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Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


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Old June 22nd, 2006, 05:01 PM   #16
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ok, say I have $1000.00 to spend ...

Well, I have been off shopping on the web,reading books and reading through the postings here. Got WAY bogged down in mics: omnidirectional, cardioid, hypercardioid, bidirectional,condenser mics, dynamic mics, windsocks. Then explored dolby sound, 5.1, surround sound, tracks. External audio boxes, pci cards, monitors, cables ...

Overwhelmed and of course underfunded.

So, the end result will take a while, but I can be patient. Just don't want to waste money, and at this point, I don't think I would even know if I did.

The video I want to make is an informal documentary, with dialog and music background important. The video part will be snapshots plus video from various sources - mostly digital but some older analog too. I hope to set out from this video to other documentaries, but not for the next year. This year is a learning year for my software and equipment.

Anyway, I am set for the video for the time being, since I have digital video now, and will wait for the hd prices to drop.

Suggestions for audio would be so welcome, because at this point all I have is the onboard audio from my motherboard. I am building this computer and can integrate audio easily (?) I believe. What is most important to have in your opinions? I want to start, and hopefully make smart purchases that will upgrade easily and/or give me the best result for my buck.

So mics, monitors, headphones, audio boxes are the areas I have explored and nearly drowned in. I hope you can give me specific items that would fit my budget, and if I would waste money on a cheap item I hope you can point that out to me. If you think one item is the most important and would make a huge difference, well, I could spend $1000.00 on just that. I know my NLE will help, but again I am learning it too. What is most important to buy first, and most forgiving of a minimal budget.

Go ahead, spend my money!

Many thanks in advance.

Leslie
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 11:15 PM   #17
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My opinion is that Microphones & Cables should be the first thing to look into. Have a read of some of the recent posts in the Now Hear This forum.

Do plenty of research when investigating microphones!

You'll also need a XLR adapter (a device that converts professional level balanced XLR connectors into a domestic unbalanced mini-jack connector) for your Sony Camera. The Beachtek DXA range are quite popular. I quite like the DXA-8, although you can get by with a cheaper model.

Depending on crew, etc. you'll also need to look into other bits and pieces, such as boom poles.

But yeah, for now I'd just concentrate on getting the best microphones, cable and XLR adapter/mixer you can afford. If you start thinking about post-prodcution as well, you'll get information overload! The argument is you should really budget ahead, but the way I figure it is, if you spend the $1000 on production gear, then when you end up with some amazing footage and great sound you'll just have to find the cash and purchase another $1000 worth of post-production gear! Better yet, find a friend with all the toys you need. Do an offline edit and home and an online at your mates.

You should probably spend some money on a book or two before purchase $1000 worth of gadgets. Sound for Digital Video (ISBN: 0-240-80720-0) is quite helpful. Have a look around the forums, there are heaps of quality reads out there...

That's just my opinion though! I'm sure others will have different suggestions...

Good luck!
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Old June 22nd, 2006, 11:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hocking
[...] In regards to audio monitoring [...] using really expensive reference monitors seems a waste of money (in my opinion) [...]
Really expensive monitors may be a waste of money, but a decent pair of powered monitors (KRK and Event have some nice entry-level monitors) are going to allow you to get a better idea of what's there in the soundtrack compared to an ordinary TV. As far as using headphones to mix, they can be very misleading. I like to mix and test on three systems: my nice monitors while I'm editing, headphones, and the television in the living room. Each of these three environments will bring out different aspects of your mix. But when push comes to shove, I rely on the good monitors in the edit suite. Sound is the most important half of the picture, it's the basis of our emotional response to the movie. And for documentary, getting clean, crisp dialog is very important. A decent entry-level mic placed properly will take you far.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 05:49 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hocking
My opinion is that Microphones & Cables should be the first thing to look into. Have a read of some of the recent posts in the Now Hear This forum.

