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35 mm sync-sound


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#1 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 11:59 AM

I have been looking to put my first 35 mm kit together to shoot sync-sound and so far I have compiled this list as necessary for acquiring and processing audio anywhere. Can you let me have your input, advice or criticism please?

- Fostex FR-2 (for audio acquisition)
- Shot gun mic (cardoid condenser), cables, stand, boom
- Wireless lavalier kit (I think it's called a Sennheiser MKE-3)
- A studio mic for narration with pop shield

And to edit, a pre-amp and an apple G5 with Final Cut Pro.

Is this correct? And could I take care of all my audio need to make a feature with the above?
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 01:40 PM

Hi,

> - Fostex FR-2 (for audio acquisition)

Best thing since sliced bread. Bit heavy on batteries.

> - Shot gun mic (cardoid condenser), cables, stand, boom

Ebay for an older Sennheiser ME-80. They're cheap as chips and - yes, this is entirely subjective opinion - great. Batteries for them are hard to find now, but the FR-2 will provide phantom power. Many kits come with the shotgun and omni capsules, although I don't use the omni very much. I have access to both an FR-2 and an ME-80 if you'd like to have a look.

As for radio mics - there's crap, or there's ludicrously expensive. Thousands each. You probably don't want to know.

Phil
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#3 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 04:39 PM

Thanks Phil for your frankness. So I got it right with FR2. Good. Wireless crap? OK, will steer away. Sure, I'm always willing to look....



Hi,

> - Fostex FR-2 (for audio acquisition)

Best thing since sliced bread. Bit heavy on batteries.

> - Shot gun mic (cardoid condenser), cables, stand, boom

Ebay for an older Sennheiser ME-80. They're cheap as chips and - yes, this is entirely subjective opinion - great. Batteries for them are hard to find now, but the FR-2 will provide phantom power. Many kits come with the shotgun and omni capsules, although I don't use the omni very much. I have access to both an FR-2 and an ME-80 if you'd like to have a look.

As for radio mics - there's crap, or there's ludicrously expensive. Thousands each. You probably don't want to know.

Phil


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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 08:23 PM

Hi,

I didn't say they were crap, I said they were crap unless you buy the extremely expensive ones. I've looked in the past, and invariably concluded that to get something worth using costs so much that I'd need a very big job to justify it. If this is your situation fine, but soundies are specialists for a reason...

Phil
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#5 Robert Edge

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 09:30 PM

You don't say whether the 35mm camera that you are talking about will record time code. If it does, the Fostex FR-2 may make sense, as might the new Tascam HD-P2. Last week, I spoke with a reputable audio shop that sells both these products. Without getting into the details, you might find it useful to do the same. If your 35mm camera won't support time code, then both of these recorders may cost more than you want to spend. You will get more features for your money without time code.

I'd suggest that you take a harder look at audio editing software and how it fits into digital video editing. And if I recall, your original post didn't mention headphones.
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#6 LondonFilmMan

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 03:06 AM

R. Edge: Headphones, yes....of course. Cam won't have TC as it'll be an old Mitchell, unless I get an Arri BL2...

Phil Rhodes...ah ok, I read your post wrongly. Ok, I understand. What's "extremely expensive" for wireless anyway? Isn't the Sennheiser kit any good? Could I get the lavalier wireless all for £1K? or is that too cheap?
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 09:41 AM

Hi,

Figure £4-5k a channel.

Phil
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#8 Robert Edge

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 11:44 AM

Hi.

I have a small 16mm camera that records time code, and weight and compactness are important issues for me, as is the ability to record to a compact hard drive or flash cards. Were it not for these considerations, the Fostex FR-2 and Tascam HD-P2 would not be the only recorders I am considering. Specifically, I'd want to know if there are other options that, while larger and heavier, would give me better sound quality for the same or less money and, if so, how much improvement in quality.

