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Old December 8th, 2004, 04:38 PM   #1
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Capturing Audio Separate from Video

Hello all,
It's my first post! I am a student film maker at Middle Tennessee State University. I am working on my first true film(it's 40 min long, and has a well written screenplay). I have been debating whether or not I should record the audio with a shotgun mic plugged into the Sony VX2100, or if I should capture it separately. I have come to the decision that capturing the audio separatel will probably give me better quality, but I havn't the slightest idea on how to do it. I have an audio engienner, and he has a mixing board as well as Pro Tools on his iBook. How would we go about setting it up so that the microphones we use plug into the mixer and then record onto the Pro Tools. He probably knows, but he doesn't want to put as much effort into the movie as I do. I would like to have an idea of what we would have to do in order to pull this off efficiently as well as effectively. I hope you guys can help.

Jesse Davidson
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Old December 8th, 2004, 07:17 PM   #2
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Hi Jesse,

You could record directly into pro Tools and that might work if he has the smpte Tool kit option. But then you'd have to lug the computer around to all of your locations. And you'd still have to worry about syncing up later.

I'd go to a mixer and then to the camera unless you have a higher quality solution, which you post does not indicate.

Does your VX 2100 have an audio input? If so I would record to it at 16 bit 44.1 kHz. A shotgun may or may not be the best mic. Usually not for interiors. For interiors, you want a hypercardioid. An AT 4053 or a Schoeps cmcc641....or lavs.

You will benefit form a mixer. If you need no more than 2 mics, the Sound Devices MixPre is a wonderful little mixer with strong, good sounding features. Buy one now and use it for YEARS.



Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 9th, 2004, 06:22 AM   #3
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If you're not using more then two mics at once I'd reccomend you keep things simple and plug into the vx2100. I take it this camcorder displays audio levels?

If using more then you have to use a mixer - and a simple but effective one you can take out on the road is the behringer MXB1002 - it can run off batteries.

Jon
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Old December 9th, 2004, 08:39 AM   #4
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Tell us a little more about your project. Is it fast-paced, slow-paced, action, drama, lots of scenes, etc?
What percentage of scenes will be interior versus exterior?
How many people can you reliably count on during shooting?
How much time and energy can you devote to post-production?
These are all important considerations when deciding to record only to the camera or to an additional higher-quality recorder.

What equipment besides the camera do you currently have access to, such as mics, an XLR adapter for the camera, etc.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 12:11 PM   #5
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The movie is a 40 minute short. It is a Drama, with lots of indoor scenes. There are a few outdoor scenes however, and some scenes with three people in a shot. I might be able to have access to two lapels, so for closups I was figuring on using a boom, and for wider shots i was thinking of using the lavs with the boom mic for background noise.

What do you guys think
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Old December 9th, 2004, 02:38 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jesse Davidson : The movie is a 40 minute short. It is a Drama, with lots of indoor scenes. There are a few outdoor scenes however, and some scenes with three people in a shot. I might be able to have access to two lapels, so for closups I was figuring on using a boom, and for wider shots i was thinking of using the lavs with the boom mic for background noise.

What do you guys think -->>>

I think you'll be very disappointed with a shotgun for interiors. Get the Audio technica 4053 or a Schoeps cmc641.

Two lavalieres (lapels as you call them) can be pretty dismal if worked to close together unless you record each to a separate track and then checkerboard the dialog in post. Checkerboarding means to manually cut out the off mic audio for all dialog, allowing only the mic of the person speaking to be heard. You have to cut here, then there, hence checkerboarding.

Lavs are noisier than the cmc641 or AT 4053. If you have low level dialog, whispering of sweet nothinigs, the self noise of a lav MAY (or may not) be an issue. Not so much a problem with noisier scenes or with scoring.

Might as well learn how to do it right now instead of later. Get a boom and at least a AT 4053. Later, when you do hear a Schoeps cmc641, you'll go, "Oh! Shit. Ty tried to tell me about this, but I didn't want to listen to him."

Regards,

Ty Ford

PS: unlike camcorders, you'll use this mic for the rest of your life.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 02:54 PM   #7
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Ty,
It's not that I don't want to listen to you. It's just I wish I had 2 grand to drop on mics. Heck, I don't even really have 400, but the AT is definetly more in my range.

