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Old October 5th, 2007, 01:45 PM   #16
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The Canon Cameras do not have digital audio inputs or outputs.
Dan Keaton
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Old October 5th, 2007, 05:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
...At 60 frames per second, I calculate that each frame would be 16.667 milliseconds (1 second / 60 frames = .016667). So 1.6 ms would be 1/10 of a frame, (if you had 60 frames per second). My math and theory are subject to corrections (which are most welcome).
Your math is right for fields per second, but not for frames per second. At (nearly) 30fps each frame is 33ms.

Per spec, the Sony DMX-PO1 has a max delay of 1ms at 96KHz, and 2ms at 48KHz sample rates. I'm really practiced at sub-frame lipsync correction - I'd never see a correctable error with a 1-2ms delay, I don't think anybody could.

To me it is a really interesting 4X2 mixer that offers a lot in a small package. More dynamics processing than any other... more configurable. I think you'd use the digital output to a sound recorder, and send analog to the camera. I don't know of any prosumer or prosumer plus camcorder with digital audio inputs.

Having said all that, like Ty I don't know any field recordist who has made the jump to a digital mixer. They've been around for a while for sound reinforcement, but mostly for high-end applications. I've only used them a couple times, but am only now starting to seriously consider one for pa work.

I think that pro recordists are very conservative. Every one knows that to stick a toe in the water early is to risk having it snapped off by a shark - and that most likely means never working for that client again.
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Old October 6th, 2007, 04:21 AM   #18
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The SD302 is always the answer - now then, what was the question?

Originally Posted by Matt Buys View Post
I feel lucky I posted a few basic questions here before buying. It sounds like the SD302 might not be what I need. <CLIP> I'm curious what other people might do if they were in my shoes. Unfortunately for this doc I will have to be cameraman and sound man. I'll have three weeks there in March. The advice I see around here seems that audio technology is a better long term investment than camera technology and I wouldn't mind owning something that could handle sound for a theatrical release five years from now.
Rehi Matt,

Perhaps I'm swimming upstream against all those who advocate the SD302 for your solution but I'm not one to go with group think so I'll try another round at this. Subjectively to me, it makes little sense to restrict yourself to a $800 camera, spending twice to three times as much for the audio chain! But I'm okay discussing specs.

First, let's look at the specs for your HV20 (suspiciously, very sparse):
DV: 16 bit (2ch) 48 kHz
12 bit (4ch) 32 kHz
Microphone Terminal: 3.5 mm Stereo Mini-jack

This means for stereo recording with XLR inputs, you'll probably need something like the Beachtek DXA-2s
or the Beachtek DXA-6vu

FYI, your HV20 doesn't have 48 volt phantom power if you're connecting to condensor mics, you'll need something (of course, like the Beachtek unit, the SD302 does provides phantom power).

On that note, I suggest you give the HV20 forum a close look, including your questions on audio. For instance, some complain about its motor noise, so it's a good idea your mic will be off-camera. And everyone seems to agree the internal mic pretty much sucks (sound test):
Those that do close-up work seem to use shotgun mics with good success.

Anyway, now let's look at the specs for the SD302:

Equivalent Input Noise:
-126 dBu (-128 dBV) maximum
(22 Hz - 22 kHz bandwidth, flat filter, trim control fully up)
Input Clipping Level:
0 dBu minimum (trim control fully down)
Line Output Clipping Level (1% THD):
20 dBu minimum, 18 dBu minimum with 600 ohm load
Dynamic Range:
115 dB minimum (trim fully down)
THD + Noise:
0.007% typical (1 kHz, +4 dBu at Line out), 0.009 max (50 Hz to 20 kHz, +18 dBu at line out, fader fully up)
Output Noise:
-100 dBu (-102 dBV) maximum (22 Hz - 22 kHz bandwidth, flat filter, master gain fully up, faders fully down)

Doesn't it strike you as curious that Canon choses not to share similar specs on their low-end HV20? The serious videograhper would instead buy the high-end Canon XL H1 that can record decent audio:
MPEG1 Audio Layer II: (Sampling frequency 48 kHz, bit rate 384 kbps/2 channels);

So personally, I'm not inclined to over-spend/over-engineer a mixer, only to feed the pristine signal into a so-so recorder. So rather than go the Beachtek route into the HV20, I'd be going from my mic/s to an external recorder (I'd probably use my Marantz PMD660). In post, I'd mix the audio and video.

