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Guy Cochran January 14th, 2011 01:54 AM

RODE Videomic Pro
 
2 Attachment(s)
RODE has announced the new RODE Videomic Pro!

I've been testing the a pre-release unit and can say "WOW!" What a game changer. First, the sound quality is excellent - much better than you would expect from a small shotgun mic (especially if you've heard others). The size is perfect, the price is right, and the mounting options are awesome.

The real issue is that all of the on-camera mics on the market have output levels which are simply too low. When a camera has to boost up the levels, you get hiss, low fidelity, and often what can be described as just plain muddy sound. A lot of times, it's not the mics fault, that's what a high quality pre-amp is for - and what you'd see on a professional production. Unfortunately, for many of the camera manufacturers, audio is an after thought, and a lot of users, just want to plug and play right into the camera. Especially with today's entry level HD cameras and DSLR's. I can tell you that with the +20dB mode on the new Videomic Pro, DSLR users especially, are going to be happy with a nice clean gain stage built right into the mic.

The size of the RODE Videomic Pro is smaller than the original and fits better on a DSLR or small HD Camera like a Sony SR11. It's not so overwhelming like the original Videomic which felt (and looked) huge on smaller cameras. The shockmount has also been redesigned and is less springy. The previous model had issues with "bottoming" out on the base during fast movement. I always doubled up the bands on the original to stiffen things up and help fix this. The new RODE Videomic Pro still can have these bands slip off if not careful. During a snowmobiling adventure I quickly tossed the mic into my camera bag with the 5D, when I went to do my next shoot, a band had slipped off and caused the mic to bump into itself while recording on the next take. So under tough run-n-gun conditions, you'll want to check the bands. The audio I acquired was usable, but any movement was heard.

Remember, the key to great sound is to get the mic as close as you can to the subject and with the 10' RODE VC1 extension cable, you can easily get the mic off the camera and close to the sound source. The RODE Videomic Pro easily attaches to a standard 3/8" boom pole, 1/4-20 thread on a tripod, or simply via the camera's shoe mount.

The original Videomic is the world's #1 on-camera microphone. I'm happy to see RODE innovating and figuring out what the market needs. They found the problem with audio on small cameras, and introduced a remarkable solution. Great job guys.

Clips to follow...

Andy Wilkinson January 14th, 2011 02:17 AM

Videomic Rubber Bands Tip
 
Excellent news! Thanks for posting. Looks great!

On the "rubber bands keep slipping off" problem that the original Rode Videomic was especially prone to suffer from, then perhaps I can share a simple tip that I developed - after much frustration with this aspect! Maybe this will help with the new design too? (It's hard to tell from the pics.)

I removed the Rode Videomic bands and put a tiny amount of Superglue in each notch of the suspension assembly, then put the bands back on - watch your fingers don't get stuck! Simple, no more problems with bands slipping off. When the bands eventually perish and need replacing they can still be "peeled off", followed by a little cleaning of the notches with a craft knife (if required) before repeating the process. Works for me!

Guy Cochran January 14th, 2011 02:35 AM

Super glue. That's a great tip Andy. I'll give that a try.

Phil Bloom January 14th, 2011 04:39 AM

I agree. I have had the mic since November and it's amazing. I have ten to give away by this Monday! FINALLY! I can officially announce the RODE Video Mic Pro and ten to give away!! | Philip Bloom

Lee Mullen January 14th, 2011 08:36 AM

How did you get 10?

Harry Simpson January 14th, 2011 08:59 AM

I've had the RODE Stereo Video Mic for years now and you still have the problem of the noisy 5Dmk2 noise even with the AGC turned off. Also I've been lambasted here for suggesting using a Non-blananced cable 25' extension to get the mic closer to the talent....I now always use balanced XLR with XLR mics.
The RODE SVM works great for what it does but lately i've been doing dual recording and using the SVM for syncing mostly.

That said gimme one of those new VM Pros Philip!!

