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LAVs and Considerations - LAVs universal or camera-comptible?

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Crye Biggie
LAVs and Considerations - LAVs universal or camera-comptible?
on Jan 12, 2013 at 8:04:44 am

Hi Audio Generals and Wiz's!

Thanks for all previous support. First of all, forgive my bad English.
OK, I have insignificant audio experience, lets say I don't know much about things such as Mono/Stereo/omnidirectional etc and what my camera accepts, and also considerations before buying/recording with LAVs, wireless. I am tight on time right now. I've looked around but I guess I can get best advice here here.

MISSION--

*** I want to shoot short movies and will need to film and 'catch' audio outdoors for subjects from a few feet from me to far away, say at the center of a football field while cam is on the runway track.
*** I only need a LAV for capturing audio to [later] SYNC with the images however (maybe in Software)...as opposed to using it as a LIVE invisible mic with a current audience listening. If LAV can also be wired to cam, a plus only, not so important.

MY SITUATION--

-I have a SONY ECM-CG50 shortgun mic with 10m 1/8"(3.5mm)cable already, but I was advised (generally) that a Lav is usually needed for shooting movies (new even to shooting, just trying to put my meager prosumer equipment together and have a 'bit' of everything to start soon).

- I want to avoid 'thinning' of input audio as much as possible, so settings etc?? ...i.e. I need that close-by 'presence'.

- My camera (SONY NEX Vg20)is: http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&se...

So can I use ANY Lapel mic (LAV) for my video camera? i.e. Are they universal? Or do I need to have a specific lapel mic for a specific video camera? BTW, someone said 'Omnidirectional' LAV is the way to go for my purposes.

They also said "If your camcorder has a 1/8" jack, a wireless base station (that can receive an audio feed from a single lav) can be used" ... My cam has that jack(which I also use with my shortgun mic), but considering what I said, do I really need this connection for my purposes(non-LIVE to a current audience)? I always see Lavs in 'pairs' with other 'things' (guessing transmitters, receivers etc) ... So I ask, for my purposes, do I need all that (or which of them do I need)? How do I finally get the audio files to PC, and what format considerations should be in mind pre and post?

- I am on a very low budget, I need something really really affordable for now until maybe when I can afford for better.

FINDINGS/SHOP --

I saw these, can't really confirm what they're handy for or their compatibility to my SONY cam or their possible help to my situation, i.e what I want to do. The site is China's 'Ebay', so you can also search on it if need be. If psble, just check and tell me if I can use/not the item, what else or what less I may need for this venture. I can afford any of them, and I number them for ease of ref....

1) [see sample audio quality video down the page while in this link]
http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=8600822821&ali_refid=a3_419108_1006:110...

2) http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.10.55.m56KAR&id=14327634396&_u=...'>http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.10.55.m56KAR&id=14327634396&_u=no9f6g86e28

3) http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.10.48.m56KAR&id=15021678057&_u=...'>http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.10.48.m56KAR&id=15021678057&_u=no9f6g80ce9

4) http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=16448153949&ali_refid=a3_420434_1006:11...'>http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=16448153949&ali_refid=a3_420434_1006:1104264687:6:zoom%C2%BC%D2%F4%B1%CA:4ee093d06a670eb5ad8dd82b81b4b3cb&ali_trackid=1_4ee093d06a670eb5ad8dd82b81b4b3cb

5) http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=17694123307&ali_refid=a3_419108_1006:11...

Any input so greatly appreciated!


NB - Pls if you need any info to help answer or educate others, ask me. Thanks!

Altitude is not all the problem. Taking steps is more of it.


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Ty Ford
Re: LAVs and Considerations - LAVs universal or camera-comptible?
on Jan 12, 2013 at 3:12:49 pm

Hello Crye and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

"So can I use ANY Lapel mic (LAV) for my video camera? i.e. Are they universal? Or do I need to have a specific lapel mic for a specific video camera? BTW, someone said 'Omnidirectional' LAV is the way to go for my purposes.