Believe it or not, audio is also critical to me so if I was travelling abroad, I'd have two recording devices and certainly record both channels, each with a different recording approach (like a Sennheiser 416T shotgun and a Sennheiser G2 transceiver). I use Canon XL-2s so I can redundantly record into my portable MP-3 player as well as the camera's XLR jacks.

Finally, if you've got lots of extra cash to spend/invest, go ahead and get the SD302 and a SD 7 series recorder - someday perhaps you'll justify the expense or can always sell them for 80-90 percent of the investment. But if you're new to this all, I'd be willing to wager you'll be too busy capturing video to fiddle with controls on an external mixer. On that note, on higher-end cameras we use the onscreen audio level volume bars and headphones to monitor the recording. I wonder how the HV20 does in this department - something to carefully investigate.

Okay, back to the salt mines - good luck with your decision and don't be too quick to buy into what any of us are saying unless it really makes a lot of sense to you. Better yet, check out the gear locally before opening your wallet. If you go the HV20 and SD302, I can guarantee you that you'll be unique among your peers!

Good luck, Michael

PS - regarding mics, I'd recommend the Sennheiser 416T shotgun and a high-end lavalier mic (I use the $300 Countrymans, but there are a few better brands if you can afford them)
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Old October 7th, 2007, 09:06 PM   #19
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Hi Matt..............

Originally Posted by Matt Buys View Post
I'm curious what other people might do if they were in my shoes. Unfortunately for this doc I will have to be cameraman and sound man. .
Well, you asked, so here goes.

For this trip to Tanzania, I'd ditch the HV20 and go straight to the XH A1, do not pass go, do not collect $200! You start interviewing "UN" types at the other end of an HV20 and they won't be able to stop laughing.

Forget the SD302, you ain't going to have either the time or experience to ride shotgun on an interview, camera AND 302 mixer controls at the same time.

Invest in some decent radio mic systems if you don't already have them, minimum 1 X Sennheiser EW100 G2 kit with an extra receiver so you can run two mics off camera at the same time if necessary. Two kits plus and extra receiver would be even better.

Invest in a good, real long shotgun mic, pistol grip, Rycote CCA for the camera, dead cat etc, a wired lav for straight into the camera (in addition to the one that comes with the G2) and maybe a handheld omni/ dead cat etc just for good measure. Plus at least one decent quality mic stand with shock mounts suitable for all mics.

Finally if, as a result of "dry running" you can see an eventuality where three mic audio is likely, maybe go for a SD "Mixpre" unit or similar.

Get your anti - everything shots and go.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old October 7th, 2007, 09:47 PM   #20
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I Second the motion

I ditto what Chris said - way to go. And in addtion to monitoring the audio with good earphones, be sure to watch the onscreen volume level bars to avoid clipping, etc.

Regards, Michael
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Old October 8th, 2007, 04:01 AM   #21
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I'll add another second to Chris's statements for the most part, especially the part about ditching the consumer camera and going straight to one with a bit more ooomph. I can't imagine traveling halfway around the world expressly to shoot a documentary and putting all my eggs in a limited capability consumer basket. Not quite the sort of thing I'd do on a lark - that's a rugged and possibly hazardous journey and if you're spending that much time, money, and effort you want to make sure that you're properly equipped to bring home the goods no matter what the gods throw at you.

