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Old July 8th, 2009, 10:26 AM  
Thank you Tramm! real world Magic Lantern at work in the Chinese riots
Dan Chung Dan Chung is offline July 8th, 2009, 10:26 AM

Video: Uighur residents confront troops | World news | guardian.co.uk

A really quick thank you to Tramm for making my life much better, I'm writing this in between the rioting. I've been using magic lantern for all our pieces to camera with our reporter during the riots in Xinjiang, China. Also been using it bit in the demonstrations themselves.

The finished piece is a mixture of 5dmkII, Sony A1 and Reuters footage but even in low res on the web I think you can tell the 5dmkII stuff.

Dan

(ps - forgot to add there is a gallery of 5dmkII stills here http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gall...ture=349978668)

Last edited by Dan Chung; July 8th, 2009 at 10:29 AM.. Reason: add link

Dan Chung
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Old July 13th, 2009, 12:57 AM   #16
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If magic lantern gives me audio capabilities that I can't have on my Sony V1 (one mic with two gain levels), something is going in the classified section.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:00 AM   #17
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Staggering the 5D internal gain would be fantastic and have potential benefits an external analog offset could not provide. Lowering the gain of the "pre amp" inside the 5D should give us a bit lower noise floor on the lower side rather than lowering the gain before it hits the 5D. Probably wouldn't be too much of an issue either way, if people only edit-in the lower level captured audio during the loudest passages that are causing overs on the higher recorded side. Some may choose to take an extended section of audio from the lower recorded side and raise the gain up in the relatively softer section between peaks, in which case, a less pre amplified/less noisy D5 audio capture would be preferred.

Mark
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Old July 13th, 2009, 02:23 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Toenis Liivamaegi View Post

This requires that you feed the camera with "streo mono" signal - common on 3.5mm mono mics like the TinyMike and Rode's VideoMic that have a mono signal but a stereo plug that feeds both channels.
Is it possible to have an option in the firmware to take a mono signal and record it to both channels with different gains? I'm asking because the mic I'm using only have the mono plug but would love to use this new feature. If that is not possible, can I just rewire my cable from the mic to use a stereo plug with the signal to both channels without loss of audio quality and strength of the signal (I'm not always using a preamp so the signal is quite weak already)?
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:13 AM   #19
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Peter,

Thanks for that, actually I have a PCM-D50 over the Zoom H4n for that very reason and love it.

Dan
Dan,

Iím about to order either a Zoom H4n or a PCM-D50. Everything I read and samples Iíve heard make me think the Sony is the better unit. However I feel pushed toward the Zoom purely because it has XLR inputs, which the Sony lacks. How are you getting around that with the Sony? I realise I could use an XLR to TRS cable to connect a mic to the recorder, but wouldnít that negate the advantages of XLR? Or doesnít it matter?

Thanks.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:40 AM   #20
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Dan,

I’m about to order either a Zoom H4n or a PCM-D50. Everything I read and samples I’ve heard make me think the Sony is the better unit. However I feel pushed toward the Zoom purely because it has XLR inputs, which the Sony lacks. How are you getting around that with the Sony? I realise I could use an XLR to TRS cable to connect a mic to the recorder, but wouldn’t that negate the advantages of XLR? Or doesn’t it matter?
I am not Dan but will offer my opinion. XLR connectors eliminate ground hum, allow you to have much longer runs of microphone cable, have nicer locking connectors & can carry phantom 48V power for pro microphones.

I bought the a Zoom H4n. The XLR connectors were a 'nice to have' but were not the major reason for my choice. Both the Sony & the Zoom are very, very good but the Sony is nearly twice as expensive (585 Euros vs. 333 Euros).

Last edited by Nigel Barker; July 13th, 2009 at 07:59 AM.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:43 AM   #21
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Jeremy,

Depends on your config, I use the Sony mostly to record from a either a Sound Devices or Juicedlink mixer and therefore not using XLRs.

For on camera mounting I think I would prefer the Zoom H4n for its lighter weight and XLRs.

As a stand alone recorder I much prefer the Sony, its well built and the intelligent limiter are great. The 'real' knobs for levels and audio monitoring are great too.

Also consider the bigger but nice Marantz PM661 which is supposed to have better preamps than the Zoom as well as proper level meters.

Given the progress Tramm is making I'm increasingly confident we won't need dual sound for run and gun soon. Just a nice mixer like the Juicedlink and in camera recording. But for top quality a seperate recorder will still be better I think.

Dan
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:55 AM   #22
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Forgot to add that on a budget it will also be possible to use the minijack line out of these recorders to feed the 5DmkII (might still need a -10db or so PAD even with Magic Lantern used to reduce all the audio gain to zero), giving good in camera audio for either rapid editing or as clean track for sync. This is especially useful with the Sony or Zoom which both have really quite good internal mics, although you need a Softie as they are very sensitive to wind noise. I've heard someone suggest putting these recorders on the end of booms and using the internal mics.

