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Old January 2nd, 2015, 05:15 AM   #1
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HDV audio

I put this here as it is an audio question .

I'm currently shooting on a Sony HVR V1e , bought a few months back as my way of upgrading from SD mini DV to HD , retaining the same tape based workflow ( the tapes are inexpensive so I can use a new one every time and archive what I've shot , just as I've done with miniDV for years ) and I really like it .

The one downside was that the supplied onboard mic is mono , so I just bought an ECM-MS2 mid-side stereo mic which will give some ambience to my recordings . It does revert back to a mono mic if I unplug ch2 should I wish to plug a radiomic or shotgun mic in for an interview , but it would be nice to be able to always have stereo ambience , even when I have someone talking centre stage . I have a Manfrotto magic arm so I can mount the mic off the camera when I don't want it to pan the soundstage along with the picture ( such as recording a steam train passing by ) .

While I do have a portable minidisc recorder which I could very easily plug my Sennheisser radiomic receiver into ( I have both XLR and mini jack output leads ) , I'd prefer to have the dialogue track on the videotape to avoid having to lip sync in post ; ambience wouldn't always need to be synced at all - certainly in a lot of cases I could just shoot a few minutes of stereo ambience before shooting an interview , then add it to the timeline . Other times if the interviewee is narrating a live event , it would be better to have the background in real time .

I know I could use a small audio mixer to superimpose the interviewee panned centre over the stereo background , but this would severely limit options in post and not a good idea .

While my Sony MZ-R35 does record in stereo , it is just a domestic device with mini-jack input and no phantom power , besides the curse of AGC when recording in stereo , but manual level control in mono mode . I am handy enough to make up cables and do have a couple of AKG B18 battery phantom power supplies so could certainly cobble something up but it would start to get messy with lots of extra add ons everywhere ; a better solution would be an external recorder with XLR inputs and phantom , I've seen the Tascam ones which would certainly do the job , but they look bulkier than I would ideally want , and the small Zoom recorders which I could mount on the camera don't have phantom .

I was toying with looking at a Z7 , which would become my main camera , relegating the V1 to backup/2nd cam as these are now very affordable ( most of what I do is just my hobby with the odd paying job to help buy new toys ; I do have a day job :) ) , then I saw the HVR S270 with its 4 channel audio , which would be ideal for me , but these still command higher prices . Are/were there any other HDV camcorders with 4 channel sound ? I've looked at reviews on Canon , JVC and Panasonic but haven't come across anything .

Any comments re other compact and inexpensive sound recorders which I could use alongside the V1 or Z7 , or any other HDV camcorders besides the S270 with 4 audio channels , please ?
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 07:19 AM   #2
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Re: HDV audio

I believe the discontinued Canon XL-H1 offered 4 channel recording in HDV mode as well as SD mode.

While 1920x1080 HD (not HDV and costly), the current XF-200 offers 4 channel recording.

The TASCAM DR-70 or lower priced DR-60 might be worth considering for 4-channel recording in a compact package. They apparently includes features to help with sound sync. However, I've not used either. (I have used other TASCAM gear and been satisfied with it.)
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 07:40 AM   #3
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Re: HDV audio

Thanks , I'll look at the Canon range , IIRC you had to buy add on XLR modules for these ?

While I know that a lot of newer kit offers 4 channel recording , I'm not so keen to go solid state , mainly because of the media costs , we use XDCAM at work and SxS cards are outrageous , as are P2 . Besides I had a PMW100 for a short while and didn't like it .

The great thing about a lot of the older kit is that it is now very affordable for hobbyists like myself : I picked my V1 up for 500 , and I see Z7's now go for not much more than 1000 ! Alas , S270's still command more than double that amount - but give it a year or two .

The two Tascam units you mentioned were the ones I'd seen ; the cost is certainly reasonable and they could be quite useful . I'll look into the syncing thing .

The last Tascam kit I used were either 4 track open reel decks or the 133 AV cassette deck with sync tracks .
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 08:24 AM   #4
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Re: HDV audio

Derek, I don't know how you would define "compact" or "inexpensive" but is a Zoom H5 worth considering? 4 Channels + B/U (-12dB); the X/Y mic is OK for ambient stereo and 48v phantom is available through the 2 XLR inputs. I use an H6 and it's a big improvement on the H4n for quiet recordings. User manual link if you want to have a look.

FWIW I went off Tascam after quality control issues on the later Portastudio units, but I haven't heard of any similar problems recently.
I also remember using the TEAC 4 channel open reel recorders:-)
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 10:21 AM   #5
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Re: HDV audio

Thanks Colin , that also looks a good option .
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 12:23 PM   #6
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Re: HDV audio

The XL-H1 has two XLR inputs with phantom power available out of the box.
The MA-300 mic adapter offered for it allowed connection of two additional XLR mics, but no phantom power.
Alternatively one could use the RCA jack inputs for channels 3 & 4.

