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Old November 3rd, 2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

Hello,

I have decided to go with the 5DMKIII for my SDOF camera. I shoot the MKII for stills work but never liked it for a video camera. I want the stills upgrade and have seen some great stuff from the MKIII on the video side. So now I am looking at the best audio setup within a reasonable budget.

I was considering the Juiced Link Riggy but after hearing a comparison made by Juiced Link regarding noise floor I am less than excited. The JL was low noise but I thought the audio quality was quite thin.

So my question is whether I use a preamp and then record sound into the 5DMKIII or do I just use a dedicated recorder? I am a big fan of sync without drift so the in-camera option sounds like a great way...but only if it can produce excellent audio. I am/was a musician in a former life and audio is very important to me.

So what are your thoughts, experiences? I would like a portable setup that sounds great. I like how the JL mounts under the camera but will let that go if better audio is had another way. I am considering a Sound Devices Mix Pre, Tascam HD-P2, Tascam DR-680, Sound devices MM1, Marantz 661 and a Fostex FR-2 LE.

Thanks!
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 01:03 PM   #2
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

Before video, i was a recording engineer and producer for almost 20 years. i care about audio.
I use the Beachtek DSLR pro which sounds just fine. I feed it with an ntg3 or Sennheiser g3s remiked with a Sanken Cos11 and Voice Technologies VT500. I have the Sound Devices MM1 which is a fantastic piece but it adds significant bulk to the rig. It only comes out as a preamp when I run the ntg3 on a boom pole with an operator.

The Beachtek sounds as good as the H4N and removes the need to sync in post. Is it as quiet as my Langevin or Grace studio preamps... Of course not! For recording voice or nat sound it works perfectly. There will be more noise in whatever environment you are shooting in than is generated by the Beachtek.
It mounts to the bottom of the camera just like a battery grip and has a nice headphone preamp that you can loop the camera output back through. Meters and a limiter are nice to have. A single 9V ran with phantom for almost 6 hours.

There are several comparisons out there that complain about the noise of all these units. I think they are full of it and don't know how to set gain structure. Don't buy into their crap.

Get one and be done!
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 01:04 PM   #3
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

I've heard great things about the Mix-Pre, but can't say I've used it. My 5D3 is married to a juicedlink CX231 whenever it's in video mode, and I can get great audio. I don't know what mics and techniques were used in the sample you heard, but my setup has been satisfactory. I'm no musician but I don't have any kind of tolerance for bad audio.

Compared to shooting double system with a 7D/H4n, the audio quality and workflow is greatly improved. I don't even want to think bout going back to those days.
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 01:24 PM   #4
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

I'm not the expert here but I would think that you audio capture device will be dependent on the type of footage that you are capturing, your ability or lack there of to edit sound in post and client expectations. Personally, I think that the on board audio for the Mark III is fine. I have read post that will both support my opinion and argue against it.

Although I'm not specifically familiar with all of the devices that you are considering, I'm sure that they are all more than capable. If I were you, I'd get the camera first, assuming that you don't already have it, and test out the onboard audio. Who knows, it may just suit your personal/professional needs. What works for you may not work for someone else. That being said, you have to be careful not to read to much into what other posters are saying because usually, their comments are based on their personal preferences. There is so much out here to choose from. Learn to use what you have and when you're ready, upgrade.

Regarding the 5D Mark II, if you don't like this camera, I'm not sure what attracted you to the 5D Mark III as it relates to video. I believe that the major difference in the video quality is the superior low light on the 5D Mark III.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 02:17 PM   #5
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

Thanks for the replies. Too bad Canon did not put an option to swtich the input to line level on the MKIII. I need to decide how much portability is important to me. If I go with an external recorder like the Marantz 661, I will have the option to send a cable to the camera as well as record internally. As I am expecting the recording in the external device to be a lot better.

I watched a few more Juiced Link videos and in his tests, the JL sounded better than the Beachtek. I don't know how much one can count on a manufacturer test. But it did have more low end. Overall though, I have not heard any in-camera with preamp setups that have blown me away yet.

Maurice, up until 5 days ago I was not going to get the 5DMKIII. It is a fit for still work & my lenses but I was not conviced for video. Then I found these two videos.

I am really impressed with the image details and color and would be happy to represent this level of production in my work.
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 02:38 PM   #6
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

The movie Copelandia sold me too. Someone told me that this can be done with many other cameras but, I have yet to see it. To be fair, I have not produced anything like this either but I can honestly say that I have shoot some eye popping video and photographs. For me, Copelandia is my benchmark. Once I can emulate what was done here, then and only then can I be satisfied. The 5D Mark III is a great camera for me. There are many others that I would love to have but does the average person really watch a DVD and say, my videographer should have shoot that with a C300 or the aliasing seems to be a bit more evident in this DVD than the last one? Although not basic, I try to stick to the basics until my skills dictate otherwise.

