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Rodney Morris
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 2, 2010 at 3:12:29 pm

Ty, good thoughts going on there. I'll try to add something quasi-intelligent.

The point of the clip that I posted wasn't to showcase the quality of the audio, in a sense. Rather, it was to show that the Canon 5D can record acceptable audio in relation to its intended broadcast means. It seems that for nearly any cable, over-the-air and web delivery formats, the Canon can capture audio that will be acceptable for news reporting and documentary style shooting. I say this because of the amount of processing/compression that occurs in every step of the broadcast chain. Audio can, and regularly does, get compromised somewhere along the line (aggressive comp/limiters, codecs, tape ops who are lazy with level referencing, etc.).

A couple of weeks ago I did a three camera shoot for FoxSports. I fed one camera line level, the second camera mic level and the third camera was mixed mono line level feed (for reference only). There was a perfectly rational reason for doing it this way, but I won't bore you with the details of that. While A/Bing cameras 1 and 2 return in my headphones, I could not hear any discernible difference between the two feeds. Granted, the monitoring sections of most broadcast cameras suck. However, if I can't hear any real difference between the two in this most basic test, then it's doubtful that the end user will hear the difference from their TV set, AV system or computer speakers after the audio has been compressed for broadcast/download.

I know that I haven't touched on the subject of how small audio compromises can become larger problems later in the processing chain, but again I look at it from the end user standpoint, not necessarily the purist, audiophile requirements. That doesn't give those of us who work in broadcast the opportunity to be sloppy in our audio capturing techniques! But it does provide the proper perspective that often aids in good relations with producers, camera ops and anyone else on "set" that gets easily annoyed with an overly ambitious sound recordist.

Rodney Morris
Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Bill Davis
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:26:20 am

I'm not going to beat this to death. I'll just tell you two TRUE stories from my career.

I was shooting a relatively famous boys choir and taking a feed from the FOH mixer for the soundtrack. I heard clear, noiseless singing and a beautiful rendition of the voices. So smiling, I handed my headphones to the music director. He listened for about half a second and got a horribly stricken look on his face. "I'll fix that IMMEDIATELY" he says in a panic and runs to the console and starts twisting knobs. I keep my yap shut and after he gives me a "thumbs up" I put the headphones back on - and suddenly there were midrange and bass sounds from the choir that I HAD COMPLETELY MISSED HEARING. The MORAL? At that point in my career, I hadn't really learned how to LISTEN to a choir (or really, any complex audio signal with UNDERSTANDING), so I never knew anything was missing from my mix.

Story two involves hearing my audio work the first time in a commercial theatre. These were before the days that I was able to afford my studio and good speakers. I'll never forget the AWFUL 60hz HUM that came on before the dialog track ever started - something the 3" speaker on my TV had completely hidden from me during the mix.

Yes, I've seen and heard not just DSLR but lots and lots of CAMCORDER shots hit television and the local news and even national broadcasts. Sure you can mostly hear the dialog. But that's NOT the same as developing a QUALITY audio workflow that can go anywhere without embarrassing you as a producer.

You guys want to keep working in a way that works just fine for now - but never actually addresses the process of making your audio tracks AS GOOD as your video tracks out of something like a 5d - then fine. Free country. Go right ahead.

I suspect that somewhere down the line, you too will have EXACTLY the kind of experiences that I had where my failure to understand more than "it's clean, so it must be OK" in audio terms led me to moments of professional embarassment.

At that point, you'll go one of two ways. You'll keep "making do" with sub-standard audio systems constructed around inadequate breakable non-locking mini-jacks and unbalanced to balanced gizmos that suck up money because the CAMERA isn't equipped for grown up audio - or you'll learn that the risks of embarrassment are something you wish to put behind you.

An H4n costs under $300. Cables, real mics, and accessories will probably stretch that to around $1000 to make audio something you don't have to EVER apologize for.

You don't want to invest that - and the time to learn to operate with appropriate tools ALL THE TIME as insurance against failure - great.

Rock on.

Perhaps you'll NEVER face a client or customer who DOES know how things are really supposed to sound and doesn't like that mini-pin crappy solder joint crackling that developed after a month of using on-camera mic input on your 5d.

Luck be a lady and all.



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Jared Cicon
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 3, 2010 at 3:47:17 pm

Bill Said: "I'm not going to beat this to death."

Too late... you just did.

Sorry Bill, but I have to ask this question. Who or what broke your heart, shattering it to pieces, and how long ago was it that you still so ardently cling to the pain?

