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Old March 17th, 2010, 03:17 PM   #1
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HMC40 - Sound Questions

So, I'll be ordering a HMC40 in about two weeks. Finally. Probably.*

I mostly film action sports, with occasional interviews. Here are my questions:

1. How bad is the stock audio for filming sports? I ask because I'll probably be forced to use it when shooting fisheye (about 1/4-1/2 of my shots, depending on the project), and I'm guessing that any external mic I get will show up at the top of any footage.
2. I'm thinking of getting a 1/8" jack Rode mic for shooting interviews, and for long lens shots. I'd think that the mono Videomic would be better for the sports clips, but would it also work well for interviews? Or should I get a Stereomic for that?
3. How easy is it to adjust audio levels? Is it deep in the menus, or is it fairly easy? It's a bit of a hassle at the moment on my FX7.

Thanks,
Chris

*Assuming that the check for the web design gig I'm finishing up doesn't bounce...
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Old March 18th, 2010, 11:07 AM   #2
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I use the Rode Videomic on my HMC-40 and have been very happy with it. I do community journalism and breaking news so I use the mike in a variety of situations. And even though I've read that the Videomic is supposedly a mono mike, it records to both audio channels on my Panasonic and my Sony Handycam.

That said, I probably wouldn't use it if I was trying to get a 360-degree audio effect. The audio clarity drops off on the sides and back due to its design.

I've left my audio levels on default and haven't needed to change them with the Videomic.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 01:22 PM   #3
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Chris,

Another vote here for the Rode VideoMic. I am not convinced that putting stereo on a shotgun mic is really going to yield very good stereo separation. But for my purposes that is rarely an issue.

As for the internal mic. I find that is does a very good job if you have your camera tripod mounted so that you can keep your fingers away from the microphone. When hand holding the camera your fingers may naturally fall pretty close to the internal microphone. So either put your camera on a tripod monopod, etc) or make sure you keep your finger away from the microphone.

Adjusting the levels when using either the internal mic or a 1/8" mic is accomplished using the on screen touch system. Its a two step process. First you need to switch off ALC. Then you can get to the level controls. All can be accomplished pretty easily - of course using the XLR adapter with an XLR microphone makes that MUCH easier.
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Old March 18th, 2010, 03:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherri Nestico View Post
That said, I probably wouldn't use it if I was trying to get a 360-degree audio effect. The audio clarity drops off on the sides and back due to its design.
That's fine. I'd prefer to keep background noise to a minimum, anyway.

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Originally Posted by Rich Ryan View Post
As for the internal mic. I find that is does a very good job if you have your camera tripod mounted so that you can keep your fingers away from the microphone. When hand holding the camera your fingers may naturally fall pretty close to the internal microphone. So either put your camera on a tripod monopod, etc) or make sure you keep your finger away from the microphone.
I'd actually be holding the camera by the removable upper handle for most instances where I'd be shooting fisheye (and would be using the onboard mic), since I have to go for low angled fast pans a lot of the time.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 02:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris McMahon View Post
1. How bad is the stock audio for filming sports? I ask because I'll probably be forced to use it when shooting fisheye (about 1/4-1/2 of my shots, depending on the project), and I'm guessing that any external mic I get will show up at the top of any footage.
Internal audio is not the worst I've used. But the mics are on the top deck, just behind the lens. If you shoot sports like I shoot sports, you're using the lens ring for zoom, and so the mics will almost certainly pick up finger noise.


You don't have to mount the mic on top of the camera, of course. If you have an external mic designed to fit in a camera shoe, you might get one of those flash brackets for 35mm cameras, and put the mic on that, back and off to the side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris McMahon View Post
2. I'm thinking of getting a 1/8" jack Rode mic for shooting interviews, and for long lens shots. I'd think that the mono Videomic would be better for the sports clips, but would it also work well for interviews? Or should I get a Stereomic for that?
Lots of people like the Videomic... I use a Rode NTG-1 myself, which is really nice, though I'd prefer a lapel mic for interviews, or another sort of close-up recorder (I use a Tascam DR-1 all the time). In a quiet setting, the internal mic might even suffice for interviews. I haven't used it yet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris McMahon View Post
3. How easy is it to adjust audio levels? Is it deep in the menus, or is it fairly easy? It's a bit of a hassle at the moment on my FX7.
Was a hassle on my A1U as well. I got the XLR box for the HMC40 -- it has actual, glorious, physical wheels for audio levels. No menu fiddling at all.

Without that, the audio level adjust is a shortcut ("Function Navi" they call it). You hit the touchscreen in the the bottom lefthand corner, and you get an autofocus and audio submenu. Hit the mic icon, and you're in audio level select. There's no independent right/left adjust, at least for built-in mics.
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