D.J. Ammons January 14th, 2011 09:45 AM

Wow! I have made my donation and emailed Philip. I love my Rode Videomic but it is way too big for the camera I use it on (Canon HV20). Many times I would love to take the videomic with the little HV20 but it literally means taking a second camera bag or the box it came in.

The Videomic has saved my butt on numerous occasions sitting on my little B roll Canon HV20 at weddings. There are times where I have used it as the primary audio over the two wireless lapel mics and Rode NTG2 on the flycam. An amazing microphone and if the new Pro model has that same quality in a smaller package Rode will have a winner on their hands.

Allan Black January 14th, 2011 04:33 PM

I've had the VMPro (s/n 0000002) since last Nov, been running it through its paces and I agree with Guy, it's a winner.

My first impressions out of the box were, its light weight 86g (0.18lb), installing the 9volt battery almost doubles it.

The battery cover is not intuitive till you check the manual, then hey! it's a snap. Battery life is over 70hrs so at 5hrs a week for the average user (and that's a lot) you get about 3.5 months, then I bet you'll need the manual again to change the battery, I did. But it's all on the RODE website.

The VMPro is 15cms (5.9ins) long, so there won't be complaints about it hanging over the front of folks cameras. Yes the suspension needs to be checked just before you mount it to the camera, and Andys tip to anchor it in place is well worth checking out.

My first audio impression was the 2.5db boost at 10Kh. and almost no self noise, it really is noticable (no pun) Voices sound clean and natural.

That goes along with the current scene which sees pro mics having a top end boost, especially when the audio is very clean with very minimal noise. This boost also helps the top end frequency loss you get when the deadcat is installed.

One feature I like is the thin mic cable, 2mmx16cms no coils, a great improvement over the original VM.

RODE spend years designing their mics (the NTG-3 took more than 2) and they're always worth the wait.

Cheers.

Colin McDonald January 14th, 2011 04:45 PM

Reports of the VMPro sound very promising - any idea when will it be available over here?

Garrett Low January 15th, 2011 12:02 AM

I've got the original Rode Video Mic and it does a great job. This new Video Mic Pro looks really interesting. I can't wait to see how much of an improvement it is over the original. If it's anything like the jump the NTG3 made over the NTG2 it should be dramatic.

Just made my donation and am sending my email.

Thanks Philip for the chance to win one of these and for promoting a way to get relief to the victims.

-Garrett

D.J. Ammons January 15th, 2011 10:17 AM

Does anybody know the price of the Rode Videomic Pro? I also wonder if anybody has done a side by side comparison yet of it and the Sennheiser MKE 400?

Andy Wilkinson January 15th, 2011 02:56 PM

Well if you read Philip's blog it's going to be about $230 (I assume US, not Oz).

It's brand new/not yet available (2 weeks) so comparisons with the Senny will come later....but from my past experiences with Rode mics (I have quite a few) it's unlikely to to be a surprising result. Listen to Phil's video of it in his blog.

But if you want to know for sure, well you'll have to wait and see. I think I know which one I'd buy - but your needs might be different.

Jon Fairhurst January 16th, 2011 12:30 AM

If you're running the mic into a clean preamp, it's hard to know if the Rode or Sennheiser would win. Into a noisy preamp where you can lower the gain, however, the Rode should win hands down.

With a Canon DSLR and Magic Lantern, you can run a juicedLink preamp, turn the gain way down, and get nearly noise-free results. The new Rode is like a mic with a hot preamp built in.

The caveats are: 1) I don't know how clean the Rode preamp is; the juicedLink is scary clean, and, 2) you're limited to one camera mounted mic. If you can go with an XLR mic on a boompole or lavs, I'd go with the juicedLink - and that will beat a camera mounted mic any day. The closer the mic to the source, the better the sound. However, if you do one-man-band interviews on the street, the Rode looks like a great all-in-one package.

Chad Johnson January 16th, 2011 06:04 PM

Looks like a great solution for the DSLR people who want simple and inexpensive solution. The 20db boost is key here, and sets the mic apart from the heard. Great going AGAIN rode! I'll be receiving one soon and making a little demo/review. Also this would be great for non-XLR recorders like the Zoom H1, and the Sony D-50 and M-10 and the sort.