I'm not sure I'd agree with his advice to lose the 302 though. While trying to run the camera, adjust audio levels, and interview the subject all at the same time would have you busier than a one-armed paper hanger, you'd have the same issue just using a Beach. The 302's better electronics and excellent limiters means it'll send your camera a better signal even when only having two hands mandates a "set it and forget it" situation.

Since you have your sights on an XH-A1, which seems to be a very capable camera, I'd treat your documentary seriously and move to that camera now, far enough ahead of time to have used it enough that operating its controls and predicting its behaviour has become second nature to you, plus a good professional grade tripod, and get the SD302 as the core to the sound kit.
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
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Old October 8th, 2007, 10:28 AM   #22
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The biggest problem I have with this wonderful site is that after doing days of searches and learning everything I need to know about something Iíll post a question, as a mere afterthought, and suddenly I realize I know nothing. The only thing I can say is, Iím glad my wife doesnít view this site.

But I would like to thank Dan Keaton for talking with me on the phone last friday. It was very kind of him. Now at least I have a flashlight for all of the darkness that surrounds me on the topic of what audio equipment to purchase. I think Iím pointed in the right direction but would appreciate a few more comments or opinions.
Hereís my parameters. I have decent audio equipment: good mic stands. two wireless Senn EWG2ís with countryman B6 lavs, the ME66 and rycote softie, Rode NT5 and NTK. I realize itís not great gear but I feel like itís good, high quality stuff that should be enough for any documentary if used properly.

Thatís where I fall off. The HV20 and my Beachtek 4 leave me wanting for sound. After talking with Dan, Iím leaning away from the SD304 and more toward the 24bit sound of the 702 or 702T recorder. I use PP2 for editing and Iím planning on shooting 24p for Africa and it sounds like the 702t might be better for synching 24p sound. What are peopleís thoughts about that?

Iíve already done some interviews and as Chris pointed out the HV20 is not taken seriously. At least not until I show them the footage and then there comes an inevitable, ďThatís amazing.Ē But I will be interviewing some heavyweights and I wonder what an archbishop or what have you will think when they see what looks like a plastic wal-mart cam sitting on a tripod. What Iíve done thus far is say, ďYes, itís small. Technology is amazing. In five to ten years most broadcast cameras will be this size.Ē And then quickly move on. Most people seem suspicious. It half makes me want to glue the HV20 onto my old VX1000 so people think itís bigger. The truth is I have a 7-8k dollar budget for the next year. I will probably get the SD702 and although Iím leaning toward the A1 thereís a part of me that says just take an extra HV20 to Africa--who cares if people think you look amateurish, the footage will be fine--and wait for the new sony exdcam to work out its kinks and drop in price and then Iíll have a tapeless camera that will last years. Thoughts?
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Old October 8th, 2007, 12:02 PM   #23
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Matt and I had a nice, in-depth conversation concerning his needs and priorities.

Matt, thank you for the kind words.

Matt wants pristine audio, and this is a very high priority of his.

Also, he would like to use the Canon HV-20, if possible, but wanted higher quality audio than the HV-20 was capable of recording.

Matt also wants equipment that can be used to record music, as he has recorded bands in the past and wants to continue.

We discussed the benefits of the Beachtek, specifically it is easy to mount under the camera which is a big plus, but riding levels would be difficult, or nearly impossible, as a one-man band.

We discussed the difficulty of using a mixer, such as the 302, recording into the camera, as a one-man band.

Then we discussed the advantages of 24 bit recording, where it is possible to set the levels once and be reasonably assured that you will get a decent recording, especially if the recorder has good limiters.

So, on Friday, our conclusion, was that a Sound Devices "7 Series" recorder might fit his needs (including music recording) well. Matt wants to record two channels, and all of the "7 Series" records have two very good mic preamps. Also, any of these recorders will have adequate capacity to record the amount that will be necesary for his trip. Of course, if he chooses a recorder with only Compact Flash, he will need more than one Compact Flash card.