Jesse
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Old December 9th, 2004, 03:24 PM   #8
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You may want to consider renting some better equipment for this project. The Nashville region certainly has the resources available. If your shooting schedule is well organized, then this can allow you to use great equipment without a huge sum of cash.
If you do decide to purchase, there are 3 other mics that are less expensive than the 4053a that work well for interiors. Of course, each of them has a weak point to offset the cost savings.
In addition, it's going to be important that you have a good XLR interface for the camera, even if you use a separate audio recorder. If you decide to only use the camera, then the XLR adapter is really critical. When I say XLR adapter, this can encompass a wide range of methods and equipment. There's lots of ways to get from point A to point B.
Back to your basic question: Yes, you can get useable audio on your camera for dialogue. Yes, you can get better audio using a separate recorder. But how complex do you want to make both shooting and post-production?
I encourage people to put the effort into using the right equipment and techniques to get the best audio the camera can record, before even contemplating using double-system.
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Old December 9th, 2004, 03:30 PM   #9
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Thanks Jay, I'll consider it. Especially with the state of my pocket book. Thanks for the advice.

Jesse
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Old December 15th, 2004, 07:28 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jay Massengill : <snip>
If you do decide to purchase, there are 3 other mics that are less expensive than the 4053a that work well for interiors. Of course, each of them has a weak point to offset the cost savings. </snip> -->>>

Jay,

I too am looking for a good, afforable, mic to gather audio for interior ambiance. I'm having trouble finding info/prices on the 4053a. Could you please list the other 3 mics you referenced?

Thanks.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 07:37 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jesse Davidson : Ty,
It's not that I don't want to listen to you. It's just I wish I had 2 grand to drop on mics. Heck, I don't even really have 400, but the AT is definetly more in my range.

Jesse -->>>

No where did I suggest spending $2K on mics. Where on earth did you get that?

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 15th, 2004, 07:43 PM   #12
 
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Ty's suggestion is the route I'd go (frequently do myself) but remember that your cam is 16bit/48K or 12 bit/32K. Leave the cam at the 16/48 setting.
Personally, I'm a HUGE fan of the 40 series, the 4053 is one I commonly use, and use it in most of our in-house, non Lav vids. We also use it on a lot of the Broadway promotions we shoot for stage audio.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:01 PM   #13
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For more info on the 4053a go to this link:

http://www.audiotechnica.com/prodpro/profiles/AT4053a.html

It's not carried as commonly as almost every other AT mic made, but you can find it at any worthy pro audio supplier. It will cost between $430 and $500 depending on where you purchase it.

The other 3 hypercardioid mics that work reasonably well for interiors are the:
Rode NT3, the AT873r, and a tested Oktava MK012 with a hypercardioid capsule (like you can get from the Sound Room).

The NT3 is quiet, sounds good generally, doesn't over-emphasize bass sounds in problem rooms, and can run on battery or phantom. It's about $160. The problem, it's very large and heavy for active boompole use.

The AT873r is very small and lightweight. Has very good clarity and is easy to shockmount and wind protect. It's matte black, unobtrusive and a very useful mic to have around. Runs on 48v phantom only. Price ranges from $100 to $195 depending on where you get it. The problem, it has slightly higher self-noise and this can show up if recording quiet subjects like low-key dialogue.

The Oktava MK012 with a hypercardioid capsule has very good sound if you get a tested unit. This costs extra, and the Sound Room is charging $193 plus shipping for the body, the capsule, a -10db pad, a clip and a cedar box. The problem, this mic is very sensitive to handling and wind noise and needs special treatment to minimize any problems in this area. Runs on 48v phantom only.

There is also the AKG Blue Line mic body and a hypercardioid capsule, but I haven't tested one of those. Price is going to be about $390 for that combo.
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:25 PM   #14
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Ty...

Ty,
I am probably wrong, but when I looked up the Schoeps microphone, the hits I got back said that they came in a set for 2 grand. Once again, from your reaction, i am probably wrong.

Also, this next question is for everyone. I have just upgraded my camera. I am now going to be using a Panasonic DVX-100a. It said that there were two XLR ports on the camera. Would you recommend just recording directly to the tape through the XLR imputs? If there is not that large of a difference in sound quality from capturing through the XLR ports on the camera and capturing separately, I would like to record through the XLRs. It would make my post process a lot easier, but I also want the best sound I can get with my equipment and puny budget.

Let me know what you think,
Jesse
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Old December 15th, 2004, 08:28 PM   #15
 
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IF you went with a high end DAT with awesome converters, or IF you went with a high end Apogee converter with high resolution-capable software, you might notice a difference.
The DAC's on most camcorders are pretty decent, and so if levels are set right, AGC is disabled, and you've got good mics, your sound will be just fine, and much better than you'd get if you used an MD or something like that.
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