Best interview set up for Zoom H4 at DVinfo.net

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Old August 17th, 2010, 05:45 PM   #1
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Best interview set up for Zoom H4

I have a 5d Mkii + Zoom h4 and have a travelling project where i have to record a number of interviews. I own a sennheiser radio mic kit and a Rhode NTG mic, but i'd rather travel as light as possible. Can i plug a lapel mic straight into the Zooms XLR inputs using an adaptor, or do i need to bring the rest of the kit along?
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Old August 17th, 2010, 07:41 PM   #2
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If you can identify your "lapel mic", we can probably take a shot at giving you a useful response.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 03:12 AM   #3
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Thanks Richard. It's the standard one that came with my Sennheiser Evolution radio mic kit with a mini jack on the end.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 05:06 AM   #4
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The miniplug for the mic input on the Sennheiser transmitter is physically compatible with a conventional stereo mic input jack such as on the Zoom BUT it is NOT wired the same way. While I don't have one to try, I would not expect it to work properly. If you got anything at all, you would only be recording to the left channel.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 07:48 AM   #5
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So the only way to record interviews with the Zoom is to use the onboard mics and keep it out of shot?

This works well but means i'll need to carry an extra tripod (or stand) which i was not planning on doing.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 09:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson View Post
So the only way to record interviews with the Zoom is to use the onboard mics and keep it out of shot?
Just because the wiring of the Sennheiser stock lav mic is incompatible with Zoom does NOT mean that the onboard mics are the ONLY other way to record something. Perhaps there are other constraints known to you (but not revealed here) that motivate your conclusion.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #7
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Also tell us more about how the interviews will be shot: Totally mobile/handheld? On tripod but still outdoors? Totally stationary and seated?
Wanted to double-check too that you have the original H4 and not the newer H4n. The original H4 has two output jacks; one for headphone and one for line output. The line output can be used with an attenuated dubbing cable to feed audio to your camera. Having the best audio possible on your camera makes synchronization in post much easier.
The newer H4n has only one output jack for either headphone OR line output.
You could simply connect your wireless system to the Zoom, using the transmitter and receiver along with a Sennheiser XLR output cable just as you normally would with any other recorder.
You could also use your Rode shotgun connected to the second XLR channel of the Zoom.
The Rode could be in a shockmount which would attach either to your camera shoe (or camera bracket), or it could go on a separate stand.
How do you normally use your shotgun?
You could also obtain a wired XLR lav mic if you want to keep it both simple and reliable. The only problem with using just one wired lav mic is if the subject hits the mic while gesturing during an answer or if there is clothing or jewelry noise against the mic. Unless you have an additional mic recording on another track as backup, you have no safety net.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 03:59 PM   #8
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The stock Sennheiser ME2 lavalier mic supplied in the Evolution Wireless package only needs less than 5 volts of "plug-in" power. Most consumer/prosumer gear is set-up to supply this via 1/8" miniplug - usually switchable in a menu or with a physical switch. If you get some kind of 1/8" to XLR adapter, like a RODE VXLR, you'd then have to go with phantom power from the zoom or no power - neither of which will work, you might even fry the mic. So, I'd explore the option of getting a proper hardwired lav, or just use wireless.

Depending on your shooting style, the Sennheiser wireless handheld rocks too. I know, you didn't want to carry more stuff...but this is worth checkin' out so you know your options.

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Old August 18th, 2010, 06:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom Stevenson View Post
So the only way to record interviews with the Zoom is to use the onboard mics and keep it out of shot?

This works well but means i'll need to carry an extra tripod (or stand) which i was not planning on doing.
No, you can use a lav on the subject but you need to buy one that is wired in such as way as to be compatible with the Zoom recorder if that's what you want to use.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 05:45 AM   #10
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you need to buy one that is wired in such as way as to be compatible with the Zoom re

OK. I have the zoom H4 (not the N version). I'm shooting on a 5dmkii in the Middle East next month and wish to travel as lightly as possible. I have previously shot interviews through my evolution radio mic set up plugged into the 5D which was not great, but passable. This time i wish to go straight from the zoom and leave the Sennheiser kit at home. I need a lapel mic to do this.

If i understand correctly you're saying my lapel mic on the sennheiser is not suitable so i need to get one that is hard-wired. can you recommend one at a good price?

Should the price be high, i'll have to take the Evolution kit. I need to buy another lens for the trip and hadn't factored in spending any more cash on audio. My other question is this: Can i plug the radio mic into the zoom and bypass the camera altogether? And will this produce better quality sound than going through the 5D?

Thanks to all those helping out here.

Dom
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Old August 19th, 2010, 08:32 AM   #11
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Why not take your evolution kit? It's not like it's going to break your back carrying it! I'm all for traveling light, but you do need to carry some kit...
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Old August 19th, 2010, 10:36 AM   #12
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Just spent an hour and a half trying to get this evolution kit working with the H4. It's driving me nuts. Every time i try to switch on phantom power the zoom cuts out and restarts. Any ideas?
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Old August 19th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #13
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Don't know why your unit switch off, but one thing for sure, you don't need the phantom power with the Evolution kit.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #14
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OK. Turned out the battery was low, and that was causing the device to switch off. However still not managed to get this kit working after most of the afternoon playing with it. I'm developing a deep loathing for the interface of the Zoom, and the build quality is atrocious. The onboard mics work well though. Any ideas for a reasonably priced lav mic that will work with this thing?
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Old August 19th, 2010, 02:35 PM   #15
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Do you have the Zoom instruction manual? It's also available online. While the Zoom instructions are pretty poor generally, reading it carefully should at least get you recording successfully.

The key points are:
You should be in two-track recording mode.
Inputs 1&2 need to be selected using the Input Menu switch and menu selections.
Connect the XLR output cable from your Sennheiser receiver to one of the XLR connectors on the H4.
Set the Sensitivity switch on the side of the H4 for the input you're using, to M for the moment.
Set the output of the Sennheiser receiver for a moderately hot mic-level output.
Press the Rec button on the H4 once, it should begin flashing and you should see audio indicating on the meter as you speak into the Sennheiser lav mic system.
Adjust the sensitivity switch on the side of the H4 or the output of the receiver to get a good recording level.
Monitor with headphones for audio quality.
Press the Rec button again to begin recording.

The recording levels can be adjusted in the Zoom menu, but really that's just for fine tuning. The most important is the match the Zoom sensitivity switch and the receiver's output to get a clean signal without overdriving the input.

For a wired XLR lav mic I'd recommend the AT899 for $200 in the US.
Audio-Technica AT899 - Condenser Lavalier Microphone AT899 - B&H
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