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Old December 24th, 2009, 03:41 PM   #16
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As Robert very accurately pointed out, there are many differences between the FX1 and Z1 -- The XLR inputs are only the most obvious one. There are something like 40 significant differences, mostly in terms of cam adjustments made possible via a different firmware.

But if the XLRs are the only significant difference for you in terms of features you'll use, then the FX1 with BeachTek or JuicedLink is a much better bargain. But you need to learn how to use them correctly.
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Old December 25th, 2009, 11:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
I appreciate your "long rambly post".
thanks!

Quote:
I can hear the difference (with some pieces of music) between say MP3 encoding at 160Kbps and MP3 encoding at 320Kbps, but that difference doesn't bother me (it's just not much). I know some people can hear a difference between MP3 audio encoded at 320Kbps and uncompressed audio - I can't. What bugs the crap out of me is noise, especially where there should be silence, the kind that you could hear a pin drop, but instead hear a bit of background hiss or hum. Realistically, what does it take to eliminate that (as economically as possible)?
heh. thats a loaded question. I suppose i'd have to know what you are doing now and with what gear before i'd know how much hiss or hum you are finding too much. I mean, if you turn your monitor/tv up loud enough, you'll hear the weakness in any chain.


Here's my random thoughts on hum and hiss elimination, fwiw...

1. mic placement. This is huge. If the mic is just out of frame pointing at the talent's mouth 16" away then you will get a much higher ratio of talent to "other stuff". As you turn down the input levels on the camera/recorder to adjust to the closely mic'd sound, the "noise floor" drops too, leaving you with the sound you want and not much else. On the other hand, if your mic is mounted to the camera, or boomed from 6 feet away, you'll have to turn up the gain to get any kind of signal and with it will come all the garbage and hiss and hum. ack. If you want to hear a pin drop, you should turn down your overall audio levels... and make sure the mic is next to the pin.

2. Environment. This could be argued as #1. Mics dont make magic. If you are recording a guy talking and there is a jackhammer behind him... its there! Scout quiet locations without horrible reverb, turn off the a/c, the fridge, any noisy fluoros etc. Put blankets on the wall/floor as needed.

3. mic. a crappy mic boomed correctly will sound better than a great mic far away. That said, a crappy mic boomed correctly will still likely sound noisy and hissy. Those "shotgun mics" that have a 1/8" jack and the "normal" and "tele" switch on the side? Those are crap. If you have a camera/recorder that can take xlr inputs then buying a decent mic (which you will then boom correctly) makes a huge difference. I wont go into which mics are decent. That topic is more than covered around here.

4. recorder/preamp/cables. These all make a difference, but once you cross the "decent" threshold, then the trip from "decent" to "awesome" gets more and more expensive and yields less and less result. Its rather like mountain climbing if you look at a climbing expedition strictly from an overhead view. The majority of your trip will be travelling to the mountain, which is flat and fairly simple. As you get out of the car and start climbing it gets slower. As you get nearer and nearer to the top, lateral progress slows down more and more. The last 1% takes as long as the first 60%. The price is "ever steeper" and as you get closer and closer to the top, it becomes colder, there is less oxygen, there are pure vertical ascents, snow, rock slides etc. Audio gear is like this in that the first 60% of quality is reasonably accessible to everyone. The last 5% only the most diehard and dedicated climbers consider "worth it" and are willing to invest the time energy and cost into what it takes. Most video shooters never even drive to the mountain of good audio. I reckon if you make any effort- drive to the mountain and take even one step out of the car park- that will make your audio outshine most others.

If you already have a decent mic and place it correctly and control your environment... and you still have hum/hiss/noise, then thats a different story. I'd venture to guess that you probably have been slack on the first three points. hehe.

Here is my "magical audio improvement trick": Buy a pair of sony 7506 headphones and wear them whenever you film. Seriously, you'd never shoot video without looking at a viewfinder or monitor. How can you expect good audio without hearing what you are recording? If you are actually listening and paying attention to the audio then things like "maybe get that mic closer" and "hey, can you turn off that paint mixer for a minute" become as instinctive as turning off the strobe light before filming.

