High-Quality Audio Makes or Breaks a Production... the HVR-A1U vs HDR-HC1 Audio - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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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 April 7th, 2006, 04:44 PM   #16
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Hi Dave!

It's funny you mentioned that eBay auction, cause I've been pondering that for the past few weeks.

I have a Sony A1U, and the mic that came with it isn't too bad but I wanted to look into a nice Boom system and the reviews on the Azden SGM-1X seem to be very good! That kit comes with everything I'd need as well, the XLR cables, adaptors, windscreens, etc..

I also purchased the Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 Series wireless system. It has a lavalier as well as an XLR connection that I'll probably use for the Boom mic.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=324228&is=REG

Also, if I didn't want to go with that eBay auction, where would you suggest to get the best boom pole both in value and cost? Thx!
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Old April 8th, 2006, 10:43 AM   #17
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Articulated Boom Poles are most versatile

It is tiring holding a boom pole for long periods of time. For this reason, I prefer an articulated boom pole over a conventional (straight pole).

Straight poles are held over your head. An articulated pole can also be extended out so it is straight like a conventional boom pole, and held over your head too, just like a straight boom pole.

But in my opinion, the greatest benefit of an articulated boom pole is that it can be held with one hand while the base of the pole is simply held against your body, or above your belt. This is a comfortable way to hold the pole and it can be held like this for long periods of time without any fatigue.

The ProStudioTools boom pole is articulated. I own that pole and like it very much. There is a pretty good explanation of articulated boom poles here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=7599887638

There is a nice K-tek articulated NEWS boom pole available too for $700 to $900, depending on length, but it is too rich for me. You can obtain information about this boom pole here: http://www.mklemme.com/pole/ka113ccr.htm

I think the ProStudioTools boom pole is the way to go. I haven't found a better articulated boom pole for the money.

--Dave
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Old April 8th, 2006, 11:12 AM   #18
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Hi Dave,
I recently got an A1 which I chose over the FX1 for the XLR options.
One thing I forgot to consider though was the effect of HDV compression on audio.
I think it's mpeg layer 2, which is 'nt great!
I also have an minidisk recorder and the audio off that is better, i feel.
I use it for interviews where I don't need visuals.

I am about to get the Rode NTG 1 for the camerea. Budget is an issue for me and it seems like a good option for the money. I plan to use it for outdoors mainly. Any suggestions for a good indoor option for those with a limited budget?
Also I am interested to hear how you would set the A1 up for surround sound recording.
I am making a film where the character stays in the same room for the entire film.
I would like to be able to portray as much character of the room through sound as possible.
Could you please suggest the easiest set up to achieve this>
Thanks
Max
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Old April 8th, 2006, 05:00 PM   #19
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HDV audio standard - MPEG 1, Layer 2 Audio

Thanks for your input, Max.

Of course, using a separate high-quality digital audio recorder will, in most all cases, yield better results than recording audio directly to the HDV tape with the audio recording facilities of the HC1 and A1U. Syncing the audio in post is also very easy with today's tools.

The following comments about MPEG 1 Layer 2 audio are not directed at you in particular, Max, but to those who are leaving disparaging remarks about MPEG 1 Layer 2 audio on this and other boards.

----
There are a number of people on this and other boards bad mouthing MPEG 1 Layer 2 audio. This surprises me. I'm not going to humor those that like to nitpick for nitpicking's sake, but I can't let a negative statement about the quality of HDV audio go without clearing up a few facts adout HDV audio.

I am convinced that these unfounded negative statements are written by those with little or no experience in audio whatsoever, and/or written by those who copy the drivel written by the aforementioned ill-informed writers, and/or written by those those that just know anything at all about MPEG 1 Layer 2.

I don't hear anyone complaining and stating that the HDV Video should be thrown in the garbage can because MPEG Video is bad.

These statements of the relative merits of the compression formats for HDV are less than helpful given that this is a board devoted to HDV audio and video acquistion. Furthermore these statements beg the question of whether an HDV Camcorder is worthwhile as an HD video/audio acquisition device at all. MPEG 1 Layer 2 Audio is part of the HDV specification originally created by JVC, Sony, etc., that will be used for years to come for all HDV audio from all manufactures.

Just as MPEG2 M2T is the transport layer for the MPEG2 4:2:0: color space, it is the transport layer for MPEG 1 Level 2 audio for storage on the MiniDV cassette in all HDV camcorders regardless of brand or price.

This is also the same audio that is part of the original DVD audio specification developed by the DVD Forum, http://dvdforum.org, and is an audio encoding format available in most if not all DVD Authoring tools. All DVD Players designed for resale in the US are capable of playing back DVDs encoded MPEG 1 Layer 2 audio.

While it's true that uncompressed audio is always better, MPEG audio is not too shabby. Anyone that listens to MP3 files knows what MPEG audio sounds like. MP3 is an abbreviation of MPEG 1 Layer 3 which is nothing more than a more highly compressed version of the MPEG 1 Layer 2, the audio standard for HDV.

When we speak about MPEG audio we are not speaking about the quality or bandwitdh or linearity of the audio, or noise level, or total harmonic distortion, or clipping, etc., we are speaking mainly about the encoding and compression levels of the audio.

