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Old February 14th, 2015, 12:58 PM   #46
Major Player
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 849
Re: Good, budget lav for camcorder

@ Richard Crowley - your post was a fun read and made my morning!

Hey, you guys, in Jon Fairhurst's own words "she wants to keep this simple." The key word here is "simple" and another key word is "she".

For a simpler solution, what I see is a new cam in his wife's future that has a "mic in", "headphone out", and an accessory shoe. Jon needs to part with some of that cash he's been trying to hold onto. At least, with his Røde StereoVideo Mic (already in his kit), this will hopefully become a no-brainer. This is certainly a much simpler solution than trying to deal with audio wiring problems.

For an upgrade, a cam with a top handle and "mic in" gain adjustments would be a lot nicer. Maybe in a few more months?

Jon - Just trying to be helpful here!
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Old February 17th, 2015, 09:46 AM   #47
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,458
Re: Good, budget lav for camcorder

Good suggestion on monitoring. Her camcorder has an A/V out. I should rig up a one-eared, mono headphone with the right plug and long enough cable.

Why one eared? She's the talent in a one-person shoot. She won't want headphone hair. And it will need a long enough cable so she can get situated, listen for buzz, throw the headphone aside, and start the take. Were she to check for buzz at the camera, walk to the chair, and move the cable, the cable path could shift and the buzz could return.

Regarding simplicity, it's auto gain all the way! Monitoring would be for a quality/presence check only. But that sure beats recording silence. (Blind ADR anybody?)

Regarding the VideoMic Pro, that would be going in the wrong direction. Her recording space is quite live so it's especially important to limit the mic distance. The only problem to solve is the buzz. The VMP has a shorter cable, but it's unbalanced as well. The next step up (short of a camera with XLRs) would be the juicedLink and balanced mic, but that violates the simplicity thing.

I think Greg is right that that system only has one grounded point (the stock AC wall wart), so it's not a ground loop. The most likely source of the buzz was the mic cord being near the power supply cord. It might also be near wall or ceiling (of the floor below) wiring. If there are fluorescent lights right below her, that could be a problem.

And that brings us back to monitoring. With headphones, it should be pretty easy to find and solve the AC proximity problem.
Jon Fairhurst
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Old February 17th, 2015, 10:52 AM   #48
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,342
Re: Good, budget lav for camcorder

I'm just pondering the philosophical meaning of "simple."

"Simple" for your wife is having an unbalanced system and AGC.

But that results in your having to process the audio with NR, and maybe deal with the fact that the AGC brings up the noise when your wife isn't speaking, which could make matters worse. This is the unseen half of "simple." I guess that's OK if she has a limited shooting schedule, or if you have unlimited time to clean up the audio, but if her output exceeds your ability to process it, then the situation could become problematic.

Just sayin' ...
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Old February 17th, 2015, 03:53 PM   #49
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
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Re: Good, budget lav for camcorder

Good points, Greg.

On the unbalanced thing, I'm hoping that good cable routing and pre-take monitoring will fix it. In my experience, unbalanced buzz is either there or not (at normal levels anyway). I'm expecting not to do NR again. If it's a recurring thing, I'll get her a balanced mic to use with the juicedLink.

On auto-gain, we will see. She didn't notice it last time. This is an amateur vlog thing, not a professional-style video series. If she's happy, I'm happy and I won't have to worry about the gain being set wrong such that there's clipping, tons of noise, or no audio due to a wrong setting. If she says, "why does the volume go up during my pauses. I don't like that.", then I'll work with her to find a good, reusable gain setting. For now, I see AGC as a safety net. I'd rather sacrifice quality than add risk. Fortunately, the AGC in the camera isn't too aggressive and has a very long delay, so it's not nearly as bad as it could be.

My wife often says, "I don't need it to be perfect; I just need it to work." I'm doing my best to meet the needs of my well-known "client" of nearly 30 years. :)
Jon Fairhurst
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