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Old November 29th, 2005, 01:29 PM   #1
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Help with Equipment Purchase

A lot of folks in the Wedding/Event group have been very helpful but I suspect inquiries of this nature belong here.

Iím trying to set myself up as a single-camera-one-man-part-time wedding videographer.

I know all of lifeís lessons regarding ďgetting what you pay forĒ versus. ďget the right tool for the job nowĒ but I am definitely on a budget of about $3200 - $3400. (And lest I be evicted to the sofa or even worse the garage I had better stick to it. One does not cross Mrs. Steele in these matters).

Iíve opted to go with the VX2100 simply because Iíve used a 2000 once a while back and had the pleasure of doing some post editing with the resultant footage. This also allows me some some extra cash for needed accessories which is the main reason I didnít go with the PD170. I really donít think I can go wrong here and of course I canít afford to Ė which is why Iíve chosen to go with a new cam as opposed to used one which somebody has already wisely suggested. My only concern right now is where I (and everyone else using standard definition) falls in the HD timeline as of today. Itís too early for this market in my opinion (for reasons already discussed throughout the forum) and I just hope when the time comes to add a second camera I can still produce in SD.

Anyway, with the expert help of others here Iíve pretty much nailed down the rest of my needs except for audio Ė specifically the wireless lav mic. Iíve been told to avoid everything except UHF and to make sure there are plenty of switchable frequencies. Makes sense to me as I donít want to interfere with the Churchís PA system. Itís been recommended to go with the Senn G2 which I can pick up for about $490 at B&H. Iím wondering if anyone has any experience with this alternative system they could share:

Azden 100LT (plenty of frequencies for about $30 more).
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
Without the handheld mic I can get it for about $100 less (but not at B&H)

I also intend to get the BeachTek DXA-4 which as I understand it will allow me to record audio to each channel separately Ė e.g. shotgun mic and wireless (Iíve been down the PD170 road and know it has XLR among other things built in).

So, if I go with the Senn G2 and BeachTek Iím up to about $3650 (mostly from B&H and definitely the cam) which includes:

-Bogen/Manfrotto 3011BN Tripod
-Two NP-F970 Batteries
-Sony HVL-20DW2 20-watt Video Light
-Azden SGM-X Shotgun Mic (Which at only $100 Iím sure
somebody will have something to say).

What am I missing? And please Ė Iíd like to have the very best and even more but canít add anything until after a few paying gigs. :)

I am a bit concerned about where to mount all the accessories should I need more than one. I know the BeachTek doesnít require the shoe but does it attach under the cam or on top of the tripod? I would assume the cam so it can be mobile.

I suppose the wireless receiver can mount just about anywhere using velcro but Iíd rather have it a bit more stationary. Somebody suggested this:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Öwhich would allow me to mount the shotgun mic on the handle and the wireless receiver on the bottom of the L-bracket leaving the standard shoe to hold the light. If this is correct will it interfere with the BeachTek mounting?

Note: Iíd give my left testicle for a wind sock that actually works for under the gazillion bucks Iíve seen so far.

Am I getting close to an acceptable entry-level setup? Iím already at roughly $3650 and the garage is very cold this time of year.

Your critiques are very respected and welcome.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 01:45 PM   #2
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I've moved the thread to this Forum as you mainly have audio questions.

That said, why do you need a shotgun in the first place? It isn't the best choice for weddings AFAIK. You'd be better off with a decent cardiod that can handle some loud events, something a shotgun is not good for.

You might investigate the Sony consumer microphones or some of the lower-end Octavios, etc for the Omni. However, if you got the Senn wireless and a consumer microphone, you wouldn't have to buy the Beachtek. Then you can spend a bit more somewhere else or buy a better microphone (you can always single-end a balanced microphone into a mini-socket, all you need is a conversion cable). But you need to get a microphone that is powered from the standard 2100 microphone power or one that is powered by an internal battery.

With regard to the Senn: IIRC, they have a single-ended output capability so you can plug it directly into your camera.

You can always get a dual mono mini-socket to single stereo mini-jack adapter if you need to feed two channels into the camera.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 02:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Rehmus
I've moved the thread to this Forum as you mainly have audio questions.
I didn't know this forum existed. Thanks!

Quote:
However, if you got the Senn wireless and a consumer microphone, you wouldn't have to buy the Beachtek.
Now I am confused. (If I had the 2100 in front of me this would be clearer I'm sure).

Quote:
decent cardiod
Hmmm... sounds like something a proctologist would drool over. I'll need to google this one.

All I want to do is record audio from the Senn wireless and also ambient sounds from the cam at the same time. Without the BeachTek the Senn receiver plugs into "which" port on the camcorder? After that, where on the camera do I plug in the mic for ambient sounds? How do I tell one device to use the left channel and the other device to use the right? I thought this is why the BeachTek was needed?

