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Old July 27th, 2009, 04:08 PM   #1
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Audio: In-camera ML + Juicedlink or External?

I had previously settled on the external solution, Zoom H4N + Rode NTG-2 and an MKE400 on-camera for sync, but now after seeing Dan Chung's impressive results with the the Juicedlink CX231 + Magic Lantern combo, I'm wondering if that's the best way to go at the moment?

How are you guys using the Juicedlink in run-and-gun situations? Are you physically mounting it to the camera or running a cable to a waist/shoulder bag for the Juicedlink?
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Old July 27th, 2009, 04:42 PM   #2
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I had previously settled on the external solution, Zoom H4N + Rode NTG-2 and an MKE400 on-camera for sync, but now after seeing Dan Chung's impressive results with the the Juicedlink CX231 + Magic Lantern combo, I'm wondering if that's the best way to go at the moment?

How are you guys using the Juicedlink in run-and-gun situations? Are you physically mounting it to the camera or running a cable to a waist/shoulder bag for the Juicedlink?
Both the H4n and JL/ML are good solutions. If you want the absolute lowest noise floor, the JL/ML wins. For a shoot in an urban setting, the noise floor will be low enough either way.

The advantage of the Zoom is that your audio person is untethered. There's no cable to trip over. On the other hand, if he/she gets out of sync with the recording control, you lose the take. In camera offers advantages of easy editing with no sync, and when you do a review in the field, you get to see it with the finished audio. With the H4n, you won't hear the real audio until you sync in post.

I'd recommend getting the stuff needed for doing in-camera audio and bringing the H4n too. That way you can work either way, and you have a backup system too.

For in camera sound, you will want:

* juicedLink CX231 (includes a short output cable)
* lots of spare 9V batteries.
* A mount/clamp (1/4") to mount the juicedLink near, but not under the camera. While you can mount it underneath, I prefer the camera to be solidly mounted to the tripod/rig. Keep the output cable short, so it's less susceptible to AC and RF noise.
* A 50 ft XLR cable - and a spare. A bum cable ruined some of my recordings last month.
* A headphone amplifier, such as the Boostaroo. This one can drive multiple headphones, which would let the camera and boom operators both have one: Give Our Portable Headphone Amplifiers a Listen for 90-Days
* A 50 ft headphone extension cable (and spare)
* A bunch of small zip ties, so you can join a headphone cable to a mic cable.

With in-camera audio, your camera operator is in charge of the mix. Fortunately, the noise is very low, so you just need to avoid clipping. Run the juicedLink at full gain, high. Turn it down only when clipping, but don't forget to bring it back up later. One possibility is to split the mic cable to feed both the left and right channels, and run one channel with a lower gain as a safety channel. No mixing is needed at all then. (Though you will want to be able to turn down the headphone monitor to reduce blasts.) It would be cool to pad one of the headphone channels to rebalance the audio.

If it turns out that this division of labor and the cable to the camera is a problem, you always have the Zoom as a backup. And if the Zoom fails in the field, you've got the in-camera audio to fall back on.

Best of luck!
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Old July 27th, 2009, 05:06 PM   #3
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Thanks, Jon! Time to go shopping...

Will the JL/ML play nice with the NTG-2 or do I need a more sensitive mic?

And if the in-camera JL/ML solution becomes our main capture, relegating the Zoom to backup, might the Sony PCM-D50 be a better backup if using the onboard mics?

Jon, do you have a photo of how you're mounting the camera to your tripod/rig in conjunction with the JL?
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Old July 27th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #4
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Will the JL/ML play nice with the NTG-2 or do I need a more sensitive mic?
The NTG-2 will be fine. A friend was using the NTG-2 and JL into a Canon camcorder (before Magic Lantern), and the clips he sent me sounded great!

Quote:
And if the in-camera JL/ML solution becomes our main capture, relegating the Zoom to backup, might the Sony PCM-D50 be a better backup if using the onboard mics?
I haven't used the Sony, but I hear good things about it.

