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Old August 6th, 2009, 04:59 PM   #1
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Need advice on audio for TV AD

I'm using a Canon HF-S10 to shoot a local TV AD for our family's appliance store. We will have one person in front of a green screen and that's it. Should I just try the on board camera mic; or will it make a huge difference to have a boom or wireless mic? I was leaning towards boom but I read that a shotgun mic wouldn't be good for indoors?

I have no audio equipment now, so if i need something other than the built in camera mic then any advice as to what all i need to buy would be greatly appreciated. I will also be using this same set up to shoot video for web design as well.

Thanks
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Old August 6th, 2009, 05:07 PM   #2
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don't use the on board mic if you want good audio. A shotgun on a boom about 1 1/2 to 2 feet away will do the job. Many is not most TV commericals are done this way. If you do use a wireless lav make sure it's a decent set with a diecent capsule (mic) and ALWAYS do a sound check before rolling for real.
Good luck and have fun with it.

Ah the gear. Personally I use AT 1821 receiver with 2 bodypaks and a plugin transmitter but you might only a single set. I use Countryman micswith the setup.
What to buy though really depends on 2 things not necessairly in this order. Your needs and your budget.
There's Sennheiser, AT, Sony, Lectrosonics...many others. Try to stay with a name you recognize (any of the above) Better gear means fewer problems during shooting and in post.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 07:14 PM   #3
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As said a mic such as a rode NTG-1 1+1/2-2 feet away will be better or a radio mic or lav such as the sennheiser G2 or a cabled sony ecm-77 etc.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
If you do use a wireless lav make sure it's a decent set with a diecent capsule (mic) and ALWAYS do a sound check before rolling for real.
AND try to "hide" the capsule either against dark clothing or place it "backwards" with the head of the mic INSIDE the spokesperson's clothing right at the neck hole (or whatever is appropriate. For NEWS style stuff, I don't try as hard to hide a lav but for production stuff, they stand out like a sore thumb...
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Old August 6th, 2009, 07:21 PM   #5
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If i get a boom mic will it plug straight into the camera? Or will it go thru a receiver/mixer of some kind first then to the camera (i.e. Camcorder XLR Audio Adapter/Preamp - CX231)? I figured that would be the most economical avenue for right now? Or is there a better way?

By the way, thanks a ton for the advice!

Last edited by Michael LaHatte; August 6th, 2009 at 07:42 PM. Reason: left out link
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Old August 6th, 2009, 07:52 PM   #6
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IMHO you would be better off going thru a mixer then to the camera BUT only if there were someone with a modicum of knowledge about sound production to man the mixer.
You COULD do a sound check with the talent, set the mixer and go from there. I've done it when necessary and it works as long as the talent isn't going thru puberty and their voices is constantly changing OR they get frustrated at the 15th take and start yelling or whispering in which case I guess a good sound person wouldn't really matter much but ifI were the DoP on that one, I'd be looking for a place to hide ;-)
Anyway back to topic. A mixer would probably be better but if you need to go straight to camera. It can be done and done well.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #7
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So i guess I would just try a boom mic into a XLR to 3.5mm then straight into camera and see how it does? Then make the decision whether or not to get a mixer/preamp? I use a Canon S10 and i've read that people had problems with 3.5's not fitting correctly, so I guess I will just have to try a few different adapters....

Also, what is the absolute best way to record audio when shooting video? Would you have an entirely separate audio recording system and only rely on the camera for video alone, then match the audio and video up during post production in the software on the computer? I would imagine a Canon S10 is no where near high enough quality to justify that type of setup though..
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Old August 7th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #8
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My thoughts... Let your local TV station or cable company shoot your commercial.
They will shoot it for free with the air buy, and it will come out much better than it would if you shot it with your lack of experience and non-professional tools.

