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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old October 13th, 2004, 11:15 AM   #1
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GREAT field sound recording XL2

Hello, as I mentioned in other threads I'm venturing into miniDV for the first time after exclusive experience with film...

In order to get great sound recording for dialogue (ONE OF THE MOST CRUCIAL AND OVERLOOKED ASPECTS), could I hook up a Boom mike to the XL2 and record the sound in the camera, or should I rent a DAT deck and record the sound separately?

If the XL2 records good sound, could you...

1) Please explain how you monitor the levels? Is the boom mike connected to a board which is in turn connected to the camera? Wouldn't this be very hard on a moving camera?

2) What equipment do you recommend (boom mike, breeze protectors, etc)?

3) Any hard and fast rules for good sound recording? In a previous short I made, with no crew, I had a Nagra strapped to myself while holding the boom, and I thought I was doing everything right, but sometimes when I would cut between different angles in the scene, the sound ambiance would shift with each cut, even though I shot both angles on the same day, same circumstances! I'm terrified that this might happen again, because that problem took a lot out of the film, and I have a lot riding on this one!

I would really appreciate any advise, thank you so much.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 12:22 PM   #2
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Hi Alex,

I agree with you that dialog recording is one of the most crucial and overlooked aspects of location sound. This was part of the impetus behind the launch of our "Now Hear This" audio production forum... you may want to check that out, as it's all about audio from the word go.

1a. You monitor levels on the XL2 using a good pair of headphones and the audio monitor button on the side of the camera body. Pressing the button cycles through each channel separately, and then the entire mix. The levels meter appears in the viewfinder.

1b. Connect a boom mic directly into the XL2 body using the XLR jacks at the rear of the camera.

2. and 3. See our very extensive Now Hear This audio forum, as these questions apply to audio production in general and are not neccessarily XL2-specific.

For even more information on recording audio with the XL2, have a go at the owner's manual. Here's the download link.

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Old October 13th, 2004, 04:27 PM   #3
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Chris, thank you, I will check out that forum definitely.

Could you tell me though, in your opinion is the sound recording as good as getting it via a separate DAT deck?
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Old October 13th, 2004, 04:46 PM   #4
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Well Alex, I can tell you that like most other DV camcorders in its class, the Canon XL2 offers two channels of 16-bit 48khz audio. So basically it's DAT quality right in the camera, which is much less of a hassle than taking audio separately on a DAT recorder.
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Old October 13th, 2004, 05:10 PM   #5
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Alex,

If you record using Canon's circuitry you are using their internal preamps to amplify the wee little signal coming out of your boom mic., doing this limits you to the noise quality of their opamps inside the camera - I personally have no idea how good or bad they are but use them myself and don't mind what I hear. If you want top notch sound a GREAT quality mixer in between won't hurt because then you are using the mixer's high quality opamps and getting better (lower noise) quality, just be sure you are putting the signal into the Canon at line level.

If moving the camera around with cables attached is an issue then you might have to record sound on a separate device, but you could also use a wireless solution which 'usually' works well. Personally I like my sound on tape to save myself from post hassles.

As for the sound woes from your prior production, varying ambient sound (or background sound) when cutting between actors is something that usually happens from not keeping the levels of your background noise relative to your actors the same throughout your shoot. Some ambient variance between shots is normal, but to fix extreme cases of varying ambience you can add noise from one take and loop it into your takes that have no noise to somewhat balance out the overall noise. This is not the best option, but background noise changes between cuts is more annoying.

The guides on this site are great, you might also want to spend some time reading all the sound articles on www.24fps.com. Read EVERY article there! They talk about boom placement, positioning, various mic's, techniques... I felt like I stuck a gold mine when I found their site a couple years back!

Best of luck.
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Old October 14th, 2004, 08:01 AM   #6
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Thank you guys!
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Old October 15th, 2004, 03:10 AM   #7
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Alex,
Check out the "mix pre" and "302" field mixers by Sounddevices.
www.sounddevices.com
I used the mix pre with my GL1 and had great results.
Bruce Yarock
Btw, I'm in Pembroke Pines, so get in touch if you want to share some ideas.
yarock@aol.com
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