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Old September 7th, 2014, 06:53 PM   #1
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Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Hello,

I want to buy a Pany GH4 for my blog interviews ( two speakers!!! ) but I have many problems to configure the best sound recording solution. Beacause I am the only man in the business I prefer something compact and effective. My personal choices are these two:

1. 2 x Zoom H1 + 2 x omni lavs. Price 300-350 Euro. Good sound quality but need some work in post, to syncronize the sound.

2. UHF dual channel wireless sistem with two lavs. Prices (AZDEN 330LT -
Azden 330LT UHF On-Camera Dual Bodypack System 330LT B&H Photo
- 700 Euro, Audio Technica ATW-1821 -
Audio-Technica ATW-1821 Dual Wireless Microphone System
- 1000 Euro. There is other brands/models? ). Risk of frequency drop, expensive, but the sound comes from two wireless lavs directly into the camera, simultaneously.

What is the best choice?
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Old September 8th, 2014, 12:39 AM   #2
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Whats the best choice?.......Well use a video camera (with XLR i/p's) rather than a DSLR,
Plug the mics straight in, No sync problems, Delivers phantom power, etc etc etc.

It would probably cut your production time in half.....(shooting + post production)

Let me put it like this... use the right tool (thats been designed for the task) Yes you can drive a nail in with a screwdriver, shifting spanner, brick or even a shoe .......but a hammer works best.
Same thing with video producion ...you can shoot on a phone, or a stills camera and have to record seperate audio, but a video camera works the best......
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Old September 8th, 2014, 02:00 AM   #3
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Exactly why I can't even contemplate a DSLR. Everything I do needs proper sound. Plugging in with a proper connector is reliable and quick. Proper cameras save you time, assuming sound is important for you. I understand that for some people, DSLRs and separate recorders work, and to be fair, the extra time in post to sync them is not an issue. Multichannel radios need a person to work them if the usual problems are to be reduced. Not removed, note. Radios use Harry Potter magic to make them work, and a 'phut' free recording is never guaranteed. Interviews are simple to shoot from the video perspective and hard work for the sound man, with headphones clamped to his head. If you don't have a sound man, your risk factor goes up and up!
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Old September 8th, 2014, 02:01 AM   #4
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Wired mics are the best choice for reliability without a doubt.

With wireless, even under carefully controlled circumstances there is always the chance of unwanted noises, RF hits or inexplicable dropouts. I use Shure (not mine) and Sennheiser systems regularly and I find the Senny are much less prone to problems, but I am fed up searching sermons and speeches for an identical word or phrase to paste in to replace one that just dropped out for no apparent reason on the Shures.

With remote recorders one normally can't monitor - that's a BIG no-no; ("would you film without looking?"), but in single or small crew weddings, multiple recorders and locked down cameras are common.

Which leads me to wonder why on earth would you want to invite trouble by doing interviews with a less reliable technique when there's no good reason?

2 wired mics - compact and effective. On stands if you like for sit downs, or tieclips (lavs) if you prefer but properly fitted. It shouldn't really matter whether it is for a blog, documentary, wedding, TV programme or whatever - audio is audio.

I don't really see the point in using a DSLR for interviews either, but this the audio forum. :-)
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Old September 8th, 2014, 12:42 PM   #5
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Thanks guys for all your opinions.

There is no chance to change the GH4, beacause of many personal reasons. But the sound recording solution can be debated...

I heard that Audio Technica has discontinued the 1800 series of dual channel recivers ( 1800 Series Camera-mount UHF Wireless Systems || Audio-Technica US ) and the replacement that come in september is only single channel.

Wired is not for me, beacause I want to speak with people that not only sit down but show me a coffee factory, a coffee store, a coffee preparation in the bar etc.

So, is my case is better to go with audio recorders (zoom / tascam) + lavs?
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Old September 8th, 2014, 01:06 PM   #6
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

I use wireless and wired.

For wireless I have three Sennheiser G3 kits. Sometimes I have one or two of these receivers plugged direct into the two XLR inputs of my main video cam. Otherwise I have them go into a Zoom H4n - two into its two XLR inputs and the third into its 3.5mm on board socket.

For wired I also have four H1's with various lavs, usually using the ME2 omni lavs that came with the G3 kits.

In either case its extremely easy to synch in post using Pluraleyes. This software has been free from time to time with some Rode mics, not sure at present.

Both wired and wireless work well. The H1's a a bit on the large size to drop into some talents pockets - though you may be able to find suitable pouches.

The G3 transmitters are more versatile and user friendly for placement. And their "diversity" feature means that you don't have to worry too much about antenna orientation compared to earlier G2 and G1 units. The receivers area also easy to place as they have an attachable hotshoe plate which also includes a 1/4"x20 thread meaning you can attach them to lots of different t-bars, dSLR cages, dSLR shoulder rigs etc. Or just attach transmitters and receivers using a velcro strap (like a Gopro wrist strap) through their rear wire clips. You wouldn't attach a transmitter like that to a dancer on stage but in less robust scenarios its fine.

You'd be pretty unlucky to suffer wireless interference / competition except in city centres or pushing transmission distances to the limits.

Wireless does give you rather more street cred with some clients, which may or may not be important.

Wireless would seem the better choice in your own case simply because you can immediately see if the audio is suddenly peaking when moving from one scene to another, or if the talent starts speaking louder to compete with louder ambient. Valuable if you are doing it all alone.

