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Old August 28th, 2005, 09:51 PM   #1
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Confused about XLR, iRiver, Rode VideoMic

Another newbie here seeking some adivce. I have been searching the forums the past 2 days looking to the answer to my question. I've come close, but either overlooked or didn't find what I was looking for. I apologize in advance if this has been covered.

I have a GL2 and am looking to beef up the audio. I am working on several different projects (shorts, nature, wedding, corporate), trying to get accustomed to the camera.

The only sound recordings come straight from the GL2 mic. Those of you with the camera know it isn't the best. So, here-in lies my dilemma.

I was considering a beachtek XLR adapter and decent mice until I read so many good thins about Rode's VideoMic. Stil being in my filmaking infancy, it appears that it alone will give me the boost I need either mounted on the camera or atached to a boom pole. Am I correct on this? no XLR necessary?

Second, again being infant, I really like the idea of using iRiver's with a lav mic to capture groom, ambient, and other secondary sounds. What I can;t figure out is how I would sync this with my video. If I recored it seperately, do I sync it up in post. I read somewhere about how iRiver's can attached to or the audio fed to the camera. Just a little confused.

Basically, I need decent audio as I learn, with the better stuff to come later when I feel comfortable. Am I leaning in the right direction for now?

Thank you guys, all my buying decisions come from the advice given in these forums
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Old August 29th, 2005, 07:57 AM   #2
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The Rode Videomic has been getting excellent reviews and favourable user commentary so it seems it would be a good choice. It uses a standard 1/8 miniplug connector so you're correct, an XLR adapter such as the Beachtek would not be necessary with it.

"XLR" simply refers to a specific connector style and does not, in itself, imply anything about the type or quality of the signal. It's a 2-conductor plus shield connector that's well-suited for balanced circuit connections (but it's not engraved in stone that every XLR connection you encounter will be balanced, though the majority will be). It's also especially rugged and locks into its socket so it's hard to accidently pull out. Those two factors make it the connector of choice for most professional-grade microphones but that's by no means universal.

Audio circuits come in two "flavours," balanced and unbalanced. A mono unbalanced circuit carrys the signal on two conductors, a signal and a grounded shield return. A mono balanced circuit uses three conductors, two signal conductors opposite each other in phase and a ground/shield. Without going into details as to how, the balanced circuit tends to be noise-canceling, making it well suited for long cable runs, especially for low level signals like microphones. It's that noice rejection that makes it the pro audio standard. But with care you can get just as good a sound with unbalanced as long as you pay attention to its limitations.

Some users have good results with the iRiver but others find it frustrating. It records in a proprietary file format that its software converts to MP3 when you import it into the computer. MP3 is a "lossy" format compared to uncompressed WAV or PCM files from professional recorders. When you import the MP3 into your video editor it has to undergo 2 more conversions. First of all it has to get converted into a WAV file. Even more important, the original recording is at a sample rate of 44.1 kHz while audio for DV is recorded at 48kHz. That means that the file you're importing has to be resampled to convert it to the proper rate so it maintains its timing. If it stays at 44.1, it will play too fast to keep in sync. There are other options you might consider that open up a wider selection of microphones and more professional recording features for not too much more money that you might want to consider if your budget permits.

The iRiver would not be connected to the camera when recording. When you use it you are using what is called "double-system" sound. "Single-system" is what you have when you use the built-in audio in your camera - the sound is recorded on the tape alongside the video. With double-system, sound and video are recorded separately and the two are aligned in post. To do it easily, you need some sort of sync mark that is visible on video and audible in the sound - the classic clapstick is how it's often done but someone standing in frame and clapping their hands together can also work. As a double check agaisnt drift on longer shots, some people like to get what is called a "tail slate" as well as a normal "head slate." That simply means you slap once at the start of the scene and again at the end just before calling cut. If you line up the head in post you can check to see if the tail falls where it should - if it doesn't, many editors allow you to slip the tail back and forth so they end up exactly the same length.

Hope this helps
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Old August 29th, 2005, 12:00 PM   #3
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excellent reply

imhop wireless lav would make more sense with no sync headaches or format conversion. sometimes the tried and true methods are better then the gee wiz new technologies
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Old August 29th, 2005, 12:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofran
imhop wireless lav would make more sense with no sync headaches or format conversion. sometimes the tried and true methods are better then the gee wiz new technologies
Steve may remember that I'm one of the iriver users who "find it frustrating." Actually, that's still a bit of an understatement. :)

However, in regard to your comment, Pete, I have to say this in favor of a standalone unit for audio--just to give John another viewpoint:

On the last wedding I did, one camera was hooked up to the church sound board, the other one picked up ambient sound with the on-camera mic so I could blend. The pastor rigged with the church's lav mic stood too far away from the couple so it didn't pick up their "I do's," nor did it get the dad giving away the bride. If it hadn't been for my frustrating little iriver in the groom's pocket, these words would have been lost. Sure, the quality wasn't quite as good as the lav, but for me, it paid for itself that day.

Now if I can just get better at using the darn thing....
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Old August 29th, 2005, 01:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorinda Norton
Steve may remember that I'm one of the iriver users who "find it frustrating." Actually, that's still a bit of an understatement. :)

However, in regard to your comment, Pete, I have to say this in favor of a standalone unit for audio--just to give John another viewpoint:

On the last wedding I did, one camera was hooked up to the church sound board,...
I don't see a problem with using iRiver as a backup but, I believe he's intending to use it as the only lav. If anything, your story illustrates the importance of having a backup.

I would say in your situation the problem stems from using the church's sound setup. I understand you can't always control everything and each situation is different. If the client is hiring you to video the wedding you should control the setup ie your own equipment and in this case the groom should have been mic-ed with the wireless. If the client allows for the church to dictate the setup then they need to accept the consequences of that decision.

All that being said every videographer has their own way of doing things. If iRiver lav is your cup of tea so be it. I was just pointing out that the accpeted method for wedding videography is the wireless lav.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 02:23 PM   #6
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For a wedding I'd agree that a lav feeding a wireless bodypack would be the preferred method. As an alternative or for a backup, if I wanted to put a mini-recorder on the celebrant or the groom, I personally would spend the extra money for an m-Audio Microtrack 2496 instead of going with an iRiver (and I'm planning on getting one soon - the extra $250-$300 to get a professional grade recorder with phantom power is worth it IMHO). For a sit-down interview, I'd go with a wired lavalier. One advantage of using one of those options is that with careful selection one could use the same high-quality mics with all three methods of capturing the audio. No disrespect intended for Giant Squid but I can't help think professional standards like Countryman or Sanken would give better results. Of course the cost is comensurately higher but as a long-term investment, especially if you hope to generate income from it, I feel it's cheaper in the long run to get the best quality one can afford right from the start.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 07:56 PM   #7
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Fantastic information fellas !!! I still have so much to learn but you guys make it too easy! One day I'll speak the lingo too
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