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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
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Old May 7th, 2009, 03:25 PM   #1
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FX7 Audio related questions

I have three questions I'm hoping someone could take the time to answer. I'm about to get an FX7 and I want to know about some specifics.

1) Can I plug a line level RCA input (with an adapter of course) into the mike jack and get a good recording or will it be too hot or weak?

2) If I can't do the above, or even if I can, would I be able to use a Zoom H4 as the microphone rather than the onboard one by plugging it into the mic jack? If I can do this, can I also plug a line level input into the H4 to send to the mic jack as a second source so I can record the board mix and audience applause at theater events?

3) Is the H4 a better mic than the onboard one?

Thanks,
Eric
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Old May 7th, 2009, 09:51 PM   #2
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The FX 7 only has a mic level input so it is probably going to be too hot for a line signal.

You can put the input on manual level in the menu and try a lower volume input, but it may distort.

You can't run the H4 as a second source into the camera as the input overrides the internal mic (as far as my memory goes) but you could just sync it up in post as we do for all our concerts. (use a H2 for P.A. splits and camera mic for live audience ambience).

Just set the record mode on the H4 to 48,000 to match the audio from the camera to make life much easier for your NLE.

We sometimes run a Studio 1 mixer under our FX 7 which enables us to mix mic/line inputs before it hits the camera for some shoots.

Cheers,

Vaughan
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Old May 7th, 2009, 10:09 PM   #3
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What I'm also asking though, is will I be able to use the H4 as a mic that overrides the onboard mic by plugging it into the mic jack, and will the H4 be a better mic than the onboard one?

Thanks,
Eric
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Old May 8th, 2009, 03:22 AM   #4
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The simple answer is yes, it will physically connect together and you will get sound. The quality of the audio you will get is debatable.

As Vaughan says, it would be much better to use the Zoom separately, maybe place it much closer to your sound source, then you have two stereo soundtracks recording instead of one. Redundancy is always good with this sort of thing.

The built-in stereo mics in the Sony FX consumer range are pretty good for ambient noise. If the FX7 is anything like my old VX2100 it will be good - but like any on-cam mic, it will pick up a lot of camera noise (from the tape mechanism and the lens, as well as handling noise) in quieter locations.

But yes, even though we're advising differently, you can do it.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 12:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for that. I also have/had the vx2100. I liked the sound quality from the onboard mics too. The problem I'm going to run into with the VX7 is that the mic input doesn't have a mic line switch like the 2100 did. I want to be able to plug a line level input into the camera for recording the music off the board at dance performances and then be able to get the applause after each piece or, be able to get the sound of tap shoes. I am wondering what the best way to do this would be. Any suggestions would be excellent. I am relatively new to this and am only doing it on an amateur level a few times a year, so I have a lot of learning to do.

Thanks,
Eric
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Old May 8th, 2009, 06:35 PM   #6
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i thought beachtek adaptors were designed for this sort of purpose, ie, getting pro audio into consumer camcorders?
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Old May 9th, 2009, 03:47 AM   #7
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Eric,

You could get a Beachtek or Juicedlink (if you don't mind a big box strapped to the bottom of the camera), but I have a feeling that you are asking this because you don't want to shell out even more cash!

If you want to tap the board for audio and get ambient noise, then the best course of action really is to record to the H4 from the board and use the cam mic for ambient sound (such as crowd reaction).

Without buying a Beachtek or similar, it will be hard to get the music from the board as well as ambient noise. And even with a Beachtek, you'll have to buy an addon mic as well. Recording two sources (board via the Zoom and ambient via the cam) is cheapest.
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Old May 10th, 2009, 10:50 AM   #8
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Thanks for that. I actually would need to buy an H4, I've just been talking about it because many people refer to it. Do you think it's better than the camera's mic? Also, I'm embarrassed to show what a newbie I am, but how would I sync the H4 audio with the footage if I was using it without it being connected to the camera? I've heard of a hand clap, but I couldn't do that during a performance.

If I buy a box for line and mic, do you have a stereo mic suggestion or is the H4 the way to go?

Thanks,
Eric
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Old May 10th, 2009, 01:14 PM   #9
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Ooooh, now we're getting into speculation and personal opinion. Usual disclaimers apply! Don't just take my word for it, opinions differ and I'm not an expert!

If you need XLR imputs, get the Zoom H4 (or the new H4N - it's pretty cool). If you don't, you can get the Zoom H2 which is cheaper, but still has its own stereo mic and is smaller. Both record to SD cards. There's probably other differences, but the XLR is why I went for the H4. If buying again, I would be tempted by the Z2 purely for its smaller size.

To synch the audio, use the hand clap - the poor man's clapperboard! Then in your editing software, drop in the video and audio from the camera on one track. Drop the audio from the zoom onto another track - and move them around until the "peak" where the clap is at the same point on each. You may need to turn some settings on and off so you can see the audio waveform. (You do of course need to be recording in one take in the camera and not starting and stopping it).

The H4 on its own records pretty good stereo audio. Not as good as $2000 pairs of matched mics, but then this is the real world. Better than the camera mic? I think so - but mainly because it can be moved away from the camera to avoid picking up noise. You can adjust levels in the Zoom as well, though the user interface on the orginal H4 is tiny and fiddly for my fat fingers.

A good general stereo mic is the Beyerdynamic MCE72, it comes with an XLR to mini jack adapter so it would plug into the FX7 or the Zoom H2 or H4. I'm sure the Beyer mic is often overlooked, but in my experience it is really good at capturing ambient audio in stereo.

The Rode StereoVideomic is good as well, as you'd expect from anything from Rode. The physical shape is a bit odd (I found it made my VX2100 feel a bit top-heavy), but the sound is good as well.

If you get the Juicedlink or Beachtek, you still only have two channels of audio - either a stereo mic or a stereo source from outside. All that you gain is the facility to adjust the levels before they hit the camera. They are good if (for example) you want to record from two mono sources (an on-cam shotgun mic and a wireless receiver for a lav mic).

I would try to do this on the cheap if possible. Try the camera on its own for ambient noise (crowd etc.). It may work! Get a Zoom unit or similar to record general stereo sound, or from a sound board. You can hide the Zoom up near the stage to record music directly. Mine came with a mini tripod which can be useful for this.

You can always add mics later as the need arises in specific circumstances.

All this is just my take on it. My videoing tends to be in the outdoors and nowhere near sound boards and music - duck quacks and bird song don't have to synch perfectly...!

Hopefully someone else will join in and verify or rubbish what I have said!
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Old May 10th, 2009, 01:27 PM   #10
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Eric, this thread that I've created on FX7 audio hiss could be useful to you:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/all-thing...connector.html

Best of luck, P.I.
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