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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 March 12th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #1
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RODE Videomic on XH-A1?

Esteemed gentleman, (and ladies), your wisdom and support is indispensible. I have a Rode VIDEOMIC, (not the stereo version), and wondered what the consensus of opinion is regarding using it with the XH-A1.

Would anyone advise inputting it using an XLR plug?,(obviously using a conversion), or would you suggest using it with its supplied jack?.

Conversely, would it be a better option to record with the XH-A1 built in microphone over the Rode?

Many thanks.
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Old March 12th, 2009, 10:27 PM   #2
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The Videomic is made for a consumer camera. It's connection is wrong. THe internal power and shock mount redundant with those features built-in to the A1.

It's a good mic and I recommend selling it on eBay then applying the sale toward an NTG-1. Your A1 supplies the power and you won't have to be dealing with floppy cables and connectors that may screwup your audio track with a blip or crackle. I chose to go with a right angle coiled cable to keep the handle area clear. Others use additional mic mounts. YMMV.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 06:56 AM   #3
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CORRECTION. If you go the route of the NTG-1 or 2, you will need 3 #15 o-rings from the hardware plumbing department to make up the difference in diameter of the NTG and the Canon holder.
Also, I totally forgot Canon provides a 3.5mm jack on the A1 so you can go into the A1 straight from the Videomic. I only used my Videomic once before sending it off to college with my daughter. I thought it gave excellent results. I did not use it on the A1.

As for using it on the XLR input with conversion, I can't see doing that having a positive effect on the audio versus straight into the camera. I think the reason to do that is to use another XLR input. It's getting to be a complicated rig.

As for the internal mic versus a Rode Videomic, the audio is different. I find the built-in pickup pattern wider and picks up more ambient sound. Depending on what you are shooting, that may be desirable. Also, the built-in will give you stereo where as the VIdeomic dual mono or maybe only mono (you should experiment).

All that said, from a packaging point of view, here are some trade-offs:
The Videomic is a bit floppy. If you are moving around and shooting handheld, that may be annoying.
THe Videomic will take more room mounted on top and leave no place for a light or wireless receiver.

Lastly, what do you plan to shoot with all this? my feedback is from a long term general equipment perspective. If its a one time use, then all this may not matter.

So, is this for a one time event or long term?
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Old March 13th, 2009, 08:00 AM   #4
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Lastly, what do you plan to shoot with all this? my feedback is from a long term general equipment perspective. If its a one time use, then all this may not matter.

So, is this for a one time event or long term?[/QUOTE]

Hello Les, and thank you for your advice. I reallly have the Videomic because I also have the HV30, for which it is a splendid Mic. I shall, no doubt, acquire some lavs, either hard wired or wireless, but before that I have an interview to conduct for a promo, and I have neither the time nor funds to invest in and practise with new mics, things that I would not use on a regular basis. Technically, therefore, this will be a one off project.

It boils down to whether or not the built in XH-A1 microphone would out-perform the RODE in an interview set-up. Conversely, I did read somewhere that someone had used the Rode as a BOOM mike?; using an extension XLR connector?
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Old March 13th, 2009, 10:18 AM   #5
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The VideoMic is a nice microphone, and possibly the best-sounding for such a low price. It will be better suited to recording an interview than the built-in mics. Get it as close to the interviewee as possible. 6 - 8ft is probably fine. If your subject doesn't mind the camera that close, then put the mic on the shoe-mount. However, it's probably better to have it on a separate stand and run an extension cable to the camera. If you can, sit your subject down, to keep them in the same place.

The VideoMic is "unbalanced" - i.e. it isn't protected from electrical interference picked up by the cable-run. (Mini-jack plugs normally mean unbalanced, XLR plugs normally mean balanced - but not necessarily.) Use the shortest cable length possible and monitor the sound on headphones to make sure you don't pick up too much hum or other interference. If you do start to get extra noise, try rerouting the cable, moving lights around, moving around the room or even to a different room. BTW, using XLR-fitted cables and adaptor plugs won't make any difference unless the adaptors have got the right circuitry to split the signal, invert half of it and then put it all back together at the other end. If you really have that much of an interference problem, spend the same money on an NTG-2.

You might do better to record to a separate audio recorder (minidisc, Zoom or whatever) to cut the cable-runs right down. In that case, record from the built-in mics and use that as a guide when synching the sound from the VideoMic to the pictures.

If and when you get something like an NTG-2, I'd say don't put it in the side-arm mic-holder - at least, not on the original XH-A1 *. It's fixed rigidly to the camera body and transmits too much motor and handling noise. Get a shock-mount to go on the shoe-mount or in the side-arm. Rode make cheap ones that will do fine, so long as the plastic doesn't break. K-Tek and Rycote make robust but pricey mounts, and there are others in-between. (* The new XH-A1s has rubber bushes in the bracket mounting, which should reduce this problem a lot, but I've not heard anything recorded on one yet.)

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Old March 13th, 2009, 12:50 PM   #6
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Mark's post is dead on correct. Closest mic wins for interviews. For interviews where I want the mic out of frame, I locate a shotgun at the end of a boom type music stand (or hang from the ceiling) just out of frame and above the subject's head and forward of their face about 1 foot. I point the mic at their mouth/throat area. Double check what's behinf the mic as some shotguns pick up from that direction.

The Videomic is a great mate for the HV30 but as Mark also points out, there's a tradeoff with it when you want to move to the next level of skill with mic'ing and move it off camera. The cable run extending the 3.5mm plug to the camera is a weakness. It can bite you during filming if it picks up some stray EMI from passing electronic devices or gets a tug from a grip stepping on the cable.

If you want to maintain a single mic strategy, you could reverse your equipment strategy to move to the NTG-1 and put a Beachtek or Sign box on your HV30 (the NTG-1 requires phantom power so get the right model Beachtek or go with the NTG-2 which is longer but holds an AA battery). Again, ebay is your friend to save on the budget.

OUT OF THE BOX IDEA FOR YOUR INTERVIEW:
Put the Videomic on the HV30 and put it real close (2ft) to your subject. Hide it maybe with creative staging. Record on both cameras and merge the audio in post. The builtins on the A1 will give you a backup as well as something to sync with. Clap your hands to record a spike on both cameras if you don't have a clapboard.
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