Dan
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Old July 13th, 2009, 07:04 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Marten Dalfors View Post
Is it possible to have an option in the firmware to take a mono signal and record it to both channels with different gains?
I believe a 3.5mm mono plug will connect both the left and right input together, allowing you to record the same signal on both channels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Chung
You beat me to it, a splitter is required but hopefully this will be redundant with the next version of Magic Lantern.
The splitter has the advantage of giving you mechanical knobs on the juicedLink to adjust the gain, while the software version saves the weight of carrying another heavy XLR cable. It is fixed in the source tree and will be in the 0.1.6 release.

The analog gain can not be adjusted per channel on the AK4646, but the digital gains can be set independently. The software change adds 'audio.dgain.l' and 'audio.dgain.r' configuration parameters and separate menu items for the left and right gains.

Since the Magic Lantern menu is getting too large, one of the other features in 0.1.6 will be separate audio, video, stills and debugging menus.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #24
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Jeremy,


Given the progress Tramm is making I'm increasingly confident we won't need dual sound for run and gun soon. Just a nice mixer like the Juicedlink and in camera recording. But for top quality a seperate recorder will still be better I think.

Dan
Thatís pretty much the set-up Iím looking at putting together. Juicedlink + Magic Lantern for pure run and gun; plus Sony/Zoom for backup/ambient when possible/desirable; or Juicedlink into Sony/Zoom when audio is priority.

I think from what you and Nigel have said the Sonyís missing XLRs will be a non-issue for me, and I like the sound of the Sonyís limiter. One thing that concerns me a lot is wind noise. I get the impression itís a particular problem with the Zoom: have you noticed that the Sony is better in this respect?

Thanks.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:27 PM   #25
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The analog gain can not be adjusted per channel on the AK4646, but the digital gains can be set independently.
That's unfortunate. We can already record softly and apply digital gain in post. An XLR splitter or a pad on one of the mini-jack lines would be the better route.

I'm even thinking of mod'ing the juicedLink... Currently, I can switch Channel 1 to be Left, Right or Both. it would be cool if when routed Left it had high gain, on Right it would have low gain, and when on Both it would be high to the left and low to the right. I'd do the same in reverse to Channel 2. That would give me lots of options with no splitter or external pad needed.

I wonder if the design would lend itself to this mod...
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Old July 13th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Jeremy Nicholl View Post
Dan,

I’m about to order either a Zoom H4n or a PCM-D50. Everything I read and samples I’ve heard make me think the Sony is the better unit. However I feel pushed toward the Zoom purely because it has XLR inputs, which the Sony lacks. How are you getting around that with the Sony? I realise I could use an XLR to TRS cable to connect a mic to the recorder, but wouldn’t that negate the advantages of XLR? Or doesn’t it matter?

Thanks.
Yes, the Sony looks like better unit. The way the limiter works is far, far superior - a different leage infact.

There is an optional XLR adapter box for the PCM-D50 (has phantom power) but pricey @ $499...

Edit - add link: Review: Sony PCM-D50 Portable WAV Recorder - O'Reilly Media
Edit2 - add additional review link: http://www.futuremusic.com/news/test...50_review.html

Last edited by Peter Burke; July 13th, 2009 at 04:57 PM. Reason: add another review link
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Old July 13th, 2009, 05:05 PM   #27
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... One thing that concerns me a lot is wind noise. I get the impression itís a particular problem with the Zoom: have you noticed that the Sony is better in this respect?

Thanks.
The Sony PCM-D50 has an optional $50 dead cat
Sony PCM-D50 Review - Full review of the Sony PCM-D50 digital recorder - FutureMusic TestDrive: Sony PCM50 Review
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Old July 13th, 2009, 11:55 PM   #28
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Need Final Verdict - Juicedlink+Magic Lantern OR Zoom H4n

Hello all,

I've been a lurker for quite a while, and this is one of my very rare times to make a post. First of all, thank you Tramm and to everyone else for putting so much time into researching audio issues for the 5D mkII - you have no idea how grateful I am for this.

I'm in a bit of a pinch, and I don't know if I'll get a solid reply in time, but here I go.

I have a video shoot scheduled in a few days and have been putting off purchasing my 'perfect' sound system as long as possible. Like a lot of people, I've been waving back and forth from the Zoom H4n and Juicedlink+ML.

I'm a solo filmmaker assigned to create two short documentary pieces over the next 3 months. I'm usually a one-man crew, so it is a must that I be able to equip my shotgun mic (RODE NTG-2) onto my shoulder mount rig. For interviews, I plan to get a mic stand at one point (similar to the one in Jon Fairhurst videos). Because a lot of my other work requires fast turnover and unpredictable shooting, I'm not sure if having to push "record" on two devices and syncing after is a great option.

