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Old November 14th, 2005, 10:54 AM   #1
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Amateur audio questions

Hey guys. I am new to the "audio" part of videoing. I am about to purchase a Sony VX2100, and would like to upgrade to better audio. I know you need to spend quite a bit for good audio, but I do want to start out cheap and I can upgrade as I go. I have the Sony ECM-MS908C stereo mic that I've been using with my TRV18 Sony cam, and I do like it. For starters, I'll use that on the VX2100 and would like to add a wireless mic. Now I do know a lot of mics are mono. Is there a reason for that? I am not sure why someone would use mono. Also, with the Beachtek adaptor, can I adjust the volumes separatley with 2 mics, or do I need a small mixer for this? Thanks for any replies.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 12:20 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Justin Scroggs
Hey guys. I am new to the "audio" part of videoing. I am about to purchase a Sony VX2100, and would like to upgrade to better audio. I know you need to spend quite a bit for good audio, but I do want to start out cheap and I can upgrade as I go. I have the Sony ECM-MS908C stereo mic that I've been using with my TRV18 Sony cam, and I do like it. For starters, I'll use that on the VX2100 and would like to add a wireless mic. Now I do know a lot of mics are mono. Is there a reason for that? I am not sure why someone would use mono. Also, with the Beachtek adaptor, can I adjust the volumes separatley with 2 mics, or do I need a small mixer for this? Thanks for any replies.
Most dialog is recorded mono. Music may be recorded stereo but even there stereo mics are less often used than two mono mics. After all a "stereo mic" is just two mono mic capsules mounted in the same handle and by using two separate mics you have far more control regarding placement, mic'ing technique, sound perspective, etc, Remember when you are watching a TV production or a film in a theatre, virtually everything you hear is intentionally placed and positioned in the sound field in the soundtrack during post production. Room ambience, music, SFX, dialog, narration, the whole ballgame is placed exactly where it's intended to appear one piece at a time during the post production process. So you record using mono an actor speaking. In post you can place that dialog screen right, screen left, centred, moving from left to right, panning from rear surround channels to the front, by adjusting volume, equalization and reverb you can make it sound up close or far away, whatever you want that tells the story best. On the set the job is to record the raw material at the best quality you can so that you have something to work with in post. It's easy to take good sound and make it sound crappy if that's what tells your story best but it's very hard to do it the other way around.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 02:44 PM   #3
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Hey thanks Steve. I never thought of the post idea of moving the sound where you need it. Duh!
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Old November 14th, 2005, 02:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Justin Scroggs
Also, with the Beachtek adaptor, can I adjust the volumes separatley with 2 mics, or do I need a small mixer for this?
You can set the levels separately for each channel. However the instructions from my DXA4 say:

Try to avoid adjusting the volume controls on the adapter while recording as this may introduce contact noise from turning the potentiometers - instead, set the levels prior to recording.
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Old November 14th, 2005, 03:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Justin Scroggs
Hey thanks Steve. I never thought of the post idea of moving the sound where you need it. Duh!
Yup - that's why they have pan settings on the channel strips in the mixers in Vegas, Premiere, Nuendo, etc etc <grin>

Also, adding to Bob's comments, having the camera operator also "ride gain" on the sound keeps you busier than a one-armed paperhanger. Use the Beach at the camera end to couple an XLR feed from mic end of the line to the miniplug the camera wants and in conjunction with the camera's own attentuator and level controls to set the master recording levels. But at the microphone end of the line feed the mic into a mixer such as an SD MixPre and have the boom operator or sound mixer monitor the sound and control the levels there during the take. You set the camera to manual control and set the recording level controls to about 2/3 full-up. One of the things to look for when you get your mixer is a built-in reference tone - if you'rs doesn't have one you can get a plug-on tone generator that plugs into the mixer input port for not too much money. You send tone at a 0db reference level according to meter on the mixer down to the Beach and set Beachy's level controls so the meters in the camera show you're recording the tone at -12dbfs. Now a 0db indication on the mixer indicates the audio is getting into the camera at the optimal recording level. The boom operator or sound mixer has the mixer at his end of the line and controls the mic position and levels to keep the signal at bouncing around 0db on his meter.
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