I can't really see any advantage in a dual channel receiver over two G3 type receivers of the pocketable rather than rackmount types.

Pete
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Old September 8th, 2014, 01:31 PM   #7
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Thanks Pete,

Your advice to use two G3 is the best choice for a camera with two audio inputs. But for DSLR's with only one audio in ?
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Old September 8th, 2014, 01:40 PM   #8
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liviu Fratila View Post
Your advice to use two G3 is the best choice for a camera with two audio inputs. But for DSLR's with only one audio in ?
Your above mentioned Audio-Technica would have the same issue - two audio sources means 2 channels of output. And if you intending to MIX the channels yourself on the fly and record them to one channel you are shooting yourself in the foot. A very bad idea!

ADDENDUM: I don't know whether "shooting yourself in the foot" translates to Romanian but it essentially means you are handicapping yourself unnecessarily.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 02:22 PM   #9
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Haha :) Ok, I perfectly understand. Like Dracula sucks their blood :)

I will go with quality omni lavs (maybe ME2) + Zoom H1 / h4n / tascam DR40


Many thanks to all !
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Old September 8th, 2014, 02:57 PM   #10
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
Whats the best choice?.......Well use a video camera (with XLR i/p's) rather than a DSLR, Plug the mics straight in, No sync problems, Delivers phantom power, etc etc etc.

It would probably cut your production time in half.....(shooting + post production)
What Mr. Reynolds says. Use an actual video camera with two XLR audio inputs, a couple of wired omni lavs, and a couple of 10m XLR cables. Hard to beat.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 03:48 PM   #11
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

You get an awful lot of quality and functionality at a very attractive price with the GH4 so I can quite understand the OP's decision to go that route instead of a full-on video camera. Also a body like the GH4 can be a lot less intimidating for non-professional talent. Its often the case that people don't realise you're filming at all, even thinking you're a stills man and they then may be much more natural.

I use Pluraleyes with every project to sync the tracks, and every project comprises 3 to 5 video cameras and 2 to 6 separate audio recorders. Then some audio recorders will have a different audio source on the left and right channels e.g. from a Zoom H4n each channel would be from a different G3. Pluraleyes syncs these quickly and painlessly. The only times its struggled for me is with some forms of very repetitive music; then I might make some distinctive sounds during recording in anticipation of helping it e.g. old fashioned hand clapping.

The onboard camera tracks are only used by me for syncing then discarded except in emergencies.

The newer Zoom H6 has improved functionality but in a substantially larger body.

Your advice to use two G3 is the best choice for a camera with two audio inputs. But for DSLR's with only one audio in ?

I always prefer to record to a separate recorder rather than to my main video camera if time and space allow for the extra kit. You'd have no problem running 2 G3's to a single Zoom H4n or suchlike or 2 G3's to 2 H1's. I like to keep my incam channels free for emergency use; usually I have a Rode NTG2 going into one channel and ambient from the cams onboard mics going into the other channel.

Maybe try renting G3's to see if you get on with them as they're not cheap to buy.

Trailing XLR cables are all well and good but may be hard to use safely and quickly in the scenario the OP described.

Pete
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Old September 8th, 2014, 05:03 PM   #12
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

There are also adapter cables available to bring two mono sources into a single stereo jack of a small audio recorder or dSLR.

In addition, there are cables to go from an audio recorder output to the camera's audio input in order to have as clean a matching audio signal on the camera as possible for sync or as an emergency backup.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 09:40 PM   #13
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liviu Fratila View Post
I want to speak with people that not only sit down but show me a coffee factory, a coffee store, a coffee preparation in the bar etc.
Are you shooting O Lucky Man! ?
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Old September 9th, 2014, 03:59 AM   #14
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

If only a system was available that let you take two sources and record them properly without any human intervention. So many topics here complain that their carefully placed and preset recorders didn't do the job. As is often said, you don't use a camera without a viewfinder, yet you record sound without listening?

Quote:
You'd be pretty unlucky to suffer wireless interference / competition except in city centres or pushing transmission distances to the limits.
I had to smile - RF is magic. You cannot guarantee it will be reliable. Everything conspires against you. Walking around a factory, with loads of electrical equipment interference is not rare, it's common. Even a short path length between camera to receiver can be zapped by reflections, and dead spots. The digital systems make things appear better, but they are rock solid, until they cut out - with no warning. At least with analogue, you can often hear problems before they become an issue, and take action - which could be a simple step to the left.

I do a small amount of sport, and I might have a couple of remote radio mics, coming into the camera - and I shoot with in-ears for monitoring. These cut out most of the noise from the crowd, and I might have a couple of shotguns at the pitch edge, looking across. It's amazing how just one person walking on the touchline, can add to the noise on what is a fairly short path - perhaps 60 feet - open air, with no obstacles. My main work is in theatres, and radio mics are ALWAYS trouble. I've spent a couple of hours installing cables from spotlight boxes in the roof to avoid risking using a short radio link - they are just trouble waiting to happen. Give me a cable any time, and I keep the radio links for the times a cable is impossible, not just difficult.
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Old September 9th, 2014, 09:47 AM   #15
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Re: Record from two sources: ZoomH1 + lavs vs. wireless dual channel systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
You'd be pretty unlucky to suffer wireless interference / competition except in city centres or pushing transmission distances to the limits..
Pete
I must be one unlucky SOB. I have occasional problems even with my 400 series Lectros.. in rural areas. There are RF gremlins lurking everywhere.
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