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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old June 5th, 2008, 03:44 PM   #1
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Recording Audio directly to camera

Hi -
I'm shooting a project in a few months and we're inthe process of sorting out...well about a million things. Its a scripted series, (actors, locations, extras, the whole she-bang). Now I'm used to shooting double system. However our budget is so low that I'm extremely tempted to hire 1 audio person and plug the boom mic(AT 897) right into the A1. Why does this scare me?? Should it?

Also - there is the possibility of running the mics into a mixer (my older Mackie 12 channel) and running the L and R from the mixer directly into the camera.

I guess I'm just looking for reassurance that I'll get good results.

I don't think a 2 person audio crew with an FR-2 is doable.

Or - am I looking for trouble and should I "find the money" and shoot double system??

Thanks
Mike Stivala
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Old June 5th, 2008, 05:11 PM   #2
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I've shot with an AT 8035 shotgun mic on a boom pole connected directly to the A1 a few times (wearing headphones the entire time). I had good results. However, If I had the option of having another person on a small mixer I certainly would have chosen that. Making quick adjustsments to the levels while you're also shooting is near impossible. A dedicated sound person on a mixer or second system would be better able to ensure proper sound levels at all times.

Even if you shoot on a second system, I would also run a patch to the camera as backup...just in case.

If you have the ability, test all 3 methods prior to the shoot and see which one you can live with.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 11:33 PM   #3
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I agree, trying to make adjustments while shooting is a disaster map.

The other bad thing is that with the A1's XLR, there's not a way to set two levels, as you could when using, say, a wireless mic with the 1/8" mini plug. With the mini plug, I set the left channel to the appropriate level and the right channel a little lower in case the talent gets excited and clips the audio all of a sudden. But as far as I know, there's no way to do that with the XLR inputs, unless you split the signal. (Of course if you figure out a way in camera to do that, take advantage of that, and please let me know).

Definitely go with an audio mixer if you have the chance and the money to hire one. You can never compromise on audio. And being mainly a camera operator, you have PLENTY to fear when doing audio too. I hope this has been very encouraging to you ;)
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Old June 6th, 2008, 05:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
there's not a way to set two levels, as you could when using, say, a wireless mic with the 1/8" mini plug. With the mini plug, I set the left channel to the appropriate level and the right channel a little lower in case the talent gets excited and clips the audio all of a sudden.
Hmmm. Are you speaking a the single, balanced output from a wireless mic? If so, be aware that the sound on the right channel is 180 out of phase with the left channel. This can result in some potentially unwanted audio effects such as cancellation if you attempt to mix the channels.

You can set the level of the XLR input channels independently, and it is much easier to insert external attenuators, etc in the XLR input circuits than with the 1/8" mic input.

Using output from the Mackie should be fine. As noted test and practice a bit before the real shoot so you are comfortable with which ever setup you decide upon..
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Old June 6th, 2008, 08:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mike Browning View Post
The other bad thing is that with the A1's XLR, there's not a way to set two levels, as you could when using, say, a wireless mic with the 1/8" mini plug. With the mini plug, I set the left channel to the appropriate level and the right channel a little lower in case the talent gets excited and clips the audio all of a sudden. But as far as I know, there's no way to do that with the XLR inputs, unless you split the signal. (Of course if you figure out a way in camera to do that, take advantage of that, and please let me know).
There is a way around this: use a splitting XLR cable, so you feed the same signal into both left and right sockets, then adjust your camera levels for "normal" and "safety" levels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Browning View Post
Definitely go with an audio mixer if you have the chance and the money to hire one. You can never compromise on audio. And being mainly a camera operator, you have PLENTY to fear when doing audio too. I hope this has been very encouraging to you ;)
Can your Boom operator also use a simple mixer at the same time? Maybe that needs too many hands...! Make sure that the boom operator can hear what the camera is recording, so the mic doesn't wander too far from the dialogue. That might mean quite a long headphone cable-run.

I know I have read various discussions about exactly this sort of situation on the audio forum (used to be "Now Hear This"). There are lots of good suggestions for suitable equipment and alternative arrangements.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 01:31 PM   #6
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If you're going to have a soundman, which you should, then you need a mixer. Otherwise he won't have a workable way to adjust levels. But if he's wearing a mixer around his neck and you're more comfortable doing double system, he could still do double system if you wanted. I don't see your cost savings going directly into the camera, since you have the soundman anyway.
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