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Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2

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mkbpike
Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Sep 15, 2006 at 8:09:47 pm

How do you get the Shotgun Mic that is provided with the Canon XL2 and a separate audio source to record at the same time. I have tried a million different ways to do this, the only way I can do this successfully is by flipping the Front Mic Switch and the Rear Mic switch, when I need to get Nat Sound, (predominantly Audience Q & A), on the recording


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Don Greening
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Sep 15, 2006 at 10:16:09 pm

Go to the audio settings in the camera menu and switch from 16 bit recordinng to 12 bit CH 1/2, 3/4. It's all in your owner's manual, starting on page 50.

- Don

"Please take a moment to fill out your profile, including your computer system and relevant software. Help us help you."


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eyecamiam
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Sep 16, 2006 at 6:14:02 pm

How much quality is lost with the switch to 12 bit? I remember having problems capturing sound into a NLE using 12 bit. I was advised at the time to use 16 bit or higher. If I remember right, there was a way of correcting this in the capture process but I forget what it was. Maybe capture at 16 bit even though the recording was done 12 bit?

In any case another alternative is to use a better shotgun and a longer xlr cord and use the back ports.


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Don Greening
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Sep 17, 2006 at 8:06:39 am

[eyecamiam] "How much quality is lost with the switch to 12 bit?"

There is quality loss when you record with 12 bit audio but with the relatively narrow frequency range of human speech it's not too noticable. I wouldn't recommend recording music with 12 bit audio, though.

[eyecamiam] "Maybe capture at 16 bit even though the recording was done 12 bit? "

I would recommend capturing 12 bit audio into an NLE using the 12 bit capture preset and converting to 16 bit afterwards. Capturing 12 bit with a 16 bit preset invites problems such as audio drifting out of sync with the video, as well as glitches such as clicks and pops getting recorded during the capture process. I've experienced this several times and it's because your NLE thinks it's capturing 16 bit audio when in fact it isn't.

- Don



"Please take a moment to fill out your profile, including your computer system and relevant software. Help us help you."


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eyecamiam
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Sep 17, 2006 at 3:21:07 pm

Thanks Don. Very clear. Seems strange then that you can't capture in 16 bit using an attached mic and the built-in mic as a back up. Even if you wanted to stay with original mic you can get an extension cord to plug it in on the rear. I like the audio on this cam better than our Sony's. A lot easier to adjust and more options. Though it is more expensive and not as good in low light. Personally I'd prefer a good shock mount built onto cam with a wide variety of choices that would work with it, rather than a cheap included mic.


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Don Greening
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Sep 19, 2006 at 4:42:41 am

[eyecamiam] "Seems strange then that you can't capture in 16 bit using an attached mic and the built-in mic as a back up."

Well I guess it's because since the on-camera mic is stereo it needs two channels to record to, hence the mic's donimance over the channels 1 &2. I use my XL2 in 12 bit mode all the time: 1st two channels for the on-camera mic to capture ambient and two seperate Sennheiser wireless rigs plugged into channels 3 & 4. This setup is for dialogue only, in case you were wondering. During concert/dance recital recording I switch to 16 bit and have two house XLRs plugged into channels 1 & 2 (with inline attenuators) and don't use the on camera mic at all.

[eyecamiam] "Though it is more expensive and not as good in low light."

This is why I also have the PD170. For my type of event work I couldn't get by without the low light capability of the Sony, plus it's a whole lot easier to use hand held than the XL2. But all things being equal, if picture quality is paramount and I have control of the lighting I'll reach for the XL2 every time.

[eyecamiam] "Personally I'd prefer a good shock mount built onto cam"

This is what I use and it works very well:

http://www.lightwavesystems.com/products/canon/minimount.asp

- Don



"Please take a moment to fill out your profile, including your computer system and relevant software. Help us help you."


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eyecamiam
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Sep 20, 2006 at 1:23:22 am

Thanks Don,

Let me pick your brain a bit more since I have been recently acquiring much the same gear. I have the Sennheiser cordless mikes as well. How do you mount multiple receivers on the xl2? Does that accessory mount that came with the xl2 allow for more than one unit? Where do you put the receivers when you use the Sony? This summer I shot an outdoor scene and bought a bracket that allowed me to mount two receivers on the hot shoe of the Sony. But I didn


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Don Greening
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Sep 20, 2006 at 6:06:35 am

[eyecamiam] "How do you mount multiple receivers on the xl2?"

I have a 1st and a 2nd generation Senn EW100 series. The 1st gen. is just a belt clip and velcro setup. I put that on the optional battery holder (the piece that holds the optional CH-910 dual battery setup) but on the inside that faces the front of the camera. That way I can still mount my dual battery setup on the holder. The 2nd generation EW100 ENG came with a shoe mount so I put that in the obvious location. Works fine. To be honest, most of the time I'll split the wireless audio chores between the Sony and the XL2, just in case of a bad tape. That way I have at least one wireless source to work with if the worst should happen.

