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Old August 16th, 2002, 02:13 AM   #1
nida sinn
 
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audio customization vx2000

Hello all,
I have spent a bit of time reviewing this site and am glad to know that such a forum exists. Some great heads bouncing around in here.

Im in need of a one person doc. set-up for work in the least friendly places on our lonely planet.
Most of my experience has been in film production and this will mark my first video camera purchase and project working solo...not true, I did take a L1 to south america when it frist came out...the camera couldnt handle the humidity.
Anyway, Im entertaining two options concerning sound.
One is the use of a mini-disk recorder as a lav. Just put the recorder in the subjects pocket, pin the lav on and record. Ill sync in post with FCP.
Has anyone done this?
The camera mic can serve as the second channel.

My second sound querry is about going with an external XLR adaptor. Now ive seen many postings claiming the pd 150 has an advantage with its built in XLR because it has phantom power but, beachtech makes an adaptor with phantom power...shouldnt this solve the problem? (major concern for me is to not have too many batteries and cables)
Also, i read somewhere else that the ME66 doesnt have enough output to work sufficiently with VX2000. Was this person perhaps refering to a set up without external XLR because of the infamous hissss when you turn the levels up past the half-way point? If so, does the external adaptor give you enough control and power to compensate?

I know we are talking about a price increase to rival the cost of a pd150 but I think there is much to be said about having the XLRs on the bottom rather than top of the camera, and the option of leaving it off if necessary is nice too.

A good wireless mic suggestion would also be greatly appreciated.
thanks in advance

nida sinn
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Old August 16th, 2002, 11:02 AM   #2
nida sinn
 
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By the way, I forgot to mention the source of my inquiry...a nice review by Brooks Reid at :
www.dvinfo.net/sony/reports/vx2k-br1.php
many have already read it im sure but here is a quote:

If you are planning on using the VX2000 with an external mic to record professional audio, this setup works. If you are planning to use a shotgun or external mic without a mixer or preamp, then you need to find a mic that has plenty of output to compensate for the low input sensitivity of the VX2000. I can't tell you which mic has the most output, but the report that Sennheisers don't work well with the VX2000 is probably because the output is too low.It would be nice if the manual mode had as much gain as the auto mode, but you can work around it and still get good clean audio.

Which makes me wonder, is the bech tek DXA-6 (the model with phantom power) a comparable fix to the British modification performed by the BBC as referenced in the audio mod Thread?
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Old August 16th, 2002, 11:38 AM   #3
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Re: audio customization vx2000

>>Im in need of a one person doc. set-up for work in the least friendly places on our lonely planet.
Most of my experience has been in film production and this will mark my first video camera purchase and project working solo...not true, I did take a L1 to south america when it frist came out...the camera couldnt handle the humidity.<<

You may need one of the underwater cases for the camera if you want to mostly be independent of humidity issues.

>>Anyway, Im entertaining two options concerning sound.
One is the use of a mini-disk recorder as a lav. Just put the recorder in the subjects pocket, pin the lav on and record. Ill sync in post with FCP.
Has anyone done this?<<

I do it all the time at weddings. The MD recorder will also record from shotguns and other microphones.

>>The camera mic can serve as the second channel.<<

>>My second sound querry is about going with an external XLR adaptor. Now ive seen many postings claiming the pd 150 has an advantage with its built in XLR because it has phantom power but, beachtech makes an adaptor with phantom power...shouldnt this solve the problem? (major concern for me is to not have too many batteries and cables)<<

Then you will want the PD-150, not the beachtek which makes the camera clumsy at times. ANd certainly adds at least one more cable that will get in the way. And requires additional batteries.

The PD-150 provides 48 volts of Phantom Power which means that your microphone response will be optimized as opposed to using an AA cell for power.