They also said "If your camcorder has a 1/8" jack, a wireless base station (that can receive an audio feed from a single lav) can be used" ... My cam has that jack(which I also use with my shortgun mic), but considering what I said, do I really need this connection for my purposes(non-LIVE to a current audience)? I always see Lavs in 'pairs' with other 'things' (guessing transmitters, receivers etc) ... So I ask, for my purposes, do I need all that (or which of them do I need)? How do I finally get the audio files to PC, and what format considerations should be in mind pre and post?"

Your camera has a stereo unbalanced mic input jack. Lavs are mono, so you have to have the right cable or your audio will only go to one channel. That may or may not be OK for you.
Lavs are somewhat universal, but there are considerations. You will be in a stadium shooting people at a distance, right? What are they doing?

My best guess, given that I don't have enough information, is that you should get a Sennheiser G3 set of wireless transmitter body mic and a receiver. Get the kit that comes with body mic, receiver and lav. The receiver has a bracket that will allow you to mount it in the camera shoe mount. From there you use the cable that should come with the kit to feed your camera.

You need to know what frequency band of wireless to choose for the kit. There are three bands and if you get the wrong one, you will run into interference problems with local radi oand TV stations.

Where will you be using this equipment?

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Crye Biggie
Re: LAVs and Considerations - LAVs universal or camera-comptible?
on Jan 12, 2013 at 9:05:08 pm

Thanks, Ty! :D

[Ty Ford] "Your camera has a stereo unbalanced mic input jack. Lavs are mono, so you have to have the right cable or your audio will only go to one channel"

I don't understand where a 'cable' comes in for my "non-LIVE" purposes. Which of them is the 'cable' e.g in the Sennheiser G3 photo? How's it connected/set-up; what goes where? Why cabling while @Wireless, and how is this possible with the distance? Why is any connection important? => For monitoring, given the cam will be so far away? Summarily, I know a shortgun has a cable 'boom'-able, connected directly to cam such that later Syncing audio with video is not needed ...but I don't know for LAVs. Can you kindly spare a few lines to explain these in a simple way as always? Say how a LAV works as opposed to shortgun?... Also, I have no idea what a 'right' cable is --I want to go 'wireless', if that makes any sense??
**YES, I'd like audio routed to TWO, not one channel which sounds like the inferior choice judging from your post.


[Ty Ford] "Lavs are somewhat universal, but there are considerations. You will be in a stadium shooting people at a distance, right? What are they doing?"

I'm happy to learn this important info (universality).
I was using a stadium just as a reference for distance, and actually a scene in my script where only my talent is present, and cam placed at the racetrack or grandstand of the stadium ...'far'.
My talent will be screaming at the center of a football field (not excluding possible scenarios where they may just be conversing at such a 'distance').

[Ty Ford] "My best guess, given that I don't have enough information, is that you should get a Sennheiser G3 set of wireless transmitter body mic and a receiver. Get the kit that comes with body mic, receiver and lav. The receiver has a bracket that will allow you to mount it in the camera shoe mount. From there you use the cable that should come with the kit to feed your camera."

I'm guessing the 'cable that should come with the kit' is an example of the 'right' cable you talked of, given my camera make??
OK, I checked the Sennheiser G3, and while it has good ratings, I can't afford it right now. I'm open to any close alternatives with value for money. Did you see the items I researched and posted links for(1 to 5)? Are they 'compatible' (I know you said LAVs are mostly universal, but you also mentioned 'considerations', so...)? Do they meet requirements for my purposes or satisfy the Cable, frequency, channel input, Mono etc criteria (Trust me, I need time to digest all this terminology) ... are they even what I need in the first place?? ... and what combinations of them do I need to get, if at all, considering I want to go wireless to later extract the captured audio files to PC post editing software for syncing ---as opposed to LIVE to audience hearing me like a handheld mic?