Jared


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Ty Ford
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 3, 2010 at 4:16:23 pm

The yellow warning light on my emoticon consolette just flickered.

Perhaps, if Bill would allow me, best practices are called best practices for a reason.

OTOH, new technology comes along and new ways of working supplant old.

ENG (generally) has lower spec expectations than documentary and film work. What we saw in the clip was ENG. I didn't listen to it on the big monitors for several reasons, including the fact that it's squished for web delivery and I didn't want to prejudice it with that burden.

Lets step away from any possible finger pointing and step closer to dealing with the issue. Does it sound good or not. Record something put it up somewhere. Let us judge and discuss.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Jared Cicon
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 3, 2010 at 5:10:13 pm

Mine was flashing bright red upon receiving Bill's post. Thanks for your attempt at peacemaking Ty.
Jared


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Danny Winn
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 4, 2010 at 12:12:30 am

I'm still unclear if Bill even knows what Magic Lantern with a JuicedLink box even sounds like or has he even ever heard of them.

If he hasn't used those two items together with the 5D then he is not qulified to answer this thread no matter how good he is or knowledgeable on all other audio systems.


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Bill Davis
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 4, 2010 at 5:46:34 am

Without hostility or ANY combativeness -

Danny, just to put you at ease....

Answer 1, YES, I've followed Tramm's xcellent hack since it was in Beta. (And I've shot with the 5d itself since about 4months BEFORE he announced ML. Great work, his. Too bad his talent will likely never be adequately rewarded since Canon added enough of what he accomplished in his evolutions in their second round firmware upgrade to make it's functional inconveniences (like the re-boot issues) problematic to many producers like me.

As to my overall "qualifications" to discuss audio for video I'll leave those for others to expound upon.

But, since some here seem to be calling me out for lack of understanding and experience, allow me to reflect back to you a reality acknowledged by BOTH the Juicedlink AND the Sound Devices web sites.

"Throttle back the 5d's noisy pre-amps to the maximum amount possible by setting the audio level to one click above FULLY ATTENUATED."

Responsible manufacturers who understand audio are ALL saying exactly the same thing. The circuitry in the 5d is SUB STANDARD and have to be set to BARELY pass a signal if the self noise profile of the camera is to be diminished.

Look, if YOU feel comfortable with the 5d as the repository of the MOST CRITICAL COMPONENT of your hard work (THE CRITICAL AUDIO TRACK) that's just fine with me. All I'm saying is that I moved on. And I'd argue that the VAST majority of working 5d users have done the same.

From my watching on Chris Hurds board - Tramm has less and less time to work on trying to keep up with this stuff. And as the new cameras come out - particularly the newer DSLR/Camcorder hybrids there will likely be a diminishing market for any solution.

Until we see, we have to make choices that let us work TODAY.

I have.

Feel free to make your own.



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Rodney Morris
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 4, 2010 at 4:16:02 pm

Bill, thanks for the stories. I agree there is much more involved in creating a great audio track than "it's clean, so it must be OK". I agree with everything you wrote. However, ENG sound mixers don't have the luxury of large format consoles with 4 band sweepable EQ with adjustable Q and a variety of preamps and a locker full of microphones with which to shape the sound we wish to capture. We have to "make due" with portable mixers, a variety of shotgun mics (and hypercardioids, at times) and lavalier mics boasting a variety of frequency response curves. There is very little "art" in creating ENG audio. That doesn't mean there is no skill or intelligence needed to work in the field, but we employ a different set of requirements for the audio elements that we capture.

True story. Many years ago I worked on an ESPN Classics story. Our interviews were recorded in a small room adjacent to a noisy hallway with large metal doors that banged shut on one side and a security office on the other side with 2 way radios going off frequently. No controls for the A/C were present. I was mortified. I padded the sills of the metal doorways as much as possible with gaff tape. But many of the other elements were beyond my control, given our time constraints. The producer signed off on the condition of the shoot and we soldiered on. Many months later I saw the piece air on TV. The interviews that we shot (and that I fretted so much about) sounded fine. I could barely perceive any background noise bleeding into the primary audio track. It was an eye opening experience in my professional career. I know several sound mixers who would have totally freaked out in the situation that we found ourselves in and would have gone berzerk trying to control the extraneous noises. Those mixers don't get many calls for our work because they don't know how to let things go, when the situation demands. Discretion is essential to better judgment.

