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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 11:40 AM   #1
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What onboard mic suits this scenario?

In respect to the past, I donít want to overly rehash this subject, however, itís quite relevant to me at this time since about 2 weeks ago I purchased a Canon A1S. The onboard microphone tends to produce an ambient, drowned out & muddy sound which is not usable in my sound mix.

My goal is to find a reasonably priced alternative.

What type of microphone best fits my situation?

Whatís the difference between the Rode NTG-1 and NTG-2 models for example?

Which is more suitable and why as there is only about a $20 difference.

I want a mic that records only what its being pointed at and a little out to each side both right and left from that person or group. Nothing from the camcorders sides or back to the fullest extent achievable.

I film in a large church sanctuary positioned anywhere from 50-100 feet away from the ďactionĒ during the service. There are people all around me and even above in the balcony.

I need to record better quality audio (with as little noise as possible) from the pastor with considerably more intelligibility, clarity and to be more understandable.

Also, when the choir sings the onboard microphone wonít pick-up a lot of ambient audience noise such as coughs, babies cries and the like from all points of the compass.

With the above in mind, what did you choose in the $200-300 price range?

I already purchased a Canon wide angle lens, extra battery, Petrol Wing bag on rollers, Libec tripod and ordered a Bescor 70 watt dimmable light so progress is well under way.

What questions should I be asking and thinking about?

The only other possible use I can think of at the moment is to do an interview with the person about 15-20 feet away.

Would you care to offer some feedback, opinions, suggestions and advice?

Thanks in advance.
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Old February 2nd, 2011, 04:24 PM   #2
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Hi Bruce,

you'll have to check prices in you area on these ..

the solution to record the pastor properly is a wireless lav mic .. the Sennheiser G3 is recommmended but the cheaper Sony rig will do the job. Some clerics don't like mics clipped to their vests, ask him first .. you may be able to hide it under his cloak, run tests.

Keeping in mind your budget .. either the NTG-1 or 2 (has battery) will do the job .. the closer you can get to the action the better the resultant sound. Speech from 50 feet away is useless but the choir should sound good in the church. As you're side on the the choir, stereo will be out of balance so mono from the Rode mic will be Ok.

Both the Senn and the Rode will cost more than $300 but they'll be worth it. The Bescor 70watt light won't help much in the church, I'd cancel that and add the $$$ to the mics.

Put the lav on Tk 1 and the Rode on Tk 2 and mix 'em in post. HTH

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Old February 3rd, 2011, 10:20 AM   #3
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As built-in mics go, the on on the XH-A1 is not bad. However, it's not what you need.

This audio stuff isn't specific to the XH-A1. It applies equally to any camera, because it's about mic pick-up characteristics and the acoustics of your location. Make sure you have a good look at the Audio forum on DVinfo. Most of what I've learned, I picked up over there.

The Rode NTG-1 and NTG-2 are identical except that the NTG-2 has the option of battery power. The NTG-1 must be plugged into something that gives 48v phantom power. The XH-A1 can provide this, but many cameras and sound recorders cannot, so I'd go for the NTG-2. (I bought an NTG-1 and have often wished I had the other one!) The Sennheiser K6+ME66 is the well-known choice, and it is a slightly better mic, but most people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference on their TV sets. Last time I looked at UK prices, I could buy two Rodes for the price of the Senn. IMHO, you need to spend significantly more money to get a clearly better-sounding short-shotgun than the NTG-2. However, whether a short-shotgun is the right sort of mic for your situation is a moot point.

Recording sound from several sources, at the same time as running your camera on your own, is hard work, and will involve some compromises. Some of this may help...

Genarally, get your mics as close to the sources as you can. A $100 mic in the right place will sound better than a $500 mic in the wrong place.

1) Preacher: A clip-on mic on a speaker's jacket or shirt is great. If that's not an option, put a mic on the lectern, or on a simple stand in front of the speaker. A normal "cardiod" mic (c. 90 deg pick-up) will do fine, unless the speaker wanders around a lot.

2) Choir: A simple mono mic with fairly wide pick-up pattern, on a stand, a few feet in front of the choir will do fine. For stereo, two mono cardioid mics set at about 60 degrees to each other is pretty reliable. Most stereo mics have this arrangement internally.

