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Old April 19th, 2007, 09:27 PM   #1
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Newbie needs advice!

I am a Wildlife Photographer and have recently begun Videography in and during my hunting excursions, doing interviews, kill shots, approaches and so on. My question being about audio equipment and the required settings for my Canon XL1S. What are the recommendations for equipment for my type of surroundings? I will be mainly using the camera 20 to 30 feet in the air filming my hunting partner, in a hunting blind, at the truck or house, at the beginning of the hunt, after a kill, or in a boat a duck blind and so on... I want to know if the Mic on my XL1s will be sufficient to film interviews between hunters, plus do you recommend some sort of wireless mics? And now on to the camera settings; what is the difference between 16 bit and 12 bit and which should my camera be set to? I am using Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 (not that I have a clue what I am doing) so is there any special settings I have to set to get the correct audio from my camera to the program? Any help would be greatly appreciated as this is very confusing stuff... Also, what would be a good learning toll for me to better understand Audio in my camera? Thanks,
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Old April 20th, 2007, 05:26 AM   #2
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If you intend to shoot a lot in the field, a wireless mic system, including both handheld and lav mic capability will minimize issues with cables and serve for both interviews and "action" shots.

Which one? then what is your budget?
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Old April 20th, 2007, 08:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jeff Mayne View Post
I am a Wildlife Photographer and have recently begun Videography in and during my hunting excursions, doing interviews, kill shots, approaches and so on. My question being about audio equipment and the required settings for my Canon XL1S. What are the recommendations for equipment for my type of surroundings? I will be mainly using the camera 20 to 30 feet in the air filming my hunting partner, in a hunting blind, at the truck or house, at the beginning of the hunt, after a kill, or in a boat a duck blind and so on... I want to know if the Mic on my XL1s will be sufficient to film interviews between hunters,]

If your hunters are 4-8 feet in front of the camera the Canon stock stereo mic will likely work but, since you are doing most of your work outside, be prepared for wind noise. The standard foam windsock will help to some degree. The whole point of a wind sock is to stop air movement around the microphone's pickup elements, because air movement is what causes wind moise. Foam wind socks work to some degree, but they also vibrate when impacted by wind. That causes a new sound which is picked up by the mic. The furry sort offers better isolation, and LightWave makes one of the best for the XL1s mic. However, if you are in a gusty 20+ MPH environment, all bets are off.

[plus do you recommend some sort of wireless mics?]

Absolutely! A two channel system, probably UHF, will best suit your needs. A system with several broadcast frequencies to choose from will be a decided benefit, as you will get a much larger geographical area in which to comfortably work. Wireless mic systems usually operate without the need for a FXX license, and at very low transmission power. Other boradcasters with FCC licenses have the right to use those same frequencies you access. Where you are physically located may be an issue.

[And now on to the camera settings; what is the difference between 16 bit and 12 bit and which should my camera be set to?]

MiniDV sample rate at 16 bit, 48k is really good quality for 2 channel stereo. Recording 4 channels of stereo audio on MiniDV requires a reduction to 12 bit 32k. It is a step down in quality, and perhaps acceptable for field footage audio. The real probpem is with your NLE editing system. Many NLE's can't accept more than 2 channels of audio when loading video into the computer ... which usually means the video has to be loaded twice to get all channels of audio. An application called "Scenealizer", which I do not use, is positively supported for capturing 4 channel, 12 bit audio on other forums within this site. Personally, having experienced both 2 and 4 channel recording in the field, I favor two channels only. It is cheaper. It is easier. It is simpler when loading video.

[I am using Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 (not that I have a clue what I am doing) so is there any special settings I have to set to get the correct audio from my camera to the program? Any help would be greatly appreciated as this is very confusing stuff... ]

I don't use Adobe Premier, so I can not offer any assistance. However, everyone working in video suffers from the "I know what I want to do, but I have no idea how to set my system up so I really can do what I want to do!" syndrome. If you live in the boondocks like I do, your friendly local computer expert very likely has no idea what you are talking about. Enter online lecture websites. There a lots of them out there. My favorite is http://www.lynda.com. Good basic online lectures on the most useful software. Reasonably priced, always available, and always a wonderful opportunity for your significant other to tease the crap out of you when the CC bill arrives.