The XL1 and XL1s DV camcorders also did 4 channel audio, using the MA-100 or MA-200 adapters, but the camcorders were SD, and the adapters were not rated for the XL-H1. ( The XL2 DV camcorder also used the MA-300 to add additional XLR inputs for 4 channel recording.)
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 02:46 PM   #7
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Re: HDV audio

I'll add a side note about camera media. There are many models of HD camera with phantom-powered XLR connectors that record to SDHC cards. Even very high quality, very high speed, name brand SDHC cards are $25 for a 32Gb card now. So the current costs for regular media aren't like the specialized solid state types you mentioned from the past.
I know you said you're doing this for a hobby, possibly not justifying the cost of a "new" camera, but I wanted to mention that SDHC media has become very affordable especially considering the time it saves in transferring your footage.

I am also hoping to get a DR-70 this year to use with a dSLR. So far no one on this forum has mentioned their real world experiences with one yet, just some quick reviews.
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 02:55 PM   #8
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Re: HDV audio

Mic on camera = bad, stereo mic on camera = worse. There's at least a thousand threads here explaining why.

Must be my day to be a curmudgeon.
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 04:20 PM   #9
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Re: HDV audio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Palomaki View Post
The XL-H1 has two XLR inputs with phantom power available out of the box.
The MA-300 mic adapter offered for it allowed connection of two additional XLR mics, but no phantom power.
Alternatively one could use the RCA jack inputs for channels 3 & 4.

The XL1 and XL1s DV camcorders also did 4 channel audio, using the MA-100 or MA-200 adapters, but the camcorders were SD, and the adapters were not rated for the XL-H1. ( The XL2 DV camcorder also used the MA-300 to add additional XLR inputs for 4 channel recording.)
Useful to know , thanks .
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 04:28 PM   #10
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Re: HDV audio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
I'll add a side note about camera media. There are many models of HD camera with phantom-powered XLR connectors that record to SDHC cards. Even very high quality, very high speed, name brand SDHC cards are $25 for a 32Gb card now. So the current costs for regular media aren't like the specialized solid state types you mentioned from the past.
I know you said you're doing this for a hobby, possibly not justifying the cost of a "new" camera, but I wanted to mention that SDHC media has become very affordable especially considering the time it saves in transferring your footage.

I am also hoping to get a DR-70 this year to use with a dSLR. So far no one on this forum has mentioned their real world experiences with one yet, just some quick reviews.
I have looked at SD cameras before , still not 100% sold on the reliability of this media , nor archiving to hard discs , which are even less reliable .

A mini DV cassette is only 2.50 or so ; even with the to $ conversion that is still a lot less than $25

More so , the HDV cameras of just a few years ago can now be picked up for pocket money ; I couldn't contemplate spending thousands on newer kit , even if I thought it better .
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 04:30 PM   #11
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Re: HDV audio

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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Mic on camera = bad, stereo mic on camera = worse. There's at least a thousand threads here explaining why.

Must be my day to be a curmudgeon.
Can be , but there are times when an on board mic is the only option .

Stereo , done correctly , is far superior to mono .
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 10:39 PM   #12
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Re: HDV audio

I forgot to specify that a 32Gb card would record just under 3 hours of 1920x1080 30p 24Mbps footage in, for example, a Canon XA10 camera.

For HDV size 1440x1080 30p at 17Mbps data rate, a 32Gb card would record just over 4 hours. So you would have to multiply the cost of your tapes accordingly to match up.

Also that camera has 64Gb of memory built in, which can also be copied to SDHC cards inside the camera.

I've never had a failure of an SD card, but certainly many of my digital tape decks in various formats have all eventually become unreliable due to long and frequent use.

I haven't shot to tape since 2008 and don't have any regrets about that.

I always backup the SDHC cards to two separate drives, and usually keep the original card indefinitely unless it becomes clear the footage has no further value.
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Old January 3rd, 2015, 07:46 AM   #13
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Re: HDV audio

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...still not 100% sold on the reliability of this media
Tape has issues, such as drop out and wear if played a lot, but if handled and stored with reasonable respect it lasts a long time (over 35 years for some VHS stuff I have, 50+ years for some audio tapes I have). That of course assumes one buys quality tape, and maintains the players for the media.

SD (and its kin) is variable depending on the brand and lot, and it is volatile in that it is quite possible to trash a memory card (or hard drive) by accident. Other wise there wouldn't be much of a market for recovery software; e.g., Rescue Pro. It is a good capture media, especially considering that there are camcorders that can write a backup file to a second media card while recording (you get two copies as long as the camcorder is functioning properly). The time saved in transfer to your PC is a plus for professionals for whom time is money. However, memory cards are not yet proven for long term storage, and the media comes with similar warnings as well.

