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Old July 1st, 2013, 10:14 AM   #1
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Advice on updating my audio equipment

Hello all -

For the past 4 years I have been using a JuicedLink CX231 on the bottom of my T2i with an AT875R in the hot shoe mounted on top. I tried to attach a picture, Hopefully it worked.

What I am hoping to discuss is how well my audio set up fairs as it stands now vs newer approaches. Should I update? Should I do something different?

I am currently shooting a documentary where there are often large crowds and loud music. Interviews are a must so I am constantly trying to find a spot to hide away from the speakers to get good audio.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old July 1st, 2013, 11:39 AM   #2
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

What do mean by "hide away from the speakers" ?
- Not sure I understand... not letting the interviewees know they're being recorded?
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Old July 1st, 2013, 12:01 PM   #3
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

Speakers as in loud speakers blaring music over my interviewees speaking.

Thanks for the reply!
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Old July 1st, 2013, 12:17 PM   #4
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

For interviews in a noisy environment, add a good handheld dynamic or lavalier mic to your setup. If you can boom your shotgun mic and point it down at the subject, that might also work, but the rear lobe on the shotgun might pick up other extraneous noises in a crowded area.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 01:11 PM   #5
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

Yes a Lav would be a good addition.

So the big question is if my set up is fine the way it is?

I've seen a lot of people using the H4n for documentary style shoots..
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Old July 1st, 2013, 03:15 PM   #6
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

The question is .... what is your current audio sounding like? Do you like it, or not? Does it nearly do the job, but not quite? Let us know what you want to improve with the upgrade.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

A reporter's H/H may the easiest, normally a 635, RE50, VP64 or MD42, but you could use a 58 which would offer very good rejection.. of coarse it would need to be held close to the speaker's mouth and not moved much. An MD46 would be a better choice yet, it's a wide cardioid w/ great off-axis response.
Your set-up in the picture can probably work too, but you need to be very, very close to the interviewee, unless it's used H/H.. which it ain't designed for and may be prone to handling noise and moving it off-axis could be a problem as well.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 05:53 PM   #8
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

A lot of audio is good technique. A loud room for interviews means a dynamic mic with a strong preamp will need to be used to separate the subject from the background.

Mic placement is very important. A camera mounted mic will not sound as "up close" as a lav, handheld or boomed mic.

Equipment can make a difference but for a large difference you need great technique, great equipment and a great situation. You can only have two in your case! :)
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Old July 1st, 2013, 06:13 PM   #9
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

Everyone - Thank you for your quality advice!

To answer Paul's question, The audio sounds decent as is currently however what is making me second guess my set up is that most of the sound recording approaches I have seen use an external sound recorder to capture sound where as I am capturing it in camera. I am not sure how disadvantaged I am by going this route but thought I needed to speak with someone who could perhaps tell me one way or the other.

As for technique, I completely agree. I just hope I have the tools I need to execute the technique I am trying to use. I only have the one shot gun mic but considered getting a second omnidirectional mic and perhaps lavs.

Thank you everyone!
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Old July 1st, 2013, 06:34 PM   #10
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

Terry, if your audio capture consists of mostly interviews I can't think of any reason you would need an alternative audio capture to what you are doing now in camera.

We use a Canon t4i in our wedding videography but typically with no sound or just using the built in mic for ambience so I will admit to having limited practical experience in this area.

I do agree with others that a good handheld mic with a unidirectional pickup pattern or a uni lav would be a better choice than a shotgun mic for conducting interviews in a noisy room. Both of those would offer better rejection of unwanted sound from the sides and rear and also allow the microphone to be closer to the subjects mouth than the shotgun mic.

If you can afford it you might consider a wireless rig for either a lav or maybe a plug in module that can handle a variety of handheld mics. I have both a Sennhieser wireless set and a Sony one that each have a lav and plug in module I can use depending on the situation.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 07:36 PM   #11
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

A cardioid lav would be subject to severe drop outs if the wearer turns their head... as would a '58' H/H live performance type mic. Also take into consideration that lavs must be attached to folks, and that takes time.. and an up-close, personal interaction.
FWIW, I have '0' experience with weddings.. except as a guest.. ( a drunk guest at the reception)
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Old July 5th, 2013, 08:50 AM   #12
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

Well then I must ask - What is advantageous about using an external sound recorder and what are they're applications?

Thanks!
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Old July 5th, 2013, 05:17 PM   #13
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Lee View Post
Well then I must ask - What is advantageous about using an external sound recorder and what are they're applications?

Thanks!
The reason is that sound recording and the circuits to do it on virtually all DSLRs and most prosumer video cameras tends to be an afterthought on the part of the designer and manufacturer. Because of this, the quality of the sound recording is often marginal at its best. Going double system with a good quality, dedicated audio recorder leads to higher quality recordings. Audiences forgive less than perfect video far more readily than they will forgive less-than-top-quality sound ... they have been schooled on what video sound is supposed to sound like by countless hours of watching network broadcast TV and woe betide the videographer who doesn't meet that standard.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 07:42 PM   #14
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

OK, there are at least 4 things going on here:
1) The microphone placement
2) The microphone type and quality
3) The input circuitry (a.k.a. mic preamp)
4) The recording device

In my experience 1) and 2) are most important.

In other words, for what you're doing, I would say recording onto the DSLR is OK, assuming you can turn off the automatic gain control and set levels manually. You're going line level into the DSLR, so the input circuitry in the DSLR is not as important as the mic preamp in the JuicedLink box. Just make sure the camera is getting a reasonably strong signal, and it should be OK.

So that leaves 1) and 2). For large crowds and loud music, giving your subject a handheld dynamic microphone would be ideal. These types of microphones tend to reject anything that isn't really close to them (proximity effect). For example, they're used for vocals on stages with guitar amps cranked to 11. The classic microphone of this type is the Shure SM-58. $99 at B&H.
Shure SM58-LC - Cardioid Dynamic Mic SM58-LC B&H Photo Video

If your JuicedLink box has 2 mic inputs, you could use one for your shotgun, the other for the SM-58, and then mix them dynamically in post.

But this will require a wire between you an your subject. If that's an issue, consider a wireless system. Here's a good one:
Sennheiser ew 100 ENG G3 Wireless Microphone System EW100ENGG3-B

In addition to a plug-in microphone transmitter, this system also has a lavaliere mic with a belt pack, which is really handy for other types of interviews, commercials, feature films, you name it. The receiver includes a shoe mount.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 07:47 AM   #15
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Re: Advice on updating my audio equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Gish View Post
These types of microphones tend to reject anything that isn't really close to them (proximity effect).
That is not the meaning of "proximity effect."

According to The Audio Cyclopedia (second edition, third printing, 1974) section 4.127, p.228:

"4.127 What is the proximity effect in a microphone? -- It is the increase in low-frequency response noted in most pressure-gradient microphones, when the distance from the sound source is decreased, and is most noticeable at distance of less than two feet. This effect is not encountered in omnidirectional microphones."

In more practical terms, "proximity effect" is what causes a directional mic (anything other than an omni) to sound overly warm, and even muddy, when worked too close.
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