Recorder versus Using Mixer to Camera? at DVinfo.net

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Old June 27th, 2007, 05:59 AM   #1
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Recorder versus Using Mixer to Camera?

I'm trying to figure out the benefits of using a recorder versus sending the mixer output to the camera.

Shots will be talking head documentary style. Tentatively I've decided on: an HV-20, Sound Devices 302 mixer and Sennheiser MKH416 mic. Haven't researched lav mics yet.

Since the the HV-20 only has two audio tracks, I guess I need to use a recorder if I go the three or more mic route.

I know the camera is the cheapest part of the equation right now, but it's also the part that is most likely to be technologically improved upon. I see the mic, mixer and other equipment as more longterm investments.

So do you like recorders, find their worth it? If so, want to suggest any?

THANKS MUCH.

Last edited by Peter Moretti; June 27th, 2007 at 07:19 AM.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 09:02 AM   #2
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Since the HV20 doesn't have XLR inputs that I know of (without an adapter) (Looks like Stereo mini mic in) You will have to test your set up to see how well it works. Having a back up recording of the sound will mean additional time in Post but could be a lifesaver. Plan on using a manual slate since the HV20 and other HDV low end cams won't output Timecode. Are you sure you don't you at least want to get an XH-A1? Or something else with XLR's and good manual controls.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #3
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Another consideration is that a lav will sound better than a mis-pointed or distant MKH416. So if it's going to be more than one interviewee you need a boom pole man. And if it's only you with one stationary interviewee at a time, you need a studio type setup with the mic in fixed position closely above and out of the shot, or have to not mind having the mic in the shot on a stand. Otherwise, you'll loose the benefit of having that very fine mic.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 01:32 PM   #4
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... Are you sure you don't you at least want to get an XH-A1? Or something else with XLR's and good manual controls.
Daniel, it's entirely possible that when it's all said and done, I'll wind up getting an A1 instead. And audio may be the deciding push for the A1.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 01:36 PM   #5
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Another consideration is that a lav will sound better than a mis-pointed or distant MKH416. So if it's going to be more than one interviewee you need a boom pole man. And if it's only you with one stationary interviewee at a time, you need a studio type setup with the mic in fixed position closely above and out of the shot, or have to not mind having the mic in the shot on a stand. Otherwise, you'll loose the benefit of having that very fine mic.
Yes, a boom man is someone I'll need. Are there any lav mics that you'd recommend? It seems that the vast majority are omnidirectional, but for my uses I would think a cardiod pickup pattern would be better. There is also the wireless versus wired; I'm leaning towards wired.
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Old June 27th, 2007, 07:54 PM   #6
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Doesn't the A1 use a compressed audio encoder?

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Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
Daniel, it's entirely possible that when it's all said and done, I'll wind up getting an A1 instead. And audio may be the deciding push for the A1.
What audio format (compression) does the A1 use? It's a great camera, but I understood that the audio of these new HD cameras use an MP3 type of compression. Is this not correct?
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Old June 28th, 2007, 04:26 AM   #7
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What audio format (compression) does the A1 use? It's a great camera, but I understood that the audio of these new HD cameras use an MP3 type of compression. Is this not correct?
Ron, I believe all HDV cameras use Mpeg 1 Layer 2 (aka MP2) for audio. Technically, it's not as good as DV audio, but practically speaking, its supposed to sound just as good.

Last edited by Peter Moretti; June 28th, 2007 at 01:59 PM.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 12:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
So do you like recorders, find their worth it? If so, want to suggest any?
I like recorders, because they allow me to record with a depth of 24 bits per sample. I also don't like the compression of HDV - you are right, MP2 isn't bad, but I've noticed that some processing filters (especially the noise reduction I use in Soundtrack Pro) works much better with uncompressed (or lossless) recordings than anything that had at some point been compressed. I don't have a scientific explanation for this, but could imagine that the compression artifacts leave a signature behind that somehow "confuses" other algorithms. This may or may not be important for your particular job.

As far as suggestions for specific recorders go, I have a small one "for the road", the M-Audio MicroTrack. Don't rely on its phantom power for your MKH416 mic, but then with the SD302 that you intend to buy (makes me jealous!) you won't need to. I am quite happy with it. Another popular choice seems to be the Zoom recorder.

- Martin
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Old June 28th, 2007, 01:15 PM   #9
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Peter:

This film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s3hDShqe18

I'm sound is affected by YouTube compression, but we were all real happy with the sound results.

Film was shot with a single Sennheiser ME 66 mounted on a boom, run through a field mixer. Camera was my HV20, Letus35 adapter, and we used DXA-4 Beachtek adapter.

We used this mixer:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Devices_MIXPRE

It supplies phantom power, and a 1k tone generator which we set at 12 on the camera's meter.

Sound guy was on top of everything.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 07:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
Yes, a boom man is someone I'll need. Are there any lav mics that you'd recommend? It seems that the vast majority are omnidirectional, but for my uses I would think a cardiod pickup pattern would be better. There is also the wireless versus wired; I'm leaning towards wired.
cardioid lavs are very problematic. You really have to pay close attention to placement ALL THE TIME. It doesn't take much for them to slip out of position.

They are also more prone to wind and popping.

Regards,

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Old June 28th, 2007, 07:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
Ron, I believe all HDV cameras use Mpeg 1 Layer 2 (aka MP2) for audio. Technically, it's not as good as DV audio, but practically speaking, its supposed to sound just as good.
Good ears can hear the difference between 384 kbps stereo that HDV audio records and 1500 kbps stereo, the data rate for 16-bit 48 kHz camera audio.

that's a 4:1 compression ratio, or you're using 25% of the data.

Regards,

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Old June 28th, 2007, 09:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
Good ears can hear the difference between 384 kbps stereo that HDV audio records and 1500 kbps stereo, the data rate for 16-bit 48 kHz camera audio.

that's a 4:1 compression ratio, or you're using 25% of the data.
You don't even need great ears. Just run a file with a lot of white noise or transients. Bell chimes are great for exposiing artifacts. Luckily, most audio recorded for HDV isn't that tough on the compression algorithm. I just wish HDV had an option for uncompressed audio with a mild reduction in the video compression rate.
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Old June 29th, 2007, 04:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
Yes, a boom man is someone I'll need. Are there any lav mics that you'd recommend? It seems that the vast majority are omnidirectional, but for my uses I would think a cardiod pickup pattern would be better. There is also the wireless versus wired; I'm leaning towards wired.
As Ty said, go with the omni lavs. Cardioid lavs are intended for sound reinforcment applications where feedback from PA speakers can be an issue. They're too touchy about positioning for general film and video dialog and broadcast uses - all it takes is for the talent to turn their head to look to the side and they're off mic. And go hard-wired whenever practical.
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Old June 30th, 2007, 04:32 AM   #14
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Ty, Steve, et al,

What lav mics would you recommend for talking head interviews in the subject's house (probably livingroom rigged for taping)?

The interviewee will usually be one person, but two people sitting next to each other is a definite possibilty. The interviewer will be off camera.

Wired will not be a problem. I've read good things about the Sony EM44B and I believe the 55B. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as always. THANKS.
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Old June 30th, 2007, 06:31 AM   #15
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The 44 and 55 are OK. Visible, but OK.

There are many good lavs. The Sanken Cos 11, Countryman B6, EMW, Sony 77B and 88B, to name a few.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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