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Old January 3rd, 2017, 01:04 PM   #1
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Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Very new to AV. Recently purchased a Lumix FZ2500, the GH4's baby brother. Looking to rig it up for nature and wildlife audio. Based on what I've read, a stereo mic is preferred for nature sounds. I see a lot of Rode mics on other rigs that are not necessarily for nature work. I don't require a rode mic, that's just what I see most.

As far as audio adapters, I've reviewed those on Beachtek's website, but don't really know what features are preferred or whether to go with passive or active. My gut tells me active. Keeping it light is good, but being able to use it on future more professional cameras is more important. Thanks.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 05:02 PM   #2
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

HI Larry,

If you are intending to shoot wildlife footage on telephoto, then an on camera mic is unlikely to be close enough to pick up anything other than ambient sound. If you are reasonably close to your subject then a shotgun or rifle mic is more likely to pick up the subject better. You can then mix that into a recording of the natural ambient stereo sound. If you are going to be positioned some distance from your subject and you know where it is likely to be, you could place a small easily hidden pocket recorder and mic close to the expected subject position.to get much better quality sound. You could also use a wired mic on a long cable back to the camera or a radio mic.

Roger
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 05:24 PM   #3
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Hi Larry

Do you really need an XLR adapter? I use a Saramonic AX7 but that's with two wireless mic sets and the receivers mount on the adapter sides but that is for events not wildlife. I would have thought that a standard Rode Videomic would be the answer for wildlife and have it on camera. It's got enough punch to pick up most ambient audio.

It however would be far more helpful to describe your type of shoot. I was brought up in Rhodesia (middle of Africa) so when you talk about wildlife I automatically think about a pride of lions or a herd of elephants whereas you might be doing something totally different that requires a different approach. Let us first know your target subjects and then we can suggest something appropriate
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 08:17 PM   #4
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Thanks for the replies. Here on the east coast of the U.S. we don't have quite the awesome wildlife as in Africa. I suspect I'll be recording mostly birds, waterfowl, flocks of waterfowl, maybe some deer, hopefully black bear and smaller mammals, and even just some nature scenery with whatever natural sounds in the background. I recorded a clip of a snowy owl on a windy beach the other day with my canon.

I can't imagine that I'll be too far away from my subject, maybe 50 yards at most, depending on its size. Some will be birds on the water where I won't be able to place a mic anywhere other than near me, and I'll be on the shore.

I don't recall saying that I need an XLR adapter. I'm only half sure what that means. I think it's one of those professional connections on the end of a mic lead wire, no? I haven't a clue if I need one or not. Again, I have no experience or real knowledge of audio.
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Old January 3rd, 2017, 10:08 PM   #5
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Hi Larry

I would have suspected that you would need a mic housed in a parabolic reflector dish to get really good audio ....but also a bit ignorant about wildlife audio, especially birds.. The link below might be of some help to you??

Wildlife Sound Recording Society | Getting started in Wildlife Sound Recording
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Old January 4th, 2017, 05:22 AM   #6
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Hi Larry,

I think we probably assumed from the title of your thread that you meant an XLR adapter. The FZ2000/2500 has a mini Jack plug mic connection in common with other cameras in the prosumer market, whereas pro gear usually has the more robust XLR type of connector for audio.

The mini type works perfectly well, but the XLR type is less prone to being pulled out or broken in more heavy use professional environments. It also allows for a power connection for powered mics and also balanced line working. An adapter for cameras would normally be to convert an XLR cable to a mini jack input.

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Old January 4th, 2017, 06:53 AM   #7
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

You can get quite cheap passive ones from Beachtek too but they don't provide phantom power to a pro XLR mic. The slightly fancier ones will do so ..check your mic before you use it..it might not be a powered mic. Usually if it has no battery then you need phantom power from an adaptor ..The FZ2500 doesn't provide it so if you want a mic only make sure it's a powered mic like the Rode VideoMic
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Old January 4th, 2017, 08:16 AM   #8
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Likely MOST (if not ALL) sound for nature video is recorded separately. Not just because the sound recording performance of most camcorders is marginal, but because it is rather RARE that the camera position is ALSO the best position from which to record sound.