So, on Friday, Matt was leaning towards the Sound Devices recorder and skipping the Sound Devices 302 for now. Weight was another primary concern.
Dan Keaton
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Old October 8th, 2007, 04:02 PM   #24
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I'm glad to see you've got a guardian angel - way to go, Dan. At this point, you're certainly on the right track to ensure you're getting the right gear that meets your needs. Since you're doing an out of country documentary and unable to do reshoots, reliability and backups should be paramount on your needs assessment. In that case, I'm all for seeing you use the HV20 that you've fallen in love with as a second camera - you can roll both, doing cutaways in editing. And you'll sleep better knowing that if something goes wrong with you're primary camera you're still in business (BTW, I'd carry both on the plane with me, along with my wireless lavaliers, etc)

Regarding the audio, I'd split the XLR into two signals going to two different recording devices (camera and SD 7 series, etc). I'd be using two primary mics - boom (on C stand doing a one-person shoot) and lavalier, and have a third hand-held mic that the interviewer can hold and dynamically direct to other talkers. The third mic is also double feed to two devices (as the HV20 and one channel of the Canon A1 or SD 7 series). Even though you may not have plans to have an "interviewer" with other subjects, you'll be glad it's in your bag which gives you loads of flexibility and avoids embarrassing off-axis audio from third parties.

Anyway, you get the idea - be sure to go beyond putting all your eggs in one basket. And most importanly of all, never record without religiously monitoring the sound quality throughout the entire shoot. While headphones are recommended, I often cheat and use my Sennheiser CX300 earbuds because they are so comfortable and have such awesome frequency response - but in a noisy environment, I'd pull out my AKG K171s, etc.

Have fun, Michael
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Old October 8th, 2007, 05:17 PM   #25
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Sounds to me as if Matt is well and truly sorted.

Can't think of anything more to add on the sound front.

Your logic with the cam is good too, tho' the "street cred" issue still niggles, but hey, if it doesn't worry you, who cares?

Only one other thing I can suggest, and this is based on total ignorance of your circumstances whilst in Tanzania. You're going to be packing a heck of a lot of (very expensive) gear one way or another, and it would be adviseable, if it can be arranged, to somehow get yourself assigned two local "minders" for the duration - one for your well being and the other for your kit.

Their sole purpose is to ensure that neither yourself, nor your gear, comes to grief (it can be an exceedingly dangerous part of the planet for the unwary).

Good luck & Happy Travels.

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Old October 8th, 2007, 06:23 PM   #26
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I'm sorry but I have to chime in here. Buying a camera to look professional is not a great reason, IMHO. If he shows up good gear w/ an HV-20 on top of it all, can't he just say something like "Don't let this little camera fool you, I've done a lot of work with it and have made some special modifications, so it works wonders."?

I highly doubt anyone is going to walk out of an interview b/c they see an HV-20. Throw it on some rails and add a matte box if the need to look pro is important.

The XH-A1 offers A LOT more fuctionality, and that IS a VERY GOOD reason to get it. But to look pro? IDTS, IMHO.

Pro is how you carry yourself, not what you carry. James Cameron could walk into an interview with a 110 instamatic and never have anyone doubt he knew what he was doing... even if they didn't know who he was.

Jut my $.02.
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Old October 8th, 2007, 06:49 PM   #27
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Peter...i got your back on this one. I agree with your statements and let me ad...that Matt, in addition to what Peter said you can also bring a laptop of some sorts that displays some work you did with the HV20. Use this to show what that little cam can do and go with the explanation that this is what pro cams will look like in ten years. Let you work speak for itself. I too am a sound guy and I know very well how important good sound is. My device is a Roland VS-1680 24 bit digital studio workstation. It's probably a little big for you but it does the job and something like this can future proof your needs for recording music. I'm not necessarily recommending this gear to you.....but I would go with what was recommended to you earlier. Me personally...even if I had an A1...I would stil use outboard gear to control the sound just the way I need it.
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Old October 8th, 2007, 07:27 PM   #28
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Whoa, Peter........