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I use the Zoom H4N, Rode NTG-1, the on board mic and a wireless Vega system. As I said the bare minimum. As a side note, I heard audio come from the onboard mic that FAR exceeds anything that you'd probably find on Vimeo or Youtube. The guy that did the audio was a sound guy and tweaked everything and even had the audio mastered and it sounded GREAT!!!
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Old November 10th, 2012, 11:28 PM   #7
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

I like the flexibility that a dedicated audio recorder gives me. I've owned the Tascam DR-100 for almost three years now, and it's been rock-solid. I do mostly long-take headshot interviews, so the sync-in-post thing is not a big deal, and just takes seconds for each clip. I personally like to ride gain on my recorder without the potential of disturbing a shot at my camera and sometimes I can place myself in a better eyeline than the camera, and have the interviewee talk directly to me.

BUT, if you need to shoot lots and lots of takes, having a preamp solution might suit your needs better.

I teach DSLR video and Adobe post-production software courses for a nearby professional collaborative. They were sent a JL Riggy device, and I was able to A/B it with my DR-100. Even though the Tascam does 24-bit over the the 16-bit internal on the 5D3, the same audio take through the same mic (I have a pair of AT wired-lavs) sounded identical to my ears in noise floor and sound-quality comparisons.

There's times that having a dedicated recorder makes sense (live events where the recorder can be someplace other than where the cam is, voiceover sessions, etc.) and there's times a premp solution would be better.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 10:00 PM   #8
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

I ended up going with a Marantz 661 with the Oade FET mod. Going to edit my first shoot with it in a few days. Seems like a great unit.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 01:43 PM   #9
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

I already own an H4n. Would it be bad to take it's line out (or headphone out) and put that into the mkIII? Basically utilizing the H4n as a preamp/XLR input (it has a limiter built in as well, which could be useful and often sounds good) and recording straight to the mkIII. The recorder could be a backup copy as well if needed. I'm contemplating this instead of buying a juicedlink or other preamp.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 01:47 PM   #10
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

Robert, you'll have to pad the signal since line out is a lot "hotter" than mic level that the 5D3 expects, but they make cables to do just that. Doing so will give you the "best of both worlds", I think. If you do end up using the backup file on the Zoom, you'll want a head or tail slate to make sync easier, unless you have a Plural Eyes (or similar) solution.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 02:27 PM   #11
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

Yeah I'm comfortable with syncing, I thought it might be nice to not do it for a change by going straight into the 5D. I have a 7D right now and have been doing dual audio for a few years with it, and was going to get the 5 - I was all set on getting an FS700 but it seems like the rate that things are changing this year it would be better to just get the cheaper canon and sit on the difference for a while, or get lenses and evf's etc which will persist from camera to camera.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 02:36 PM   #12
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

Robert, I shot with 7D for over two years and migrated to FF of the 5D3 this summer. I did have to sell off most of my lenses and get Canon L's. The coverage between the two bodies is obviously significant. I also added a SmallHD DP6 monitor and that thing is amazing, keeping shallow DOF shots in focus.

If I had to make the change today, I might pick the Black Magic Cinema cam or the little GH3 coming out soon. I shoot 90% seated headshot interviews, though, and that's where the full-frame Canons excel. Most other footage (b-roll, POV, walkabout, nature, etc.) is compromised (lack of detail and resolution) compared to other choices.

Shooting stills, esp. portraiture, it's a no-brainer, though. The 5D3 does amazing work with those when coupled with good glass. The EF135mm/f2L is my current fave.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 03:10 PM   #13
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

Right - my rationalization is that the FF cameras can still do what none of the (admittedly cool) S35 or smaller video cameras can do - the full frame look. Lenses aren't too much of a worry as most of mine are old manual primes anyway, plus a few modern ef's. I'm keeping my Tokina 11-16, partially because it's rad, and partly because it works just fine at 15-16mm for full frames, so it's a very cheap wide angle with great IQ. Maybe I'll pick up a BMD when they are availabe, in addition, and then have the best of both worlds for still less than the FS700. No Slo-mo but there's got to be a compromise somewhere.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 03:23 PM   #14
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

Your Tokina will work on the full-frame, when pegged on the 16mm. It's pretty much a prime, then. You'll still have to watch a thick filter (like ND) for vignetting. I did sell that lens and bought a used EF17-40/f4L because I was shooting stills and liked a bit of a wide zoom option. The Canon handles CA better, also. A stop slower and a bit longer, so... tradeoffs.

Your "compromise" point is well-made. Too many people want a single camera to do everything, and that's just not reasonable.

I had a vendor show me the FS700 and I just wasn't impressed with the build quality. I'm not rough on my gear, but take it all sorts of places, and have never been let-down by a Canon DSLR malfunction (other than a few summertime over-heat warnings with the 7D).
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Old November 26th, 2012, 09:58 PM   #15
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Re: Best Audio Setup for the MKIII

BTW, on or off topic, has anybody ever mentioned to Juicedlink that their website looks like it was designed by a retarded monkey? And it's equally difficult to find what you want on it.
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