I am probably going to buy a core mic and rent others where the recording situation dictates their need. Otherwise I'll wind up like my musician friends, who seem to collect mics like they are postage stamps, and expensive ones at that. By the way, you might find it useful to look at modular systems.
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 07:41 PM

Hi,

The FR-2 is a budget piece of equipment, but really, once you're on the scale it's on (even at the bottom end of it) there really is an exceedingly gentle slope of performance improvement. You're talking about near-academic advances in noisefloor and frequency response on the mic inputs (although I believe the FR-2s mic inputs are limited to 16 bit - the 24 bit is an upsampling). I am picky about noisy sound to the point of unhealthy obsession, but really we're talking about so little that as long as an FR-2 has the facilities you need, I can't really see a concern about the technical quality of the recording. The only thing I think the FR-2 lacks is balanced analogue audio outputs, and you could derive those from the AES/EBU outputs with a convertor if you were desperate. It's also a bit of a battery hog, the power connector is easy to break (and hard to find - I bought the one I use in LA from a specialist sound place which had spotted this and got some tails in) and it buffers annoyingly after recording if you use the preroll feature. You can't access cards via USB while the device is in record mode (just like a P2 camcorder) and the headphone output could be considered a little feeble, but I'm being seriously picky now. The timecode board is an option which I haven't needed to try.

If you're shooting Hollywood movies, you'll need more channels and advanced stereo decoding. The Sound Devices 744T is a hard disk recorder which does (I think) four, and is all round a nicer, sturdier, more professional piece of hardware. Fostex also have the PD6 DVD recorder and the Marantz PDM70 is of similar spec to the FR2. At the scarily-expensive top of the range is the Aaton Cantar which is just glorious and has every conceivable bell and whistle, but I didn't even bother checking what the price is.

Phil
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#10 Robert Edge

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 08:14 PM

Phil,

I may not have started this thread, but I'm obliged to you for the observations.
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#11 Karl Lohninger

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 10:37 PM

It would be helpful if you could explain a bit more what you're planning to do......
but here are a few suggestions:
al always, money plays a role, but, depending on your project, one could go by with basic equipment.

The Fostex FR-2 is fine as is a Nagra mono machine! The newer digital machines can make life easier in post, true, but still, don't underestimate tried and true equipment.

Time-code: you don't necessarily need. Actually there is very little need in recording timecode, the simple clapperboard does perfectly well.

Shotgun mic? That's the wrong question. You need, well you should have to basic microphones, one of them a 'shotgun' - just buy a used Sennheiser 415 or 416 and please stay away from ME-80 or such, IMHO, they suck. Then you need a 'hypercardiod' for mostly interiors, the Audio-technica hypercardiod from the 40 series is a very affordable as well as capable mic. Also the AKG blueline, and of course the more expensive AKG 480/63 or the Sennheiser MKH50 or the Schoeps 41s.

You do not necessarily need a wireless kit. But if you think you really need one, the Sennheiser G2 is usable if the circumstances aren't too harsh. Forgot though the little lav mic that comes with it and invest in something better, like a Countryman EMV, a B6 or one of the better Sennheiser lavs. You do not need to spend thousands of $ on a wireless system if you're shooting mostly smaller shoots and don't stress the system too much - keep the distances short and be careful when mounting the lav mic. The expensive systems come in handy when you work in very daring situations, when you need diversity systems, have difficult car shots or when you just can't afford to lose a take.

Studio mic for narration - cut it, you don't need. Use the mics you already have. You don't need a pre-amp because the pre-amp is built into the recorder.

You will need headphones, a nice boom pole and the know how of how to get good location sound!

Again, there is no need to record Timecode usually as well as there is no need for film cameras to record Timecode except in certain circumstances where it might come in handy...but they're still not necessary.

Regarding recorder: I'm currently selling a Fostex timecode DAT PD2 on ebay - check it out if interested - it's very reasonable: http://tinyurl.com/bhh3l

good luck, Karl
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 06:36 AM

Hi,

I still lean away from radio mics, I've had a large amount of No Fun with being let down by them. I try to steer away from people who want to use them, you end up losing take after take to breakup in the audio. I've seen this happen even with the most insanely expensive units, so I hardly dare imagine what the cheap crap is like.

And I really can't agree with you on the 416. They always sound slightly thin and toppy to me compared to the ME-80. It's a fact that the off-axis rejection isn't as good on the older mic, but that's just a question of degree.

