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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old September 22nd, 2001, 05:55 PM   #1
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Microphone Options

I've felt really bad about my GL1, which I bought nearly a year ago to get more into digital video. So far I've only shot about 10 hours worth of tape, most of that during my vacation in Europe. Just today, however, I got a call asking if I would tape a community networking workshop, so I've broken out the camera again. I think we'll have house sound on this shoot, but you can never be sure, so I wanted to ask if other GL1 users (or DV users, for that matter) had experience with any microphone options, both wireless and mounted.
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Old September 24th, 2001, 06:11 PM   #2
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I have been wondering about adding a Beachtek DXA-4P and perhaps a couple of wireless mics--- or maybe one wireless and one boom mounted---but I haven't got the foggiest about what I should consider as far as mics go...

Amateur status --- general usage.

Any suggestions?
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Old September 24th, 2001, 10:43 PM   #3
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What timing... just used a GL1 this weekend, so I've finally got some input on this.

Kelly and I went to Corsicana to shoot a horse show, and she needed a GL1 as the XL1 is a little heavy for her to lug around all day. My friends at Pro-Tape in Austin outfitted her with a GL1 and a Sennheiser MKE300 onboard microphone.

I'd heard a lot about this mic but never actually used it until now. What can I say, it's great! Superb value for about $300 or so, I think. We're logging tapes right now and I'm very impressed with the audio from this mic. It is of course mono but I don't consider that to be an issue. Very clear, somewhat directional pick-up pattern. I forget what they call it when it's not an omni-directional pattern but it's not a shotgun either.

We were doing interviews in the back of the arena, and every so often an announcement would blast over the loudspekers. Still the audio from our on-camera subject is over that extraneous sound, not buried under it, due to the pickup pattern I think.

I'm in a different room writing this as Kelly is going through her GL1 tapes and it feels great to hear crystal-clear audio coming out of the monitor over there. I think I'll have to name this Sennheiser MKE300 one of the top GL1 accessories... right up there with the Canon WD58 wide-angle adapter and a VariZoom lens controller.

The only caveat about the MKE300 is, there's a little switch to turn it on (it's powered by a tiny battery). You have to get into the habit of turning it on when you begin your shooting, and turning it off at the end the day. There's no "batt check" as far as I could tell.

Don't have any experience yet with a wireless, beyond Lectrosonics rentals in the past -- those things are sweet but quite pricey. In this area of course you get what you pay for and the more money you can throw at a wireless rig, the better. Right now I'm considering an Audio Technica kit for about $700, at the upper end of my budget. Haven't bought it yet so it's still just a pipe dream. But that's what I'm leaning towards if you want to know how I'm going to spend that dough.

I've shot with a GL1 before but we never used one as extensively as we did this weekend. I brought along plenty of camera batteries and my XL1 was sure sucking them down in a big hurry. However the GL1 ran *all day long* (with judicious use of standby mode) off of *one* BP945 hi-capacity batt. Matter of fact, I don't think it drained more than about halfway. Next day after a recharge, Kelly had the camera for another 10-hour day and dented that battery maybe halfway. I didn't realize a BP945 would run a GL1 forever. Pretty cool as I needed all the power I could gather for my XL1 ( had two 945's and three 930's for it... used just about all of these, for each of two sold days of shooting). Big contrast in the power draw between XL1 & GL1.

Thank you Jeff for making these boards work! Jeff is my secret weapon. Hope this helps,
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Old September 26th, 2001, 06:25 PM   #4
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Mic options

The Sennheiser MKE300 has a MSRP of $250, and street price around $150-$170 or so. It uses a N44 type button watch battery. Batttery life is around 200 hours. When you turn the swithc on if the battery is good you will see a small LED flash on briefly.

The pattern is somewhat tighter than cardoid; i.e., supercardioid/lobar.

It does have a marked low frequency roll off starting around 200 Hz, so it is not great for music. It is unbalanced mono output, and is a decent mic for the street price.

You can find details on it at http://www.sennheiserusa.com.
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Old September 28th, 2001, 07:58 AM   #5
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I have not used the GL much. One of the lavs I have used for voice is the ubiquous Radio Shack lav. It sells for $30 USD and is a decent, though not great lav.

Since that time (I bought that mic long before I bought my XL-1), I have purchased an Evolution 100 wireless, which comes with the famed Sennheisser MKE300 lav. The lav I have has an omni capsule. I paid $458.

While the system is not a true diversity system, it works very well. The system's range is no less than 300 feet and works with my current stable of mics. I can easily recommend the system to anyone.

Nathan Gifford
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Old January 14th, 2002, 04:36 PM   #6
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What about a good stereo mic?

I was thinking of a muli-purpose stereo mic that could be mounted on the camera or perhaps on the end of a boom. Do you guys have experience with anything good that fits these requirements?

Thanks in advance!
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Old January 14th, 2002, 07:15 PM   #7
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See my post earlier in this thread -- Sennheiser MKE-300.
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Old January 14th, 2002, 10:49 PM   #8
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Azden makes a very good quality--- shoe-mount, shockmount, supercardioid shotgun microphone (model # SGM-2X) that connects to my Canon GL1 via a Beachtek balanced low-impedence adapter.

