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Old January 16th, 2008, 12:33 PM   #1
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Questions about steadicam and mic cable

Hello,

I'm looking into getting a Merlin or Glidecam and was wondering how will it work with a mic cable connected directly to my camera (DVX100A). Will I be able to move around and still have that same steadicam smoothness or will the mic cable ruin it?

I don't have a separate audio mixer for the boom mic to plug into -- I don't have too much money.

Thanks.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 12:50 PM   #2
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With the lighter rigs a cable will indeed "ruin it" for most users--the delicate touch that is required must be beefed up to compensate for the inflexibility of an audio cable and the operating suffers.

You would need more than an outboard mixer, you'd need a separate recorder, which could be another camcorder (even a very inexpensive one) to do this best.

It's not to say that you simply cannot run with a cable, it runs from less-than-ideal to deal-breaker. The more novice one is as an operator, the more of an issue it will be.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 01:09 PM   #3
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Thank you for the quick reply. Hmmm, Guess I'll have to think of an alternative. But that idea of using another inexpensive camera to record audio sounds plausible. Might consider that if I decide to go with the steadicam route, thank you!
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Old January 16th, 2008, 05:29 PM   #4
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And of course the other option is to use a radio-mic (or a wirless audio link if you have an outboard mixer).

- Mikko
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Old January 17th, 2008, 01:40 AM   #5
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Yes that's another good option, but it's too costly for me right now. I'll consider that when my financial status is better. Thanks
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Old January 20th, 2008, 12:39 AM   #6
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Somnang,

The only way that I have found for me to shoot with an external mic (which I didn't know about in advance) was to balance the sled a bit bottom heavy and use my control hand to help keep the post vertical on moves i.e. acceleration or direction changes. It's not easy but when you have no other options it works better than nothing.

Charles and Mikko have excellent suggestions. You can also get a high quality solid state recorder and use it with a boom mic or wireless system. I bought a Zoom recorder and it has been a very nice piece of equipment to own.

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Old February 6th, 2008, 11:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Thompson View Post
Charles and Mikko have excellent suggestions. You can also get a high quality solid state recorder and use it with a boom mic or wireless system. I bought a Zoom recorder and it has been a very nice piece of equipment to own.
I also have a Zoom H4 that I've used just for field sound recording (without video). For $300, the sound quality is unbelievable, and you get hours of sound storage on cheap SD memory cards. The phantom powered XLRs work well. Noise isnít a problem as long as the levels are right.

The only problem Iíve read on some other forums (canít remember now where I surfed) is that the H4 didnít sync well for longer duration shots (more than a couple of minutes). Have you had this problem, or is this just smoke?

Also, even if things sync up nicely, it seems like a hassle to have to manually line things up in post. If you have lots of shots, just trying to figure out what sound goes with each shot could be a challenge.

So I started looking at wireless options, but then I read some horror stories about drop-outs and noise in non-ideal conditions. Lectrosonics seems to get around most of that, but their price is steep ($1K and up).

So hereís what Iím thinking at the moment: Use both the Zoom H4 and a less expensive wireless system (e.g. Sennheiser G2 100 for $500). If the wireless sounds good for a given shot, then use that. Thatís the easiest. If the wireless doesnít sound good on a given shot, then download the H4 sound through USB and then use the wireless sound as a reference to sync it up.

Many wireless lavaliere transmitters also accept a line level as an input. The Zoom H4 line out mirrors what it is recording. So all you need is a short 1/8Ē male to male cable. You end up with a phantom powered XLR input going trough a wireless lavaliere transmitter receiver as well as being stored to flash memory locally, all for $800 total ($300 for the Zoom and $500 for the Sennheiser).

Any thoughts?
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Old February 7th, 2008, 01:23 AM   #8
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Zoom H4 sync problem update:
It looks like this may be limited to recorders with old firmware. See here for details:
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2007/0...ie-production/
The post on December 29, 2007 claims only 5 frames drift after 30 minutes using the latest firmware.

Latest firmware available here:
http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/download/software/h4.php
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Old February 7th, 2008, 02:05 AM   #9
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Regarding syncing sound to clips; luckily that solution has been around for 80 years or so, just use a slate with clapper (and call out the scene and take numbers)!
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Old February 7th, 2008, 02:39 AM   #10
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I think the syncing problem with the zoom has been that it doesn't run at the standard rate, so even though it's synced at the start of the video in the NLE, after the audio runs awhile it will be out of synch.

According to the post above, new firmware may fix this problem.
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