If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section? at DVinfo.net

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Old September 1st, 2012, 05:40 PM   #1
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If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Audio is giving me fits. Maybe this is a phase I'm going through, because at first it was figuring out all the buttons and whistles on the camera, then it was finding a way to edit my events, then it was burning the final product to a disk. Along the way, though, a nagging problem called Audio kept rearing it's ugly head.

As time went on, I gradually added tools to my audio toolbox in an attempt to deal with problems and each time thought "this will be it." Well, it wasn't. Now I'm heading off on another trek to "solve my audio problems."

Several places it has been quoted that "Two-thirds of good video is good audio," or words to that effect. So, then, why is it that on this video web site there is only one major section dealing with audio?

For what it's worth, this new trek I'm on is for more mics and audio equipment for my toolbox: maybe a lavalier (recently put on hold), a vocal mic (for music), a mic for instruments (piano and accordion), and an audio recorder (started out looking at a Zoom H4n but starting to zero in on the Tascam DR-40).

But it's the main question: Why is there only ONE major section for Audio???
(the others I'll deal as needed in separate posts or by doing more research here.)
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Old September 1st, 2012, 06:05 PM   #2
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

I suspect that it's because although the 2/3 guide makes sense, audio is rarely given the same depth of study, skill development or practical comment.

Audio is frequently treated as less important by video people, who have produced a number of absolute rules that must never be broken. People have very strong feelings on makes and types of microphones, and equally strong opinion on what must never be used. There is an undercurrent of price = quality, change this at your peril. As a result, audio is rarely a flexible discussion on all video forums.

Oddly, the audio fraternity often have a video section where almost exactly the same thing happens in reverse - spending 90% of their effort on sound, and little on video.

The audio section of video forums rarely has well informed comments - because of the rules.

Certain makes of recorder are terrible. Shotguns must never be used indoors. Indoors needs hypercardioids. Much conversation about how to record from a mixing desk, that never takes into consideration the guy mixing is actually there to concentrate on the live sound, not the video. This seems to be the revolving topics on video forums - rarely anything much else.

How many video editors have sound studios? For most, sound is a single panel with a few faders on the screen. EQ and effects rarely get a mention. How many posts on audio fader automation do we see? None! No questions on anything other than capture in the main. Advice to record the best sound you can, use esoteric/expensive preamps, but no advice on mixing, compression or level matching, let alone sound sweetening. I guess that's why the sound forums are thin!
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Old September 1st, 2012, 06:42 PM   #3
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

The basics of getting good sound are simpler than getting good video. Use an appropriate microphone and get it close enough to work properly. Then record the audio on something halfway-decent (which includes NO DSLRs and excludes most low-end video camcorders, as well.)

One problem is that there are many lighting and lens and camera and post tricks one can use in video to "bend" the rules. But there are few equivalent short-cuts in audio. The basic laws of acoustic physics continue to apply as they have for millennia. There are NO long or "zoom" microphones as there are with lenses (nor will there ever be). Although that doesn't prevent sleazy vendors from making unsupportable claims to sell cheap plastic gadgets to ignorant consumers.

But videographers (for whom audio is an after-thought) continue to dream that some magic piece of gear (microphone, mixer, recorder, etc.) will make a significant improvement in their pathetic sound track. And the modern proliferation of new audio gadgets and contraptions just add to the general confusion (to some extent, deliberately, on the part of sleazy vendors).

Worse, there are very few post-production repairs available for recovering poorly-recorded audio although people continue to fantasize that there are magic software plug-ins that will fix the problems they caused by ignorance or haste or simple penury.
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Old September 1st, 2012, 10:22 PM   #4
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Very wise words too!!

Despite all the fuss made about getting good audio people STILL get poor audio and do very little to get it better...You really need to concentrate on getting the setup right ....as Richard has already said, it's pretty hard to enhance poor audio so the source needs to be good.

Imagine shooting a wedding with the vows either distorted, low or even missing...even the most pristine video cannot make that any better if the audio is bad.

Audio is usually very simple to do and edit IF you get it right when you are recording...I still cannot fathom out why pro video cameras still have an internal mic!!

Seriously audio can, and always will, either make or break a production so it's worth giving it just a little more attention when you set up your gear.

Chris
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Old September 1st, 2012, 11:30 PM   #5
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Having grown up in the days of 8mm, super 8 (no audio), 4 x 5, 120, and 35mm, photography is no stranger. Used to buy film in bulk rolls and develop my own color film.

Also, as a former audiophile with top of the line equipment, a high end 10.5 inch reel to reel deck, and having taken electronics and physics courses, electronics and audio isn't a total stranger, either. HOWEVER, audio for video makes me feel humbled.

That isn't to say that the video portion doesn't give me problems, it's mostly, though, with light balance with LED sources being at the top of the list. Other aspects of video such as composition and exposure may not be perfect but aren't deal breakers. Audio, on the other hand, often is. Everything from picking up audio that isn't wanted, like noise not adding to the scene (f.e., jet plane flying overhead) to audio that doesn't come out right (f.e., the sound of a ski on snow).

