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Old February 14th, 2008, 11:23 AM   #1
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Audio Monitoring Question / Beachtek DXA-6

I am using an XL1s with an Audio-Technica AT-4073a and a Beachtek DXA-6 and it works great. I did a few jobs last months and everything turned out great but the sound guy felt it was too hard to try to look at the volume levels on the camera. I thought of returning the Beachtek and upgrading to the one with the VU Meters (DXA-6VU), but even then the monitor level would be on the base of the tripod and hard for the sound guy to see and use.

What would you all recommend that I could integrate into my current setup to be able to monitor the level of the mic. Or should I buy another phantom power unit that the sound person could wear around his neck (a Portable Mixer)?

Thanks!
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Old February 14th, 2008, 12:03 PM   #2
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I don't have an answer, but I wonder if anyone has any experience with an external VU meter lie this one from Sign Video? http://www.signvideo.com/vu150_audio-meter.htm
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Old February 14th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #3
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What about the Sound Devices Mixpre?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ortable_2.html
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Old February 14th, 2008, 01:50 PM   #4
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Ultimately you want the sound person to handle the sound. That means that they should have control over the volume. In order to do that, that person really needs to have a mixer or some other way to control things without interfering with the camera and the camera op. Ideally you would set your levels on the mixer and the camera to match, then the sound person only has to monitor their VU meters and not worry about the camera's levels. The issue I have with cameras is the location and ease of use of the audio gain knobs. These are usually hard to get at and not very responsive in adjusting the volume.

Any mixer the sound person uses should fix your problem, and yes they will have to wear the mixer if you're using that individual as Boom op and Mixer at the same time.


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Old February 14th, 2008, 02:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Schreuder View Post
I don't have an answer, but I wonder if anyone has any experience with an external VU meter lie this one from Sign Video? http://www.signvideo.com/vu150_audio-meter.htm
Yes, different brand, don't use it any more, used it with the Canon GL-1, it was a WONDERFUL gadget to have. Mine mounted on top of the camera, making it 'line-of-site'.

Oliver - If you mount it on top of the camera, both you and your sound person can easily see it.

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Old February 14th, 2008, 09:57 PM   #6
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Oliver - If you mount it on top of the camera, both you and your sound person can easily see it.
But my sound guy is working the boom pole and cant just stomp over to the camera and mess with the volume while were filming an interview.

That AT-4073a I have picks up everything btw! It's good and bad sometimes...The room has to be DEAD silent during an interview.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 05:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Oliver Darden View Post
But my sound guy is working the boom pole and cant just stomp over to the camera and mess with the volume while were filming an interview.

That AT-4073a I have picks up everything btw! It's good and bad sometimes...The room has to be DEAD silent during an interview.
If these are sit-down interviews consider using a fixed boom - get a C-stand and clamp a "boom buddy" to the top - these are fishing pole holder thingys that you can place the boom in and position in the appropriate spot over the talent. A directional mic like the 4073 can be placed so it is close to the talent and aimed properly yet doesn't pickup too much of the room ambience. Experimentation with position is the key. This will not only save wear and tear on your boomer's shoulders, it will free him to give more attention to metering.

There have been several threads about "why use a mixer" and this is one excellent example of why that's a good idea even if you're only recording from one mic. The sound person has a mixer with proper meters either in a bag he wears or on a convenient table etc. The mixer output goes to the camera via an umbilical called a 'break-away cable'. Before the shot, the mixer sends a known level tone to the camera and the mixer and camera meters are aligned with the camera's level controls, then the camera controls are left alone - some even like to tape them with a strip of gaffer's tape to make sure they don't get bumped. The soundperson uses the mixer's faders to control levels during the shot while observing on the mixer's meters and monitoring the audio through his headphones. Good mixers with a proper umbilical snake will also carry a return from the camera's headphones output so the soundie can choose to listen to either the mixer send or the camera return during the take.

You mentioned the SD MixPre - an excellent cloice for this sort of application. Even better if your budget would take it is the SD302
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Old February 15th, 2008, 10:59 AM   #8
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Thanks for that info Steve.

I have the Matthews Hollywood Century C Stand (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Century_C.html) which I think would work for what your talking about. What would the "clamp" be for?

Is this the "boom buddy" (http://www.boom-buddy.com/)?

Now with the set up above could I essentially use my DXA-6 in place of the SD MixPre for now by having the sound guy hold it while monitoring with headphones?
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Old February 15th, 2008, 11:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Oliver Darden View Post
Thanks for that info Steve.

I have the Matthews Hollywood Century C Stand (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Century_C.html) which I think would work for what your talking about. What would the "clamp" be for?

Is this the "boom buddy" (http://www.boom-buddy.com/)?

Now with the set up above could I essentially use my DXA-6 in place of the SD MixPre for now by having the sound guy hold it while monitoring with headphones?
I was thinking of this one http://www.remoteaudio.com/boom_boy.htm but the one you found would work as well.

As for the boom guy holding the Beach, I suppose although awkward but he wouldn't have meters and that's the whole idea. Plus now you have a long unbalanced cable run and that's not a good idea either. Leave the Beach fastened to the camera and run the MixPre to it. This gives you a balanced run to the camera except for the last 6 inches. Or there are a number of other possibilities.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 04:26 PM   #10
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Leave the Beach fastened to the camera and run the MixPre to it.
Wouldn't that be like using 2 phantom power units when I really only need one? Why wouldn't I just get the DXA-6 out of the equation?
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Old February 15th, 2008, 04:43 PM   #11
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Wouldn't that be like using 2 phantom power units when I really only need one? Why wouldn't I just get the DXA-6 out of the equation?

You'd keep phantom off on the Beach. And yes, you could just remove it completely but you still need to get from balanced XLR from the outut of the MixPre to stereo mini for the input on the XL1s along with a pad from line down to mic level or an adapter to get from the XLR outputs of the MixPre to RCA for the camera's Audio 1 line input.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 05:21 PM   #12
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You'd keep phantom off on the Beach. And yes, you could just remove it completely but you still need to get from balanced XLR from the outut of the MixPre to stereo mini for the input on the XL1s along with a pad from line down to mic level or an adapter to get from the XLR outputs of the MixPre to RCA for the camera's Audio 1 line input.
Gotcha, thanks for all the help Steve.

Also, my next shoot is out of town and that Matthews Hollywood Century C Stand is way to big and heavy for me to take with me. Is there a more portable way to to use the mic on a stand with the boom buddy?
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