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Old June 22nd, 2008, 09:27 PM   #1
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Help me take the next step!

I need your help in making the next step in audio.

I've been shooting video for a community video page for about three years but have never had the chance to put the proper effort into audio (I'm a one-man band, in most cases).

Now I want to take the next step--but I'm not sure if I should put my time/money into equipment or just take them time to learn to use what I have better.

Here's my web page with videos: www.montarafog.com--here are a few interviews: http://www.montarafog.com/index.php?...d=173&Itemid=1

I shoot a lot of local government meetings in addition to interviews, etc.

Outdoors I'm regularly running into wind noise problems (I use a Rode VideoMic with deadcat). In other videos I feel that the sound is o.k. but not great.

Any thoughts on what I should be focusing on given my one-man status and limited time? I can spend up to $500 or so if needed.
I also have a Sennheiser Wireless system with lavalier and as well as an ENG type handheld. I also have the new Sony recorder PCM-D50 and Jay Rose's book.

Thanks,

--Darin
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 10:06 PM   #2
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Darin,

I'll try to help with some advice, but first, what do you record on?

Without knowing the make and model of the camera, there are too many unknowns about input characteristics.
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 11:25 PM   #3
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Hey Bill,

I few months ago I sold my Fx-1 and am now using a high end consumer Sony HC7, an HDV format Handycam. No XLR inputs, of course, but I'm happy to think about getting a Beachtek or whatever might be needed.

I'm dreaming of getting something akin to the FX-1 whenever Sony comes out with an interchangeable lens model with tapeless video for around $3,000 :) I might be waiting a while...

--Darin
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 12:04 AM   #4
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I don't know as much as a lot of people who curise the audio section, but If you want better sound I would have each person wear a lav and put a windscreen on it. Then in post you can cut the mic off for who is not talking and only use the mic for who is talking at the time. From checking out a few mins of your videos it seems like you have good content. I know you didn't ask for this part of my advice but I'm going to say it anyway.
you where doing an interview in what looked like a garage..the people were talking about solar panels....is there any way you can lock your exposure with your camera. I could see things getting lighter and darker, if you locked your exposure that would fix this problem.
Sorry, back to the mics. I suggust two seperate lavs, either wireless or wired if you want to go the cheaper route. Then get a beachtek or something so you can adjust the levels for either channel, and put the audio in manual for the camera. Do mic checks beforehand if you want to use my advice.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 03:14 AM   #5
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Hey Eric,

Thanks for you comments.

Good thought on using two lavs. I actually have a cheap buy decent sounding Azden around here somewhere--also have one of those y-cors that take two mono and record them to separate stereo tracks--so I can stop being lazy and start doing what you say right away with zero cost. I can fix the levels in post, I guess.

As for the garage clip and the changing exposure--very embarrassing! I'm still not used to the HC7--lots of manual controls but all buried in menus. I wished I would have done that one right--sigh.

Did I mention the goats in the yard that were trying to eat the knees out of my jeans while I was filming?

--Darin
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 10:46 AM   #6
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Haha, that's funny about the goats.
Don't be embarrassed about the exposure thing, I've made the mistake before, and probably will again. I just wanted to make sure you knew about it and how to fix it(I made the mistake just last Wednesday when recording filler for my PBS station. I was doing some glidecam shots with a pd-150 and didn't realize this camera had a separate button to lock the gain, so I don't know how much of that footage will be useful...oh well at least it wasn't anything important.)
Riding the levels in post will probably suck, but it should sound pretty good.
If you've never done this before use two tracks for audio on your editing system (one track for each lav). Then make it so each track only has the sound from that one particular lav.
When one person is talking cut the mic off for the other person(blade and fade, keyframes, or a better way if anyone knows of one)
Sorry if I told you stuff you already know. If anyone has a better solution please let me know also.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Stemen View Post
I don't know as much as a lot of people who curise the audio section, but If you want better sound I would have each person wear a lav and put a windscreen on it. Then in post you can cut the mic off for who is not talking and only use the mic for who is talking at the time.
This only works if you have two people and you don't use any sort of external microphone, or you have a way of keeping all the mics on their own separate channels. This usually isn't done on shoe-string productions.

But the idea is a good one if you only have two people and don't boom.

