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Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production

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Luis Landajuela
Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 8:23:43 am

Hi,

i would like some help in order to buy an audio kit for amateur video production.

I am a high school teacher, so my resources are very limited.

We have been able to film some good enough pieces of video with amateur cameras, but the audio is another business. Audio always sounds awful with onboard mics.

I was wondering if i could afford a very simple audio kit (mic, cable, pole, digital recorder ...) that could improve the audio recordings for our videos.

What are the minimum (very minimum!) that yo would get?

Any advice will be very helpful.

Thanks in advance!


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Peter Groom
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 10:51:18 am

Is this for picking up sound off a pa, or shooting scenes?

If its a PA, taking a feed from the pa should be easy with a 40db pad if its a line level into a mic input on the camera. Minimum cost for a couple of adapters and a pad and cable.

If its shooting, as a minimum go for a boom pole, directional rifle mic and a cable back to the camera AND HEADPHONES. This will allow closer audio pickup all round. Theres plenty of choices on ebay so it doesnt need to cost much.

Going up theres a small mixer, batteries, cans, radio mics etc but thats a whole extra cost level.
How much do you have
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 11:34:40 am

Hello Luis and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

A Sound Devices 302 mixer
A mixer to camera snake (cable) with headphone return
Sony MDR 7506 headphones
A Rode NTG-1 or 2 shotgun mic
An Audio Technica AT44053b hypercardioid mic
K-Tek boom with suspension mount.
Wind protection gear if you're shooting outside
Sennheiser G3 wireless mics
Various cables
My Audio Bootcamp Field Guide book

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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David Jones
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 2:21:40 pm

Hi Luis,

I would echo what Ty recommends. Not sure what your budget is, but even if you just get a mixer, pole and boom mic, I would be ready to spend close to if not more than $1,000. In fact, the 302 mixer, alone, is over $1,000. There are less expensive ways to go like, if you can find used items.

Dave J


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Luis Landajuela
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 3:43:11 pm

Thank you all,

very useful responses! and fast!. Never used this forum before, but definately will in the future!

OK, my goal is to shoot scenes. Something like two people walking in a park. For me, today, it is impossible to pick their conversation.

I was thinking of a 500$ budget. I believe that your recomendations are over 1000$, right?

I hope that i am not asking for impossible things, i understand i will have to sacrifice some quality, but is it possible to keep it below 500$?

Thanks again!


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Luis Landajuela
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 3:44:25 pm

One more thing!

i guess that wireless is not possible for me! too expensive. No problem, i will deal with wires.

Thanks


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Bob Kessler
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 4:05:00 pm

What camera are you using?

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Luis Landajuela
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 4:14:49 pm

I don't have it here with me, i don't remember the model name.

But it is a domestic full HD capable camera. As i said, i am happy enough with video results. The camera does not have a balanced audio input. That's why i was thinking of recording audio out of the camera, in a digital recorder, maybe with a balanced input...


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Luis Landajuela
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 4:22:58 pm

Wow!

I was just looking at some prices out there and i was terrified!

I am new to this video production business, but i found that a pole for a microphone, that is, a long stick with a wire inside, can cost 500$ !!!! a simple pole!

I realize maybe i am asking for the impossible! sorry!


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Craig Alan
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 9:13:59 pm

< or = $500 is hard. but improvement over on board mike is possible. maybe. Does your camera have a miniplug in for an external mike? If it does:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/367747-REG/Rode_NTG_2_NTG_2_Battery_o...

(uses battery in place of phantom power)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/319988-REG/K_Tek_KE_89CC_KE_89CC_Aval...

(low end boom -- yes you get what you pay for. weight plus how well it opens and closes etc.)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/589872-REG/Pearstone_8111240_LMT100_L...

(velcro this to camera strap to take strain off mini-plug)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=Canare+CXLRP-XLRJ-15B-G+Star-Quad+...

(this is only 15'. get the size you think you need.)

270 + 175 + 20 + 25 = 490 + shipping, no tax if not in NY.

Now with all this you have no way of monitoring the sound or adjusting on the fly. So it will require practice to get the results you want. You could use a painters pole and some gaffers tape instead of the boom pole. If your cam has headphone out as well as mike in add a set of headphones. The one Ty rec. is industry standard and should be about $80-90 at BH. It will still require rehearsal though.

Sound is way harder than picture on a low budget. For talking heads it's easier. A $50 handheld mike and a cord. Remember you want the mike aimed at the mouth of the speaker and within 3 feet.

You might want to record the talent walking in the park and then record the voices as a voice over with cut aways of what they are talking about. Then you can get by with hand held mikes.

We see them coming towards us talking. They pass by. We follow. Cut aways and back to park as we hear the voice overs.

