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Assistance with Audio for Documentary

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Samuel Frazier
Assistance with Audio for Documentary
on Jan 12, 2011 at 7:13:53 am

Sorry, I’ve been out of the loop for quite some time. Last camera I bought was a DVX100b. Am now looking to shoot a doc that will be shot primarily at parties, so want something low key, not intimidating, and not too expensive as the subjects will most likely be around alcohol. So was looking at 2 consumer HD cameras: Canon VIXIA HV40 & Panasonic HDC-HS700K. Was wondering:

1- Plan on getting something like a juicedLink CX211 Audio Mixer and Preamplifier (no phantom) or their CX231 (w/ phantom). Will have to decide if need phantom for other mics I sometimes use. But, are there other items out there that y’all recommend over the juicedLink?

2- Once I get something like the juicedlink, which camera would have better audio? Know the Canon uses HDV, which I thought has MPEG-1 Layer 2 & isn’t highly thought of. Panasonic uses AVCHD and I believe some variation of Dolby Digital AC-3. No clue how good that is and whether is better or worse than the alternative.

3- Will need a handheld mic to give to the subjects to speak into. Any recommendations?

4- Might get a wired lav so my questions will be audible. Any recommendations for this?

Thanks ahead of time for any help!


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Assistance with Audio for Documentary
on Jan 13, 2011 at 10:09:58 pm

"...are there other items out there that y’all recommend over the juicedLink?"

Why not start out by buying a camera that has XLR inputs? That futureproofs it by making it useful with professional gear later on, even as a backup.

"Once I get something like the juicedlink, which camera would have better audio?"

If you still want to go that route, AC-3 would be my preference, if I had a compression choice. My real preference is a lossless format, such as WAV or AIFF. I typically record at 24-bit/48kHz, since that is "DVD quality" (maybe not anymore with Blu-ray and 3D stuff coming out).

"Will need a handheld mic to give to the subjects to speak into. Any recommendations?"

Shure, Sennheiser, and Electrovoice all make microphones with longer handles and omnidirectional patterns that are meant for conducting interviews.

"Might get a wired lav so my questions will be audible. Any recommendations for this?"

Just move the mic back-and-forth, as they do on the evening news - it's easier, let's you as the interviewer moderate what's going on, AND saves you money (or, rather, let's you have more money to spend on other things). A wired lav is not a bad idea, I just don't think it's necessary for this type of job. Besides, you should look into buying one that can be adapted for wireless use, also.

Wolf
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