Again, I'm not advocating sloppy work, or lowering the standards of sound mixers out there. What I am trying to say is that we approach every job with the attitude that we will capture the best audio possible given the location AND the final distribution format. In a perfect world, there would never be a difference, but who said TV production was a perfect world! :)

For ENG audio, the Canon 5D can capture "acceptable" (and that's the key word here) audio. Not superb audio, not great audio, but acceptable audio. Sometimes that's all that's necessary, especially considering the budgets of many "productions" today.

I agree with you in the assessment that if folks want their audio to sound as good as the video from the 5D and 7D looks, then recording to a separate, quality recorder is necessary. I'm not sure anyone here would argue that point.

I appreciate your input here Bill.

Rodney Morris
Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 4, 2010 at 5:16:28 pm

Rodney,

Excellent content as usual! Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply.

Having been in radio (and a Production Director) for 17 years, half of that with a major market AM/FM facility that also had a TV station in the same building, I know a lot about ENG.

News is news and you get what you can get. I think this situation is a little different. Yes, the piece shown in one of the previous posts appears to be a new story. But lets be careful how we extend that use.

We are always on the slippery slope. It just depends on where you want to dig your ice grippers in. As I mentioned earlier in this very long thread, lets put the new fixes to the test and find out how good the results are. In my explanation of my problem with HDV audio, I neglected to mention that during my research I spoke to a Sony engineer who said, "Certainly, if you want the best audio, you'll double record if you're shooting HDV." I will omit his name so as not to bring him any grief.

The HDV followers really let me have it about their favorite new format. I'm not sure what their applications for HDV were, but I assured them that while they could argue with me, they couldn't argue with the math.

Two years ago I was hired an the audio supervisor for a DVD about a well known music group. When I talked to the shooters, they said they were shooting HD with a Canon HV30. I mumbled something about the HV30 being HDV not HD. They quickly told me I didn't know what I was talking about and that the Canon web site said the camera was HD!! Not wanting (or caring) to get into the math, I dropped the topic. I did, however, go to the Canon site and in their big, bold headlines they called the HV30 HD. It wasn't until the fine print in the specs that they mentioned it was HDV: MPEG1 Audio Layer II (2 ch).

Months later, when they saw their final results on DVD, they said they were a little disappointed in the video quality. I offered that it looked pretty good for HDV. This time, they did not respond.

Again, who want to do the experiment with this new fixed up rig and pas the audio around? Let's use some good mics and a good mixer up front. A Schoeps and any Sound Devices mixer you want.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Bill Davis
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 4, 2010 at 9:14:39 pm

Rodney,

I heartily agree with everything you wrote. Including, by the way, the realities of ENG work and the necessity of sometimes accepting that what you can get — is what you can get.

Perhaps one of the reasons that I've been so vehement in this discussion is because it's so hard for newbies to understand reality of what I've come to think of as the CURVE of QUALITY.

Let's assume a project where it will take a skilled practitioner 10 hours to get a first cut that's OK -

In my experience to improve the quality of the work by 10 percent might take TWICE THE TIME. And to get from GOOD to EXCEPTIONAL might take a whole week! The pursuit of quality is nearly always along a difficult curve of diminishing returns.

So how are we going to DISCIPLINE ourselves to push beyond being just OK when there's a PENALTY extracted for taking the time to be better than just OK?

Many don't. They just gleefully take the easy way and let quality slide. They prize "cheap", work on little margin, don't pay proper taxes or for insurance or business licenses and work out of their Parent's bedroom and with a 5dMkii they claim that their work is "JUST AS GOOD" as the big players work. Hell, maybe it is! But it's also unsustainable.

Doing audio on a 5d without double system, strikes me as a clear sign that someone has decided that OK is good enough. And I don't quibble that sometimes that is precisely true. But it's also a TRAP. If your STANDARD becomes OK - then you're willingly leaving yourself stuck in the great pack of OK.

And I suspect that the next generation of men and women who are going to find their names on the credits of the GREAT work 10 or 15years from now - and hopefully retire satisfied with comfortable bank accounts and fond memories are NOT going to be those who stop trying at OK. Because OK is way too easy these days. Any knucklehead who can afford a 5d and read these boards can get to OK in a jiffy.

Every still photographer who starts playing with their DSLR's "movie" feature is potential competition in OK. Every 15-17 year old with indulgent parents or grandparents is potential competition in OK. There's GOT to be something that keep the rest of us pushing beyond OK.

I make one small stand against that idea of OK with my dismissal of on-board 5d audio.

Again, I'm NOT saying it's EVIL, or that it can't be justified. Simply that I won't make it MY standard. And so I won't waste my time trying to learn tricks in order to make it something it's inherently not.