<<Also, i read somewhere else that the ME66 doesnt have enough output to work sufficiently with VX2000. >>

Wow, if the 66 isn't hot enough, then not much is. I use a lower output AT835B with my PD-150. In the environments in which I shoot, out in the real world, the ambient noise floor is so high that any hiss that might be there is swamped. Frankly, I have yet to hear any hiss from the combo and I have a good audio editing setup with Near-Field Monitor speakers. It's probably there but I'm not certain that it is meaningful.

>>I know we are talking about a price increase to rival the cost of a pd150 but I think there is much to be said about having the XLRs on the bottom rather than top of the camera, and the option of leaving it off if necessary is nice too.<<

In my opinion, the XLR's don't bother any more than the wire from the adapter (I use both). In general, they are clipped to the top handle when I get everything set up. Minimal problem. The on-camera microphone mount has been replaced on my 150 with another Sony mount that will hold almost any shotgun microphone. Of course, with the 150, you don't have to worry about leaving anything off since it is built-in.

Also, the 150 will allow you to assign channel 1 XLR input to both
stereo channels. And you can split the level control on the 150. So I leave one channel in automatic and the other in manual control with the level turned down. That way I can catch the low and high sounds and switch between tracks as necessary.

>>A good wireless mic suggestion would also be greatly appreciated.<<

It depends on the $ you want to spend. Lectrosonics is probably the best available but at a price premium. The Sennheiser and Audio Technica systems are considered quite good. And about 1/3rd the price of the Lectrosonics.

If you are going to SA with this rig, I'd go for the most rugged setup I could find. In fact, I'd contact the differenct manufacturers and ask if they have options for high humidity areas. Things like conformal coatings on the circuit boards could save them from a variety of funguses. And I'd get a system that would supply phantom power to the microphone from the transmitter. (The butt-plug transmitter is really great for use with a shotgun where you want good sound but need a distant camera.
thanks in advance

You want, at the least, to store your equipment when it is not in use in a humidity-controlled environment. A sealable container where you can throw a few bags of dessicant would be a good idea.
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Old August 16th, 2002, 12:17 PM   #4
nida sinn
 
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Re: Re: audio customization vx2000

Hello Mike
Thanks for your response. Few more questions though.

<<The PD-150 provides 48 volts of Phantom Power which means that your microphone response will be optimized as opposed to using an AA cell for power.>>

I read that Sony after much denial fixed the audio hiss problem in the latest 150 models and offers upgrades to address older models. Can anyone confirm that cameras with serial numbers higher than 1003300 are good to go?

<<In my opinion, the XLR's don't bother any more than the wire from the adapter (I use both). In general, they are clipped to the top handle when I get everything set up. Minimal problem. The on-camera microphone mount has been replaced on my 150 with another Sony mount that will hold almost any shotgun microphone. Of course, with the 150, you don't have to worry about leaving anything off since it is built-in.>>

What mount are you speaking of here?




<<If you are going to SA with this rig, I'd go for the most rugged setup I could find. In fact, I'd contact the differenct manufacturers and ask if they have options for high humidity areas. Things like conformal coatings on the circuit boards could save them from a variety of funguses. >>

Must I special order a unit with conformal coating directly fron Sony?

<<And I'd get a system that would supply phantom power to the microphone from the transmitter. (The butt-plug transmitter is really great for use with a shotgun where you want good sound but need a distant camera.>>

Could you elaborate a bit? I thought the 150 supplies phantom power as a standard feature. Im not familiar with the butt-plug, could you describe this set-up...

Thanks again

nida sinn
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Old August 16th, 2002, 02:01 PM   #5
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My PD-150, which is about 4 months old works OK for me. I cannot tell you the details of the issue nor know if the folks who complained are now satisfied. There are some who still think the problem is there but masked.

I personally have to question whether the problem now exists in real-world applications. I have recorded to my PD-150 using a studio microphone (large diaphram), dialog that seems pretty clean to me. Even in the TV studio that I used, the background AC noises were louder than any hiss that might have been introduced by the 150.

