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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old June 4th, 2008, 03:28 AM   #1
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Microphone Questions from a Novice

On a camera like the EX1 we have two internal microphones plus the ability to connect one or two external microphones.

From what I can tell, the audio quality provided by the internal microphones leaves something to be desired and most tend to use an external shotgun microphone instead. This, of course, provides only mono sound and I also understand that it is quite directional.

So my question is: when would you use an external in preference to the internals?

Also, I intend to shoot motorsport which would benefit from stereo imaging of the sound. Should I just use the internals, one external shotgun, two external shotguns or some form of external stereo microphone?
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Old June 4th, 2008, 03:53 AM   #2
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I think the built in mic on the EX-1 is actually pretty good. If you are using it to record ambient sound at a motorsport it should be fine. However if you want to use an on camera mic for getting some run and gun interviews you should get something more directional. I leave a kmr-81i on the camera and I just flip the switches in the back when I want to use the built in stereo mic. Of course if you really need a top notch stereo mic you could try the Sanken CMS-10.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 04:10 AM   #3
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The internal mikes are reasonable but they do pick up handling noises from the camera (switch operations, change grip, etc). So using an external mike is preferable (a stereo shotgun, if you wish) to improve S/N and reduce pick up. One thing you must have is wind protection for the mike. You can't rely on the built in low cut ("wind filter") or simple foam windshields. You will need to look for a version of a dead-cat. Getting the mike off the camera is desirable (on camera can still hear handling) but that isn't easy working by yourself; engage a friend as a boom swinger and grip.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 05:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serena Steuart View Post
One thing you must have is wind protection for the mike.
Any suggestions for wind protection for the internal microphones?
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Old June 4th, 2008, 06:57 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by John Gilmore View Post
Any suggestions for wind protection for the internal microphones?
John, there is actually a pretty good article/review over at www.dvuser.co.uk entitled "Choosing Windshields Carefully." It is a bit technical but provides all the basics of things to look for when you decide to go shopping for one. Cheers!
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Old June 4th, 2008, 07:02 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by John Gilmore View Post
Any suggestions for wind protection for the internal microphones?
The FX1 and Z1 have a similar internal mike arrangement and for them I did make a "sock" of open cell plastic foam that was useful. Two layers of 1 inch foam gives protection in moderate wind, but this isn't easy to configure around the EX mikes. It wasn't easy around the FX1, either! It is important to get a good fit, because any holes will negate benefits. Glue bits together with contact cement. It's a matter of making as well as you can, and testing for effectiveness. I did this when taking the FX1 on holiday where I wanted to minimise equipment; it did work.

EDIT: there is a Rycote micro fluffy for the Z1 that would probably do the EX too.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...indjammer.html

Last edited by Serena Steuart; June 4th, 2008 at 07:10 AM. Reason: to add Rycote
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Old June 4th, 2008, 05:33 PM   #7
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does this furry thing really work?
it looks like it's about to fly away.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Serena Steuart View Post
The FX1 and Z1 have a similar internal mike arrangement and for them I did make a "sock" of open cell plastic foam that was useful. Two layers of 1 inch foam gives protection in moderate wind, but this isn't easy to configure around the EX mikes. It wasn't easy around the FX1, either! It is important to get a good fit, because any holes will negate benefits. Glue bits together with contact cement. It's a matter of making as well as you can, and testing for effectiveness. I did this when taking the FX1 on holiday where I wanted to minimise equipment; it did work.

EDIT: there is a Rycote micro fluffy for the Z1 that would probably do the EX too.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...indjammer.html
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Old June 4th, 2008, 09:58 PM   #8
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does this furry thing really work?
it looks like it's about to fly away.
The spec says 12dB attenuation better than a simple shield. That's all I can say, not having used that particular fluffy.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 08:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Gilmore View Post
Also, I intend to shoot motorsport which would benefit from stereo imaging of the sound. Should I just use the internals, one external shotgun, two external shotguns or some form of external stereo microphone?
John,

one little detail you should know is that you still can use the internal mic (record on channel 1 for ex.) even if an external shotgun is connected to the camera (channel 2).
I most of the time shoot like this: the shotgun to provide me the directional sound of what is happening in front of the camera and the internal (omni directional) mic to provide me ambient sound as well as the stereo mapping. It leaves you the choice while editing as well how much of the two sources you want to use, when interviewing somebody in front of the camera you can simply switch off the camera mic if you don't want it. I filmed motorsport as well and I would say that you should try a shotgun in order to capture decent motorsound of the cars, but then again it is a matter of taste, for me the internal mic would be too far away and too omni directional in order to capture the "emotions" of the engines ;)
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Old June 5th, 2008, 11:02 AM   #10
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felix,

when i attached a shotgun to ext2 and leave the internal on, i don't think i'm getting "stereo" off channel 1 from the internal mikes and mono from the external shotgun.
i think i am getting 2 mono tracks.

can you confirm.

thanks

paul






Quote:
Originally Posted by Felix Sorger View Post
John,

one little detail you should know is that you still can use the internal mic (record on channel 1 for ex.) even if an external shotgun is connected to the camera (channel 2).
I most of the time shoot like this: the shotgun to provide me the directional sound of what is happening in front of the camera and the internal (omni directional) mic to provide me ambient sound as well as the stereo mapping. It leaves you the choice while editing as well how much of the two sources you want to use, when interviewing somebody in front of the camera you can simply switch off the camera mic if you don't want it. I filmed motorsport as well and I would say that you should try a shotgun in order to capture decent motorsound of the cars, but then again it is a matter of taste, for me the internal mic would be too far away and too omni directional in order to capture the "emotions" of the engines ;)
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Old June 5th, 2008, 11:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Chiu View Post
felix,

when i attached a shotgun to ext2 and leave the internal on, i don't think i'm getting "stereo" off channel 1 from the internal mikes and mono from the external shotgun.
i think i am getting 2 mono tracks.

can you confirm.

thanks

paul
You are right. You are getting actually two mono tracks (Channel 1 int mic, Channel 2 ext shotgun).

Which makes 1 Stereo track as you have two different sources. Some people might argue that is not a real stereo track where I have to agree, but it suits for my purposes and gives me a possibility to play in the mix later on.

If you want to have a real balanced stereo you would have to opt to shoot either with the two internal mikes or with a stereo shotgun.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 11:44 AM   #12
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ANy good shotgun with stereo recommendations?

felix,

is there such a thing?
a shotgun for the EX1 with stereo capacity?
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Old June 5th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Chiu View Post
felix,

is there such a thing?
a shotgun for the EX1 with stereo capacity?
have a look at this thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=123082
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Old June 5th, 2008, 12:46 PM   #14
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there are a few stereo shotguns available. i've used the at835st on a job and it sounded pretty good. it's also not uncommon to use a matched pair of cardioid mics and mount them together on a shoe bracket to get stereo audio. i know a lot of run-and-gun folks are limited to using on-camera mics, but proximity plus positioning is always the best recipe for getting good sound.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 03:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry J. Anwender View Post
John, there is actually a pretty good article/review over at www.dvuser.co.uk entitled "Choosing Windshields Carefully."
That's an excellent article indeed, thanks very much Barry.

The good news is it appears I bought the right windshield!
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