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Old April 3rd, 2010, 04:48 PM   #1
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I must vent about my day with the AX-2000

Today was the only the second time I have used my AX-2000 on a work assignment, but the experience was awful.

I'm sure I have some settings wrong or am doing something wrong, but it was a beautiful clear sunny day today and for the life of me, I could not see a thing in the viewfinder. The neutral density filter 1 was engaged, but would that cause the viewfinder to have sort of a dark tint to it to where you couldn't tell if what you were shooting was in focus? I hurriedly went through the camera's settings, trying to change the backlighting or brightness of the viewfinder. Nothing helped. Anyone know what I'm doing wrong or what setting I need to adjust?

And then when I started reviewing the clips, I noticed that the microphone clipped during an interview. Granted, I am using a mic off my V1U, but it never clipped on the V1U. I was about 4 feet away from my subject, no loud noise near us and clip!!!! Does anyone have suggestions for what my input levels should be? I have the audio trim set to +12 and mic gain at 8. I used this mic on the V1u at gain level 9 and it never clipped. And I've tested the mic at home using these settings and the audio was fine. GRRRRRR.

Here is a link to my final video:

http://www.tcpalm.com/videos/detail/...usic-festival/
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Last edited by Sherri Nestico; April 3rd, 2010 at 07:07 PM.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 06:07 PM   #2
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Are you talking about the viewfinder or the LCD screen? The LCD screen is always gonna be hard to see in bright sunlight - but some camera are much worse than others. I don't have the AX2000 so I can't comment on it's screen. If you are talking about the viewfinder, then try using the larger eyecup to block more stray light. In both cases you could try using the live histogram. It's easy to see on the LCD even in bright sunlight because it is black and white, and it will tell you how well your image is exposed. The ND filters will make the whole image darker but will have no effect on the LCD screen settings (other than, of course, showing the change in exposure).

With your audio the most important thing is to always be monitoring with headphones. I remember reading that the NX5 has a feature where you can record the same mic on both channels but at different leves. So if one clips, the other will be ok; likewise if one is too soft the other will be loud enough. I'm not sure how it works in practice or if the AX2000 has the same feature. It would definitely be helpful in those situations where you can't ride the levels.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 07:12 PM   #3
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Hi John,

I'm definitely talking about the viewfinder. The LCD was COMPLETELY useless in the bright light. I do have a large eyecup on the eyepiece, so stray light's not the problem. What I didn't have in the viewfinder was enough contrast. Either the whole scene looked slightly dark, or it was overblown white. And if you take a look at the video link I just added, you will see that the exposure of the shots was fine for the most part. So what looked underexposed or overexposed in the viewfinder came out OK.

I am going to have to delve deeper into the owner's manual. I have a Panasonic HMC-40 and I have never had such problems with it.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 07:28 PM   #4
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is there not a way to adjust the brightness and or contrast of the VF? I may be wrong but I thought there was.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 09:08 PM   #5
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Sherri --

I don't have my NX5 yet, but the audio settings seem hot, particularly the trim. I would turn trim down to at least +6 if not 0 dB and try repeating the situation that gave you the clip.

Assuming that you've already ruled out playback problems, I suspect there might might be a problem with audio automatic gain control. (See page 75 of the manual for where I'm getting this.) This is just a guess, but was there a kind of quiet period right before the clipping? If audio AGC was engaged, it can produce that kind of problem.

The manual also mentions an audio limiter function. This is available when you have the audio "auto/man" switch set to "man" but you have to go into the "audio set up" menu to turn it on. If it was not on, I would try turning it on and trying to replicate the situation where you got clipping. If it really is an audio limiter, it should prevent the kind of clipping you heard. On the other hand, you already had it turned on, it may be more audio AGC and be part of the problem.
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 10:53 PM   #6
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On my NX5U ( using the supplied mic) the gain trim is set at 0. I set up to feed both channels the mono mic, channel 1 is auto and channel 2 is manual with indicator at 5 ( mid point). This manual setup will have the gain clip limiter so will not clip. So I have one channel on auto and the other on manual and can choose which to use or mix. VU meters hover around the mid level most of the time with these settings. My recording is in the theatre and this set up works fine.
Do you have LCD and viewfinder at the same time? This can be setup on the NX5U not sure on the AX2000 its in the menu somewhere so that both can be on at the same time. Otherwise when LCD is open the viewfinder goes off.

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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:26 AM   #7
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I went through the menus and switches today and did some testing. I turned the audio limiter on, set the manual mic gain to 8 on both channels, lowered the trim to 0 and recorded myself talking to the camera about four feet away. Volume was way too low on playback.

Upped the trim to +6. Much better results. No clipping. However, when I tested the mic at +12 trim last week, it didn't clip when I recorded myself. But then it clipped yesterday during an outdoor interview. Strange.

Either way, I'm going to leave the trim at +6, gain at 8 and audio limiter on. I'm going to use the camera tomorrow to videotape an adopt a pet segment for our local Humane Society. We'll see how that goes.

And thanks everyone for all the tips. Keep 'em coming!
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Old April 5th, 2010, 12:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
. I set up to feed both channels the mono mic, channel 1 is auto and channel 2 is manual with indicator at 5 ( mid point). This manual setup will have the gain clip limiter so will not clip. So I have one channel on auto and the other on manual and can choose which to use or mix. VU meters hover around the mid level most of the time with these settings. My recording is in the theatre and this set up works fine.
Sherri - i'd adopt the setup that Ron Evans suggested above. Have your shotgun mono mic feeding both channels, one on auto, other on manual with gain limiter. Then you've got two stabs at the audio.