Wayne
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 04:21 PM   #8
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[duplicate -- deleted]
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Last edited by Wayne Brissette; June 23rd, 2008 at 06:15 PM. Reason: duplicate
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 07:13 PM   #9
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For all the interviews I saw except one, there where only two people talking...so in most circumstances(assuming all the video is like the ones I saw) this should work out fine.
You shouldn't need a lot of money to do this as Darin said he could do this right away with zero cost. He will just need to spend quite a bit more time in post...which depending how you look at it costs money.

Having someone dedicated to sound would probably make this much easier, but cost more.
If you don't want to spend the time in post another way to make this easier would be to put the camera on a tripod and use a field mixer to ride levels while the people are talking.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 04:06 AM   #10
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Hey Eric, Hey Wayne,

For the one sort of video I do (like the Green Building ones) it is usually one or two people so Eric's idea should be fine.

I'm funding all of this out of my own pocket so hiring a sound guy is never going to happen. :)

Is there anything I can do about wind noise aside from putting one of those gigantic Zeps from the Indian place on E-bay. The price is o.k. but the dang thing is HUGE compared to my little HC7...and home made ideas?

Also struggling with using the audio filters in FCE. Are these the same in the Studio verson or are they better there? I keep wanting to have a mechanical device to play with rather than clicking on stuff--is there such a beast, that brings basic audio controls/filters into a knob/lever/slider type of device that isn't a nightmare to use?

I'll figure this stuff out one day!

--Darin
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Old June 24th, 2008, 04:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darin Boville View Post
...
Is there anything I can do about wind noise aside from putting one of those gigantic Zeps from the Indian place on E-bay. The price is o.k. but the dang thing is HUGE compared to my little HC7...and home made ideas?
...
Also struggling with using the audio filters in FCE. Are these the same in the Studio verson or are they better there? I keep wanting to have a mechanical device to play with rather than clicking on stuff--is there such a beast, that brings basic audio controls/filters into a knob/lever/slider type of device that isn't a nightmare to use?

I'll figure this stuff out one day!

--Darin
Alas, the only thing that controls wind noise is maintaining a dead space of still air around the mic. That pretty well dictates that any effective solution is going to be larger than the mic. Mother Nature's laws of physics just don't work in the favour of miniature solutions. Adding a high pass filter helps but I don't think the Videomic has one. I've heard those Indian zepps are pretty poorly made - you'll be better off spending a little more and going with the real deal - I've always found buying cheap is always the most expensive in the long run.

A Mackie Control desktop brings analog mixing desk-type controls to your workstation - sliding faders, etc - if that's what you mean by the above. Your software still functions as before but you control it from the desk with faders and knobs rather than with the mouse and 'rubber bands.'
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Old June 24th, 2008, 05:42 AM   #12
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I would disagree re the Indian blimps being poorly made. Frankly I can't see anything wrong with the one I bought. Compared with 'the real deal' so-called, the value is absolutely fantastic. Why pay five time the amount for the addition of a carry case?
All blimps are huge. They have to be to fit the mic.

A real cheap way to go for recording independantly with lav's is to use Giant Squids ($us25 - http://www.giant-squid-audio-lab.com...-micline1.html ) recording to an Iriver 890. Get the 890's off ebay - price varies from about $us30s to $us85 depending on the auction - well did at the beginning of the year. I have six sets. Absolutely brilliant. At 128kbps you can record four and half hours. Just set and forget, then cut all the redundant stuff in post.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 10:14 AM   #13
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Darin, I work very much like you do - I have a couple of HC7's myself and the best advice I can give is to customize your P menu so that your audio levels, manual exposure adjustment, white balance, etc is setup so that you get to it much quicker - you get to it in 2 button pushes, not several. Set it up so that those most used functions you need to control are available in the first P menu screen. I did that for both my cameras and it's much easier to get to now.

I currently work in SONY Vegas Pro and have found working with Audio in post is cake. I have heard of guys who run parallels just so they can work with Vegas Pro on their Macs.

If I could find one of those Iriver 890's I'd go that route - I'm looking at the Zoom H2 as a field recorder as it seems the best option for my limited budget - and like Darin, I'm currently funding my projects as I develop my body of work.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 11:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Renton Maclachlan View Post
I would disagree re the Indian blimps being poorly made. Frankly I can't see anything wrong with the one I bought. Compared with 'the real deal' so-called, the value is absolutely fantastic. Why pay five time the amount for the addition of a carry case?
All blimps are huge. They have to be to fit the mic.

...
My comment is based on hearsay, I'll admit. But a number of people who've used 'em report that the bargain zepps tend to fall about quickly, compared to the more mainstream products from Rycote, etc. YMMV and I'm glad they're working out for you.
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