The mount is a Sony CAC-12 which costs around $180 from B&H and will bolt right in place of the existing mount.


Sony will probably not build you a special camera. That is why I suggested using a dive box for the camera. I was talking of the wireless system. Those manufacturers are small enough to perhaps do specials or, in fact, have standard special order products.

<<Could you elaborate a bit? I thought the 150 supplies phantom power as a standard feature. Im not familiar with the butt-plug, could you describe this set-up...>>

I was talking about the wireless transmitter. The butt plug is a large cube that plugs into the XLR connector of a microphone and turns it into a wireless microphone. The less expensive transmitters from Sennheiser and others do not supply phantom power. The 500 series of the Sennheiser Evolution product line does. If you buy all 500 series units, the transmitters will also report their battery levels to the receiver among other nice features.

You can purchase a Sennheiser Evolution 100 system and a 500 Butt Plug. The phantom power feature will work but the reporting functions will not. Components from the Evolution series 100, 300 and 500 will transmitt/receive with no compatibility problems except some of the fancier bits will be inoperative.
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Old August 16th, 2002, 02:13 PM   #6
nida sinn
 
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hey thanks Mike,
I noticed you use a pc110. Im looking for a back-up to use when i dont feel confident pulling out the big camera (big reffers to size of pd150/vx2000). I tried the new pc 101 and find its picture noticable not as good as its predecessors from a few years back. Did sony used to put 1/4 ccd in those early models opposed to the 1/4.7 currently employed?

What chip size does the 110 hav e? it is out of production but some are still on the market. Any other small camera suggestions are appreciated.

all the best
nida sinn
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Old August 16th, 2002, 05:05 PM   #7
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The DCR-PC110 uses 1/4" chips. Approximately 1,000,000 elements in still mode, 690,000 in video mode.

About 7 lux low light capability but it looks very good in decent light.

I bought mine for use in Police Cars when I ride with the local police. I like the Super NightShot along with the optional IR light. I can look into back yards as far as 100' and get a (green) image of the action.

I understand that some of the newer sony cameras have a color nightshot. I don't know how well that works.

The still camera capability is very nice. I use it to take shots I'm going to turn into custom covers or for images around which I want to pan. With a 128 megabyte memory stick, it will record 200 highest quality pictures or, at 640 by 480, 2000 pictures.

I also use the camera as an 'alter-cam' at weddings. I can almost always sneak it in somewhere to give me great pictures of the couple.

BTW, with all of these small cameras, wide-angle isn't so wide (not quite as good as the PD-150 which also isn't as wide as I need) so I purchased Century Optic's zoom-through wide angle auxiliary lenses. They are quite nice, minimal distortion and at full wide, who needs to focus?
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Old August 16th, 2002, 09:17 PM   #8
nida sinn
 
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You got a good one there Mike. Im afraid they dont make the small ones the way they used to... the best quality images ive seen from those models came from camers purchased in 1999.

Cutting costs on picture and compensating with increased features and gizmos. The night shot features are very handy. I found the IR on the pc 101 to have about a 15 foot range which tapers off rather guickly from about six feet away. The super night shot (color)which seems to be a combo of its slowest shutter speed and IR, has a much greater range and amazing image resolution. It's beautiful on a tripod for those urban night scapes.

Just wish the 101 had a decent picture compared to its predecessors.

By the way, why do you think most DV features printed to film use the pd150?
Is it because the others like the G2 canon with 30 fr progressive shutter or the not yet released Panasonic 24 fr progressive shutter were'nt around?
Do you see a change in this trend?

nida sinn
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Old August 16th, 2002, 10:21 PM   #9
nida sinn
 
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But to get back to the question of audio...
As Im on a very small budget and must consider all set-up configurations, Im considering the VX2000 with an additional mike with mini plug to mount on the camera and useing the mini disk recorder as a lav.