Can't wait to get my ears on it!

Guy Cochran January 17th, 2011 11:29 AM

It's funny when I first got the VMP, I quickly recorded the same music track with a few other mics. The Que audio mini shotgun, the original VideoMic and the Sennheiser MKE400. Like Garrett figured, I was expecting NTG-2 to NTG-3 jump in quality. I kept listening to the test and trying to hear the subtle differences with a critical ear. They were all close with each having their own unique plusses and minuses.

Next I went out into the extreme back country with the VMP and Canon 5D Mark II for some real world testing. This is when the mic opened up. For me, I just wanted to get some nat sound - streams flowing, birds chirping etc. But once I tossed it on the camera and enabled the +20dB option is when the magic began to occur. This is actually a great on-camera microphone for dialogue within a few feet. Maybe not for high-end filmmaking, but for certain projects, it's going to surprise a few people with results you can achieve. On the 5DM2, I usually have to have the levels set at about the 65% mark with mics plugged in directly. With the VMP, you can drop it down to about 5% - thus using less of the camera's pre-amps. So, have a listen. Do you find this audio quality acceptable? http://guycochran.com/

Jon Fairhurst January 17th, 2011 12:03 PM

Guy,

You will want to run Magic Lantern.

Canon's audio code boosts the analog signal by +31 dB and all control is done by reducing the digital gain. I believe that they did this because it provides simple monotonic gain control. A better solution would have been to ping pong between analog and digital gain, but they would have risked strange gain changes between certain tick marks.

With Magic Lantern, you can set Analog Gain (m-gain) to +10 or +17dB and Digital Gain (d-gain left and right) to 0 dB for excellent results.

The one bummer about recording into the 5D2 is that it has a high pass filter always enabled. This is no problem for dialog, but isn't ideal for music.

Guy Cochran January 17th, 2011 05:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst (Post 1608367)
Guy,

You will want to run Magic Lantern.

Canon's audio code boosts the analog signal by +31 dB and all control is done by reducing the digital gain. I believe that they did this because it provides simple monotonic gain control. A better solution would have been to ping pong between analog and digital gain, but they would have risked strange gain changes between certain tick marks.

With Magic Lantern, you can set Analog Gain (m-gain) to +10 or +17dB and Digital Gain (d-gain left and right) to 0 dB for excellent results.

The one bummer about recording into the 5D2 is that it has a high pass filter always enabled. This is no problem for dialog, but isn't ideal for music.

Thanks for the tip John. I had not been using Magic Lantern for the past few months. If you'd like to run some tests and share your results, I can ship you the VMP to give it a whirl. Since we're in the same state, it would be there tomorrow.

Jon Fairhurst January 17th, 2011 06:41 PM

Thanks for the offer! Unfortunately, I'm overly busy for the next few weeks. Otherwise, I'd take you up on it!

Lee Mullen January 19th, 2011 01:52 AM

So other than the technical jargon, when will it be released?

Guy Cochran January 19th, 2011 11:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst (Post 1608505)
Thanks for the offer! Unfortunately, I'm overly busy for the next few weeks. Otherwise, I'd take you up on it!

Ah, I confused you with an audio junkie like me that would give up sleep in order to make time to test out new gear :) LOL. Seriously though Jon, your videos have been very helpful to a lot of content creators so, if there is ever anything that we can do to help let me know.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lee Mullenberg (Post 1608993)
So other than the technical jargon, when will it be released?

We have a few coming in next week. http://www.dvestore.com/products/RODE-Videomic-Pro.html

Another thing worth noting is that the short cabling of the new VideoMic Pro is high quality Mogami cable. Nice touch. Anyone know of a source for a super high quality 1/8" mini extension cable? With the original VideoMic, I tested an unshielded 20' Radio Shack cable and got buzz. With the VXLR (3.5mm to XLR adapter) and a BeachTek, it all went away. The VideoMic Pro on a boom pole is going to surprise a lot of people. I'm looking for a cable to do a few more tests to put up a video showing the VMP on a boom pole if anyone is interested in hearing it.