Yes, it MIGHT be OK in many circumstances. But OK is simply not the standard that I aspire to.

YMMV.

Simple as that.



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Tony Connoly
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 4, 2010 at 5:24:08 pm

Bill,

I truly enjoyed reading your stories!

One thing to keep in mind is that pre-synced audio is incredibly alluring to any solo shooter who doesn't have a dedicated sound person logging every take. In an ENG environment, logging is often out of the question. I tried defeating the AGC of a different camera on the cheap without using a Juicedlink or Beachtek, and the results were not great because the recording level ends up being too low. Perhaps the Juicedlink/Beachtek preamps get around this one issue by pumping up the recording level such that it is high enough but still does not distort the input of the DSLR? Of course other issues remain as you pointed out.

The solution I went for is to get a Marantz DMP661; could have gone with the Zoom H4n, but I didn't like the handling characteristics or the interface. (Zoom just came out with a firmware update that allows you to set the levels on the two XLR inputs separately. What?? You need a firmware update for someting that basic? Little league stuff, in my opinion, and I didn't want to deal with it.)

That said, I'd love to know what results people get out of a Juicedlink or Beachtek and DSLRs in general (not particularly interested in the 5D per se).


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Danny Winn
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 6, 2010 at 12:44:09 am

Everybody needs to go watch these two videos that demo all audio options for the 5D directly into the Audio input jack in conjunction with the free Magic Lantern Firmware.

the first video tests 4 different units.

The second video is the conclusion of all the tests with full samples and a convincing argument that great results are possible.

Video 1:

Video 2 "the Conclusion":


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Ty Ford
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 6, 2010 at 2:56:52 am

Danny,

Maybe I'm mis-reading all of this but it sure seems like the heat is on to sell us on something and I'm just not convinced,

On the second clip, I don't see or hear anything to convince me that the juiced link is the best other than some guy on camera telling me that.

On the first clip, the recorder he mentions being boomy. Didn't sound boomy to me.

On the key jangle test, there should be no plastic, just metal keys and they should be shook in a way that causes some pretty nasty transients.

Magic Lantern sounds VERY noisy.

What would work - and this is the 3rd time I've asked for it - is for an uncompressed clip to be loaded to an ftp site so many people could listen.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Bill Davis
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:41:41 am

I'm sorry. And I know and appreciate the work you put into this. But as a technical comparison - this makes me uncomfortable

Since people in this thread have responded that they like my stories, here's another one that explains WHY I think tests like these are problematic.

Eons ago, I hung around with a lot of Psych grad students and I helped one design a high school presentation in psychological manipulation. Heres how the setup went. On a table were setup six parallel rows, each consisting of six small toys - 36 in all. The object was to MAKE a student designated as the CHOOSER who was staged outside the room - come in and to make them select a pre-determined toy via verbal manipulation.

Here's how it worked (a process so foolishly simple that once understood, it's effect seldom is forgotten - but a technique that's STILL commonly used in politics, marketing, and sales every day, quite effectively!)

Let's say the "TARGET" object was a blue bear that was in row 3, position 4 down from the top.

The CHOOSER arrives and the "INSTRUCTOR" says - "Okay let's see if what you pick of your free will. YOU make YOUR first choice - by selecting ODD or EVEN." the CHOOSER says "ODD" and the "INSTRUCTOR" says "You've selected ODD - so let's remove the EVEN rows and concentrate on your choice.

GAME OVER.

Right here, smart people often "get" the game. Because if the CHOOSER had said "EVEN" all the INSTRUCTOR has to do is say - EXCELLENT - you've selected EVEN, so now I'll REMOVE what you have selected.

BOTH instructions result in the outcome that includes the "choice" you wish the CHOOSER to make.

At every choice, the INSTRUCTOR can set the outcome by either INCLUDING or ELIMINATING what's said, . The INSTRUCTOR NEVER loses.

Now we're talking about a CHOICE between microphones. But what's MISSING? Plenty. We have no STANDARDS for judgement. We TRUST (And I truly do TRUST) that this experiment setup was done fairly and each mic was given the SAME chance to perform. But only within such a NARROW RANGE OF CHOICES that we're left ACCEPTING that the choices that THIS experiment offers are the RIGHT ones. I'm NOT suggesting AT ALL that anyone is trying to suppress CHOICE as in my story example. I have NO DOUBT that this was undertaken as fairly as the designer believed was needed.

