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JVC GR-HD1U / JY-HD10U
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Old September 16th, 2003, 05:37 PM   #1
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Audio stuff--GO DAT!

Well, even though what I did was in DV mode, I'll assume audio will sound the same in HD mode...

I just dropped off my 18 minute documentary to my super-smart audio guy. The XL-1 stuff with a hiss was no problem to fix (he copied then "inverted" the hiss and laid it down across the XL-1 clips--GONE!), but he said the HD10 stuff (again, in DV mode, though I don't think that matters, audio-wise) is "bad." Yes, my voice is clear, but it sounds canned and is more so when he tries to fix it. And the more surrounding noise there was as I talked (where I was, I faced I-95 traffic, small planes at the airport behind me and a gas powered leaf/grass blower), the more canned it sound. (Note, I used a Sony LAV with a wireless connection.)

My advice once again, DON'T PLUG ANY MICS INTO THIS CAMERA! Go DAT!

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Old September 16th, 2003, 09:19 PM   #2
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Well, I guess they cornered on both the iris/shutter thing and the sound. Good thing the image is that good... otherwise...
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Old September 17th, 2003, 12:02 AM   #3
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We were going to go double system sound with a DAT on our project, but couldn't get it for the first day so we recorded in the camera for the whole thing. We used a Schoeps for the boom mic going into an FP33 mixer. It still sounds canned or "boxy" as our sound man put it. He also described the sound as having a slight slap echo effect to it. And if you listen really closely to the marker on the slate (we also noticed a delay between the picture and the audio and wanted to measure that) it does have some kind of really quick secondary echo type sound.

This camera is a struggle in almost every way. If it wasn't for the incredible picture, it would be laughable how many things are wrong with it. So once again, treat it like a movie camera, and go double system.

Jay
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Old September 17th, 2003, 12:36 AM   #4
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So that's three of us who have gotten a "canned" sound.

But did we all use the XLR adapter?

I did.

The audio from the camcorder's mic was fine.

If we all used the XLR then I would say:

1) JVC has got some funky load that our mics are not matching to. Good luck in getting specs from JVC. :(

2) The transformers/circuit are bad.

3) The transformers/circuit do not match the input of the camera.

In a few days I'll have a chance to connect an XLR mic to an adapter I've used with VX1000, etc. thus skipping the JVC adapter.
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Old September 17th, 2003, 05:21 AM   #5
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Steve - do post the results using the 3rd party adapter. I have a Studio One XLR adapter with input gain controls that I plan on using for my project.

My tests with the onboard mic were as good as to be expected, but they didn't sound "canned"


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Old September 17th, 2003, 07:06 AM   #6
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You may just be right about that, the camcorder's mike sounds surprisingly fine even if it is on top of the camera facing up... They sure did a weird machine...
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Old September 17th, 2003, 08:39 AM   #7
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I hate that we can't control the audio.

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Old September 17th, 2003, 11:18 AM   #8
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Hey Heath, I posted this question in another thread. You may have not seen it? Do you have any suggestions for a portable DAT? Price range is $400-600.

Have you tried recording into a computer harddrive yet? I've got the MBOX from Digidesign...it's zero latency into the computer with 2 XLR inputs. It's a little more cumbersome than a little DAT recorder, but 2 inputs and it's already digitized into the computer.

The MBOX is only $450 now, so it's a good deal considering the inputs and software.

Chris Murphy
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Old September 17th, 2003, 01:55 PM   #9
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Chris,

I'll be honest, I haven't seen anything GREAT for under $700. I'll have to dig through my email archives about a recommendation. I usually just borrow one.

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Old September 17th, 2003, 03:42 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Heath McKnight : I hate that we can't control the audio.

heath -->>>

There is no need to control audio. I can't figure out why you want something that isn't needed.

Just what would you do if you could?

And provide the technical reason why you would do it?
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Old September 17th, 2003, 03:50 PM   #11
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Professor Mullen,

It's been my experience that manually controlling the audio (audio is arguably more important to audiences than video) is a good thing. Throwing it through a mixer provides more security while on set (and gives me, the editor, a good feeling).

Also, people, things (like cars, etc.) are all at different db's, pitches, levels, etc., so it's good to be able to control all that. Even with seperate mics and a mixer.

That's as techy as I'll get. :-)

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Old September 17th, 2003, 05:49 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Steve Mullen :

There is no need to control audio. I can't figure out why you want something that isn't needed.

Just what would you do if you could?

And provide the technical reason why you would do it? -->>>

The reason to control the audio level and see actual meters in the camera is to set the camera's gain to unity with that of the mixer. The process typically is to turn on the field mixer's 1khz tone generator and set the master to 0db on the mixer's meter. Now calibrate the camera by adjusting it's input level to also be 0db (if an analog recorder) or -20db (I think, if using the digital range). The difference being in the analog world you can peak above 0db, but in the digital world, 0db is the absolute highest level before distortion, so -20 is the equivalent to 0db analog.