In my second posting I site Brooks Reid's reference to high output mics being a must because of the VX2k's low audio input signal in manual audio mode. Is there a mount on mic that you recomend for this set-up?

The $$ I save on XLR adaptor or the cost differential with PD150 will go towards the cost of wide angle adaptor...looking at century optics .55 and .65
Ofcourse Iwould like to have their 16:9 adaptor.

nida sinn
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Old August 17th, 2002, 06:58 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by nida sinn : But to get back to the question of audio...
>>As Im on a very small budget and must consider all set-up configurations, Im considering the VX2000 with an additional mike with mini plug to mount on the camera and useing the mini disk recorder as a lav. <<

>>In my second posting I site Brooks Reid's reference to high output mics being a must because of the VX2k's low audio input signal in manual audio mode. Is there a mount on mic that you recomend for this set-up?

If you read my reply, I basically disagree with his conclusion with regard to the Sennheiser ME66. I'm not certain there are many microphones with a higher output. If this is a concern, and you can manage a small mixer as you operate the camera, then look into the Rolls mini-mixer. A few hundred dollars at Markertek.

But what you and a lot of people do, when you ask for recommendations, it never tell us WHAT you are going to record and WHERE. That information may change our answers. We've so far keyed off your intitial comments about a shotgun microphone. But that style may not be the best for recording your subjects.

<<The $$ I save on XLR adaptor or the cost differential with PD150 will go towards the cost of wide angle adaptor...looking at century optics .55 and .65>>

Make certain you get a lens hood if you are going to use the adapter outdoors. The lens hood made for the 55mm lens for the Mamiya RB-67 will fit very nicely. I think it is probably fairly inexpensive too.

You probably want the .55 since it will support full zoom-through.


nida sinn -->>>
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Old August 17th, 2002, 07:56 PM   #11
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The ME66 is juat fine on the VX2K. With my camera preamp set at about 40% I sometimes have to attenuate the signal through the Beach.
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Old August 17th, 2002, 10:51 PM   #12
nida sinn
 
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Hello and thanks again for your patient expertise.
I reviewed my initial posting and I was indeed cryptic as to where and what.
Where would be north africa what would be the Kabili/State conflict . The terrain ranges in climate zones the country itself has five. Bright and hot in the summer. Landscapes will be primary b-roll. interviews will be conducted in the field (that's where I plan on useing the mini-disk with some kind of lav attatchment....havent picked it out yet with the shot gun ME66. Interior interviews recorded with the mini-disk/lav combo and on board camer mic for ambiance and room tone. Not sure what the outdoor location sound gathering set-up will be.
Also, as all must be carried and subject to searches by the authorities, Im trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. My initial feeling was that the vx2000 may be too large but, not sure what other options I have...perhaps the AG-ez50. I remember the EZ30 was a nice little camera with xlr docking bay standard.
ALL gear batteries and stock should fit into a fanny pack style bag. Portabrace has one I will lookinto.

By the way anyone sell a dc battery charger I can plug into car lighter socket ? I know about those fold out solar chargers but Im afraid the locals may think im setting up a remote sattelite hook-up or something. Too risky.
So what do you think?

Thanks for the Mamiya RB-67 tip, I will take your advice.

nida sinn
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Old August 18th, 2002, 11:30 AM   #13
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Send me an email and I'll send you a response.

In terms of equipment, I think you are quite a bit off base here.

It would have been much better if you had initially stated what and where and let us suggest what to take.

Although I don't go into open war zones, I do travel with the local police on patrol and on raids. What I use there is far different from what I use for weddings and other similar events.

I also go out and shoot events where I'm thousands of miles from home and have to count every pound (but only because of shipping costs and nobody is shooting around me). But I have to get good video and sound and that means adequate lighting and sound gear, not to mention the cameras.

Send me an email at mike@byvideo.com and I'll reply. To anyone else who is interested, send me your email address and I'll include you in the reply.

Let's terminate this one-to-one thread at this point.
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