However, nothing in this test reveals anything very deep or meaningful about the ability of the gear to recording anything but a medium male voice and some simple sounds that frankly, in an open field, far from electrical interference and ANY room characteristics, make this a pretty much a SOFTBALL test- in other words it's a test centered around the MOST BENIGN conditions - You're testing a recording chain using ONE mic with ONE performance profile recording ONE easy signal. What if ALL the recorders in the test are all simply UNIFORMLY mediocre under these conditions? How would we know? There's NO objective standard for comparison.

And sorry, but your conclusions given are done in terms that don't really have any uniform meaning! Boomy? NEUTRAL? FUll TONE? As compared to what? You appear to be about my age. I know my personal hearing is NOT as accurate as it was when I was, for example, 25. Where do these subjective evaluations come from? Is this one person's opinion? If so, what are their evaluation credentials?

This is precisely why honest traditional microphone tests attempt to avoid this type of subjective grading and also NEVER stop at just sticking a mic in one a specific situation and trading out ONE component. You want to assess performance over a RANGE of conditions.

When there ARE highs present - not just the brief transients of jangling plastic key fobs - but perhaps windchimes of a flute played loudly - how does the INHERENT RECORDING CHAIN of DEVICE A - CAPTURE THAT? AND does DEVICE B do as well, or more poorly? Does ONE quantitize harshly with respect to the others? Or more smoothly? If a person with a LISP does the narration, does this particular recording machine SPLASH the sibilants? Or take them in stride? What about LOW end. Many inexpensive units have a switchable High Pass filter set at around 150 hz - useful for knocking out wind transients - but simultaneously INSURING that you will NEVER get an anywhere NEAR accurate recording of a jet taking off with that unit. Does that matter to a particular user?

In a TRUE test of audio - you REMOVE as much distracting as possible by testing in the ABSENCE of noise - NOT because the noise won't be there in field conditions - but because you understand the need to evaluate performance flaws might be COVERED by the very content you're recording. And just because you can't hear a performance problem - or even much DIFFERENCE at THIS volume setting, how do we know how Unit A compares to OTHERS in operational conditions.

Again, you're just testing ONE sliver of performance. And that's simply not enough to draw conclusions from for a system that will MAKE OR BREAK my ability to have confidence in my professional work.

YMMV.

Again, honestly thanks for your time and effort. I understand that it's hard to put work out there and receive criticism on it like this. But in an era where anyone and everyone can post material for global review without ANY peer review, I just felt that someone needed to point out some of the issues that might not make this the last or best word on the subject.

I hope I've not been unduly harsh. But objective standards in equipment evaluation ARE critical if any of us are to be able to learn when the wheat is the chaff, and what device truly does exceed the performance of another.

Peace.



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Jake Stutzman
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Feb 17, 2012 at 5:57:15 am

Thanks for your insightfulness here Bill. Although this is an old thread its still a relevant issue. I make a living with the 5d however I won't use the audio functions of the camera unless its my last option. People who really understand audio wouldn't touch it with a 10' stick. Some are satisfied with second rate and hate it when you point that out to them.


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Tony Connoly
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 3, 2010 at 4:00:52 am

The sensor on the Canon 5D is four times as large as the sensor on the Panasonic, which has serious consequences, mostly good but some bad. The Panasonic is also a lot more expensive, and still requires additional gear for ergonomics.

What I'd like to see is a Panasonic GH2 type camera with a larger sensor, and either XLR with a good A/D converter or digital audio inputs. With digital audio inputs, you can feed it audio off of a nice mixer and not have to worry about sync. Alternatively, timecoding on both the camera and the recorder would make syncing a cinch.

I haven't tried PluralEyes yet, but I am disappointed I can't give it a bunch of clips and have it figure out what's what. The way way some folks talk about that program, you'd think it can walk on (virtual) water.


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Ty Ford
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 3, 2010 at 4:14:27 am

Tony,

I own Pluraleyes and I'm not sure what you're referring to, but it works very well.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Tony Connoly
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 3, 2010 at 4:26:15 am

Ty,

I think the initial post stated that you need to identify the video clip that a particular audio clip corresponds to before PluralEyes can do its work. In other words, you can just dump a full days work on the program and expect it to sort it at all out. I haven't installed the trial yet, so I don't know how it works.


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Eric Toline
Re: Does 5D + Magic lantern + Juicedlink pre-amp = audio capture success?
on Dec 3, 2010 at 4:30:17 am

Check out sync-n-link. Word is it can do batch processing.


Eric


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