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Old September 9th, 2013, 09:20 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Missouri USA
Posts: 4
Disappointing Audio Results

Hey guys,

New guy here. I upgraded my digital video gear to a Canon XA20 and am VERY pleased with video results, still a lot of learning to do.

I had it out for my first "real" video session this weekend and was disappointed with audio results.

I'm using an external shotgun micrphone, a Rode, mounted to the external handle, have the cables all plugged in correctly, have it set on "ghost powering" and had the filter set to cut out at 20db.

But...the audio results were pretty disappointing, particularly human speech, unless I was VERY close to the subject.

As I watched the sound level, which I had set on manual, I noticed the bar was not going over to the right as much as when I would use my lavalier micrphone, hard lined, into my older camera, etc.

Any suggestions as to what I might be doing wrong? Or is this normal?
Paul T. McCain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 9th, 2013, 10:01 AM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,400
Re: Disappointing Audio Results

Generally, a camera-mounted shotgun is of very limited use, but that's another subject, upon which there has been much written in this forum.

But in this case I suspect that the "20 db" cut is actually an attenuator setting meant for loud environments, not a filter. Turn that off and do a test, get the cam on a tripod or other support, get out in front of it and say a few words and see how that works.

I see you're new around here, welcome! Do check out the forum for your camera...
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 9th, 2013, 10:04 AM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Crookston, MN
Posts: 1,353
Re: Disappointing Audio Results

Nothing will be as good and clean as mic'ing the subject with a wireless or pocket recorder, except maybe a really good boom pole directional mic.

Five things effect your volume:
1) proximity and volume of subject
2) ambient noises and acoustics
3) The Rode mic's noise cut out, which you mention (*this is most likely what is effecting you most)
4) bad cables or connections (not likely since you'd hear all kinds of noises, pops, or ground loops)
5) your camera's internal volumes are lower than needed.

Since you've already checked the camera's internals first, I'd assume its the Rode Mic's -20dB cut off, which, if there isn't a lot of room noise, you probably don't need to use. If there was a lot of noise, I'd ask if it did a good job cutting it out, in which case you're fine and you'll have to boost subject's levels in post.

If there is a lot of room noise, and the volume won't cut it, but your wireless lavs are a pain, an Olympus D62o pocket recorder with a matchstick mic is wonderful and takes 20 seconds to mic someone. I use Plural Eyes, so post syncing is easy for me.
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Old September 9th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Missouri USA
Posts: 4
Re: Disappointing Audio Results

OK, thanks for the feedback. I'm used to recording use lav micrphone, omnidirectional, which actually does a pretty decent job picking up sound around me, as well as my voice.
Paul T. McCain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 9th, 2013, 01:52 PM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,237
Re: Disappointing Audio Results

Originally Posted by Paul T. McCain View Post
... had the filter set to cut out at 20db.
Sorry, that doesn't make any sense. Since you didn't identify which of several different Rode microphones you could possibly be using, most of us likely suspect that you engaged a 20dB PAD not a FILTER. That would be exactly the wrong thing to do given your description of your test.

As others are suggesting, a microphone located at the camera will almost NEVER deliver a good audio recording. Unless you are within 18-24 inches (~0.5m) of the subject's mouth, NO microphone is going to give you a "Hollywood" sound. That's just the laws of physics, and no microphone has yet been invented that will circumvent those laws.
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