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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 26th, 2007, 12:54 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Eugene, OR
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A1 noisy recordings

I'm using the A1 with the built-in mic and an Audio-Technica AT835b, shooting birds and other nature, and getting noisy recordings. I have alot of buzzing, hissing, etc., that sounds like what it probably is -wind, camera motors, and "general audio signal hiss." I can get rid of most of it with equalization, but I'd rather have high quality audio from the start.

How much of an improvement would it be to move up to an external recording unit such as the M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96 CF recorder? It seems like it'd be a big step up.

If my goal is to build a library of high quality audio independent of the camera altogether, what do I need in addition to a recording unit like this and the mic I have (AT835b) to get set up? I'm assuming a furry windblocker for the mic, maybe a boom pole and shock mount. Can you incorporate a parabolic dish with a mic like this? I'm new to the audio, any suggestions appreciated.

Last edited by Brett Cole; June 26th, 2007 at 02:58 PM.
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Old June 26th, 2007, 01:23 AM   #2
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Hi Brett.......

I'm stepping into deep water here, but hey....

Last "Q" first - if you wanted an independant library of nature sounds, then some form of stand alone digital recorder like the one you mentioned (the only one I'm familiar with is the Zoom H4) and a Parabolic with levalier mike attached would, to my mind, be the way to go.

Not a cheap way to go, but you can't have everything (I say that on the basis of checking out the Crystal Products[?] Big/ Little Ears stuff a while ago, looks great, costs a bomb). They do, however, do a complete kit with everything but the recorder so an easy intro. The only extra would probably be some kind of stand.

As for getting this stuff onto the camera - well, yes, get the mics off it and yes, wind protection, tho' with nature type stuff, unless your mic is capable of hovering 5 feet from it's target, not all that simple.

A boom pole is great but tiring and doesn't do anything to endear you to the talent. A wireless system is better for real long range but you still have to get the mic to the talent.

All in all, if you're serious about catching stuff more than 10 feet (probably less) from the mic, the parabolic would appear to be your best bet.

Hey, this is from a complete audio ignoramus who's done some research, maybe someone has a better solution (if so, I'd really like to hear it as getting the nature stuff without a parabolic is bugging me as well).

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Old June 26th, 2007, 06:39 AM   #3
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For best quality recordings you want the mic as close to the sound source of interest as practicable, within a foot or so if you can if it is a point source, such as a person or specific song bird.

In general any on-camera mic is going to be too far from most sound sources for good audio, even with a shotgun mic, and will be more likely to pick uop any camcorder nad handling noises.

Mic selection is important. You need a mic with good signal to noise performance, one that is a fit for the frequency spectrum of the sound source of interest, and the venue in which it is being used. Some mics and mic types will tend to "color" the sound, especially off-axis sound in the case of directional mics.

The A1 audio recording capability is good for a camcorder. Camcorder audio recording ensures reasonable sound sync with the video, but it is possible to obtain better sound recordings with professional gear if you want to make the investment. It is just more work to resync the sound with the video, and more gear to manage in the field.

One item to consider is a wireless system, connecting your AT mic to the transmitter. While not as good as a wired mic connection, you have a lot of flexibility in mic and camcorder positioning.

I've used the MicroTrack, works well for what I've done, but do not count on its phantom power capability as being adequate for all mics that use phantom power.

And a wind noise suppressor (dead cat, etc.) and a shock mount will help in moderate wind situations.
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