Rick Reineke January 19th, 2011 12:09 PM

"Anyone know of a source for a super high quality 1/8" mini extension cable?

Just so happens I re-did my bag two months ago. I used Canare "L-2E5 mini microphone cable" and "L-4E5C mini star-quad". For any 1/8" plugs I used Neutrik NT3RC (right-angle) and TecNec M3.5S locking.

Sam Mallery January 19th, 2011 01:22 PM

I use the Rode VC1 cable. It's a bit on the short side for booming (10 feet), but that limitation is better than buzz/noise.

Rick Reineke January 19th, 2011 05:58 PM

My above post was making y'own.
Markertek, Trew, Gotham, Dale, ect. would gladly make cables using the same or other premium components.
Big box stores like B&H do not make cables. And if they they have a specific cable, it will likely be mass-produced w/molded plugs and low-cost cable stock... which may be fine, for occasional usage and in a 'perfect world'.

Harry Simpson January 20th, 2011 08:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Guy Cochran (Post 1609126)
... got buzz. With the VXLR (3.5mm to XLR adapter) and a BeachTek, it all went away.

Guy not to jump off topic too much but wouldn't the 3,5mm to XLR adapter and XLR extension cut out the buzz too if any. I've had great luck running 1/8" extensions but wonder if the 3,5mm to XLR adapter would mitigate the problem.

Patrick McLoad January 20th, 2011 08:26 AM

I wish it had an XLR plug for my ENG camera, then I would be interested.
I don't believe in using adaptors, especially on-camera.

Patrick McLoad

Guy Cochran January 21st, 2011 05:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Harry Simpson (Post 1609448)
Guy not to jump off topic too much but wouldn't the 3,5mm to XLR adapter and XLR extension cut out the buzz too if any. I've had great luck running 1/8" extensions but wonder if the 3,5mm to XLR adapter would mitigate the problem.

Hi Harry,

My boom pole (K-TEK KE110CC) is the coiled cable type so the XLR is built-into the pole. I have slapped a RODE VXLR on the RODE VideoMic Pro for me it works great as once it goes to XLR, it is balanced, but I'm trying to help folks that are just going to mount the mic on a stand or in a fixed position close to the subject.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Patrick McLoad (Post 1609458)
I wish it had an XLR plug for my ENG camera, then I would be interested.
I don't believe in using adaptors, especially on-camera.

Patrick McLoad

Hey Patrick! Yes, this is probably the wrong mic for an ENG camera. I would be looking at the $199 Audio Technica AT875R at the minimum for anything on a pro camera, and it even costs less! Needs phantom power though, which I'm sure your camera has.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rick Reineke (Post 1609298)
My above post was making y'own.
Markertek, Trew, Gotham, Dale, ect. would gladly make cables using the same or other premium components.
Big box stores like B&H do not make cables. And if they they have a specific cable, it will likely be mass-produced w/molded plugs and low-cost cable stock... which may be fine, for occasional usage and in a 'perfect world'.

Thanks for the reply Rick, I was hoping to find an off the shelf solution to recommend. I went back to the 20' Radio Shack cable and surprisingly no hum direct into a Zoom H1 at all of the settings -10dB, 0dB, and the +20dB. I'm wondering if my old office had some stray electrical that our new office does not. I just want to have something better than the 10' RODE VC1 extension cable, which works fine, but it's only 10' and feels very thin. Let's say for a typical interview set-up, 5' from camera to floor 5' feet to subject, then 7' to get up and over their head. Yeah, gonna need a 20 footer.