[eyecamiam] "Does that accessory mount that came with the xl2 allow for more than one unit?"

You're referring to the battery holder? I guess you can velcro one facing forward and one backward. Never needed to do that.

[eyecamiam] "Where do you put the receivers when you use the Sony?"

One on the shoe mount and one on my belt. Or if I'm doing a seminar or corporate stuff it's usually on a tripod, so I'll just tape the 1st gen EW100 somewhere with masking tape. Doesn't matter, really. The shoe mount that came with the 2nd EW100 ENG also works with the 1st gen. EW100. Go figure.

Sorry. but I'm as dumb as a post when it comes to scanning of frequencies because up here in the great white north I've NEVER had to change to another freq. because of interference. I guess it's more "frequency challenged" where you are and I don't envy you. Just another problem to worry about. Our time up here is coming though, I'm sure.

[eyecamiam] "I find that often the light is not bright enough and the shadows that might look good live do not record well."

Welcome to the world of dance recitals. They'll always light for the audience and never for video/film. They cater to the audience because they're the ones paying for the tickets. That won't change. The recital organizers are the first ones to admit it, too. The advantage here is that they know the lighting isn't best for video and they will accept those limitations. My experience is that one has to be constantly vigilant as far as exposure is concerned. The lighting is always changing beween performances so there's no time to sit back and relax.

[eyecamiam] "I


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eyecamiam
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Sep 30, 2006 at 5:45:41 pm


Hi Don,

Thanks so much for your detailed response. Been so busy setting up 27 computers in our lab I haven


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Don Greening
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Oct 3, 2006 at 10:03:02 pm

[eyecamiam] "So you are using the matte box as a huge lens hood? Or do you use certain filters?"

Using it as a big lens hood. Having the camera down at stage level invites problems with various stage lighting entering the lens. Glare, reflections and so on affect the picture quality in the form of contrast and especially washed out colours. The matte box I have will accept the industry standard glass filters but I haven't bought any yet.

[eyecamiam] "I never use picture gain. Was wondering too what the pros use it for. Extreme low light situations?"

Exactly. I have to use picture gain all the time when shooting wedding receptions because we have to shoot with available lighting. About 70% of the time the lighting at these venues isn't adequate for video so we make do. That's the reason I have a PD170.

[eyecamiam] "Why not just use the camera


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eyecamiam
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Oct 4, 2006 at 5:38:46 am

Thanks Don, very helpful.

One more question: Are the meters the only way to judge the proper gain adjustments needed. The headphones attached to either the cam or the mixer have their own amp and therefore it's not easy to determine the actual volume being recorded. I suppose with some experimenting a proper volume for the headphones could be set so that whoever is listening could judge what is being captured.


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Don Greening
Re: Shotgun Microphone and Seperate Audio Input on XL2
on Oct 11, 2006 at 12:25:21 am

[eyecamiam] "Are the meters the only way to judge the proper gain adjustments needed."

As far as I know, meters are all that's available. There are better ones out there, such as ones found on high end mixers. I generally rely on the same things you do: looking at the meters while monitoring with headphones. I find it pretty easy to hear audio clipping unless it's really loud (such as a wedding reception) and then it's tough to distinguish between the headphone audio and the general pounding of the room audio. Then I must rely exclusively on the camera's VU meters.

You can buy headhpone amps to boost the signal, but some of the cheaper ones will introduce their own noise into the mix. Not that the amp noise will be recorded, rather it just make things more confusing. I guess also, listening to to audio using headphones is subjective in that different people will hear more of what's going on at various listening levels, so headphone volume is more of a personal preference.

But you're right in that it's not easy to judge what's being recorded. Mini DV camera headphone amps are notoriously inadequate and the VU meters on those same cameras are probably not sensitve enough for really professional results. You get used to it and just leave yourself enough audio headroom for the spikes that will invariably happen. This usually results in audio levels that are a bit too low, but I guess that's why they invented programs like Soundtrack Pro for fixing stuff like that.

- Don



"Please take a moment to fill out your profile, including your computer system and relevant software. Help us help you."


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eyecamiam
Thanks, Don. very clear. this is what i am finding.
on Oct 11, 2006 at 2:43:21 am

nm


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Ty Ford
Re: Thanks, Don. very clear. this is what i am finding.
on Nov 3, 2006 at 2:50:49 am

Using a good mixer with good preamps and good limiters is very helpful when trying to get the best audio.

You want to be as high above the noise floor as possible but below clipping. Record too low, you're in the noise. Record too hot, you clip. That's the balance.

A good limiter in a mixer allows you to run higher levels without the fear of clipping.

A good mixer also shows RMS (average) and peak audio readings simultaneously. You need to keep an eye out for the peaks. Each person speaking may have a slightly different RMS to peak ratio. It's actually, quite amazing how different human voices can be.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" was written for video people who want better audio. Find out more at http://www.tyford.com


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