Save up for the stuff Ty mentioned above. They are solid and you'll use them long after you buy your next camera.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jun 29, 2011 at 10:10:07 pm

Luis,

My 16 foot carbon fiber K-tek boom cost close to $700, I think. Every time i use it and don't break my arms due to the weight of an aluminum pole, I say, "Thank you." to myself.

As noted, audio gear is not like video gear. Buy right once and use the gear for years with great sound. Buy below that and you'll have to buy again to get great sound.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Richard Crowley
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 1, 2011 at 3:46:44 am

Please tell us exactly what camera you are using. Else we can only offer generic advice which may not be useful to you. You say that your unidentified camera does not have balanced input, but that is NOT a show-stopper. Many people use cameras with 3.5mm mini-phone mic inputs. There are many ways around that which produce decent results. You may need nothing more than a decent microphone and a $20 painter's extension pole from the home-improvement warehouse store.


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Eric Toline
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 1, 2011 at 8:50:47 am

The main problem with a painters pole is that there's no easy way to attach a shock mount to the pole. The thread sizes are different.


Eric


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 1, 2011 at 12:11:33 pm

[Eric Toline] "The main problem with a painters pole is that there's no easy way to attach a shock mount to the pole. The thread sizes are different."

And it says a lot about you when you show up for a shoot with a painter's pole. They may think you're there to paint the cyc wall.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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


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Richard Crowley
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 1, 2011 at 1:40:28 pm

"Professional appearance" didn't seem to be one of Mr. Landajuela's problem statements. My take is that he is looking for something workable, not something "pretty" or "impressive".

For that matter, experienced professionals have ended up using painter's poles from the home improvement warehouse because the airline lost their baggage with the $1500 pole in it. Ingenuity trumps technical snobbery every time in my book.


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 1, 2011 at 11:05:37 pm

Richard,

To whom are you responding?

Thanks,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Richard Crowley
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 1, 2011 at 1:35:34 pm

You can buy (or make) an adapter to go from the large threads on a painter's pole to the 5/8-27 threads for western mic threads, or the 3/8-20 euro standard.
Spending some quality time with Google will reveal several clever designs for DIY shock mounts and even windscreen solutions. It isn't rocket surgery. If you have a zero budget, then DIY is a quite viable way of achieving decent results.
Of course, you can't DIY a good microphone. Under those circumstances, my entire budget would go into the microphone.


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Luis Landajuela
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 1, 2011 at 3:38:58 pm

Thank you all for your help!

I think i have more than i asked for.Now it's time for me to make decisions, but i can gather enough info from this thread to make them.

The budget will not grow, that's for sure, the problem is that if a don't spend it this year, i'm not sure if i will have more next year.

I think i will definately have to go with a "home-made" pole, and maybe spend more money in the microphone.

Nobody suggested the digital recorder that i was thinkig of, instead, everyone proposed to record directly in the camera (wich has a mini-jack input for audio). I guess it's a good way to save some money.

Thanks for the effort. If one thing i learned from this thread, it is that 500$ maybe a short budget in order to get a good quality audio kit for video production.

Anyway, as i said, very instructive thread for me ! Thanks!


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Craig Alan
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 1, 2011 at 4:40:06 pm

While I have never regretted spending money on good better best gear, I have solved a lot of problems with velcro
http://www.amazon.com/Velcro-Reusable-Self-Gripping-Inches-91140/dp/B001E1Y...
and gaffer's tape
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/353363-REG/Permacel_Shurtape_Pro_Gaff....

You can always do a search for audio recorder on the cow to get the feedback on cost and options. That would mean one that you can use an external mike with and know how to sync in post. Leaves you a lot less for a good mike and the rest. But the sound will be way better. But I'd save for a sound devices 302 first.


You could also use a length of pvc cut at home store and gaffer tape your shock mount to it. It would be light and cheap. However, it will not fold up. Also if outside, if you are using a painter's pole or pvc they are both more reflective than a black boom pole. So watch for reflections.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Eric Toline
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 2, 2011 at 2:04:53 pm

A 10' length of 1" PVC pipe will bend like a rainbow when you add the weight of a shockmount & mic to the end plus it will sway side to side as there's no lateral stability. An aluminum Avalon pole from K-tek is a much better choice at under $200.


Eric


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Craig Alan
Re: Audio Kit for "Extremely Amateur" video production
on Jul 2, 2011 at 3:46:49 pm

There are pvc pipes that are more rigid, but yes they all bend and no they are no where near as good as a real boom pole. There are DIY solutions for low cost video projects. They do not work as well most of the time as buying professional gear. There is a growing need for many people to produce their own videos. It is becoming another form of literacy. At each price point people need to decide what will give them the most bang for the buck. If I had no gear, I’d start with a good mike and cables. I’ve used $200 boom poles and learned why people spend more. Opening and closing can be a wrestling match and it starts feeling heavy pretty fast. Would I use one over a painter’s pole or pvc? Yeah, of course.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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