I think, and as you should know from experience, most of this kind of learning should come easier with practice hands-on. For example, it would be daunting to know the implications of input to 'channels' etc without actually coming back from field with stuff recorded to listen and sample so techie/tutorial assessments could be more personalized. So if someone could really just check the items I listed and identify them and suggest a possible connection and such as pros/cons, I'd be very good to go .... Or better yet, suggest alternatives up to $100. As I said, this is a small project lying on my learning curve, the first ever, and I will improve upon with time.


[Ty Ford] "You need to know what frequency band of wireless to choose for the kit. There are three bands and if you get the wrong one, you will run into interference problems with local radi oand TV stations.

Where will you be using this equipment?
"


How can I get frequencies info? On the gadgets or my environment?
OK, I will be using this equipment in China, but at various locations hopefully ...noisy/quiet etc. But for the project in my hands right now, I'm eyeing a quiet local soccer stadium. Any stakes?


Thanks again. I really appreciate the simplicity in your responses.

Altitude is not all the problem. Taking steps is more of it.


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Jim MacD0nald
Re: LAVs and Considerations - LAVs universal or camera-comptible?
on Jan 16, 2013 at 2:11:00 pm

Lavs are not the cure all. Many times You can't use them outside. They are made for indoor use.Even with a windscreen, outdoor use can be a nightmare. 5 MPH winds can turn things upside down. A good professional wireless system will get you results as far as range and audio quality. If you get a body pack, get a cable that will allow you to plug a hand held mic or a shotgun into the bodypack. As far as lavs go ,I suggest cardioid is the way to go. The more cardioid the better. Omni just picks up too much useless audio and noise. You get what you pay for. Making a professional video that you can present and be proud of might cost a few bucks. If your production is being done for free you can't pass on expenses. Its either a hobby or business. Good luck with your project. There is a mountain of used gear out there.


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Crye Biggie
Re: LAVs and Considerations - LAVs universal or camera-comptible?
on Jan 17, 2013 at 2:23:59 pm

Thanks, Jim!
But hey man, I'm just somewhere between hobby and business. Trying things out; it's my very #1 experience ... sound, lighting, shooting... everything. So it all depends on the final output. Even if it were hobby plain, who would pick substandard if they had a choice? I love this thing, man!! :D

[Jim MacD0nald] "A good professional wireless system will get you results as far as range and audio quality. If you get a body pack, get a cable that will allow you to plug a hand held mic or a shotgun into the bodypack. As far as lavs go ,I suggest cardioid is the way to go."

Can you kindly suggest (Link to) such a package (wireless system)? ... OR ... if "body pack, cable and cardioid" lav is what you mean by 'wireless system', such a link/s to them?

If not, can you kindly point me to such an affordable (even used) 'professional' wireless system? Hopefully I can have them shipped to China.

I'd greatly appreciate any advice if only to improve my sound and get as close as possible to what I have in head. Could really help narrow search for me too!

BTW, my SONY NEX Vg20 has an input for ext. mic, if that helps in setting up the 'wireless system' you suggest.

Much thanks bro!



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Jim MacD0nald
Re: LAVs and Considerations - LAVs universal or camera-comptible?
on Jan 17, 2013 at 3:39:44 pm

Crve! There is a solution for every problem. Here in the United States and around the world Amateur radio operators have what they call HAM FESTS. They are a gathering of hams who want to sell their used equipment. I am not sure what part of the world you are from but there is a good chance those radio operators have a FEST or market near you. Sometime there is a lot of used gear and sometimes there is not. In the past I have found some real real good deals on good reliable gear. You have to know what you are looking for. There is nothing wrong with used or older gear. Do you have to be compleatly portable with your camera? Do you need to have the reciever for the wireless mic mounted to the camera? If not there are good deals on SHURE wireless mics here in the Mid West USA. They are used and older BUT work like new and still have a warrenty. They run in the 200 dollar range some more some less. Some are hand held wireless Shure SM58s some SM87s lavs and bodypacks.Even used broadcast equipment is out there. Sometimes prices og gear on E BAY might be high. Others here might have some ideas too.Keep me informed.


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