Now that the field mixer is calibrated to the camera or other recording device like a DAT, the Soundman knows that if the audio doesn't clip on the mixer, it isn't hammering the recording device. And if the level on the mixer's meter is too low, he knows he isn't giving the recording device a signal that uses it's full dynamic range.

Since the JVC uses auto gain on the audio, if you hit it with a loud external signal, it will try to react by turning down the level, you will notice background noise get quiet when someone talks loudly, and then when they stop talking, the background noise slowly creeps up as the camera increases the gain to put the audio signal where it thinks it should be.

This is an insane method of recording sound, and like Autofocus lenses or Auto Iris, this just doesn't exist in the real world. I spent 2 hours with the FP 33 mixer and the camera to find a level that wasn't too low to be buried in hiss and not to loud to make the built in auto gain / limiter make the sound "pump" as people talked.

I'm not a sound person, so I am sure someone else can give a better explanation, but this is the basic idea.

Jay
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Old September 17th, 2003, 05:51 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Heath McKnight : Professor Mullen,

"It's been my experience that manually controlling the audio (audio is arguably more important to audiences than video) is a good thing. Throwing it through a mixer provides more security while on set (and gives me, the editor, a good feeling)."

A good feeling? :)

As an editor you should want access to the raw audio so you can control it in post. Never make irreversable decisions in the field.

"Also, people, things (like cars, etc.) are all at different db's, pitches, levels, etc., so it's good to be able to control all that. Even with seperate mics and a mixer."

Mixing more than one mic to a single track is an invitation to disaster. Ideally, you want one track for each mic. Think recording studio.

And, pitch and levels are all irrelevant with digital audio. It's a "pipe" from mic to post. Exactly, what you want!

"That's as techy as I'll get. :-)"

If you want to use technology -- and advise folks to use DAT -- you had best know HOW it works so you know WHY you are doing what you are doing.

A lot of film schools are way behind the digital revolution so they teach students to use DAT because they -- in the 60's -- used a Nagra. They feel good, you feel good. But feeling good isn't as good as good as understanding your tools.
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Old September 17th, 2003, 06:09 PM   #14
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Yes, I learned on a Nagra, 16 mm film, editing with small reels, viewer and glue...

I borrow a friend's DAT and record into it. Someone usually handles the audio for me, and the person who is struggling with the fixes has been begging me to never record audio on the camera again. He recommended the DAT to me.

I still can't see how having the audio be automatic is good...

I try to stay away from too much tech stuff, it gets addicting, and my art starts to suffer. I don't know how many people I've met in my area of the world (that I work with sometimes) that are so into the gear, they're like geniuses. But the stuff they've done is amateurish.

I'm not a super genius, but I know some stuff. And I know that right now, plugging any mic into the JVC XLR adaptor makes for clear, but canned sound. I have learned a lot from this site, which helps, but ultimately it's the art that I focus on most.

I let most of the tech stuff go to my friends, esp. one who is a D.I.T. (And he's excited about shooting a short with me next month on the camera.)

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Old September 17th, 2003, 11:17 PM   #15
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Originally posted by Steve Mullen:

"As an editor you should want access to the raw audio so you can control it in post."

I agree. Unfortunately all the AGC circuits I've dealt with on cameras (DVCPro, Beta) all have the same problem. The circuit drops the level initially too far, then struggles to bring it back up. The circuits also have a small time-lag between "seeing" the level jump and actually engaging. The drops and jumps in the resulting audio aren't anything I'd call raw. It's more like letting a machine do your mixing for you.

When shooting alone with a pro-end cam., I prefer to leave my audio in manual, and take sound checks beforehand. That way I have no surprises when it comes to my subject's audio, be it an interview subject or taking a feed off the board while shooting a rock concert.

When I'm using a dv cam., I try to round up a couple of extra people for double system sound, if it is at all possible.

"And, pitch and levels are all irrelevant with digital audio. It's a "pipe" from mic to post. Exactly, what you want!"

Levels are not irrelevant. Hot audio sounds just as bad in digital as it does in the analog world. So does a constant level shift from AGC circuits built into many of the prosumer-level dv cams.

Double-system sound, though a little cumbersome and expensive, is a lot better than just plugging the mic into the camera. It gives you an extra set of ears. I have a feeling many of the people who regularly post and lurk through here end up having to act as camera op/director. Listening to the audio while shooting and directing at the same time is also an invitation to disaster. There's too much on your mind at once to really "listen" to the audio. Having a good boom op and good mixer on set doing the shoot with you can save numerous headaches in post (i.e. "hey, the refrigerator in the other room just kicked on, cause we can hear it in the background." "A garbage truck just went by. I can hear it faintly in the back.")

That's why film schools teach it, features and high-end news organizations still use it. Better sounding product.

Now I'll get off my soapbox and get back to work.
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