The mic is powered from a single AAA battery which reportedly lasts for up to 1000 hours, although I haven't used it long enough to drain the first AAA battery, and the mic only cost me about $195 plus the cost of a short male to female XLR mic cable.

The mic actually features a "dual" pattern capability, both an omni-direction pattern or a directional "shotgun" pattern. To switch from the omni-directional to the shotgun pickup pattern requires screwing on a separate element (included with the basic microphone). The mic comes with a mounting bracket, two foam windscreens (one for each element) and spare rubber bands for the mounting bracket. With the shotgun element the mic measures almost 16" long.

There is a switchable low-cut filter switch that provides a "filter" that is useful. Also, the mic can be used with either a boom, mic stand, or even handheld in conjunction with a wireless mic adapter.

When you consider that you actually get "two" mics in one, for one pretty low and reasonable price I think this mic is a great deal. The quality is quite good (a subjective opinion) especially when considering the mic's versatility. Of course, if money is no object, many other mics are available that do provide superior quality ie. the Sennheiser MKE300 that is reported on above.

Do a search for "SGM-2X" and you will find some quite favorable reviews, info and street prices on this Azden mic or you might want to check out the www.azdencorp.com website.

Ed

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Last edited by Ed Baatz; January 14th, 2002 at 11:03 PM.
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Old January 15th, 2002, 04:10 PM   #9
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Sennheiser MKE300 Batteries

I agree with Chris that the Sennheiser MKE300 is a very good onboard mic for the GL1, providing a very good, narrow supercardiod field. Too bad that the GL1 does not have a channel volume control, otherwise the setup would be nearly broadcast ENG quality.

Regarding the batteries for this little bugger, however, I had some fits finding them. "dpalomaki" (what -is- your name?) reported that it uses N44 batteries. Perhaps the MKE300's design has changed since I bought mine last year, but mine uses the "LR44" type batteries. After unsuccesfully looking for them at several local shops I finally ordered a bunch from batteries.com. These are actually 1.5v calculator-type batteries, a bit fatter than a watch battery. They are sold in packs of 2.
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Old January 15th, 2002, 04:47 PM   #10
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An A76 works too, at least taht is what is presently in my MKE300.

Sorry about the N, Not sure where I found that number. There are a number of different moel batteries that can be substituted for the LR44
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Old January 21st, 2002, 12:50 PM   #11
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Hi, I'm new to this community, I have been reading it for a couple of weeks now and I am excited to be a new member. I hope to learn a lot from you guys.

I have a question for C. Hurd. Did you ever buy that wireless microphone system? If so, how do you like it. I'm looking for one to use with a lav mic to do interveiws with and there is a lot out there for a wide range of prices.

Also, has anyone out there tried using a digital recorder like a Sony minidisc with lav mic to record interveiwees etc. and then dubbed that sound into the finished video? Does that work good?
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Old January 21st, 2002, 01:15 PM   #12
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I've been using a Nady wireless mic with the XL-1 for a couple of years now and it works fine. Nady is one of the cheaper wireless lav mics out there.

I don't see enough U.S. TV to know the current trends, but the popular thing to do in Korea now is to forego a handheld mic and use the wireless for everything. Sometimes you see it clipped on, and in cases of interviews they simply wrap the mic cord around the receiver to make it a square handheld.

I also have a Sony Minidisc with lav. The only problem I've found with the MiniDisc is that it's so sensitive, it picks up the sound of the minidisc player operating and every little bump and jostle (even though I can't hear it by ear) when I use a corded mic. Tried putting a cover over it, but it's just too sensitive. So the wireless lav option is really the only option unless you have an extra long cord.

After doing the testing, I haven't really had a need to use it yet. For every situation I've encountered so far, the mic on the XL-1 has done fine. I do have some future projects planned though where room tone and ambient sound will be more of an issue and I'll put it to work for that.
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Old January 21st, 2002, 03:53 PM   #13
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I've used a number of mic options with the GL1, including wired Shure SM58s, Sony wired LAV mics, wired Sennheiser shotguns...i only tried a wireless once and it was somewhat faulty, so i never really played around much with that.

For overall sound my fav is the Senn Shotgun, i usually have mine on a Mic boom pole operated by a second guy. If you dont have the luxury of a crew they can be mounted to the gl1.

If i have to shoot an interview in a noisy area or an area with acoustics that arent too grand, i tend to go with a wired LAV, to help shorten the range of sound it pics up.
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Old January 26th, 2002, 12:17 AM   #14
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While your at it......

Can someone recommend a microphone set-up for wildlife? I'd like to shoot birds, elk, wolves, coyotes, .etc and capture the audio too whenever possible. What distances can I reasonably expect to get good audio? Are there any directional setups that would help cancel out cars and people? I visit Yellowstone a lot and most of my footage is likely to be at turnouts from the road. Each of my best footage from a trip a year ago has at least one screaming, crying brat in the background but I don't expect a cure for that. :-)
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Old January 26th, 2002, 09:04 AM   #15
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What about using something along the lines of the highly-directional parabolic reflector rigs like you see on the sidelines of NFL football games?

Those outfits actually focus sounds from distances of up to 100-yards and would certainly cure the problem of the crying brats in the background.

Check out: http://www.pimall.com/nais/e.sound.html or http://www.naturesongs.com/Telinga.html

As usual, it seems like it all depends on how much money you can afford to throw in to the project... <grin>

Ed
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