To get the mics in close when the camera is some distance away, you have three options:
1) long cables - if they are good quality and you are using "balanced" mics (normally, but not always, those with 3-pin XLR plugs & sockets) you won't pick up interference, though the signal strength will drop off with longer runs. Don't try long runs with unbalanced gear, though, or you'll pick up clicks, buzzes, hums and maybe the local taxi drivers!
2) wireless - a little transmitter on the mic and a receiver on/beside the camera. There are tons of posts about the benefits and pit-falls on the audio forum.
3) Separate recorders : use mini-disc or solid state recorders beside the mics. This is harder work when editing, especially for things like speech and songs where sound and vision must be synchronised exactly, but is a simple way around needing more mics than you have camera audio channels, for instance.

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Old February 3rd, 2011, 11:24 AM   #4
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If the choir and minister are always mic'd for the service. ...I suggest taking a line out from the sound system or mount a mic near a speaker.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #5
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The above is spot on. For good sound you need to have a mic on or within a few feet of any person speaking. Wireless works well, but expect to spend around $400 or more for a decent model. If the church uses a sound/PA system, your best bet may be to record a feed from it.

You can record the choir with wired cardoid mics (one or more depending on the size) placed in front of the choir, with the congregation behind the mic. Depending on the purpose of your recording (e.g., services for shut-ins) a $100 mic can give decent results.

Shotgun mics have a narrower acceptance angle, and many have large back lobe pick-up too. The bottom line is that a mic hears the sound that reaches it, and if it is a directional microphone, it is less sensitive to sound from off-axis sources. How much less depends on the angle, the frequency, and the mic's pick-up pattern.

There is an art to employment of mics. I suggest you do some research and a lot of reading. The Shure.com web site has some good reference material and white papers.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 06:04 PM   #6
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Thank you for your valuable, educational and informative contributions to date.

Bottom line is that I do not want to buy a mic that will not help better my audio track resources, be underpowered or otherwise not be suitable for my situation. I'll lay out the current operational scenario as best as I can.

By necessity I have to work around a particular set of cirumstances which are as follows:

1) I have no say or control on what kind, how many or where amy microphones are placed. Thas decided by the AV group leaders.

2) I am not wired into the house sound as/so I roam around the sanctuary during the service as sort of a independant free lancer (if you will) in order to get the best possible shot and angle.

3) Of course the A1 or the A1s onboard mic picks up everything however it's far too ambient due to the audience noise, type of mic and the distance involved.

4) I make a cd of the master mix/soundtrack, chop up the service into segments and manually AV sync those parts to my video. Tedious and alot of effort.

5) My goal as previously stated even though I'm on average from 50 to perhaps 100 feet away from the action is to buy the right mic (if there is one) that will pick-up the choir nicely even if I'm far away.

Does one exist and if so what's recommended? I only used a Rode as a starting point but of course I'm paying for this myself so cost is a consideration.

Being enabled to improve on the A1s's mic performance in regards to picking up the sermon would be a bonus.

Given the above, do you have any more comments, advice or suggestions?
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Old February 9th, 2011, 02:22 PM   #7
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In a church being 50 to 100 feet away, no mic, no matter how much you spend, will provide decent sound if you plan on keeping it on your camera. As previously stated, you will need to get whatever mics you are using much closer.

As an alternative solution, since you are doing a lot of syncing in post anyway, you might want to look into getting a couple of decent portable digital recorders and place them up near the choir and the pastor. Then just take your audio from those two and mix as needed.

Garrett Low
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Old February 9th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #8
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Very interesting idea.

Do you have any modestly priced suggestions?

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Old February 12th, 2011, 12:34 AM   #9
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What I do in cases like this is try and mic the monitors. Don't go off the board, you have no control over that.

Look at getting a Sennheiser EW100-G3 with the plug-in transmitter. Get an extra plug-in transmitter, of the same frequency. If you cannot afford Sennheiser, Samson Airline stuff is reasonably good, especially for this application, and half the price. of the Senn's.

Plug the transmitters into a pair of...Senn E835's, or Shure SM58's will do, and put one each in front or as near to each monitor speaker as you can.

Have the receiver plugged into your XHA1S and that should do it.Try and talk the AV team into placing the mics for you. I bet they would be willing to help do that.

Last edited by Steve Wolla; February 12th, 2011 at 12:36 AM. Reason: correct spelling
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