Keep your shirt on.

I (as in me, myself) have no issue with the HV20 (I have one too, BTW) as a tool to get a job done. I don't use it to impress but to work, exactly as with my A1.

HOWEVER - "street cred" is an issue when dealing with clients, potential interviewees and what can loosely be termed "the general public". Pull a HV20 out and stand on any street corner shooting away and you're just good 'ol Joe Public, possibly taking good close up video of yourself as it's back to front, but hey (this can be advantageous on occasions if I'm trying to be subtle).

If I'm dealing with a new client or potential interviewee, do I pull out the HV20 and say, ok, lets go? I did once and the look I got said it all - this guys a jerk!

Nope, out comes the pimped out A1 and the message comes across loud and clear - hey, this guy's a pro, I'd better listen!

If I want to cut a path through a crowd to get some tasty local action on video, I do not use the HV20. Mount up the A1 and the crowd will part like the Red Sea to let you at it.

Stand on any busy street with an HV20 on a suitably sized tripod and passers by don't give a second glance and will walk straight through your shot like you don't exist.

Whack the A1 on the Fibretechs and V3 head and they'll leave a 3 metre corridor all round you, a heck of a lot more if they see the boom pole etc.

This is just a fact of life. I didn't make it that way. I use it as and when necessary. It has it's up sides and it's down sides.

My point, and Matt did acknowledge his own reservsations, was "How is this fact going to play out for him in doing his job in Tanzania?"

Your point about personality is well taken and correct, it still doesn't alter the fact that, in a situation where I need to be in total control right from the start, the "shock and awe" treatment is a great step in the right direction.

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Old October 8th, 2007, 08:19 PM   #29
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Does Size Matter?

Okay, since we've all weighed in on our techie view, it looks us gadflys can chime in about perceptions vs reality. Permit me to ask a few rhetorical questions - if you're at a wedding and the videographer is using the same camera as wedding guests (or appears the same), what's your perception of the videographer's value? Would you feel as comfortable going to a professional (doctor, lawyer, etc) without a staff, in a low-cost office, etc?

Actually, I'm sure there are many of us that quid-quo-pro, we're more into substance than form. But let's not kid ourselves, in our profession many of our clients are guided by initial appearances and perceptions. If I go out on a job with contractor lighting, cardboard cookies, shower curtain diffusion, PVC pipe holders, etc, I'm probably not going to impress my clients. If I'm using a low-end HD camera with a teeny screen that doesn't show up the snow in a low-light situation (until I edit in post) versus an external monitor that catches issues before starting the shoot, etc, then my client will appreciate my investments that make him/her look better. Ditto on sound, which we seem to have well covered here.

As the saying goes, quality is like oats - if you want good quality oats you must pay a fair price. And if you're okay getting the oats after they've been through the horse, it's somewhat cheaper... Seriously though, I'd prioritize my investments and quality something like this (excluding post-production), with percentages of investments in each area:

1. Audio and music (30%)
2. Video cameras (50%)
3. Lighting, reflectors, etc (10%)
4. Other (10%)

Your percentages will probably vary based on your priorities and business model, but I doubt there's many that are spending twice the percentages on audio then they do on video.

Okay guys, flame on <wink>
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Old October 8th, 2007, 11:54 PM   #30
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Thanks Michael.........

Good job, but not really necessary.

I can see how my "off the cuff" comments can be easily misconstrued and appear far more "base" (if that's the appropriate expression) than actually meant.

Unfortunately my shorthand has a tendency to get me into these situations more often than I would like. C'est la Vie.

To change the subject entirely,

Matt, where's the end product of this visit going to end up? I'd be really interested to hear how the trip worked out and see/ hear some of the results.

Any plans?

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