I am a student videographer out of Chicago...I shoot with a Panasonic AG-HVX200 camera and I do a lot of live rock bands. The biggest problem I have is when I use the camera top mic, even with the levels turned down, I encounter a lot of clipping and popping. If I turn a audio level to, say, 50%, it will clip it @ 50% (and be really distorted)...this happens even when I am tapped into an audio board, the level is turned down, but it is so loud of an environment it seems liek the mic (or iternal system) can't handle that level of sound. I have a friend with a crappy palmcorder camera and his camera top mic quality is always so much better than mine (with the expensive mic)...should I get a heavier duty microphone, what are some of your reccomendations?
~Ben the Camera Guy
Avid, Final Cut, and all the rest...
You need to put a "pad" on the mic to prevent severe overloading on the front end before it is recorded.
In otherwords in an excessively loud environment such as a rock concert the mic head is becoming overloaded at the front end so lowering (limiting) the audio level will prevent distortion at the front end. On some mics there is a switch to "pad" the incoming signal. If it is a high quality professional mic it should have a pad if not you got ripped off (just kidding).
Check if the camera has any audio menus which affect the mic level settings or consider putting an inline "pad" between the mic and camera audio input.
Shure sells audio pads which offer -15,-20,-25 db level pads. You manually select the level need for the environment.
As far as recording from the audio board you need to select line level input usually +4db as the audio board feed is much hotter than mic level -60db so you are massively overloading the input which results in total distortion.
It is important to always identify what the audio signal being sent is (ie Mic level or Line level). Line level output is hotter to allow for better signal to noise ratio.