Once you are using the gear you have to its full potential then you can have an idea of just how high up the mountain you want to climb. The gear for a casual hike and a vertical ice climb are really different. I reckon what most people lack is the audio equivalent of "appropriate footwear". You see audio alpiners loping around with bags filled with $20,000 in kit, but thats a very different journey than most will take. Even by driving to the base of the mountain you are "60% there" compared to the people that sit at home and use the mics built in to their camera.

And of course, there is the big hollywood secret.

5. Those scenes where you can hear a mouse breathing and a pin wooshing through the air as dropped? Thats all faked. Most pro movie dialog is recorded in a vocal booth and most of the sfx are recorded on a foley stage. True silence doesn't really exist in the real world. There is always a truck driving by or a neighbor coughing, etc.

Thems my thoughts anyways. Merry Christmas to all, and sorry to dominate the thread with my rambles.

Cheers!
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Old December 25th, 2009, 11:53 AM   #18
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Excellent post! I really like your mountain climbing analogy - it's a very accurate description of the journey to a professional sounding result.
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Old December 25th, 2009, 12:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
For me, I placed a higher value on the convenience of the built in XLR.
Agreed. All of the strap-on devices increase setup complexity . Though, personally, I kill the Z1's XLR advantage by carrying two different microphones, one shotgun and one wide pattern sensitive (Blue Dragonfly).

There are other Z1 features, such as superior auto-focus, that are worth paying for. The Z1 and VX2000 were probably the only two cameras in which you could zoom-in, do a Push-Auto Focus, and zoom out for fast accurate focusing. The was lost on the Sony EX1.
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Old December 25th, 2009, 03:35 PM   #20
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That's certainly a valuable and quick and accurate way to focus, but it isn't any different on the FX1, which is what this thread is about.

Curious as to why this doesn't work on the EX1... there's a PUSH AF button, no?
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Old December 25th, 2009, 05:04 PM   #21
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If I understand correctly, with many cameras, when you zoom back out wide, the focal point changes, although I don't know why the Z1 and FX1 would be different in that regard - works for me on the FX1. My difficulty with the FX1, is focusing while shooting (without injecting a zip zoom into the footage).
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Old December 25th, 2009, 06:00 PM   #22
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Right, people have reported losing focus while zooming out, but this is attributed to a faulty backfocus adjustment. Sony recommends focusing this way on all their cams, so I was wondering if there was something different about the EX1 which isn't apparent in the manual.

Many V1s went back to the factory to fix the backfocus so this wouldn't happen, but I've never heard of it being a known issue with the FX1/Z1 or EX1/3.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 04:46 AM   #23
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Awesome thread!Damn andrew nice to hear all this stuff & secrets....

I'm on the same boat of the other mates who don't know if upgrade to z1 or to buy an external device like juicelink ( that could be useful with my next HD SLR CAMERA).
Other important issue is the audio recorded in HD mode. So my best bet should be record the audio interview with:
A. Lavalier mic clipped to the the interviewed guy(how do u call in english?)
B. Attach a shotgun on a pole (out of frame) but as close as possible to the mouth of the guy sittong for the interview
c. Record the audio with another device like Zoom h4n (hidden in the frame), or out of the frame like attached on a pole and directed to the mouth of the guy. The good thing about this should be to avoid the compression issues of the HDV but i gotta pay attention in synchroning the audio in post (due to the issues we have with this kind of recorders like zoom).
Please:
What are your suggestions on these 3 points?
Correct my english when i 'm wrong cause i'm learning it from the forums LOL
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Old May 11th, 2010, 03:05 PM   #24
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For the sake of closure for anyone reading this - i decided to go with the MixPre - took a while to save for it, just got it today from a colleague visiting Dubai from the USA :)

I figured it will outlast all the cameras i might invest in for many years to come... it is indeed built like a brick!

Cant wait to test it out.

Thanks to all for the advice and knowledge transferred.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 03:13 PM   #25
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For the sake of closure for anyone reading this - i decided to go with the MixPre - took a while to save for it, just got it today from a colleague visiting Dubai from the USA :)

I figured it will outlast all the cameras i might invest in for many years to come... it is indeed built like a brick!

Cant wait to test it out.

Thanks to all for the advice and knowledge transferred.
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