I think this mic is geared towards folks that want to put it on camera, but as all audio professionals know, the key to really great sound is to get the mic close to the subject. So, I think that the VideoMic Pro is going to appeal to those that know that they're going to get "ok" sound with it on camera, and then I'd like to see more people getting used to the idea of improving sound quality by using the VMP with an extension cable on a pistol grip, stand or on a boom pole. I know a lot of us want to use the best gear with proper XLR mic + cable, adapter/mixer, recorder, but sometimes getting 90% there for 1/4 of the cost is "good enough" for general use. We all have different clients with different degrees of what is perceived as acceptable audio, and we all have different budgets. This VMP fits a nice little niche of, getting us that much closer to great sounding audio. Heck, maybe that's the video clip I need to put together, this is the VideoMic Pro, from 10 feet, 5 feet, 2 feet. This is the NTG-3 into a mixer, into a recorder at same distances. Then ask the question, "Is this better sound worth the extra cost to you?"

Chad Johnson January 21st, 2011 05:57 PM

"Heck, maybe that's the video clip I need to put together, this is the VideoMic Pro, from 10 feet, 5 feet, 2 feet. This is the NTG-3 into a mixer, into a recorder at same distances. Then ask the question, "Is this better sound worth the extra cost to you?"

Great idea Guy. If you don't do that, I will after I get my own VMP.

Patrick McLoad January 21st, 2011 06:05 PM

Thanks for the recommendation Guy; I'll take a look at the Audio Technica AT875R. Yes, the price is right, though hate to loose the stereo feature of the Sony mic, for what that's really worth.

Patrick McLoad

Guy Cochran January 21st, 2011 08:55 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chad Johnson (Post 1610050)
"Heck, maybe that's the video clip I need to put together, this is the VideoMic Pro, from 10 feet, 5 feet, 2 feet. This is the NTG-3 into a mixer, into a recorder at same distances. Then ask the question, "Is this better sound worth the extra cost to you?"

Great idea Guy. If you don't do that, I will after I get my own VMP.

That would be very cool Chad. Oh wait, that would be "hecka tight" as your niece would say :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Patrick McLoad (Post 1610051)
Thanks for the recommendation Guy; I'll take a look at the Audio Technica AT875R. Yes, the price is right, though hate to loose the stereo feature of the Sony mic, for what that's really worth.

Patrick McLoad

Patrick - depending on how much Stereo means to you there are two options. One is the Edirol CS50 stereo shotgun mic. It's switchable between mono and stereo. I have a feeling that the mic is oem'd by AT for Edirol. It's diameter and build is uncanny. The only downside is that it ships with a super long stereo XLR cable (it was meant to be paired with an Edirol Field Recorder). I'm sure you can find a sufficient cable or possibly build one. I'm into short coiled cable for on-camera mics these days. Because that's the worst, having your camera snag on something because of a cable.

Option 2, and what I would do, Sony has some b-stock ECM680s stereo shotguns - these sound pretty amazing for $574.85. These are normally $900. Sony Pro Outlet Product List

And last but not least...for those that would like to see a size comparison....here is the original RODE VideoMic, the RODE VideoMic Pro and the Sennheiser MKE400.

Mike Beckett January 22nd, 2011 03:05 AM

For a budget stereo on-cam mic, try the Beyer MCE72. I used to have one and found it pretty good for getting good "ambient" noise, a good, general all-round mic - it used to live on my Sony V1E until I sold the complete package.

Cost is around $300:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/290399-REG/Beyerdynamic_465461_MCE72_Portable_Stereo.html

Allan Black January 30th, 2011 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Guy Cochran (Post 1610042)
I think this mic is geared towards folks that want to put it on camera, but as all audio professionals know, the key to really great sound is to get the mic close to the subject. So, I think that the VideoMic Pro is going to appeal to those that know that they're going to get "ok" sound with it on camera, and then I'd like to see more people getting used to the idea of improving sound quality by using the VMP with an extension cable on a pistol grip, stand or on a boom pole.

Exactly Guy, RODE doesn't want to see ppl reading about the +20dB feature then buying the VMP thinking that switching it on will bring their talents voices 'on mic'

And there was some concern about the danger of a user switching it on at a loud rock event and suddenly blasting +20dB into his headphones. I included a prominent warning about this in the VMP manual .. it's worth mentioning it in the vids guys.

Cheers.

Jon Fairhurst January 30th, 2011 09:59 PM

When using this with a consumer-input devices, such as a DSLR, a 20 dB boost is what you want - as long as you can reduce the analog gain of the recorder by 20 dB.

