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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old January 9th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #1
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How to have a PRO audio from the HDR-HC7

I puzzle to get a good audio sound when I record thru my HDR-HC7.
Could any of you give me any suggest, recommandation component equipment so I can purchase?
Say if I have a RODE NT5, then I just connect NT5 to XLR adapter (Beachtek) then Beachtek adapter to vicdeo cam HDR-HC7. Is this good enough.
Please help me again....please, please....
--JT
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Old January 10th, 2008, 12:06 PM   #2
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No one...... can help.
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Old January 10th, 2008, 12:34 PM   #3
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Hello there

Yes, you will need a Beachtek or similar at the very least. I have a DX-8a and I like it because it has mic powering and also separate limiters.

Then you will need at least one serious microphone, a decent pair of headphones, some good quality cabling and maybe a mic boom and windscreen later on. Plus at least one wired lav mic, plus...

Mics can go up to $2000 and over for one excellent one. Great ones start at around $300 used. Look under the audio section for a recent discussion on how to tell mics apart and which ones are good for the money.

Especially in this day and age, expect mics to be like pencils - both last longer than computers (and camcorders too). In other words, if you buy a high end pro mic, you will not be swapping it out for the latest flavor of the month, you will use it and use it until you sell it -- or one of you breaks down and dies. And it won't be the mic. "-)

And of course if you bought one of the legendary mics (like a Neuman or a Shoeps), and you ever decide to sell it, you'll get almost as much money years later that you put into it now, sometimes more.

And finally, get the best one you can afford. Start high as you can go. Because you'll only end up trading up later on for something better, if you cut corners here.

Lav mics - good news. If you're going to shoot formal interviews, the Radio Shack lav mic is decent and around $35. Add another $10 for a 30ft extension cable and you're more than set. Wireless mics can cost a lot more but there's a lot of times (when people aren't moving around) that you can get away with wired, and they sound much better than not having them.

Economics - The RS mics work. Sankens, Trams and Sennheisers work better. The RS mics are in my camera bag as backups, have been there for years, probably because they're cheap and so not worth a lot at resale. The others, well, I'm upgrading them soon...

Headphones - I've used Sony MDR7506 headphones for many years now. Around $100 a pair, these are as industry standard as it gets. In my company I think we have around 18 pairs. No other brand or model has been used for at least 5 years. That should tell you something.


One suggestion towards a more professionally produced production.

a) mic placement is almost as important as mic quality, some say more so. A lot of information about this on the net.

b) usually a boomed mic (placed correctly) gives better audio than a radio or wired lav mic, which is usually better than an on camera mic. You can debate this one way or another but most people agree that mics mounted on cameras are generally not a great idea, and usually reserved for news cameras.

c) as your system becomes more complicated (more equipment, more cables, connectors, people) the pace of your shooting gets geometrically slower. Be patient. This is not a race. There are no rewards for getting it done fast, only for getting it done right. My old mentor used to tell us: "Gentlemen. All we have to do is do this right. Because we either do it right, or we do it again."

So - I know, what does this have to do with you and your one little camcorder?

Well, you could do a lot worse than having a person, a separate person from you, just to take care of the audio.
Maybe a member of your family, or a buddy, or even someone you find on a board like this who lives nearby and is willing to swap services with you. But someone you like and like to run with.

They don't have to be a pro, but they do have to be willing, consistent, positive attitude.

For audio, you're looking for someone with a pair of good ears, a strong personality and a lot of patience.

That person may or may not operate a mic boom -- it's useful if they can learn -- but mainly that person will listen, listen, listen.

That takes patience, to do nothing but listen closely and well, all day long.

And the instant that person hears bad audio - mic overloaded, crashing and banging, noisy neighbors, airplanes passing - that person should make you aware of that fact and ask for a retake if your audio is critical and it's bad.
Your head is usually into what you're shooting, the camera adjustments, the actors, the schedule, lunchtime, whatever.

Most people lose track of the audio after the first hour or so. Their brains move onto other, "more important" matters.

