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Old January 11th, 2006, 09:12 PM   #1
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to mix or not to mix

Here's the conclusion I've come to:

For my projects, which are non-pro, and crewed by non-pros, it seems to me that having a warm body monitoring a mixer is a better situation than no warm body monitoring a mixer.

So, if the choices are:

a) boom into camera
b) boom into mixer into camera

(where the mixer is something low level like a Behringer UB1002)

Then just by merit of having a dedicated person listening to mixer (even if he/she is just a punk student like me), the sound should be better, right?

Or is it not even worth the bother? Some people in the world (pragmatists in production companies and rental houses) seem to think if there's just a boom, just run it into the camera.

With cameras like the Z1u, which have roll-off built in, this seems like even more of a viable option.

How valuable is that warm body sitting at the mixer, when that warm body isn't a pro and there's only one mic? I know there's lots of variables in that question, so another way to put it is: when is it better (or good enough) to skip the mixer?
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Old January 12th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #2
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If the operator doesn't do anything then there is no value added.

What the operator *could* be doing:
Send tone to the camera (this mixer probably doesn't have tone, but maybe you have access to a generator) and set 0 db on the mixer to -12 or -20db on the camera.

Closely monitoring sound visually with the meters, not to exceed 0db on the mixer. Not moving the sliders much during takes, but calling for a retake as needed.

Closely monitoring sound with headphones, looking out for pops, off mic, and other distractions that the boom op might have missed. (because your boom op IS wearing headphones, right?)

Assisting with playback (if there is playback) by sending camera audio to a powered monitor. Assisting with playback by monitoring sound with headphones. Suggesting that there is at least occasional playback.

I guess the question back to you is "who is responsible for good sound?" If the mixer op can't make a contribution then they're just making the shoot more complicated. But you might be also talking with the camera op - who IS going to monitor levels? Camera? Boom op? (they'd need the right mixer so they could see meters) Someone needs to.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 06:18 AM   #3
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Hey all-
I'm not trying to high-jack this thread, but I had a question that comes from Seth's response. My question is what peice of equipment do you get to let your boom opperator so he can monitor what he is picking up through the mic? I just got my first boompole and I want to use it correctly the first time. I know you just need a little headphone amplifier, but where do I find one? I have a Rode VideoMic, and it uses a 1/8" plug. Here's one I found on the net, but it uses XLR and it's rather pricey.
http://www.studio1productions.com/am300.htm
Do you guys have any suggestions?
Thanks!
-Brett
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Old January 13th, 2006, 07:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett Whited
Hey all-
I'm not trying to high-jack this thread, but I had a question that comes from Seth's response. My question is what peice of equipment do you get to let your boom opperator so he can monitor what he is picking up through the mic? I just got my first boompole and I want to use it correctly the first time. I know you just need a little headphone amplifier, but where do I find one? I have a Rode VideoMic, and it uses a 1/8" plug. Here's one I found on the net, but it uses XLR and it's rather pricey.
http://www.studio1productions.com/am300.htm
Do you guys have any suggestions?
Thanks!
-Brett
BH Photo have a bunch of headphone amps and mic preamps listed in the audio section on their website.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 07:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
BH Photo have a bunch of headphone amps and mic preamps listed in the audio section on their website.
Any suggestions as to which one? Like I said, I'm using a Rode Videomic (which uses a 1/8" mini plug). It looks as if most of the preamps use XLR inputs/outputs for the mics. Should I go strait to XLR (at the top of the boompole) and just go to the headphone preamp, then to my Beachtek? Or should I go from mini to XLR back to mini, then straight to my camera? That also brings up another question (bear with me, I'm a newbie): When using a boom, should another mic be used elsewhere for ambience? Won't the other audio (besides the dialogue) sound a little hollow with just a boom? I've never done this so I don't know, I've always just put an AT3031 on a mic stand and gone from there.
Thanks!

BTW, would this one work?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation
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Old January 13th, 2006, 10:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett Whited
Any suggestions as to which one? Like I said, I'm using a Rode Videomic (which uses a 1/8" mini plug). It looks as if most of the preamps use XLR inputs/outputs for the mics. Should I go strait to XLR (at the top of the boompole) and just go to the headphone preamp, then to my Beachtek? Or should I go from mini to XLR back to mini, then straight to my camera? That also brings up another question (bear with me, I'm a newbie): When using a boom, should another mic be used elsewhere for ambience? Won't the other audio (besides the dialogue) sound a little hollow with just a boom? I've never done this so I don't know, I've always just put an AT3031 on a mic stand and gone from there.
Thanks!

BTW, would this one work?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation
It probably would work. Rode makes an XLR adapter for the video mic that allows you to plug it into an XLR input that you might check out.

I'm of the opinion that "ambience" should be added by recording room tone on the set which is then mixed into the track during post rather than trying to capture it on a separate track during the shoot. With everything in place but no one talking or moving about record a minute of so of "silence" while you in each setup.
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Old January 13th, 2006, 10:52 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info.
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