While I am leaning towards the Juiced+ML combo, I would like to know a few things:

1) What are the chances that this will soon (next month or so) be released as a full version (at least just the audio-related features)?

2) Given my situation, what would most of you recommend? (I'm definitely inspired by Dan Chung - great work!!!)

3) Dan, I realize you used different cameras for your pieces, but did you ever take out the juicedlink+ML during the 'run and gun' takes??? If so, were there difficulties, or did they go away with simple practice?

Thank you very much to everyone :)
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Old July 14th, 2009, 12:18 AM   #29
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1. For run and gun, meaning camera mounted mic, I the Juiced Link will work. Depending on your mic, you may need to push your gain up to analog gain up from the default 10 to 17 in Magic Lantern. I use a Senheiser Me66 and when mounted on the camera, I feel like I have to push gain a bit, to capture decent voice from a distance. I think Jon Fairhurst likes to see you no more that 10, and he has done a lot of testing, so he would be best word on this.

2. You will also have to boost the audio out of the headphone /av jack, at least in Magic Lantern 0.1.5. I use a Boostaroo headphone amp, and have added a volume control, and it does a decent job.

3. I think if you set your levels and your entire camera up with the config file process, you won't really need to access the Menu on the camera. It can be buggy to get in and out of. However, using the config set up, you don't have to go there, until 0.1.6 addresses some of those bugs.

4. 0.1.5 also will allow HDMI out, for a separate monitor. You lose the LCD as with stock firmware, so you have to make a choice as to which you want.

5. If you want zebras, go with default on setting. They will not work or overlay properly on the HDMI out, nor will the crop marks until next version addresses fixes needed.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 01:26 AM   #30
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Goh,

I did a one-man shoot at the Portland Historic Races on Saturday, and it was really instructive. I went macho, bringing a camera bag, shoulder rig - and my 516/3193 lug of a tripod so I could pan my 200mm lens. I pre-loaded my cards with ML 0.1.5 and a config file with 17 dB of analog gain and no digital gain.

Having the ML config file is wonderful - as are the nice big fonts in the latest menus. It's really usable in the field.

Being at a racetrack, I was dealing with a huge range of sounds. On one shot, I might be standing next to a mechanic firing up a 1972 V12 Ferrari 312P race car. In another paddock stall, it might be just me, a car and some empty water bottles. Ten minutes later I'm filming the big bore cars at full scream on the front straightaway.

It's easy to remember to turn the gain down when the meters go red. It's hard to remember to turn them back up for the next shot.

For a one man deal, I can't recommend the juicedLink enough - especially if you use it with an XLR splitter. That would have let me crank the gain into one channel and run it low into the other. That's truly a set and forget setup.

There are a couple things that you'll want: 1) a spare battery, the JL eats them alive if you run phantom power and forget to turn it off, 2) the Allen key for mounting/unmounting to/from the camera - you might need to tighten it up at some point, and 3) a spare cable - ours died on the first take of a recent shoot.

And Chris is right, you'll want the Boostaroo or some other headphone amp. I was running on meters alone when I forgot to turn my gain back up.

Not having to sync up audio is excellent. There's no way I could have manually sync'd the racetrack stuff easily. Without dialog, the sounds were pretty random. (Then again, I might just get creative with how I line them up them in the edit.)

Another nice thing about recording in-camera is that you can play it back immediately on an HD TV and get good sound. That wasn't important on my racetrack shoot, but it can make you and a potential client very happy. (Rather than dailies, you might call these "hourlies".)

And yeah, lately, I've been running the JL full bore and the Magic Lantern at 17dB analog gain.

One odd thing with the latest firmware is that it records the first take at the wrong volume, and has the wrong gain for the first second of each clip. Just do a throwaway take when you start the firmware. Tramm doesn't have this problem on his camera. Our latest guess is that it depends on the speed of the flash card. If you try a recording around a constant sound, you'll be able to quickly find out if this is an issue on your camera.

The most important thing to do is to develop a mental checklist. This includes turning on the juicedLink when you start and turning it off when you're done. Also, consider your picture style and color balance. Start out with a written checklist. Do it the same way every time. Pretty soon it becomes habit.

FWIW, I mostly used the 28mm in the paddock on the shoulder rig. At trackside, I mostly used the 200mm on the tripod, occasionally going to the 85. I really learned the value of quick-disconnects on the shoot. It seemed to take forever to switch from tripod to shoulder and back.

BTW, the zebras on the ML firmware rock. It was easy to get the exposure right where I wanted it very quickly. Reviewing the footage in post, I nailed every shot, blowing out only what I deliberately chose to sacrifice.

Well, that covers it. Best of luck with your shoot!
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