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Audio options for DSLR?

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Suley Suleman
Audio options for DSLR?
on Nov 17, 2012 at 8:37:36 pm

Hi guys i currently have a Canon 550D and a Rode Video Mic Pro, last week we shot an interview and it all went horribly wrong. Usually we use magic lantern and disable the ACG on the camera and use the external pic, for some reason the external mic ran out of power so we decided to use the in built mic and not hack the canon 550d using magic lantern. Anyway we shot the interview and when i have played it back it has no sound, for no reason i can work out the cam decided not to record any sound, i cant now moan about what happened but now need to reassess whats best to do, i can either buy more batteries and hope it does not happen again or i can buy an external mic recorder and therefore not be required to hack the canon 550d. Can you guys give me your opinion and also whats mics would be great to buy? Our usuall use for the camera is shooting interviews and some acustic performances by artists. Someone has recomended a hn4vn or something not sure if its any good, ideally i would want something thats easy to import into adobe premiere and sync rather then me having to play around.

Thanks
Suley


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Audio options for DSLR?
on Nov 18, 2012 at 11:21:47 am

Hi... If you go back through the forum on things about DSLR production and audio for it there is a huge amount there on mics, recorders especially the H4n.
Almost every week there is info on the subject, the search engine on this forum is very good.


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Al Bergstein
Re: Audio options for DSLR?
on Nov 18, 2012 at 4:53:50 pm

I agree Suley, there are a huge amount of posts on this issue here on the COW Audio.

As to recording, I for one, try to avoid recording onto a DSLR that doesn't support audio in and out, along with meters built in, like the Canon Mark 5iii, Panny GH2/3, etc. Even then, most of my recording is done off camera. I try to only use my DSLR for interviews where the background DOF is needed. Otherwise I use a "real" video camera, with XLR in and out, or at least with 3.5" jack in (my xf105 has both kinds of jacks).

I use a Marantz PMD661. I use to have a Zoom H4N but it died. I would not buy another one. For a bit more money you can get the Marantz. It's a much more capable deck.

By the way, I recently got tired of using wireless lavs for all close mic work, and with the shallow DOF which allows me to get closer to the talent, I decided to carry a wired Lav, Sennheiser with an extension cable. I tested it first to make sure it sounded good, and then used it on a PSA I did locally last week. (not yet released). Wonderful sound directly into my 5D Mark iii (I wore cans from the camera line out while shooting and of course tested before bringing in my talent). I think that it is possible to do quality sound into some of the new cameras if you are close mic'ed. Preamps seemed to work fine. My sound quality was as good as any I have done with my wireless onto my PMD661.

Good luck. Sorry for your loss.

Al


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Peter Groom
Re: Audio options for DSLR?
on Nov 19, 2012 at 10:34:52 am

I cant speak for other recorders but (even though lots pf people seem not to have a particularly high opinion) I have found it to be a reasonably enough recorder, certainally for the price.
I hate the onboard mics, but find feeding it with mics direct or from a mixer to be generally ok.
So Id vote for the purchase of a Zoom Hvn, but you need to get the camera recording internal mic sound correctly to make syncing up much easier than mute tracks (as i presume you wont be clapperboarding every take)
My opinion of DSLR cameras is often read on this forum, but until Im shown that things have changed significantly, i will leave the DSLR cameras for shooting nice pictures, and nOT ask it to do anything re audio.
I dont think that will ever happen because I want ALL of the following on a DSLR before Ill entertain it.
1) XLR inputs
2) switchable Mic / line inputs
3) Correct metering
4) Adequate monitoring
5) Switchable AGC on off.
6) Higher quality mic pre electronics
7) powering for a range of mic voltages

As you can see, this will never happen.
Peter

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Al Bergstein
Re: Audio options for DSLR?
on Nov 19, 2012 at 1:37:35 pm

I generally agree with your thought Peter, but i have to say that the 5d Miii has much better audio than the 7d did, and given what I accomplished with it leads me to feel i can rely on it at times. The 7d I would never trust to get good audio. I have also seen work done with a GH2 and it also sounded fine. Many of us lower end shooters like the DOF of the 5d, and it certainly is great when I am expected to had over stills from a shoot aswell as video. It appears the metering is pretty accurate (i was able to set but not ride them), AGC is off when in manual mode, monitoring with Sony cans was accurate and just like doing it on any of my higher end cameras. Mic choice is now more the issue than camera. Or maybe i should say mic choice is driving the choice of camera. If i can lav up a single speaker on a wired lav, I'd likely to grab the 5d.If i need two i will either use the mixpre-d or my xlr based cam.

Back to the OP, For critical one off video, yes, i will always record off camera, and i do not like my videopro mic, too hissy. It's rarely used for unique shots. Always, but always carry spare batteries, and check them at noon if you are shooting all day. Music videos tend to be too loud, and you need better options than the internal mics will give.if you can't afford the marantz, either sony or zoom will get you through. I like Sony gear better, personally. My zoom died after two years. That's unacceptable.with care these should last decades.
I'll post my video this week, and you can draw your own conclusions.

Al


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Al Bergstein
Re: Audio options for DSLR?
on Nov 19, 2012 at 8:18:41 pm

by the way, here's the video recorded by a wired lav mic right into the 5D Mkiii. While I do not describe myself as a "pro" I think that the audio is acceptable for this low budget PSA. So I think that Canon has done a good job on the upgrade to the 5D. There was no audio sweetening in this. Just as you hear.







Al


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Eric Toline
Re: Audio options for DSLR?
on Nov 20, 2012 at 3:44:20 pm

Impressive demo of audio from the 5D MKiii. I've heard a lot worse on broadcast spots for local businesses. An ear opening and mind changing piece of work. Well done.

Eric

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Al Bergstein
Re: Audio options for DSLR?
on Nov 20, 2012 at 9:33:31 pm

Thanks Eric. It sounded pretty good to me. Glad to have someone with a longer history of professional recording validate it. I think Canon really has improved the preamps on this. I've read reviews that they hadn't, but after this piece of work, I'd like to have those reviewers help me technically understand why they said that.

Again, this was fed with a wired 3.5" lav (Sennheiser). I think it cost me somewhere around $140 (I'm not going to take the time to look it up and there is no model number on the lav). It might have been the ME-2.

Al


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