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Old February 14th, 2008, 10:55 AM   #1
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Audio Help for Golfer Documenting Midlife Quest to Play on the PGA Tour

Hi, my name is Phil Bundy. I live outside of Washington, DC. Like a solo journalist, I am documenting a personal midlife quest to play on the PGA Tour. A beginner with video and audio, I have experimented with some nice results on the video side but little success on the audio side. I am currently using a Sony VX-2000 with no audio accessories but will possibly be switching to the new Canon VIXIA HF 10 when released in May in an effort to reduce size and weight of my gear pack for travel.

For video, I am primarily interviewing people who are helping me in my quest as well as other people who I meet on my journey. In most cases, I prefer that I am in the shot with the subject and that both of us are heard. Many of these discussions take place in outside environments with windy conditions. Some will include swing demonstrations.

Although I am looking for the best value for audio, this effort is self-finance, and the budget is a major consideration. I am also only interested in equipment that a novice can easily use. Again, size matters as I am traveling frequently and setting-up quickly and alone.

When posting replies, please offer specific model numbers and prices as well as potential locations for online purchase. I am also interested in hearing about audio stores in the Baltimore/Washington region that I can personally visit.

Thanks for any advice and suggestions!

Phil Bundy
www.EmbeddedGolfer.com

Last edited by Phil Bundy; February 14th, 2008 at 11:02 AM. Reason: Update
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Old February 14th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Bundy View Post
Hi, my name is Phil Bundy. I live outside of Washington, DC. Like a solo journalist, I am documenting a personal midlife quest to play on the PGA Tour. A beginner with video and audio, I have experimented with some nice results on the video side but little success on the audio side. I am currently using a Sony VX-2000 with no audio accessories but will possibly be switching to the new Canon VIXIA HF 10 when released in May in an effort to reduce size and weight of my gear pack for travel.

For video, I am primarily interviewing people who are helping me in my quest as well as other people who I meet on my journey. In most cases, I prefer that I am in the shot with the subject and that both of us are heard. Many of these discussions take place in outside environments with windy conditions. Some will include swing demonstrations.

Although I am looking for the best value for audio, this effort is self-finance, and the budget is a major consideration. I am also only interested in equipment that a novice can easily use. Again, size matters as I am traveling frequently and setting-up quickly and alone.

When posting replies, please offer specific model numbers and prices as well as potential locations for online purchase. I am also interested in hearing about audio stores in the Baltimore/Washington region that I can personally visit.

Thanks for any advice and suggestions!

Phil Bundy
www.EmbeddedGolfer.com
Hi Phil:

Wow, sounds like a very interesting project. Unfortunately, frankly what you are trying to do would be challenging for a full audio crew, much less doing it all yourself.

I don't think you will obtain very good sound, given your shooting circumstances, lack of crew and experience. Is there any way you can hire a sound mixer to do all of this with you or is this a spur of the moment, "you will shooting all of the time unexpectedly" type of project?

It sounds as if two wired or wireless lavalier systems would be of most use. I assume you end up with your camera on a tripod and you and a talent/interview subject would be on camera most of the time? If both of you will be fairly close to camera, two wired lavaliers would cost around $300.00 to $600.00 and would probably work okay although if you are buying a consumer Canon, you will need to budget a few hundred dollars for a Beachtek XLR adapter. I would highly advise NOT using unbalanced consumer types of mics. As it is, you will have nobody monitoring your sound, right, because you, the camera operator will be on camera as you shoot? So if you have audio issues, you won't even know about them until the interview is finished. Sounds like a recipe for bad sound and re-shoots honestly unless you get lucky.

Wireless is even sketchier, most cheap wireless microphone systems sound bad and have lots of noise issues but if you must, consider two Sennheiser G2 100 wireless systems, they are the best cheap wireless available at around $500.00 per channel.

I am not trying to discourage you, the project sounds interesting but you are handicapping yourself tremendously if your concern is obtaining even usable, much less good sound. You might get some good education by reading this http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage...ion_sound.html

Good luck,

Dan
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Old February 14th, 2008, 11:14 AM   #3
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Well the BEST (IMO) would be to use 2 lavs with wind screens running back to a portable mixer run by a sound guy BUT since that doesn't seem to be in the cards you might go with something like an Audio Technica 1823 receiver which will run 2 transmitters at the same time-2 body paks with lavs and wind screens, run each channel of the receiver back to seperate channels on the camera, try to keep your back to the wind and be prepared to do some audio sweetening in post.
This will allow both people to keep their hands free and speak freely which means sometimes non-porfessional talent will step all over the person asking questions and with a handheld mic that can be problematic.
You can do it with a handheld for the talent and a lav for you but personally I think 2 lavs are better. Remember to get wind screens or all you might hear is wind noise. You'll still have some probably but a little work when necessary in your NLE should clean most if not all of it up.
HTHs
Don
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Old March 12th, 2008, 01:49 PM   #4
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I thank Dan Brockett and Don Bloom for the thoughtful replies.

Dan's advice, in particular, was extremely valuable in acquiring the best equipment for my needs. With his guidance, I ended up purchasing the following from B&H:

Tram TR-50 for wired lav
Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 Series - UHF Lavalier System
Beachtek DXA-4P Audio Adapter
Micro-Cat Lavaliere Windscreen

Thanks again, Dan!

Phil Bundy
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Old March 12th, 2008, 04:27 PM   #5
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Good audio is not trivial. It takes experience and good gear to record sound that isn't noticeably bad.

Good luck,

Ty Ford
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Old March 12th, 2008, 05:37 PM   #6
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Phil, what you need is a caddy, camera person, sound person...:) I like golf, and I am in my mid life crisis.... but..... :)

But serriously, how can you concetrate on golf and do this at the same time ? I have done some personal video while playing with a group, and man my regular 18 handicap golf suffered. But, I suppose your film is not primarily being shot during tournament, play, but rather is more about interviews with you and others involved in the tour. Sound interesting.

One thing you might consider is, as you travel city to city, grabbing local DVInfo shooters to help in that area.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 06:24 PM   #7
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Chris, that's a great idea!

Ty Ford
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Old March 12th, 2008, 11:38 PM   #8
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I would suggest tossing in a hand held reporter's mic, such as the Electro-Voice RE50/DN and a 25 foot XLR cable:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...M_Dynamic.html

When all else fails, you can plug this directly into the camera and hold it in front of yourself or the other person. It works well in the wind without any further protection, and with a small furry black wind protector it will let you do your interviews while playing golf in a hurricane:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...l_Outdoor.html

The lavalier is the most snazzy, but the hand held is an excellent backup and couldn't get much faster or easier to use.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 01:56 AM   #9
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As a New Boot, I admittedly have little audio and video experience, and the purpose of my thread was to glean from knowledgeable pros. With the thoughtful advice as well as the purchase of the best equipment that I can afford, my audio has already improved dramatically.

As some people have mentioned, going solo is a big challenge. My original goal was to have a fulltime caddie, who could also handle a small camera, but unfortanately, funding is unlikely to allow. The idea to call for local DVInfo members is a great idea, similar to Dan's suggestion to possible post on craigslist. Also, shooting during actual tournaments is not as practical as I do not want to disturb other competitors or myself.

With a lot of patience, more experience, post production fixes, and some luck, I am hopeful that I will capture enough compelling video and audio. I have studied other solo efforts closely: Kevin Sites' "In the Hot Zone" and Les Stroud's "Survivorman" for example. On Dan's advice, I also watched Ross McElwee’s “Sherman’s March” -- a fantatsic early documentary from which I learned about perspective, tone, pace, etc.

Thanks again to all who have contributed!

Phil Bundy
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