...
But yeah, for now I'd just concentrate on getting the best microphones, cable and XLR adapter/mixer you can afford. If you start thinking about post-prodcution as well, you'll get information overload! The argument is you should really budget ahead, but the way I figure it is, if you spend the $1000 on production gear, then when you end up with some amazing footage and great sound you'll just have to find the cash and purchase another $1000 worth of post-production gear! Better yet, find a friend with all the toys you need. Do an offline edit and home and an online at your mates.

...
That's where I'll have to disagree. While mics, mixer, etc, are certainly important to acquire very early on, postproduction tools should (IMHO) also be of top priority. If you can't edit what you shoot, you might as well not bother shooting. The materials that come out of your camera and sound recorder are just like the negatives from a wet-chemistry camera - until you get to the darkroom to print them you don't have a picture. Your NLE and DAW tools are the videographer's version of the darkroom. When looking at the sound kit versus the editing setup, if you buy one and rely on renting or borrowing the other, it's going to be far less expensive and less of a hassle to rent an ENG/EFP sound kit as needed than it is to locate and rent a well equipped video and audio editing bay. And of course, some of the tools of post production also serve for production itself - is voice-over and narration or music recorded in studio really "production" or "post-production?" - and some editing items like mics for VO and music, a good recording audio interface and perhaps a mixer to feed it often prove as useful in the acquisition phase of the filmmaking process as they are in the editing phase. What I'm thinking of is situations like you have an external firewire audio interface for your editing computer at home - you're shooting a concert music performance where sound quality is paramount so you unplug the interface and take it and your mixer with you to the concert along with a laptop and use them to record double-system sound of the stage performance, allowing you to record the performance with higher quality audio than is possible in-camera.

And if your NLE/DAW is good to go you may be able to pick up editing gigs as well.
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Old June 23rd, 2006, 08:04 AM   #20
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I deleted the post I had in this spot because I realized it was repetitive.
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Last edited by David Ennis; June 23rd, 2006 at 08:54 AM.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 04:14 PM   #21
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Thanks everyone. I am glad I had computer building problems now, because someone on the K8WE motherboard forum recommended I come here for dv advice. It has made me REALLY realize the wealth of knowledge you have here and all the possibilites ahead. This is fun, and I will continue asking questions!

By the way, I could actually contribute to a thread on bugs! ;0

Looking forward to implementing your suggestions, and thanks again.

Leslie
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Old June 26th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #22
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Leslie
sorry not entirely clear to me if you want suggestions/advice on mics etc or for NLE's/software for your PC etc but anyway, i'll chip in on the mics front for what it's worth...

I'd suggest something like AT4053a hyper, with one of the phantom-power supplying Beachtek boxes, plus a windshield (Rycote softie, or maybe Lightwave) plus either Sony 7506 headphones or Sennheiser HD280Pro headphones.
Something like that. Think you'l need a shockmount too for the AT4053, Rode make some goodish and cheapish ones, SM3, SM5 etc.

If not, maybe Sennheiser ME64 with K6 power module.

Prices/basic specs on B&H:
AT4053a
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...u=68315&is=REG

ME64/K6:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...u=73098&is=REG

Sony 7506:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

HD280Pro:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Rode SM3:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Beachtek: www.beachtek.com
Someone else could advise best beacttek box to get.

Shotgun mics good for outdoors, but if you're doing lot of dialog and indoor stuff, then a hyper like 4053a or ME64/K6 would be a better choice IMO without blowing your budget. Nice and reasonable priced shotguns include Rode NTG2 and NTG1 for eg.
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Old June 26th, 2006, 06:33 PM   #23
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I have chosen my NLE and am almost finished building the computer to match it's specs. Audio has always been one of my (many) weak spots in dv. Going from my budget, I am leaning towards the AT822 as a beginning mic, the m-audio 410 firewire mixer, sony or sennheiser headphones and in a few months a pair of monitors if the budget allows. This way I can get started and go up from there. So I am crusing e-bay to see about some used equipment.

DVinfo.net has been so helpful, and I enjoy reading the debates and opinions between everyone. Thanks!
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