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Rode Videomic w/ Zoom H4n setup for indoor dialogue

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Sergei Toscani
Rode Videomic w/ Zoom H4n setup for indoor dialogue
on Oct 26, 2012 at 9:12:36 pm

Hi there,

I'm shooting for a close to zero budget short in a few days and I'd love to get some feedback on the audio setup.


Canon 5Dmkii
Zoom H4N
Rode Videomic

The location is a well insulated luxury hotel room.

As far as I can see I need to go;

Rode Mic > vxlr adapter(3.5mm trsf to xlrm) > xlr cable > Zoom h4n.

Now if I want to synch up the audio with the video I can also go;

Zoom h4n > Stereo cable (female to male 3.5mm - less than 10feet) > Sescom LN2Mic cable > 5Dmkii (mic socket)

As far as I understand it this will mean the rode mic audio, via the zoom, records straight onto the 5d as if the camera was capturing it itself.


1) Is this setup advisable or is the Sescom cable's convenience for editing going to increase chances of trouble with audio?
2) Will simultaneously recording ambient/ back up audio using an inbuilt mic on the Zoom invite spoiling the Rode audio to some degree?
3) For fairly consistent dialogue and ambience what might the best settings be on the Zoom and camera?
4) Would a better mic (eg. NTG) be worth renting, considering there is no sound guy to tinker with settings?
AND (you'll like this) im planning on gaffer taping the mic to a makeshift boom...so renting a proper boom pole/lazy arm too?


I hope that was all clear. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.


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Peter Groom
Re: Rode Videomic w/ Zoom H4n setup for indoor dialogue
on Oct 27, 2012 at 11:31:32 am

Hi Sergei

Personally id not bother with the added link to the 5d. Keep it simple. WEAR HEADPNHONES.

Do a test. Either the audio reccorded direct to the 5d is good enough or its not. You decide. Im not going to tell you it will be ok, because I personally dont think it will, but thats partly my day job speaking. Look at my profile picture and youll see why. Is the syncing up part is an issue to you. It only takes a few minutes to do loads of clips!

So point 1 (possibly). Id not bother. Let the 5 d internal mic record a scratch track. Get a good recording on the zoom and sync it in post.

2) No it wont spoil anything. Set the zoom in 4 track mode and the front ambient mics will record to a stereo file and the rear inputs will too. This could be quite nice in the mix if you position the zoom correctly to let the onboard mics do a job. They arent directional so will need to be reasonably close.

3) Well you have to set it up on the meters. The zoom Id recommend not letting anything go over -10. 5d who cares. It will be awful. Are there even any meters or cans. Stop me!!!!

4) Id suggest renting a proper boom with a suspension mount. Youll be amazed how much cleaner the recording will be when it has to be moved mid shot. AND surely you know someone / anyone who could come and swing the boom into the general right zone? Grandma, cousin, freind, newborn? OK I realise boom swinging is a skill, but these are better then no one?

Lastly. The AUDIO is the 1 thing that will cause you problems. Pictures are easy. What you see on the screen , you get. Wear headphones. Dont presume it is right. CHECK it. make test recordings and listen to them back carefully before shooting. Pay attention to levels and Gain controls. make a test and find out wher the max recording level is on your kit before you get raggy distortion, and keep well back from that. Did i mention wearing headphones.

If you have to choose between weraing headphones and breathing, go for the headphones!!!

Sorry for the attitude. Im feeling flippant today.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Sergei Toscani
Re: Rode Videomic w/ Zoom H4n setup for indoor dialogue
on Oct 27, 2012 at 1:11:33 pm

Hi Peter,

thanks so much for your reply and not at all flippant, I know what it's like having to constantly explain the basics to nai'oobs, a little humour is necessary!

So HEADPHONES. Yes that's what I was thinking with the Sescom LN2MIC-ZMH4-MON, with the additional headphone jack splitter.
As I wanted to have the Zoom to one side close to the boom mic also picking up sound as you suggest in 2) the problem would then be how does the camerman listen in? So the Sescom means that he doesnt need to be close to the Zoom... ...Ok i'll try and kill my inner noob - how about I just use a 3.5mm jack stereo extension cable to run from the Zoom to the headphones and the man??! Done, right?

3) Do you mean that the 5D's audio capture would be awful - does it have any meters or cans? I didnt mean settings on the 5D for picking up its own audio, rather are there (in that setup) any optimum, relevant 5D settings to get the best out of the recorder.
But it was just a paranoid question as Im sure the Zoom doesnt rely on the 5D at all to record the sound well or badly. And im scrapping the sescom as youve suggested (im not that lazy with post or in a huge rush)

Thanks for the tip on max sound levels.
As I've not yet got my hands on the Zoom (and ive heard that the manual is terrible) do you know if the Zoom has any way of setting up markers to warn of sound levels reached, such as showing a maximum/highest db on the last recording or does that have to be done through pure observation whilst the audio is coming in during sound tests/rehearsals?

4) I think i'll rent a boom pole with a new shotgun mic and xlr cable running straight from it into the Zoom. I'll just clamp the boom to a mic floor stand and lazy arm.

If the mics are so sensitive to movement to need the suspension mount i think i'd prefer to work around a static boom/mic - more so than an unqualified/unsuitable/unimpressed stand-in to do the job. As you say the audio is almost everything in these situations - the shots and camera angles can work around the boom's presence.

Thanks for the advice and for the reminder that it's not just about setting it up as well as possible. Its blow for blow attention and checking that it sounds good that gives the results. I will of course be playing around with it and doing some of my own homework beyond merely asking you to spoon feed me.

Thanks again
(I'll hold my breath)


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