Spend a few days studying the nature recording web resources to see what are the preferred microphones, accessories and techniques for recording nature sound. Nature SOUND recording is almost a completely separate category from nature VIDEO recording.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 06:22 PM   #9
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Thanks for the replies. I've already spent days researching and reading about audio equipment for nature and wildlife videography and this is about all I have determined; "Stereo microphones excel at capturing environmental sound, but fall short when it comes to recording on-camera dialog. If you’re shooting video of nature scenes without dialog, you would be much better off with a stereo microphone, as opposed to a shotgun. Stereo microphones are effective at immersing the viewer in an environment." (ref https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora...ra-microphones ). Hence, I asked for a recommendation for a stereo mic.

In my reasearch I came across devices which I refer to as "adapters". I'm referring to these Audio Adapters & Recording Equipment for Camcorders | Beachtek . Small ones are made specifically for DLSRs. I assume that the videographers on this forum are familiar with them and use them regularly or trying to record sound sometime other than at the time video is recorded.

I've previously found the Wildlife Sound Recording Society's home page and read through their info. Most doesn't apply. I can't imagine carrying one of those parabolic reflectors with a camera and tripod.

I imagined my setup would be something like what is shown in the video below, but with more up-to-date equipment and a stereo mic instead of an interview mic. And a Lumix FZ2500 instead of a canon dlsr.
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...=0&FORM=VDFSRV
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Old January 4th, 2017, 07:04 PM   #10
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

"Environmental sound" and "nature sound" are two different things. Environmental sounds are things like traffic noise or planes landing at the airport. Nature sound is birdcalls and frogs croaking, etc.

"Environmental sound" is what is typically collected to use as a background when mixing film/video sound tracks. "Nature recording" is what "birders" (bird identification enthusiasts) etc. do.

Recording dialog is a completely different thing. It is not in any way similar to either environmental recording or nature recording. Furthermore, "on the camera" is almost the worst place you can put a microphone. I agree with B&H that using a stereo microphone is never a good choice for recording dialog. And if you are looking for specific sounds vs. general ambient background. Then a stereo microphone is no better for capturing a bird than for capturing human speech.

When we recommended nature recording we did not mean a sales blurb like B&H. Go to Google and search on: nature recording You will find many good references, primarily Wildlife Sound Recording Society | Animal Sounds | Bioacoustics And B&H doesn't even make Google's top 10.

If you are truly recording nature/bird sounds, I would very strongly suggest better searching for more relevant advice. If you search more carefully for nature/bird recording, you will find many people using parabolic reflectors and "shotgun" microphones. (Both of which are monaural.)

Most of the final sound you hear with nature videos is created in the editing room, not captured at the location you are seeing on video. There even a whole sub-specialty of "Nature Foley" artists who create the sounds to go with the (silent) nature footage that are commonly used on TV shows, etc.
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Old January 5th, 2017, 07:45 AM   #11
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

HI Larry,

I am getting a bit confused now about what you are aiming at.

Everything Richard said is absolutely correct, and I agree I that you are getting sidetracked by irrelevant information and general descriptions. The equipment video you linked to is probably fine for what the guy is filming, but the video gives no real idea of what that is apart from 'wildlife'. He is using a pair of radio receivers in addition to the onboard shotgun mic, but how is he using those wireless and onboard mics. The fact that it may all look very nice doesn't mean much on its own. The 7D is a nice stills camera, but hardly the professionals choice for a serious wildlife video camera in my opinion.

If you want to record general stereo ambient sound then a stereo onboard mic will be fine, but in an earlier thread you mentioned that you wanted to record National Georaphic quality wildlife video. Now though, you are saying that you can't imagine carrying a parabolic reflector mic in addition to tripod and other kit. You say that most of the Wildlife Society website information doesn't apply even though they are specialists in wildlife sound recording and state quite clearly that a parabolic mic system is the best way to get wildlife sounds. Wildlife filming is all about using the right equipment for the job, patience and taking the right positions. It is also one of the most demanding genres of film making and something that takes experience not just research to get right.