For a technical discussion of MPEG audio visit these links: http://www.tnt.uni-hannover.de/proje...faq/mpeg1.html or http://mpeg.org.

For a good discussion about recording in MPEG 1 Layer 2, and some of pitfalls of and the HDV audio format, read the new book "HDV: What You NEED to Know" created by VASST (Video, Audio, Surround, Streaming Training).

To read a part of the discussion from "HDV: What You NEED to Know" visit this link: http://www.vasst.com/printproducts/HDV-Audio.pdf.

HDV audio (MPEG Layer 2 Audio) seems to be good enough to be used to record audio on the $9,000 Canon XL-H1 HDV camcorder, and the $6,200 GY-HD100. It's also good enough for the Sony HVR-Z1U and the Sony HDR-FX1. So why does it suddenly develop a disease of some sort when it is used as the audio acquisition standard for the HC1/A1U? Did something about the HDV spec change because the HC1 is inexpensive relative to the other HDV Camcorders on the market?

MPEG 1 Layer 2 audio is good enough to faithfully and accurately record audio from any audio source using the best microphones available anywhere in the world. We just have to learn to work with it and get the most out of it. And since MPEG 1 Layer 2 Audio is the audio we will be using as long as we use HDV, let's use this forum to explore ways to get the most out of it.

Regarding your question about indoor vs. outdoor mics, the main difference is that outdoor mics should wear a windsock if it is windy and or rainy out to reduce wind noise and protect the mic from the elements. I'm not sure what other characteristics are important in indoor vs outdoor microphones.

Microphones are distinguished by their ability to be able to reproduce sounds accurately. And because there are many manufacturers claiming that their product is the best, there are many good mics to choose from.

Microphones are distinguised by their type, pickup pattern, linearity, pickup type, relative gain, etc.

There are shotguns (hyper-cardioid, super-cardioid, line-gradient) microphones for interviews and isolating a sound from within a sound field. There are cardioid (uni-directional) microphones, Bi-directonal microphones, Omni-directional microphones, and Stereo. There are condensor microphones, electret-condensor microphones, dynamic microphones, piezo electric microphones and ribbon microphones.

Pricing is all over the map.

Earlier in this thread I recommended a number of microphones that I use personally and provided links to them.

Regarding your statement that you "would like to be able to portray as much character of the room through sound as possible," this is a job for multiple microphones and a mixer, no single microphone can hope to accomplish this task.

Microphones have to be placed strategically throughout the room to pick up the different sounds that you want to acquire. One microphone would only pick up sound in the area the microphone is placed (depends upon the mics polar pick-up pattern), and the echo from other sound sources in the room.

Best regards, Dave.

Last edited by Dave F. Nelson; April 9th, 2006 at 04:39 PM.
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Old April 10th, 2006, 05:45 AM   #20
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Hi Dave,
I thought Mp3 was better quality than Mpeg 1 layer 2, will have to take a look at the link you posted in a while.
Me and a friend are experimenting with making Binaural mics at the moment, hope to get some interesting surround sound effects.
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Old April 10th, 2006, 09:04 AM   #21
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For both video and audio, HDV is a great acquisition format for the $$$ spent.

If you are going to do significant further editing/processing of the material, its probably smart to convert to a lossless (e.g. wav for the audio) or near-lossless (e.g. cineform avi for the video) format before you get underway with that editing.

Of course I wish I DID have the deluxe-quality audio gear, sound recording assistants and sound-controlled recording environments that would expose the mpeg compression as the most significant weakness of my workflow - but sadly that's nowhere near being the limiting factor for me .....
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Old April 16th, 2006, 10:05 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Nelson
...

And if you have a little more sophisticated equipment you can encode 5.1 surround sound onto the 2 channels of an A1U live. Then they can be decoded in Adobe Premier or other NLE and burned to the new HD DVD which just came out about a month ago. The above skateboarding example is just begging to be done in surround sound, and most are. ...
How is this done, exactly? Sounds interesting.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 09:30 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Nelson
...

And if you have a little more sophisticated equipment you can encode 5.1 surround sound onto the 2 channels of an A1U live. Then they can be decoded in Adobe Premier or other NLE and burned to the new HD DVD which just came out about a month ago. The above skateboarding example is just begging to be done in surround sound, and most are. ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gian Pablo Villamil
How is this done, exactly? Sounds interesting.
Recording a Dolby 5.1 sound mix has little to do with the A1U and a whole lot to do with the audio acquisition process. I don't want to say that it is complicated but it requires a substantial investment in audio engineering time, equipment, software, licensing, etc.

The question you asked requires a little more than a two paragraph answer. In fact, there is not enough space to even scratch the surface in the 10,000 character post limitations on this board.

However the subject matter is interesting and learning how to do it will put you head, shoulders, waisteband, and more, over your competitors, most of which are shooting video with amateurish audio, which is unmistakable when you screen it.