Since I'm a one-man show I don't have the luxury of a boom man and script writers. I'm it, the whole enchilada. And then I have to try and edit all this stuff.

There is a variety of material I want to capture, everything from musicians, choir, sailboat cruising video (read: lots of wind, moving & tilting deck, and in our area - it's w-e-t, not good for equipment or softies), environmental (need to include sounds of nature), etc. Each of these areas bring their own difficult audio issues.

The video part, while having it's own difficulties (depth of field and room to stand back on a sailboat, for example) are challenges to overcome but I think are doable. Exposure with a white gelcoat deck and sunlight reflections off the water (if I hurry before summer ends), are also doable, or at least not deal breakers. Audio on a sailboat with noise in the rigging (clanging lines on an aluminum mast), water noise, diesel engine noise, wind noise, etc.) will definitely be a challenge.

Below: part of my old 35mm Nikon set and an old 8mm camera I had:
Attached Thumbnails
If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?-000_0722.jpeg   If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?-000_0528.jpg  


Last edited by John Nantz; September 1st, 2012 at 11:34 PM. Reason: add photos
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Old September 1st, 2012, 11:39 PM   #6
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Audio is usually very simple to do and edit IF you get it right when you are recording...I still cannot fathom out why pro video cameras still have an internal mic!!
s
It's used for a carrying handle.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 12:31 AM   #7
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Hi John

Perfect example!! My internal stereo mic has a nice flat top to it at the front of the carry handle and it supports the Li-Ion battery very neatly that I use to run my external monitor. Just goes to show that there are uses for a n internal mic after all!!

Audio does get complex sometimes! I have shotgun mics on both cameras, 3 radio mic setups and two boundary mics too....I always have to scratch my head during setup deciding how I'm going to approach the audio issues on this particular shoot.

Chris
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 08:01 AM   #8
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
Having grown up in the days of 8mm, super 8 (no audio), 4 x 5, 120, and 35mm, photography is no stranger. Used to buy film in bulk rolls and develop my own color film.
...
Since I'm a one-man show I don't have the luxury of a boom man and script writers. I'm it, the whole enchilada. And then I have to try and edit all this stuff.
You don't need a script writer on location but there's nothing to stop you from writing a script and/or creating shot plan before setting out for the shoot so you don't need another person to do that for you.In fract, if you're really smart you will have a written shot breakdown before you head into the field. Documentary does NOT mean unscripted! But if you're shooting dialog and don't want to use lavs you really don't have a choice in the matter of recruiting a boom operator to partner up with. Saying you're going to be a one-man band no matter what and a boom operator is a luxury is like saying a light-balancing filter for your old 35mm camera is a luxury when the truth is if you're going to shoot tungsten film under daylight illumination you just can't do the job properly without it.

Quote:
There is a variety of material I want to capture, everything from musicians, choir, sailboat cruising video (read: lots of wind, moving & tilting deck, and in our area - it's w-e-t, not good for equipment or softies), environmental (need to include sounds of nature), etc. Each of these areas bring their own difficult audio issues.
Very true, that's why audio is a skilled practice that can't be an afterthought or set on automatic pilot while you give all your attention to the camera.

Quote:
...Below: part of my old 35mm Nikon set and an old 8mm camera I had:
Have one of those myself, an F with the Photomic finder that I bought in 1969. Finder has developed some exposure inconsistencies that I haven't had a chance to have checked out but the camera itself works like a fine watch and works great with the conventional prism finder and my LunaPro meter. In 1980 I added an F2As to the kit with some new lenses and had the lenses I bought for the F AI'ed at Nikon. Still have it with a half-dozen prime lenses and it's still in near-mint condition. When I finally went digital a couple of years ago I bought a D700 and one of the decision points was that I could use all my old MF lenses with it - even though I own a couple of autofocus lenses - a cheap AF-D 24-85 zoom and the AF-S 50/1.4G prime - I still find I do my best work with my old glass. Most recent lens acquisition and a carry-around favourite is the Voightlander 40mm/2.0 SL-II which is, you guessed it, a MF prime and fits not only the 700 but also the F2 and the F and works perfectly on all of them.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 11:14 AM   #9
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Steve House..."LunaPro" meter? Man, you just brought a tear to my eye. It would have brought me to my knees if you had sad, "Weston Meter". : )

I recently began this journey(you can look-up my thread history), and being the visual guy that I am, getting the camera originally was my primary goal. Wow! What an eye-opener. After several emails to some of the very smart people here on DVInfo, I quickly found that 'video' is the easier part(notice I didn't say, "easy".).

My audio kit started with a Audio-Technica AT4053 Small Diaphragm Hypercardioid Condenser Microphone. Along with my A-T4053 and my Sony OEM on-camera shotgun I was content with my 'audio kit'. What's really funny, I thought I was all set to go. Heh, heh! What a neophyte I was(am).