Quote:
Jon, do you have a photo of how you're mounting the camera to your tripod/rig in conjunction with the JL?
Currently, I don't have a good mounting solution. If you have rails, then a microMount would be a good choice: microMount
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Old July 27th, 2009, 07:15 PM   #5
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When I have rails attached, I mount Camera to rails, Juiced Link to bottom of rails, this accomodates follow focus best. I mount tripod mount to bottom of Juiced Link.


Without rails, I mount to camera, pointing the JL the same way as I would for a standard video camera ( I call it North/South). Mic Inputs are on lefts side, and trim dials at rear. This works fine, and it allows unfettered access to battery compartment without removing the JL from the camera body. Tripod mount goes on from there.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 02:25 AM   #6
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I had the Zoom h4n and Rode NTG-2 combo as well... I don't know what the deal was but I tried the Zoom on one of my shoots and all of the audio came back virtually inaudible... when I put it in a timeline, there was basically no waveform and I needed to add tons of gain in post in order for the clips to be at a decent level... I was shooting most of the time at a recording level of 75-80 and even tried it at 100, but it seemed to make little difference. After hearing about the Juicedlink I immediately put my Zoom up on ebay and was lucky enough to get only $20 less than I paid for it. I'll be ordering my Juicedlink this week... I figure it can't be any worse than the Zoom was.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 03:50 AM   #7
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* lots of spare 9V batteries.
Seriously? Does it eat batteries? That's bad design.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 04:13 AM   #8
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Dana, are you sure you had a battery in the mic and it switched on? Your problem sounds like the mic had no power.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 05:20 AM   #9
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Dana, are you sure you had a battery in the mic and it switched on? Your problem sounds like the mic had no power.
Yeah I had phantom power on on the Zoom... I was getting audio, it was just very low... I had to add about 25-30 db of gain in post, whereas with my EX1 and the NTG-2 I very rarely have to add any gain in post and if I do it is never nearly as much as I had to add for the Zoom. I heard another user comment on his levels being extremely low with the Zoom as well in a recent thread on this forum. I know that most people are quite happy with the Zoom though, so who knows, maybe there was something else I was doing wrong?
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Old July 28th, 2009, 11:50 AM   #10
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Seriously? Does it eat batteries? That's bad design.
No. *I* eat the batteries. :)

If you forget to turn it off overnight and were running 48V phantom, the battery will be dead the next day. I've done sessions where I am religious about turning it off after each and every use - except the last one! (Sometimes the last session stops because of an interruption that takes me out of my normal flow.)
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Old July 28th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #11
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Jon, Just picked up the Juicedlink! Now how do I find the right gain settings in ML for the NTG-2?
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Old July 28th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #12
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Jon, Just picked up the Juicedlink! Now how do I find the right gain settings in ML for the NTG-2?
I would start with the juicedLink on High at full gain and the Magic Lantern at 17dB for mGain and 0dB for dGain. The pair has very low noise, so you generally won't have to go higher than that, and you can boost in post. If things get loud, like a siren passing, just turn down the juicedLink to avoid clipping - but don't forget to turn it back up.

Magic Lantern has meters, so you'll be able to see if you are in a good range. I like to keep dialog below 1/3 if not 1/4 level.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 06:49 PM   #13
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Jon,
Why so low on your dialog?
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Old July 28th, 2009, 07:33 PM   #14
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Jon,
Why so low on your dialog?
1/3 is -18dB, which is about right.

Part of the reason I go low is because I don't have somebody to focus only on mixing. I'd rather capture low than clip.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 12:41 AM   #15
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No. *I* eat the batteries. :)

If you forget to turn it off overnight and were running 48V phantom, the battery will be dead the next day. I've done sessions where I am religious about turning it off after each and every use - except the last one! (Sometimes the last session stops because of an interruption that takes me out of my normal flow.)
I am glad to hear that it's pilot error rather than a fault with the Juicedlink. I thought that you meant that it would get through lots of batteries during the course of a day*. With my wireless mikes I prefer to put in fresh batteries every time that I use them but they do easily last all day.

*I don't throw away the removed batteries but re-use them in mice, remote controls etc
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