So your audio person needs a keen alertness and a strong personality. You don't want a timid or pleasant "let's get along with the world, it's all good" person doing this job. Audio, as you know, is unforgiving. It's good (audible) or not good (inaudible). End of story.

So that person has to be strong enough to overpower the producer and director and actor, whoever is necessary to get that backup take on tape and sounding good, just like it's the camera person's job to get the same take looking good.

Also the sound person has to be able to halt production and crew at every location to get at least 30 seconds of "silence" - exterior atmosphere or interior room tone, depending.

And yes, it has to be with everybody there. (close your eyes, imagine the silence of an empty room. Now imagine the sound of a room with people in it, but not moving or talking. Different, right?)

Very important. Not often done because most everybody thinks that sound comes in second, especially when they're beginning.

That person could also be responsible for writing down who or what was shot, where and when it was shot, and what tapes the shots are on. And decent tape labeling too.

Tending (keeping mics and cables clean and neat, batteries charged, running headphones to director and script supervisor, and the like) is also important.

Again, you don't have to be a pro, you just have to act like one on your shoot.

That's all I can think of for now.

HTH
Cheers
Chris
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Old January 10th, 2008, 12:56 PM   #4
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Hello there

Yes, you will need a Beachtek or similar at the very least. I have a DX-8a.

Then you will need at least one serious microphone, a decent pair of headphones, some good quality cabling and maybe a mic boom and windscreen later on.

Mics can go up to $2000 and over for one excellent one. Great ones start at around $300 used. Look under the audio section for a recent discussion on how to tell mics apart and which ones are good for the money.

Especially in this day and age, expect mics to be like pencils - both last longer than computers (and camcorders too). In other words, you'll buy a high end pro mic, you will not be swapping it out for the latest flavor of the month, you will use it and use it until you sell it -- or one of you breaks down and dies. And it won't be the mic. "-)

And of course if you bought one of the legendary mics (like a Neuman or a Shoeps), and you ever decide to sell it, you'll get almost as much money years later that you put into it now, sometimes more.

Headphones - I've used Sony MDR7506 headphones for many years now. Around $100 a pair, these are as industry standard as it gets. In my company I think we have around 18 pairs. No other brand or model has been used where I work for at least 5 years. That should tell you something.


One suggestion towards a more professionally produced production.

You could do a lot worse than having a person, a separate person from you, just to take care of the audio.

This means mainly someone with a pair of good ears, a strong personality and a lot of patience.

That person may or may not operate a mic boom -- it's useful if they can learn -- but mainly that person will listen, listen, listen.

That takes patience, to do nothing but listen closely and well, all day long.

And the instant that person hears bad audio - mic overloaded, crashing and banging, noisy neighbors, airplanes passing - that person should make you aware of that fact and ask for a retake if your audio is critical and it's bad.

That takes guts and a strong personality. You don't want a timid or pleasant "let's get along with the world, it's all good" person doing this job. Audio, as you know, is unforgiving. It's good (audible) or not good (inaudible). End of story.

So that person has to be strong enough to overpower the producer and director and actor, whoever is necessary to get that backup take

Also that person has to be able to halt production and crew at every location to get at least 30 seconds of "silence" - exterior atmosphere or room tone, depending. And yes, it has to be with everybody there. (close your eyes, imagine the silence of an empty room. Now imagine the sound of a room with people in it, but not moving or talking. Different, right?)

Very important. Not often done because most everybody thinks that sound comes in second, especially when they're beginning.

That person could also be responsible for writing down who or what was shot, where and when it was shot, and what tapes the shots are on. And decent tape labeling too.

Tending (keeping mics and cables clean and neat, batteries charged, running headphones to director and script supervisor, and the like) is also important.

That's all I can think of for now.

HTH
Cheers
Chris
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Old January 12th, 2008, 05:58 PM   #5
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Thank you so much for your help.
--JT
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Old January 13th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #6
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You might also consider the limitations of the HDV codec, allowing only MPEG1 audio recording. No matter what what mic you use, it's still a highly compressed format.

I've added a ZoomH4 to the kit, allowing phantom power and PCM formatted recording. It also has it's limitations, but pretty good bang for the buck aiming in the direction of good audio.
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