[Also, what would be a good learning toll for me to better understand Audio in my camera? Thanks,
The biggest problem with audio is that it is sooooo important! You gotta know audio to some degree. Everything about it is subjective, and yet it is based on science and mathematics. You are simply going to have to experiment to find what works for you. Look to online lectures that specifically address audio editing applications that interface with your NLE. The almost always start with a series of lectures that are a"audio 101", without which the audio editing application is useless.


Good Luck!
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Old April 20th, 2007, 11:38 PM   #4
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Waldemar, WOW!!! Thanks for the response! My only question being is if I use 16 bit will I be able to add music tracks, sound effects and voice overs when I import into my Adobe, or do I need to utilize 12bit? I will only be utilizing the stock mic and a wireless mic! Oh another question for ya... I went out today with a brand new camera, I had recorded about fifteen minutes on a tape, (Panasonic Professional tape) then played it back on another vid camm then recorded again where I left off, played back again, then rewound the whole tape and recorded over it all. When I played back about fifteen to twenty minutes into the recording I had pixelated lines going across the middle of my screen which lasted for about five to ten seconds then quit, played a couple of minutes more, and did it one more time, then did not do it again throught the rest of the tape. Is it my hads already, or is it that the camera I am playing back on is doing it to the tape? PLEASE HELP!!! This is why I sold my last camera, becasue could not get through a sixty minute tape without having pixelation!@#^@$%@!$
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Old April 21st, 2007, 10:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jeff Mayne View Post
Waldemar, WOW!!! Thanks for the response! My only question being is if I use 16 bit will I be able to add music tracks, sound effects and voice overs when I import into my Adobe, or do I need to utilize 12bit? I will only be utilizing the stock mic and a wireless mic!]

When set up a video project in your NLE you should have the opportunity to determine both the video and audio format. DV-NTSC automatically defaults to 16 bit, 48k audio, but other audio sample rates can be chosen. Most NLE's support several audio formats and automatically make the necessary conversions for you when you import files. Just to be safe I usually convert additional audio to 48k before importing. Most NLE's allow several tracks of audio and video, so don't worry about that.

The Canon XL1s stock mic is a stereo condenser mic which will use up the 16 bit audio. The mic is also gets its power from the camera. That is the reason for the two pronged connector on the camera. To use the stock mic with a wireless mic you will have to reroute audio cables. Here is one inexpensive way: Assemble some adapter cables from Radio Shack. You will need to get a 2.5mm male/female extension cable for the power supply. Then a 3.5mm (mini-plug) stereo to mono adapter and a mono to stereo mini-plug "Y" adapter. Basically, you convert the stock stereo mic to a mono mic. Then, with the "Y" adapter, you ban bring the stock mic into the left channel and the wireless into the right channel. Once the video has been loaded into your NLE, shou shold be able to manipulate audio characteristics of each channel to your needs.

[Oh another question for ya... I went out today with a brand new camera, I had recorded about fifteen minutes on a tape, (Panasonic Professional tape) then played it back on another vid camm then recorded again where I left off, played back again, then rewound the whole tape and recorded over it all. When I played back about fifteen to twenty minutes into the recording I had pixelated lines going across the middle of my screen which lasted for about five to ten seconds then quit, played a couple of minutes more, and did it one more time, then did not do it again throught the rest of the tape. Is it my hads already, or is it that the camera I am playing back on is doing it to the tape? PLEASE HELP!!! This is why I sold my last camera, becasue could not get through a sixty minute tape without having pixelation!@#^@$%@!$
I think, though I am not entirely sure, that this is a situation of extremely minute record head alignment differences between cameras. I've noticed pixelization or data loss, can be quite an issue if one uses the LP speed, but it also appears to be a feature of camera age. If you have access to a DV/DVCPRO deck these issues may go away, as the tape transport system of a deck is far superior to that of a camera. In my own case, I never switch tapes from one camera to another. My GL1 is six years old, the 2 XL1s's are four and two years old to me. Time and hours of use has created enough annoying diffrences between them I load videotape data into my computer from the camera which recorded it.
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