Generally, i do get a little surprised that anyone is using a brand-new cam (especially from a different manufacturer than a previous machine), and jumping straight into work assignments / commercial work. I'd always do maybe at mininum an hour of testing to check functionality, eliminate the 'oh jiminy how do i do XYZ on this Sony? I can do it on the Pana in 2 seconds" stuff. Just knowing your way 100% around the cam is essential when doing commercial work cos you can't waste time on a shoot trying to find settings on a new cam. Plus an hour spent reading the manual always pays off. Yes these cams all work in simiolar ways, but like you said, you were frantically trying to adjust viewfinder brightness /contrast when you really needed to be concentrating on actually shooting.

Last, the 2 classic audio rules would be :
i) always monitor the sound. Wear good quality headphones like Sony 7506 or 7509 or Sennheiser HD280 Pro. Yes it's a slight hassle, but it would have told you straightaway whilst shooting that the interviewee's monologue was clipping. Would've saved the day. It wasn't like you had terrible clipping, but it was bad enough to annoy you and detract somewhat from the sound obtained - totally understandable. we've all had clipped audio and there's nothing more annoying as it's basically unfixable in post.
ii) Record double-system sound if at all poss. A lavalier clipped to the intreviewee, either feeding a wireless transmitter, or, simpler, feeding a Zoom H4N or iRiver audio recorder or other digital audio recorder (small, fairly cheap, light etc) would have got great audio.
Audio is the one thing that can really wreck a shoot so far better to have too many successful soundtracks to choose from in the edit than be stuck with just one and it's clipped or too hissy or other probs. Or, quicker, (if a lav is too slow to attach etc) then just have a wireless reporters mic, Sennheiser MD42 is good, omni, and have a plugon transmitter on it which is feeding one channel of your recording, (with the other one being an on-camera shotgun). OK it's more money for the wireless mic, but again, it will give you great audio and big plus too is that Electrovoice RE50 and Sennheiser MD42 etc are VERY resistant to wind-noise - so it could save you again on a really windy day (not uncommon in coastal florida) if you're getting too much wind-noise in an on-camera shotgun - the RE50 or MD42 should give great results, and you just hand it to the interviewee, no clipping or fiddling at all.

just some thoughts on that..

there's a great 'sticky' thread in the 'Now Headr This' forum, and in it is listed (in a humorous manner, but with serious intent) the 10 Commandmants of sound ! Here's a link to the first:
http://www.syncsoundcinema.com/2007/...etten-ten.html


Keep going - let us know how the next one goes !!

Last edited by Stu Holmes; April 5th, 2010 at 12:53 AM.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #9
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Hey Stu,

Point taken on me using a new camera on a work assignment, but that's how I learned how to use my Panny HMC-40. I frequently play back the clips while I'm in the field to check quality and despite the audio clipping and viewfinder follies, I was satisfied with the video quality I had from the AX2000. I do keep an extra camcorder with me on assignments in the event of a total equipment meltdown so I could have gone to the HMC-40 if I felt the need to. But going into the field with the AX2000 is the only way I'm going to learn it properly. I like to live dangerously, I guess...:)

Today's shoot at the Humane Society is not work-related, so I'll be able to relax and maybe learn a thing or two more about the AX2000.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 08:35 PM   #10
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Happy to report that all went well at my Humane Society video shoot today. No audio clipping at the new lower settings. And to my surprise, the featured pooch - an 11-year-old hound mix - was a bundle of energy. I could barely keep him in frame, he was running back and forth so much. I also didn't have any viewfinder issues today. I think what may have happened on Saturday was that I threw the VF slightly out of focus by hitting the diopter control under the eyepiece with my thumb as I moved the eyepiece up and down to compose shots. And not having a lot of experience with the AX2000, I didn't realize the diopter control was even there - until I started re-reading the owner's manual and voila! Light went on in my head.

Guess I'm getting old enough to have senior moments, grrrrrr. But at least I'm learning from them.
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Old April 6th, 2010, 10:48 AM   #11
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aha ! the dang dioptre adjustment viewfinder. Good to hear you found the problem. For sure dialing in the wrong number for your eyesight will make things instantly blurry. good stuff Sherri - keep on telling us all how you're getting on with the new cam.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 09:14 PM   #12
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Hey Sherri,

Glad you got the problems worked out. I saw you work for Scripps (I once worked for WPTV a few years back). I'll look out for your stuff on TCPalm!

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Old April 10th, 2010, 10:52 PM   #13
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Thanks, Heath. Small world isn't it?
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Old April 10th, 2010, 11:43 PM   #14
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Yes it is, Sherri. How's the AX2000 now?

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Old April 11th, 2010, 12:58 PM   #15
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Hey Heath,

I didn't have near the problems during this week's assignment as I did last weekend. Don't know if you saw my other post from yesterday. Only complaint this time was the wind noise, which of course isn't the fault of the camera! I just re-edited the piece this morning to take out the noise; I don't fiddle with audio on deadline because I'm not an expert at it and I'm too picky....:)

The more I use the AX2000, the more I like it. The video quality is awesome!
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