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Old January 7th, 2005, 11:14 AM   #1
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Sound monitoring with one assistant

How should I monitor sound if I record directly to the camcorder? I have an AT4073a on a boom running into Panasonic DV953. I want the boom operator to monitor the sound so I can concentate on cinematography and directing. If I use a regular headphone he will barely be able to move, greatly limiting our options. Should I go wireless, or get an extension cable?
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Old January 7th, 2005, 01:13 PM   #2
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The Rolls PM50sOB should do the trick.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=231436&is=REG
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Old January 7th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #3
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I would probably get an external meter and run an extension cable to it so your audio person could hold it in his or her hand. The meter should have its own headphone jack that would likely be far more reliable than the one on the camera anyway. SignVideo and Beachtek make fairly inexpensive meters. If you get the SignVideo version you will have to calibrate it so that it matches the meter on your camera. Not a big deal.
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Old January 7th, 2005, 10:11 PM   #4
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I would never, ever, ever trust a meter.

There are small battery-powered belt boxes that pass boom audio and have a plug for headphones. I don't have a name, but one of the pro audio houses must have it.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 8th, 2005, 06:34 PM   #5
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The Rolls PM50sOB is the box that Ty is talking about. According to the manual it will work with Condenser and Dynamic mics.

A belt clip is also available for this unit (if it is not already supplied).
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Old January 8th, 2005, 07:20 PM   #6
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Rereading your post Emre, I think I misunderstood. I thought you wanted to have a third person monitoring the levels. Yeah, the Rolls is definitely the way to go for your boom op. If you want to get a little more fancy, there's the SoundDevices MM1. A fantastic piece of gear, but expensive. It's worth it though if you can afford it. Having a limiter would be especially helpful since you don't have anyone watching the levels.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=292989&is=REG
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Old January 8th, 2005, 07:27 PM   #7
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No, no...there are two people: me, and the boom operator. After having spent so much money I was hoping I was done when I realized the headphones are at the wrong end of the cable...

Do you think that adding a monitor to the chain will notably increase noise, or otherwise degrade the signal? Am I going about it the right way?

Thanks for all the help.
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Old January 8th, 2005, 10:17 PM   #8
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Rolls claims their device doesn't add any noise at all. I've got a splitter box from them that doesn't seem to add any noise so I'm inclined to believe them. Lots of people in this forum use that unit and seem very happy with it. As for whether you're going about this the right way, I'd say absolutely. The boom op HAS to be able to hear what he's recording so he can watch for handling noise and make sure the mic is directed properly. The other question is whether or not to run a line back from the camera so he can hear what's being recorded. That's tricky. I believe the PM50sOB is looking for a mono pro-line level balanced signal. I don't know how you get that from the camera. Actually, I wouldn't mind hearing from anyone who is doing that successfully. I've tried to use the monitor input on our MM1 and have been unsuccessful. In any case, somebody has to monitor what's being recorded at the camera. This is most likely going to be you, the camera operator. I've done that on more than a few occassions, and it's not ideal. There's just too much to worry about when you're running the camera. The headphone output in our camera (GL1) is completely unreliable. That's another reason I would suggest the external meter. You run the headphone volume at the camera at the halfway level and calibrate the meter to that. At least that's how we used to do it. We no longer record direct to camera at all and have a two person audio crew. Regarding Ty's comment about not trusting the levels, yeah, it can screw you. For us, the main use of the meter is to determine an average level. You ultimately have to use your ears to make sure you're not clippping.
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Old January 8th, 2005, 11:11 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Marco Leavitt : The other question is whether or not to run a line back from the camera so he can hear what's being recorded. That's tricky. I believe the PM50sOB is looking for a mono pro-line level balanced signal. -->>>

Marco,
The following is quoted from the manual.

"MONITOR INPUT: 1/4" TRS stereo jack for connection to a line source such as a mixer monitor/auxiliary output, cassette player output, CD player output etc. NOTE: If a mono plug is used in the Monitor Input jack, you will hear only one side."
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Old January 9th, 2005, 12:11 AM   #10
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Well, okay. I'm wrong (happily).
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Old January 9th, 2005, 07:46 AM   #11
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I'm thinking somebody like Peter Engh in Minneapolis makes a cable that'll route camera heaphone audio back down the snake to the boom op, but I can't find a page on Peter.

There's also a device that clamps to the boom. It has a headphone jack and a gain control that adjusts the mic level. This allows the boom op to mix and move.

Evgen if the boom op didn't change gain, it would allow him/her to hear what was going on.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 9th, 2005, 11:15 AM   #12
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This page has a cable called the "EQE mini boom line" that combines a headphone cable with an XLR.

http://www.equipmentemporium.com/audiofor.htm

If he was using the Rolls, would it be possible to simply tape a headphone cable to a standard XLR cable, or would the cables interfere with each other?
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Old January 31st, 2005, 09:57 AM   #13
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I finally got the Rolls, and tested it out in field use. Last weekend I shot a recital with an omnidirectional dynamic and an hypercardioid condenser. The condenser is much hotter than the dynamic, and I did not know how to optimally set the gain structure on my Beachtek DXA-6 and Panasonic PV-DV953. The problem is that my camcorder only has one level indicator for both channels! What do you recommend? I only have one personal monitor and pair of headphones.
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Old January 31st, 2005, 02:28 PM   #14
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That's going to be a problem no matter how you handle it unless you get a two-channel meter to add onto that camera. First, you could set up a test with a two-channel metering camera to determine equal settings on the BeachTek for the two mics.
You'd run the dynamic channel at full and reduce the condenser channel until you got an equal reading. That would be a guide, not necessarily how you'd set the BeachTek in practice. You generally want to run the BeachTek as close to full as possible since (except for the phantom circuits) it's a passive device. There will also be the consideration of how you're using the two mics together. If the omni dynamic is for an ambience track, it would be ok for it to be lower while the condenser is hotter for more focused subjects.
In this case, a real mixer would be worth the extra cost versus the Rolls that's only intended to work with one mic for one operator to monitor.
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