Good Luck!
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Old August 7th, 2009, 06:22 AM   #9
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I have to agree with David, especially if the short-term result sought after is a commercial for the family business. If you really do want to shoot it yourself, say this is just the first step of what you envision as a possible career direction, then you're embarking on a rather lengthy learning curve. Just because the cameras today are a minute fraction of the price for twice the image quality of a $100,000 Ikegami broadcast camera from 15 years ago doesn't mean the skills required of the guy behind the lens to produce professional level work with them are any less than they were back then. Your first stop would be a phone call or visit to the chief engineer of the station or cable outlet where you plan on running the ad to get a copy of their detailed technical requirements and delivery specifications. There's a lot more to getting a piece ready for air beyond just capturing a decent picture with intelligable sound -there's a world of difference between delivering a piece to broadcast standards versus shooting something to post of YouTube. For example, are you sure that your consumer camera is even capable of recording an image that meets the station's broadcast requirements? What formats are accptable - SD?, HD?, HDV? How about the physical deliverable - DVD? BetaSP? DigitBeta? How many audio tracks and what goes on what track? Bars & Tone? What levels? Countdown leader? Music clearances and cue sheets? etc etc - it goes on and on.

It's very, very unlikely that the camera's built-in mic would give adequate results. My first thought would be to put a hardwired lav (no need for wireless) on the talent, feeding to a small mixer such as a SD MixPre or 302 (with the aforementioned proviso that someone who knows a little about what they're doing man's the mixer) and from there to your camera's external mic input. Second option would be a hypercardioid on a static boom, perhaps held on a C-stand, just out of frame above and in front of the talent. Again, feed to a mixer and then to the camera. No need to purchase, such gear can be rented at very reasonable rates and the cost of rental of a fully professional quality kit for a day or two will be less than the cost of purchasing even a marginal grade mic. But as David said, if the objective is getting an ad to air and not the personal experience of making an ad, your best bet is to see if the station will do it for you.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 09:02 AM   #10
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Our family business is in a very small town. The option of the local cable company shooting the commercial is non existent. The last ad, we had to pay a guy to shoot it and it turned out OK but was very amateurish. So anything would be better than what we had... heh ... But it is a perfect opportunity for me to go ahead and take the dive into learning. Video will be more and more popular with web design in the future so I will need to learn it eventually for my business. I do a lot of stuff with After Effects, 3ds max, etc. now for web design so it would be really nice to shoot my own footage and add special effects to it as well. We are almost finished with this site: UCM Link where I did the entire video, edited the audio to fit the time line and all; and if I applied filmed footage along with it, it would be 10x's better. I just want to take it to the next level, and this is a perfect way to start.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 09:54 AM   #11
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Mike,

Don't let Steve's comments scare you off. I work in the cable end in some capacity & I've seen stuff shot on a camcorder. I've seen stuff try to use AC/DC. And I've seen the inevitable "Hey, let's put our cute but barely cognitive daughter/granddaughter into the commercial. People will LOVE it!" ad.

There are rules, you can obtain them from the cable sales rep, who gets it from the Master control. There are rules, likely something like 30 seconds bars & tone, a slate is need with client & spot title, 5 seconds black and balck at the end. MiniDV's Beta etc are acceptable. They probably don't accept HD for local spots. DVD's usually are not. If you're using graphics be careful, they may not blow up well to TV size from computer monitor. I don't know much about computer graphics but you may need to use vector based graphics (Fireworks or Illustrator) instead of something like photoshop. (EDIT: Just viewed your link. You seem to know alot about graphics so you should be fine on this)

Overall, good luck with it. Oh and one more thing, it needs to be :30 seconds EXACT. Yes, I've seen them come in at :27 thru :33, let alone just missing a few frames.


To answer your OP, it may be best to go with a shotgun or boom. Doesn't have to be top of the line, but you may get bad sound or echo. If it was voiceover work, & you could place the camera's mic wherever or in a good room for sound, it could get by. But since your talent is on-camera, it may not be very good.

If you have any questions feel free to write. I can assure you that our "Chief Engineer" is not going to spend any time meeting with somebody's who's thinking of making a commercial. Again, if anything, ask questions thru the sales rep. If anything, they're going to go thru Master Control for any questions they don't know, but the MC doesn't have time or patience to speak with hundreds of clients directly.
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