That's how the juicedLink makes so-so recorders sound good. I have yet to have it blast my ears out, since the camera will clip long before that +20dB gets to my downstream headphones.

I have a MicroTrack II. It has a horrid front end. By adding the juicedLink, it's nearly the equal of the H4n. (It still has some audible digital cross talk, but the hiss is fairly acceptable with the JL.)

I see the +20dB boost as a Really Good Thing™. :)

Still, the JL lets you use pretty much any mic, and it gives you a trim control that you can use when recording. With the VideoMic Pro and DSLR gain controlled in the menus, if your signal gets loud and clips, you're stuck with it, unless you want a big "CLUNK" and a 20 dB reduction.

Patrick McLoad January 31st, 2011 10:19 AM

For what it's worth, I just purchased a Rode NGT-2 mic and dead-cat furry windscreen for my PMW-350 rig....gotta be much better than the stock mic, stereo or not. I have a couple of old and long Sennheiser shotgun mics, but they require a special battery. I expect to be using phantom power all the time anyway. Will have to find/make a thin rubber sleeve so that the mic fits in the Sony holder. I will not use electrical tape...that's so bush.

Patrick

Allan Black February 8th, 2011 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Allan Black (Post 1613022)
And there was some concern about the danger of a user switching it on at a loud rock event and suddenly blasting +20dB into his headphones. I included a prominent warning about this in the VMP manual .. it's worth mentioning it in the vids guys.

Hi guys, a couple of folk have asked if I write the Rode mic manuals which I do not. The above was a suggestion which was included, apologies to those who thought otherwise.

Cheers.

Jon Braeley February 9th, 2011 07:02 AM

Can anyone tell me what the options are if you wanted to run this into a small recorder - The Tascam DR-100 for example?

Jon Fairhurst February 9th, 2011 12:19 PM

It should plug right in to any recorder with a 1/8" mic input. The mic doesn't need power, so there are no special requirements.

Unfortunately, the DR-100 doesn't have this input. The 1/4" input is at line level, which needs something like a 60dB boost. You'd need to rig up a 1/8" jack to XLR plug adapter to make use of the Videomic Pro.

The DR-100 has very good (though not great) preamps. I'd stick with XLR mics for the DR-100.

Martin Wiosna February 16th, 2011 10:39 PM

anyone know how will this compare to my NTG2?

Jon Braeley February 21st, 2011 09:54 AM

Re: RODE Videomic Pro
 
I just tested this with my GH2 using a simple 3.5 to 2.5 adapter. I get a single mono track recorded on the rigth channel only of the stereo track (left channel empty). Would this be correct does anyone know?

Scott Bellefeuille February 21st, 2011 12:24 PM

Re: RODE Videomic Pro
 
Jon, sounds like maybe your 3.5 to 2.5 adaptor was a mono adapter? I know on the 5DII the Rode records to both channels.

Brandon Paschal March 26th, 2011 06:23 AM

Re: RODE Videomic Pro
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst (Post 1613051)
When using this with a consumer-input devices, such as a DSLR, a 20 dB boost is what you want - as long as you can reduce the analog gain of the recorder by 20 dB.

That's how the juicedLink makes so-so recorders sound good. I have yet to have it blast my ears out, since the camera will clip long before that +20dB gets to my downstream headphones.

I have a MicroTrack II. It has a horrid front end. By adding the juicedLink, it's nearly the equal of the H4n. (It still has some audible digital cross talk, but the hiss is fairly acceptable with the JL.).

Jon, you've been tremendously helpful in helping me sort out my audio solution. I have a Canon T2i and the H4n ... my Rode NTG-1 (thanks Guy and DVeStore from a while back). Unfortunately my NTG-1 has been damage and I'm looking for a new mic solution (smaller would be better). Would there be any issue with the T2i, H4n, Videomic Pro set up? Looking into magic lantern now that it's available for T2i as well.

Thoughts would certainly be appreciated. Thanks.


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