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Newb query > Videomic Pro to Zoom H5 to video camera

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Jevon Nicholas
Newb query > Videomic Pro to Zoom H5 to video camera
on Oct 2, 2015 at 7:23:43 am

Hi there. I've got a Zoom H5 which I'm hoping to use to record a Rode Videomic Pro R, both to the in-built SD card and also directly in my video camera (Sony AX100).

I'm an audio newb and have tried to do as much research as possible before posting a query here. Consider me pretty green I guess! I have a couple of questions, but first some background ...

I've familiarised myself with some of the basics in FCPX for videos I've helped a friend with, for her work. As part of that we use a Sennheiser G3 wireless lav which has worked really well. I'm hoping to kick off a side project for myself for my work though, outputting to either YouTube or our internal video hosting system - all to be viewed on staff PCs with varying levels of speaker quality. I only have a couple of weeks to do it before other work commitments overrun me and I won't be able to get back to it until next year.

The workflow I have in mind would be something like this: record with camera-mounted Rode into Zoom > Zoom line out outputs to mic input of camera with gain control disabled and volume set manually > I still sync the audio in FCPX and use the Zoom's file for best quality and so I have to as little audio sweetening as possible.

I'm also learning how to use Audition CC, but for my needs and the time I have available I'm hoping that FCPX can do what I need to do *provided* I get the best recording I can initially. If folks have any advice counter to this then I'm definitely happy to listen though.

The Videomic has some gain settings options on the unit itself. Initially I'd planned to plug its 3.5mm mini jack output into the line input on the top of the Zoom. Are there any particular settings on the Videomic and Zoom that I should be using in that situation?

I was also considering of mounting the mic onto some type of pistol grip arrangement so that I could have someone else at least physically move the Videomic Pro closer. I'm wondering how I can have some sort of extension cable between the Videomic Pro and the Zoom. I was thinking of using this RODE 3.5mm mini-jack to XLR converter, then running an XLR cable to one of the inputs on the bottom of the Zoom. From the specs the Videomic Pro has a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack output, which is dual mono. Is what I'm thinking of likely to work?

Sorry for the long-ish length of my post. I just wanted to fill in some of the gaps and hopefully make my questions a little easier to answer.

Any info re the above would be really helpful.

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Richard Crowley
Re: Newb query > Videomic Pro to Zoom H5 to video camera
on Oct 2, 2015 at 11:53:02 am

It seems like you are concentrating on a rather complex recording scheme and subsequent workflow. Pre-planning your workflow is excellent, but you seem to have glossed over the very first part: how you are actually acquiring the audio in the first place.

You didn't describe WHAT you are recording? Is this a "talking-head" internal corporate video? Is this some kind of training session? Is it a dramatized demonstration of employee conflict resolution?, etc. etc. etc.

Honestly, I seriously question the selection and placement of the microphone before you ever get to cables or connectors or level setting or recording devices, etc. etc.

Furthermore, what is the justification for recording "double-system" (separate audio recording)? Is the audio on the camera so bad that it is unusable except as a sync "guide track"? I am asking that as a rhetorical question, because, my answer would be "No, the camera is perfectly capable of recording audio that is more than adequate for this application."

If you are really seeking to have GOOD audio (which is VERY important), then you must start by analyzing WHAT/who is producing the sound, what kind of acoustic environment you are recording in, and how best to CAPTURE that audio. That is the FIRST, and quite possibly the MOST IMPORTANT step in planning your audio scheme.

You have shown an above-average sophistication and throughness in thinking about all the issues of devices, connections, level setting, and even editing, etc. However, unless you apply the same rigor to the very first link in the chain, you severly limit any ability to deliver quality audio.

A microphone mounted ON the camera is almost NEVER in a place that allows even halfway-decent capture of quality audio. And even moving a little microphone like that Rode model closer on a pistol-grip is NOT a method that will produce decent results. It is not clear why you don't simply use a more traditional (tried-and-successful) method like a clip-on lav mic (wired or wireless) or a highly directional mic on a boom pole (hyper-cardioid indoors, or full shotgun outdoors).

If I were allocating the budget I would put MOST of it into the microphone and record directly to the camera. Using a separate recorder comes nowhere close to improving the audio quality compared to selecting the RIGHT microphone and getting it into the right POSITION.

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Jevon Nicholas
Re: Newb query > Videomic Pro to Zoom H5 to video camera
on Oct 3, 2015 at 1:57:54 pm

Thanks for your detailed response Richard. I'm hoping to do brief interviews with other education staff for internal professional development purposes, most likely outside of classrooms. Essentially I'll try to interview them away from their classes, probably in a side office or wherever the background noise level is lowest. I'm unlikely to have any helpers, except perhaps students.

The dual-system audio idea came about as I was considering purchasing a dSLR that does great 4K video footage, but has no option to disable the auto gain control and has no headphone output. I was hoping that the recorder might mean be a way around it, then synching in post production. Since then, I've decided against that camera now anyway owing to budget considerations. I also do some voiceovers for tutorial videos for work, so I'm planning to use the recorder as a USB interface device for that. I do take your point about making things perhaps a little more complex than they need to be though.

The Sennheiser wireless lav system I use on my existing video camera produces great results and I've been extremely happy with it. I guess I was hoping to avoid the hassle of having to clip the lav onto the speaker etc, but in reflecting on your advice, I'm now thinking it could be the best solution. I'm familiar with how it works and know how to set it and operate it too so that'd take some of the learning curve out of the whole affair. Another option may be to borrow a wired handheld mic (one that you'd see broadcast journalists use) from the music department.

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