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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old July 5th, 2005, 11:55 AM   #1
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Shooting interviews with the PDX10

Hello!

After tons of reading up on different camera options and poring over this board quite a bit, I've finally bit the bullet and purchased a PDX10.

I shoot a public access show that I produce, edit, and create graphics for myself. The show revolves around interviews with urban artists, and relevant performances if possible.

This week I'll be shooting my first footage with the new camera. A DJ performing at a club, and then an interview with him this weekend.

I've read, and noticed, that the supplied shotgun mic is not very sensitive. This is a bit disappointing since I'd like to have a "ready to shoot" package right out of the box, but the footage I've test shot does look gorgeous, so that's comforting.

I can't really afford additinal pro audio stuff for a couple of weeks but I will be borrowing my friend's Sony lavalier mic set up for a little bit.

What kind of audio set up do you think would be ideal for shooting in the future? Would my own lavalier system do it? Should I consider getting an upgrade to the supplied shotgun mic?

If anyone's curious about the show, I have an episode posted online that I shot with my well worn Canon ZR40 and jazzed up a little in FCP:

http://www.defkon.com/video_starshine.html

Thanks for any feedback or input!
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Old July 5th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Konstantin Vilenchitz
Hello!

I can't really afford additional pro audio stuff for a couple of weeks but I will be borrowing my friend's Sony lavalier mic set up for a little bit.
That's not bad at all. Just make sure you adjust the audio inputs
correctly. Most likely it'll be Mic input. Use one channel for the shotgun
and one line for the lav. If you're close to the interviewee you'll get
decent audio with the shotgun as well.

>What kind of audio set up do you think would be ideal for shooting
>in the future? Would my own lavalier system do it?

A lav is indispensable. Not sure how good is your lav.
You haven't said what model it is.

>Should I consider getting an upgrade to the supplied shotgun mic?

Yes

You might consider also a wireless mic. in my case I chose that route.
but that's because of my application.

Lastly, you'll need lighting. In my case, I chose to get soft lighting.

Good luck
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Old July 5th, 2005, 02:19 PM   #3
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Use the lavalier for the interview and the shotgun mic for the show but get some board audio from the show to mix with your shotgun audio. If the shotgun is not sensitive, a loud concert will not be a problem. Just don't use it for the quieter scenes.

You got it made with the XLR jacks, though! :)
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Old July 5th, 2005, 03:05 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

Correction: He says it's a Sennheiser model, but he couldn't find the exact one on the B&H site to show me. Maybe it's no longer produced?

I have a Lowel Pro light that I use during interviews. It's nice because it's tiny and I tend to just bounce it off a wall for fill.

I have to keep my set up pretty minimal since I'm running around NYC.

Is the Sony UWP-C1 the way to go if I was to get my own lavalier set up?
I feel like that's popular, but definitely pricey. Are Sennheiser any better?
I'm never sure what is adequate when it comes to audio. I'd rather wait and spend money on something of quality rather than cut corners and be sorry when I hear the results.

What kind of set shotgun mic would be a good upgrade?

As for getting sound off the boards, would I need a DAT? I'm not that familiar with audio set ups. Would it in theory be an easy thing to get an XLR cable to just feed the camera live directly?

Since the show is tomorrow I'll probably just have to make do with the shotgun's sound for now. It should be OK though. On my Canon I used to just use a Sony stereo mic and the supplied shotgun has to be an upgrade from that, right? <:)
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Old July 5th, 2005, 08:58 PM   #5
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Generally you get what you pay for, so pricey lavaliers by either Sony or Sennheiser should be of quality.

Sennheiser shotguns are great. I use an ME64. I chose it specifically as an on camera mic, because it isn't too narrow in it's pickup pattern, while having good cancellation in the rear (not all shotguns do, especially the more directional ones, such as the ME66). You will have to supplement a piece of material, such as a small cutting of an old mouse pad, to take up the extra space between the mic and the mount, at least with the Sennheisers.

An XLR cable of some length will be exactly what you'll need to get a line-in from the sound board to the camera. The best way to go, plus the shotgun for room sound.

Good luck!
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Old July 6th, 2005, 06:08 AM   #6
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Emergency shots

What I am going to describe is what I would consider an "emergency tip". And it comes from someone who always reacts against people using the camera mic.

In fact I continue to react to that IF YOU LEAVE YOUR MIC ON THE CAMERA.

But you can still use the standard mic for your interviews.

What you should do is get yourself a longer XLR/XLR cable, some kind of mic suspension and a mic stand. Then disengage the supplied mic from the camera, plug the extension cable and get closer to your subject. Use the suspension and the stand to hold it there for you.

Always be aware that a mic should be closer than two feet from your subject's lips, so you can cut-off ambience level.

Always use manual level on your audio, and set it for peaks going up to -4dB or so, if your subject speaks normally, that is with no change in tone. If it does then set the peaks closer to -12dB, and that will probably take care of unexpected peaks.

This is a procedure I used with my PDX10 when I did some interviews in NY, right after buying it from B&H. The camera mic did the job well, and it put it on chairs, tables and pillows to get closer, as I moved around with my camera on a monopod.