My pragmatic view sees that I have, with one exception, never had reason to go back more than a year or so to reedit old projects or recapture old camera footage. But I have transferred old projects from the edit master tapes (S-VHS, Hi8, and DV) to DVD.

For long term storage I am considering the MDisc technology, perhaps the Blu-ray variant, for bulk storage. of important stuff.

The problem with any of this will be finding a working reader/playback system 20 years from now.

- - - - -

Keep the negatives/tapes of the wild parties you attended years ago, you never know when that idiot you had to put up with will run for high public office - and the photos/video will become valuable to the opposition.
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Old January 3rd, 2015, 10:07 AM   #14
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Re: HDV audio

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Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
I forgot to specify that a 32Gb card would record just under 3 hours of 1920x1080 30p 24Mbps footage in, for example, a Canon XA10 camera.

For HDV size 1440x1080 30p at 17Mbps data rate, a 32Gb card would record just over 4 hours. So you would have to multiply the cost of your tapes accordingly to match up.

Also that camera has 64Gb of memory built in, which can also be copied to SDHC cards inside the camera.

I've never had a failure of an SD card, but certainly many of my digital tape decks in various formats have all eventually become unreliable due to long and frequent use.

I haven't shot to tape since 2008 and don't have any regrets about that.

I always backup the SDHC cards to two separate drives, and usually keep the original card indefinitely unless it becomes clear the footage has no further value.
My HDV footage , when i capture it into FCP comes in as 1920x1080 50i ( that's the timeline preset I work to ) , and if I capture a full 63 minute cassette , the resulting file is approx 42 Gb - I was surprised at this the first time I did it !

My understanding is that HDV is basically the same format as the XDCAM kit I use at work , which uses 25 Mb/s data rate ( some of the newer ones run 50 Mb/s .

Even so , unless you buy the cheap & nasty ones , 32Gb SDHC class 10 cards hereabouts still tend to cost 15 or 20 , we use them a lot for still photography and , while I haven't personally lost one yet , my colleagues have lost data from a fair few ; I have had a handful of CF cards used for still photography fail and don't trust hard drives at all - I've lost a few domestic ones ( decent makes like iOmega and laCie ) ; our Buffalo Terastation raid arrays at work suffer failed drives quite regularly , thankfully we have automatic backups and have never failed to rebuild after changing out the individual drive , but only five years or so in , it doesn't inspire confidence .

OTOH , I have recently pulled hi-8 , Digital-8 and low band U-Matic tapes from archives to copy requested footage over to DVD for clients - the U-Matic tapes must have been 20+ years old , but other than spending half an hour before discovering that my young son had dropped a Lego brick inside my VO-5800 , hence it would lace up but not run , all these tapes have been fine . Back in the 80's and 90's I used to shoot a lot of weddings on Video 8 and then Hi-8 , I kept every single master tape , just in case anyone ever came back saying their , supplied at the time , VHS copy was damaged or lost - no one ever has , but it was something I always said I would do . Yes , one can get the odd drop-out , but these only tend to result in a momentary glitch , which can be fudged round in the edit suite , as opposed to when SD or CF cards fail , losing an entire file . I suffered this with XDCAM about 18 months ago when an entire clip of an unrepeatable event was found to be corrupted and unplayable - this with a new SxS card . Thankfully we had the wide shot from the safety camera , but not good .

What I do get quite a lot of now , is people with old video tapes wanting them transferred to DVD and this is why I try to keep a set of players for all the formats I have used to date . Sadly my EV-S800 and EV-S1000 have both died but I acquired a couple of consumer Hi-8 and Digital-8 camcorders which serve to play tapes on occasion , my HDV camera plays all my old miniDV tapes and I have good working S-VHS and U-Matic players . My own tapes have all been dry stored in sealed plastic storage boxes and have yet to give trouble , but some of the stuff I have had handed to me can be quite 'variable' .

I also have open reel audio tapes going back 40+ years , all playable , although print through can be a problem since I don't bother to spool through them ; my vinyl albums all play like new though even though some are that old too - newest technology isn't always best .
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Old January 3rd, 2015, 11:48 AM   #15
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Re: HDV audio

I had the Z7 and then an S270 and they were both about as good as you can get for HDV, the hybrid record function was most useful as you could use the cards as active media and have the tape as back-up or record HDV on the tape and DVCam on the cards. I did have to use clipwrap to import though as the sony plug in never worked on my systems.

HDV is recorded 1440x1080 at 25mbs but I found that the compression was not very good and I switched to panasonic P2 with HPX301 and 371 cameras as the AVC Intra 50/100 codec was 10 bit 1920x1080 and also fully broadcast HD standard.

I also seem to recall that only the DVcam codec is four channel capable and you lose some quality as it is all done at 32k rather than 48k.

At the end of the day it all depends what you wish to do but I never found a problem with the P2 system and the usb hard drives I use as back-up are low cost.
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