My audio kit now consists of RODE NTG-3 Shotgun, CF Boom-pole, RODE Blimp, a pair of matched impedance AKG C451 b, matched pair of AKG C414 XLS, Sennheiser EW 100 G3 wireless kit, a Sound-Devices SD-302, and an Oade Bros. modified Marantz PMD-661 digital recorder. This is a "basic" kit. I don't say this is what you have to have, but it answers some of the technical issues I face in the field doing location interviews. I know most folks wouldn't have a need for 'matched stereo pairs' of microphones, but I plan on doing some live 'wooden music' recording.

Now, if you really want to go insane, start thinking about an LED field lighting kit. Heh, heh!

Thanks for playing along.

Regards,

J.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Yep, I had 2 F bodies I bought from the PX in Vietnam, shipped 'em home til I got home. They had 50mm standard lenses. I got a 35mm, 85-135 zoom (iirc-it might have been a 75-135) and the best lens of all time the Nikkor 180mm. A must for sports and news. I loved that lens.
I had both both an old Weston that was hidden away in a box of my grandfathers stuff and a LunaPro meter.Good times back then. Helix camera in Chicago got a lot of my money back then. When I got my GraflexXL 6X7 rangefinder camera and my Mamiya RB76 with all the toys all my cash went to them. My favorite camera of all time...my Leica M2. I aspired to be Eisenstadt or Cartier-Bresson. Obviously as you can tell, that didn't work out. Oh well, I still loved my Nikkor 180! ;-)
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 11:41 AM   #11
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Wow! Flashback city. Started with TLRs (Rollei and Mamiyaflex), Spotmatics, then Nikon F and FTN, and on and on.

But . . . yesterday afternoon I bought a Nikon 55mm f/1.2 MANUAL lens from a young woman off Craigslist. I already had a 50mm f/1.4 autofocus, but couldn't pass up the old lens, in a leather (!) case.

It works great on the D700, and I'll also use it on the Sony NEX FS700.

;)
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 01:05 PM   #12
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

I'm with J.Kuhn on this. Audio is it's own world, that happens to overlap with video at some places, like two overlapping circles. There's only one forum for it because we don't get so wrapped around the axle with individual products, as how to get the results. There just aren't enough tweeks to an SD to have it's own forum, for example. And there's only one forum because not enough shooters really believe that it's 2/3rds of good video (G).

With the rise of cheap HD gear and HDSLRs shooting video, everyone with a camera is now a video producer. However, the complexity of properly micing anything is not remembered until it is. It was better, I believe when we all had to bring on a sound guy to run the Nagra's. I, for one, have insisted on hiring sound guys when clients hire me for music videos. Or else I get my feed off the board. Again, letting a pro do the work. It's really very difficult under a normal shoot to do both well (run the camera and get great sound). The pressure of time is against you. Then add the issue of lighting!

As to your question of gear, I too have gone through the Zoom (never again), and the Tascam HD-P2 (nice for the current price but not quite right). Have also settled on the Marantz PMD-661, a wonderful tool, IMHO. I have no reason to look beyond that, unless I get some kind of job in the middle of nowhere and need to actually get something like the SD. But for my limited needs and budget, this is an excellent unit.
But look at that list, of mine. It would have been better to have just bought a higher priced unit from Edirol or SD in the first place.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 02:21 PM   #13
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Kuhn View Post
Steve House..."LunaPro" meter? Man, you just brought a tear to my eye. It would have brought me to my knees if you had sad, "Weston Meter". : )...
Funny you should mention it .. As I mentioned in a previous post, the meter I traded in to buy the Gossen was a Weston Ranger 9
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 02:58 PM   #14
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

See John, there is your answer...after three really good responses look how many mentions of camera/lights/meters creep in for this question about audio. picture picture picture....thats all some people can think about.

For the record, I prefer to be known as an AUDIO person who has the additional ability to produce great pictures. :-)

Audio is one of those things that is easy to learn but a lifetime to master, but most think since it is so easy that it will happen on its own. Not so, audio acquisition must be constantly monitored for good results and you just can't do that while running the camera. I mean, would you EVER consider running a camera without looking through the viewfinder?? Sound without headphones, a brain to listen, and a hand free to adjust is the same thing! The best solution is a separate sound guy but it's funny how NO ONE thinks that is a justified expense. I've seen so many spend MORE on the "magic plugin" or re-take sessions than it would have cost for the sound guy in the first place. And why does buying a new kind of mic always seem like the most suggested solution? Sometimes its not the kit, its just plain old how you use it.

So back to your original thought...WHY is audio giving you fits? I know a lot of us don't really share the "secret sauce" too often but most audio issues are pretty easy to overcome if given a little effort.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 05:10 PM   #15
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Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Mr. Bellotte...I don't know if your reference to "...three really good responses..." is a "veiled" criticism to high-jacking this thread, but you're right, and I apologize. Specifically, I apologize to Mr. Nantz.

I have a bad habit of injecting off-topic subjects to an on-going thread.

Regards,

J.
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