But if we're talking about deleting the BeachTek - this does indeed sound promising.

Rick (who gets dumber as the day progresses).
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Old November 29th, 2005, 04:56 PM   #4
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Some people may disagree but I've heard very little praise for the Azden microphones in general. Sennheiser and Sony seem a better bet for the wireless. Rode has a good reputation for economy wired mics, as does Octava, and of course there's the mainstays Audio-Technica, AKG, Sennheiser, and probably out of your budget Schoeps. Shotgun mics are generally not advised for indoor use because of the nature of their off-axis responses. Hypercardioids are the ticket for directional mics indoors and a lot of people have good results with the Rode Videomic for an economy mic(they label it a "shotgun" in advertising but if you look at its polar pattern and tech specs it's really a super-cardioid.)

Echoing Mike, why do you need a shotgun for weddings anyway? I know that it probably comes to mind with the hope that you can use it on the camera and pick up decent sound from 10 or 15 feet away but I'm afraid it just doesn't work like that. Even directional mics like shotguns and hypercardioids need to be close to the sound source - like 18-36 inches from the speaker for speech - to deliver really good results. You might want to consider expanding your selection of lavs for planting on the wedding party and celebrant and getting a good cardioid and/or omni to get general room sounds. A viable choice that can save money is a mic like the Octava MKO12 that has interchangeable capsules allowing you to switch the same electronics package from omni to cardioid to hypercardioid depending on the needs of the moment.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 05:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
Echoing Mike, why do you need a shotgun for weddings anyway? I know that it probably comes to mind with the hope that you can use it on the camera and pick up decent sound from 10 or 15 feet away but I'm afraid it just doesn't work like that.
This was exactly my intent with the shotgun - A backup solution for the dialog between the minister, B&G. Thank you both for summing this up.

Quote:
Hypercardioids are the ticket for directional mics indoors and a lot of people have good results with the Rode Videomic for an economy mic(they label it a "shotgun" in advertising but if you look at its polar pattern and tech specs it's really a super-cardioid.)
I've just read about this mic here in the fourms. Rave reviews. And yes, the mic's label ("shotgun") threw me for a loop so I was confused with Mike's statement.

Quote:
You might want to consider expanding your selection of lavs for planting on the wedding party and celebrant and getting a good cardioid and/or omni to get general room sounds.
That would involve a mixer, right?

But again, how do I get just "two" mic channels into the VX2100? I can picture this using the BeachTek but I assume the camcorder only has one onboard mic jack. Here's what I'm picturing based on everyone's feedback:

- get a stereo to mono splitter
- plug splitter into mic jack on VX2100
- Plug wireless receiver into 1st channel of splitter
- Plug Rode Videomic into 2nd channel of splitter

I realize I won't have any gain control as I would with the BeachTek but will the setup I've just described get me 2 channels of audio?

Sorry to be so dense in these matters.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 07:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
This was exactly my intent with the shotgun - A backup solution for the dialog between the minister, B&G. Thank you both for summing this up.
A lot of people do try to record weddings with a directional mic from the camera position but unfortunately although the dialog may be understandable, at least to my ears it often sounds like the wedding party is down in a cave somewhere, voices sounding hollow and echo'y.

I'm not really familiar with the VX2100 so I don't know if the external mic jack is mono or stereo. If it's stereo you might be able to get away using a stereo splitter, not a stereo to mono adapter, to combine 2 mono signals into one stereo input, sending one mono signal to the left channel and the other to the right channel. But some cameras only have a mono external mic input and what appears to be a stereo connection because the plug itself is a stereo plug is instead mono with the plug's tip being the signal, its ring 5 volt mic bias power, and the sleeve a common ground for both. That can create problems when using a simple adapter that isn't specially made to block the bias - someone else with more knowledge of the VX2100 than I have will have to confirm just what the situation is here. In any case a Beachtek would give you much better control. The Beach serves to convert a balanced connection from the microphone or mixer into an unbalanced input to the camera, opening up a whole range of high quality microphones for you to choose from that you otherwise wouldn't be able to use. Even better would be to add an inexpensive field mixer in addition to a Beach so you could combine multiple mics into the signal to be recorded in the camera. Dialog is usually recorded mono with the signal from a mic or mics sent equally to the left and right channels, stereo is for music, ambience, and FX.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 08:08 AM   #7
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We have around 8 Sennheiser G2 we mostly hire to the wedding guys, very good kit, if they'll withstand being hired out they'll take anything. However ours are the 500 NOT the 100 series. They're quite a bit more expensive but you do get much better range and more channels.
Also we've invested in the rather expensive lapel mics, around AUD 500 but these things are bullet proof, I think the leads are kevlar and teflon.
One trap with the Sennheiser system, they use a compander to sqeeze as much as possible into the FM channel, it's a bit too easy to overload the transmitter so make certain you set the input attentuator to match the conditions, -10dB will usually keep you safe.
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