Dolby 5.1 playback is performed by dvd players, satellite and cable boxes and audio receivers, etc.. Dolby Dolby 5.1 processing for distribution from audio already encoded onto two stereo channels (AC3) can be handled by many NLEs (I use Adobe Premiere). However acquisition and encoding is done with specialized mixers, processors and decoding equipment licensed by Dolby Labs.

There are volumes written on this subject, so I think it's best to point you directly to the Dolby Labs website. They are the experts on this subject. They are the first best source on the acquisition and distribution of Dolby 5.1 audio (Dolby AC3). Once you have purchased and learned how to use the equipment and software to mix and encode Dolby 5.1 Audio, getting the live mix onto the A1U will be as simple as taking the two line output cables from your 5.1 encoder and plugging them directly into the XLR line inputs of the A1U (piece of cake).

Please refer to the links below to get started:

http://dolbylabs.com/assets/pdf/tech...2.5.1guide.pdf

http://dolbylabs.com/professional/li...cts/index.html

http://dolbylabs.com/professional/li...ons/index.html

http://dolbylabs.com/professional/mo...ure/index.html

Last edited by Dave F. Nelson; April 17th, 2006 at 11:18 AM.
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Old April 17th, 2006, 10:31 AM   #24
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Some people really do live mixing/encoding of 5.1, rather than multitracking it for later surround mixing and encoding? That amazes me...
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Old April 17th, 2006, 11:13 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Hickling
Some people really do live mixing/encoding of 5.1, rather than multitracking it for later surround mixing and encoding? That amazes me...
Sometimes it's the only way. However you can use a multi-track recorder/portable studio to do the live multi-track recording and then mix it and sync it in post, if it doesn't have to go out live over satellite or whatever. But if it's live, it's live, and it has to be acquired, mixed and encoded live.

A good example of live mixes are the Hi-Def Baseball games and other sporting events done in stadiums now with 5.1 audio. Another example is the live transmission of the Olympics which was broadcast in Hi-Def and included live Dolby 5.1 mixing and encoding.

--Dave
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Old April 18th, 2006, 12:23 PM   #26
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Question for Dave from an (another?) old buzzard...

Thanks for the useful info, Dave. I have a question for you, maybe you can offer some suggestions as to what I need for this.

In a couple of months, I have a big project involving two sets, lots of kids, cameras and fun. This is an interactive series with around 8 kids each time, plus the main talent. Since these kids are in the 7-11 year bracket, and spontanaity is very important, we have to be extremely careful about any distractions, including using any shotguns on booms, too many cameramen, etc. The talent can use a small headset mic no prob.

For various reasons, this is going to be a four camera shoot, but how to do audio is somewhat of a head-scratcher. I need good audio from the kids too, but don't want the hassle/pain of putting hidden lavs on them. I've been thinking of hiding boom mics in fake "flowers" in front of the kids, between them and the main talent, but would need at least 3 good mics to cover and distance could be a problem. Since kids are so squirmy, foot noise could be a prob if miked from above. There will not be a lot of on-set movement, so static positions are okay.

Everything will feed into a custom-made HDD recording system which makes a single AVI of many streams of video/audio (nice to have friends in the professional R&D video world!) which will be split up later for post production, and audio/video FX, etc. Output will need to be broadcast quality, but will also be offered on DVD. Dolby 5.1 audio is really not necessary, as the target audience is mostly Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries.

Since we're doing this as a "non-profit", cost is somewhat of a factor.

Any suggestions?

Stephen Armour - ABE Prod. - Brazil
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Old April 18th, 2006, 06:11 PM   #27
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Without knowing more about the shape and size of the room and the distances involved, it would be difficult to make any recommendations. However, if this is a one time only deal and can't be recorded in a studio where you can control the environment, you should create a set as close to the one you will actually be using including the eight children and seeing how to best acquire the sound. Before attempting to do this, you should check out the location, carefully and ascertain exactly what you are up against.

Next, set up a room similar to the one you will be using. You will probably need at least 4 mics. The more mics you use, the closer they can be to the subject. Closer means lower ambient noise levels and better the audio. Bring some unidirectionals and some shotguns. I would guess the unidirectionals will be the best if you can get them close enough to the subjects.

Do not use low sensitivity dynamic voice mics since they would have to be placed too close to the subjects. Use higher sensitivity condensor or electret condensor mics.

I don't recommend using omnis based on what you have described. Bring at least a 4 channel mixer or better yet multi-track recorder so that you can remix in post, although I got the impression you want to mix the audio and include it in the avi instead.

If you can use boom stands and they won't interfere with the lighting, use them. If the mics need to be concealed, you have another problem. You may have to bring a few flower pots along.

Try to get the kids to act out the parts in the positions you expect them to be in. Don't forget to set up the lighting as well. Work with the mic levels, play with the mic positions until you like them. Shoot a test and see what happens. Needless to say, you can use adults if you have to, instead of kids for the test.

Be sure to have a separate audio guy to ride the mic levels during the production to keep the hottest mic on the kid doing the talking while trimming the other 3 mic levels to hold the ambient noise levels down. You can always add music, foley and effects in post.

In a situation like this you should work the bugs out before you go live so-to-speak. It sounds like an easy gig but you never know.

--Dave
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