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Canon XF Series HD Camcorders
Canon XF305, XF205 and XF105 (with SDI), Canon XF300, XF200 and XF100 (without SDI).


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Old June 18th, 2017, 08:22 AM   #1
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what level of db to record

Hey guys,

I'm new to using professional cameras. I bought myself a canon xf300 and an external mic (rode ntg3), however, I'm slightly confused by what decibel (db) I should record the sound during interviews. Any recommendations?

Thanks.
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Old June 18th, 2017, 09:03 AM   #2
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Re: what level of db to record

I recommend that you set your audio levels so they peak within the gap between -20 and -10.
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Old June 18th, 2017, 11:08 AM   #3
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Re: what level of db to record

Just do whatever Doug says.

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Old June 18th, 2017, 12:34 PM   #4
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Re: what level of db to record

Reason: You can always add some gain in post if the record level was low (within reason of course, dictated by the noise floor) but you cannot undo clipping if the record level was too high.
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Old June 18th, 2017, 01:03 PM   #5
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Re: what level of db to record

To answer your question, what Doug says. I would aim for dialog peak levels at around -12dBFS. This gives you some headroom for the unexpected (like someone setting a cup on a glass tabletop, a loud exclamation like a shout, etc.) while still providing a decent signal-to-noise ratio.

That said, I absolutely would (and did) buy a mixer for an audio front end to the camera. Why? Better sound quality from the mixer's mic preamps, decent limiters to make clipping nearly impossible, and better metering so you have better control. I would (and did) pick up a used Sound Devices MixPre-D. Outstanding little mixer, and a step up in audio quality from just about any camera's built in audio preamps. And the limiters have saved me on more than a couple of occasions. Out of all the camera and audio gear I've bought (and sold) that little MixPre-D is still with me and still my favorite. Just sayin'.

Alternatively, you could buy a small recorder like the new SD MixPre-3. But if you are just starting out at this level, adding a sync workflow on top of all the other learning curves probably isn't worth it. You gain enough experience and you'll know when you need to go separate system, so I wouldn't worry about it yet.
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Old June 19th, 2017, 10:55 AM   #6
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Re: what level of db to record

Pg. 99 of your manual shows how to setup a test tone and color bar so you can preset your recording levels to -20 below the 1 kHz tone. Learn how to do this and you should always be in good shape.
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Old Today, 12:10 PM   #7
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Re: what level of db to record

Thanks for your responses guys.

@Doug Jensen - What I have done is simply adjust the external microphone’s sensitivity in the submenu to -12db by going through [Audio Setup] > [Audio Input] > [XLR1 Mic Trimming] . Would that be correct and would the -12db be ok? with db gain in post production?

If you could please let me know if I'm doing things right that would be great. Many Thanks.
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