Even if I did have a lapel mic (wired), I decided not to use it because my subjects were static and I could get good audio by doing what I did, leaving the subject more comfortable. Of course I checked the mic positions with my headphone, something which you should do too, whatever mic you use.

Whenever you can do get a better shotgun mic, and the options will depend on your budget. But whichever it is continue to use it as I described above for interviews, never on the camera. Using it like that is the next best thing to using a soundman.


Carlos
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Old July 6th, 2005, 07:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Mielke
An XLR cable of some length will be exactly what you'll need to get a line-in from the sound board to the camera. The best way to go, plus the shotgun for room sound.
I don't know many places that have an open XLR on their board. They usually are all used up. Have you ever asked a sound guy if they have an XLR out for you to plug into? :) You'll get a pretty sour look.

He'll probably be needing a 1/4" to XLR with a barrel adapter.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 08:03 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses!

I did pick up a wired lav mic and a 15' XLR cable yesterday.

I hope the sound board is right where Blockhead (the DJ)'s set up is, but if it's too far I wouldn't really be able to have a cable stretching across the club anyway.

Carlos, thanks for the tip but can you explain why you're so adamant about not having the mic actually rest in the shotgun holder? I don't know if it would be practical in my situation to get a mic stand considering I'm already carrying the camera, a pro light, light stand and tripod for most interviews.

I don't have a car, and I'm filming completely on my own. The more I can streamline, the better.

The one other thing I'm considering getting before the show tonight is a mono pod, which I'd been exploring through B&H and this site. Although the PDX is by no means heavy, I think I would get a more stable shot obviously and avoid some arm fatigue, since I don't know how much space I'll have by Blockhead's set up (saying he's a DJ is a little inaccurate. He's more of a beat producer, working with a laptop) for my little tripod.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 08:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Konstantin Vilenchitz
I don't know how much space I'll have by Blockhead's set up (saying he's a DJ is a little inaccurate. He's more of a beat producer, working with a laptop) for my little tripod.
Ugh!

You'll be doing more work than him, you know.

Maybe he should interview you. ;)
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Old July 6th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Stephen Finton
Ugh!

You'll be doing more work than him, you know.

Maybe he should interview you. ;)
Hahaha! He was even saying he wouldn't be putting on much of a "show" but you know it's always good to see someone do what they do. Better than a straight talking head for 28 minutes at any rate. :)

Thanks again for all the replies. I'll be sure to post a Quicktime of the episode when it's done.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 10:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Konstantin Vilenchitz
Hahaha! He was even saying he wouldn't be putting on much of a "show" but you know it's always good to see someone do what they do. Better than a straight talking head for 28 minutes at any rate. :)

Thanks again for all the replies. I'll be sure to post a Quicktime of the episode when it's done.
I'd make the video mostly crowd shots. Too long a shot of him basking in the flourescent glow of his LCD will give people the impression that he is just trading stock, after having hit play on Winamp.

I actually was doing a little DJ-ing myself at a club a couple of nights. I had a NUON enhanced DVD player that played visualizations to MP3s that I had on a CD. Had it going through a projector onto a screen and also had a video camera in a feedback loop on the projector. People could walk in front of it and it would send waves out from their bodies, all over the screen.

Except for the camera, I did all this from a bar stool, with a remote in one hand and a drink in another. The ultimate in laziness. My name was DJ Day Job... No kidding.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 01:49 PM   #12
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Ha, that sounds like a wild set up. Dig the dj handle, heh heh.

It should be an interesting scene. I know Blockhead has a following, and another artist from his label is playing that night.

I'm eager to see what the venue is like, along with the crowd.

http://www.ninjatune.net/blockhead/
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Channel 67 (Time Warner) / Ch. 110 (RCN)
http://www.defkon.com
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Old July 6th, 2005, 02:21 PM   #13
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I've got a Bogen monopod (about $35 at B&H Photo) and it really stabilizes my shots at weddings. Even better, of course, is to have a tripod so you get completely steady video during interviews.

I generally do interviews with a tripod at close range with the PDX10's shotgun mic, and they turn out pretty well. I use the monopod sometimes too. I almost never shoot free-hand.

-Jeff
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Old July 6th, 2005, 02:41 PM   #14
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Hey Jeff,

Oh I agree, I'll always stabilize if at all possible. I've never been to this venue before so I'm not sure if I'll really have room for the tripod, but I'm carting it along just in case.

Out of curiosity which Bogen monopod do you use? I was looking at the 680B since it's compact (down to 20") and maybe getting the 3229 Swivel head for it, with quick release.

I know some people have suggested the Slik carbon fiber tripod, but I think that's a little over my monopod budget :)
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http://www.defkon.com
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Old July 6th, 2005, 04:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Konstantin Vilenchitz
Ha, that sounds like a wild set up. Dig the dj handle, heh heh.

It should be an interesting scene. I know Blockhead has a following, and another artist from his label is playing that night.

I'm eager to see what the venue is like, along with the crowd.

http://www.ninjatune.net/blockhead/

OH!

NINJA TUNES!!! Try to get him to send Kid Koala down to Houston! I spoke with DJ Vadim a couple of years back about getting Kid Koala to tour but nothing happened. Apparently he is a slacker extraordinaire.

If they are Ninja Tunes artists, then you will have a pretty good crowd. :)
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