When it comes to adapters, the unit that the guy was using was actually a Beachtek twin channel XLR input mixer. An adapter is a piece of equipment that converts one form of connector to another and can be a simple cable. If you want mixer facilities aswell, then there are a number available on the market including the Beachtek ones. You also mention using an adapter to record sound sometimes other than when the camera is recording. An adapter is as I mentioned above, it doesn't record anything, so those of us recording sound would use a sound recorder suitable for the situation. It may have XLR connectors or it may not, depending on your requirements. For my own non camera sound recording I have several pocket stereo recorders with mini Jack mic connections in addition to the built in mic. I also have a 5 channel stereo mixer with XLR and 6mm Jack inputs plus phantom power for powered mics and an onboard MP3 recorder. For multi mic recordings I have an 8 channel mains powered mixer with XLR, 6mm Jack and RCA inputs, full eq controls, on board effects and phantom power. I also sometimes record to a laptop and a pad, even a smartphone at times. It all depends on circumstances and requirements. For microphones I have 2x Rode camera mics, 2x Sony camera mics, 1 Audio Technica shotgun mic, 1x Shure SM58, 1x Shure SM57, 1x Rode Studio capacitor, 2x Audio Technica pressure zone mics, 1x Audio Technica AT21 electret, 1x AKG 414, a handful of various lav mics, and several cheap Japanese electrets. Every mic has different characteristics and are used under different circumstances based on my experience of what each does and years of sound recording experience.

The point I am trying to make is that there is no correct way or best way to cover everything, you need to find what works for you. Get out your camera, get a mic, get a reasonable editing programme and start filming and editing. You will very quickly find the shortcomings in what you do and what you need to do or buy to correct them. No ammount of research or advice is going to make you into a great wildlife videographer, just get out there and start doing it to gain the experience. When you have, post some of your results and your thoughts about them and advice on how to improve will be readily available here.

Roger
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Old January 5th, 2017, 08:02 AM   #12
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Just as a follow up to my previous post and to what Richard mentioned about building sound in the editing room. I have a 25 CD set recorded by the BBC over several years, of a wide range of sounds, including about 8 just of various nature sounds such as 'Early morning in a pine forest in Spring with gentle breeze' and 'A Welsh hillside in Autumn with grazing sheep'. I also have city and village sounds at various times of the day and even particular car sounds.

As Richard says, there are specialists who spend their whole time building wildlife soundtracks using a mix of live captures and archive material to get the right atmosphere. It is an artform in it's own right.

Roger
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Old January 5th, 2017, 09:24 AM   #13
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

The trouble here is that you're trying to find solutions to basic techniques that will all conflict

The basics are simple, however.

DSLR audio facilities are pretty poor. The very worst feature is that of automatic recording levels, and for wildlife, atmosphere, wild tracks and that kind of thing you need control over record levels. The adaptors you are thinking about provide a way to match a real microphone to the auto world of the DSLR.

Scrub your camera audio, and buy a recorder like a zoom or similar. Excellent products and they will let you do so much more. They also look pretty good price wise against the adaptors which by nature are quality bodges.

Parabolic mics are ultra specialist and few people ever replay their investment.

Stereo for wildtracks, and spot mics for the in close stuff, so this might well be the type of choice where instead of a radio system with a TX pack, you pick a plug in type, that you can connect to a variety of mics.

Unless you know exactly what you will record, you need more kit. Shotguns of the 416 style, with windshields, or X/Y or M/S stereo, also with wind protection. Small mics, probably omnis you can hide close in, and perhaps all kinds of other types. I've had some experience with the big ears style parabolics, and on one job, a much bigger one - impressive, but really impractical and labour intensive.

However for most wildlife stuff the sound is better simulated as said - Foley style because the noises you expect simply don't record well, or just don't happen at all. It's been quite a while now but I remember some great shots of a huge bird of prey we had shot for a UK broadcaster, and all attempts at sound had failed simply because despite it's size, it flies silently, and the producer wanted the 'real' sound - which eventually was me with a big pair of motor cycle leather gloves flapping them together.

I cannot think of a single mic, or pair of mics that can do everything. Recording to the camera is also plagued with quality problems, so a portable recorder is pretty well essential.
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Old January 5th, 2017, 11:11 AM   #14
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Here is a video about how sound tracks for nature videos are made.

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Old January 5th, 2017, 12:55 PM   #15
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Re: Recommend Mic and Adapter for Lumix FZ2500

Great find Richard and says it better than we can do with posts on the forum. Made me remember years ago when I used to make a lot of sound effects in the studio. Things like screwing up cellophane for the sound of a cracking fire, or coughing into the mic then slowing it down to make the roar of a lion or putting a handkerchief over a mic and blowing on it for explosion sounds.

I was once asked by a department store to make a soundtrack for their Christmas children's ride. The brief was for the sound of a sleigh pulled by 8 penguins, with bells on the sleigh and the voice of a Cockney sleigh driver. There were different rides and sounds every year and it was always great fun.

Roger
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