Phil
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#13 Charlie Seper

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:36 PM

Just a side note: I haven't picked one up yet myself but if you've got a few bucks to spare and would like to experiment with an omni-capsule very inexpensively, you can pick up a Behringer ECM8000 for 50 or 60 bucks. You won't need an omni very often, if at all, but they have a fullness to them that can really fit the bill for picking up room sound etc. The ECM8000 is billed as a referrence mic for testing purposes but a lot of guys have been using it for recording acoustic guitar among other things since its a half inch diaphram unit. Anyway, for 50 bucks or so its a nice toy to have for special ocassions.

Also, since digital recording units have officially become all the rage, look into used Nagra decks. They can be had really cheap now, sound great, have tons of features, and are built like tanks.

And... think 1" diaphrams for voice work, but consider 1/2" diaphrams for picking up stereo sounds. I've had great luck with a pair of Octava MK 012's in a typical X-pattern for all kinds of things, and they can be had cheap. Russia makes great Neuman knockoffs.
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#14 Riku Naskali

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 06:11 PM

Octavas are also pretty good for recording smallish interiors. But you will need really good cradle, they pick up handling noises like crazy.
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#15 Karl Lohninger

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 11:37 PM

Phil Rhodes writes:
>I still lean away from radio mics, I've had a large amount of No Fun with being let down by them. I try to steer away from people who want to use them, you end up losing take after take to breakup in the audio. I've seen this happen even with the most insanely expensive units, so I hardly dare imagine what the cheap crap is like.<

Wireless systems have their special uses and one certainly shouldn't push them. But to write 'you end up losing take oafter take because of breakup in the audio' is utterly silly, to say it in a friendly way;-) ...Maybe you don't know how to use them?

and:
>And I really can't agree with you on the 416. They always sound slightly thin and toppy to me compared to the ME-80. It's a fact that the off-axis rejection isn't as good on the older mic, but that's just a question of degree.<

Maybe there is a reason (and there is a good one) that the 416 is a standard and used in more shows and features than any other microphone. And if other microphones are used that certainly not the ME-80. Please! The Neumann KR81 is a nice mic, the AKG 480/69 is a nice mic, and there might be others. The point is that one can find very affordable MKH 415/416 microphones second-hand and in excellent condition.

But, to the original poster, don't take anyone words or opinions for granted, rent a number of microphones and listen for yourself. Be aware though that it takes some experience in the sound department to know what to listen for!

Karl Lohninger
Los Angeles
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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 07:06 AM

Hi,

Yeah, yeah, appeal to authority! Lots of edit suites use NS-10 monitors, and I'm sure you don't feel the need to do that!

Phil
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#17 Karl Lohninger

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 07:29 AM

I don't know what you're talking about. That's all total bullshit. Any chance we can see your resume re. professional audio recording. Geez.

Karl Lohninger
Los Angeles

PS: for those interested in voice over work, check out:
http://www.transom.o...c_shootout.html

(but there was a technical problem with the AGK414 used in the test)





Hi,

Yeah, yeah, appeal to authority! Lots of edit suites use NS-10 monitors, and I'm sure you don't feel the need to do that!

Phil


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#18 Charlie Seper

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 12:39 PM

Karl, dude, you've really got to get a grip on things like irony and sarcasm if you're going to hold a conversation with guys like Phil or myself. ;) He was just pointing out (in tongue-n-cheek fashion) that numbers aren't important and prove nothing in themselves. I can disagree with a thousand people just as easily as I can with one and my chances of being right would be just as good. If my CD shelves were lined with nothing but top-40 music, it would only prove that I have no taste and the IQ of a doorknob. B)

I posted a link to that same shootout here once. It was well done but I wish they would have put a few MXL mics in there as well, and a few less dynamic mics since there's no point in using them for voice over work. And I must say that while I thought the Shure KSM44 (about $700 street) was the best sounding in the lot, that any 1" capsuled condenser mic will sound fine for narration and that with a little EQing you can make most of them (using the same pickup pattern) sound quite a bit alike. While I'd love to own a KSM44 (I never heard one before this shootout) I could get by very well with the $80 Projects B1.
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#19 vinod subramanian

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 02:38 AM

you can get Micron or Audio Ltd RMS2000 or 2020 for around 1.5k euro a channel.

-vin
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