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Question about recording sound to a recorder or to camera


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#1 Ed Smith

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 08:58 PM

I'm getting ready to direct a feature-length project, and would like some advice on whether to mix sound directly to the camera or to a separate recorder.

We've got a good boom pole, good Senheisser shotgun mics, a Shure FP 33 field mixer. I plan on using a sound mixer and a boom operator.

We'll probably end up using our Panasonic 100A camera, which has two XLR inputs. We may go with the Panasonic 900 SDX, but I don't know that we'll be able to raise the money for that one.

Also, if you suggest we capture sound to a recorder, will a more modestly priced MiniDisc recorder work ok, or should I look for something more high end ($900-$1300)? I may be able to borrow an older DAT recorder, but I've never used one before.

One last thing...if we record sound separately, as long as we slate each shot, are we good to go in terms of snych in post?

Any advice is most appreciated.

Ed
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#2 Walter Graff

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 10:14 PM

With your budget I'd suggest you record directly to camera. The sound quality will be perfectly fine for your needs and is more than sufficient.
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#3 Dennis Kisilyov

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:26 AM

A Solid State 24bit/96khz recorder (no tapes, no harddrives - those make noise) is about $300USD + $900 for ALOT of MEDIA. Gigabytes of Media.

If any of your shots will have the camera and the boom guy more than 30ft away from one another you'll have a problem and be forced to use a Wireless MIC setup. Which costs money. A 200ft cable won't solve this problem either, since the analog cable will start introducting OODLES of noise into the camera. Thirdly it's a hazard, XLR plugs a locked to the camera, anyone steps on the cable, and BAM, you have either a damaged camera plug, or a damaged camera altogether.

I'd say record both. Use a pre, to distribute XLR connections to both a Solid State digital recorder and to your XLR jacks on the camera.

Pre-Amps is what matters in this setup, more than what you'll tape/digitize it onto. A decent, stand-alone pre is a bout $600 from zzsounds.com.

I know not, at all what the pre-amps are like in the two cameras you've mentioned.


It will be more work to put the sound back in sync with the footage, and you'll have to use a slate, or a tone. But you'll prob have to separate the sound from the image anyway to clean it up, and to do the efx, dialog, foley and score mix tracks in the post. So no big deal there.

Edited by Dennis Kisilyov, 20 March 2007 - 02:29 AM.

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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 03:28 AM

Don't use a mini-disc recorder. MD's are a compressed format- you lose quality in the original recording, not a good idea in film since your final soundtrack will be generations later of mix and re-mix. The singly most important thing in recording live sound is getting a good clean voice track with an absolute minimum of room sound, background noise, etc. That's where a good boom/pole operator is extremely important. You can always add ambience, mix in prerecorded room sound etc. later - but you'll never clean up a voice track cluttered with irrelevant sound - when that happens your only fix is ADR.
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#5 Ed Smith

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 08:35 AM

Dennis,

Thanks for your feedback. A follow-up question:

Do you have any brand suggestions for a

"Solid State 24bit/96khz recorder (no tapes, no harddrives - those make noise) is about $300USD + $900 for ALOT of MEDIA. Gigabytes of Media."

Would B&H be a good place to look?

Many thanks,

Ed





Hal,

Thank you for the feedback. Are there any good tutorials/books/places to get helpful tips on boom pole operation? If it's covered elsewhere on this forum, my apologies. I'm new here and haven't explored all that I should. Any suggestions/directions are most appreciated.

Many Thanks,

Ed
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#6 Walter Graff

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:42 PM

Dennis,

Thanks for your feedback. A follow-up question:

Do you have any brand suggestions for a

"Solid State 24bit/96khz recorder (no tapes, no harddrives - those make noise) is about $300USD + $900 for ALOT of MEDIA. Gigabytes of Media."

Would B&H be a good place to look?

Many thanks,

Ed




Ed, I'm not trying ot sound flippant, but you're a newbie to this based on your own words. Nothign wrong with that. But why go through the hassle when you really don't need more potential problems. I know you've read somewhere that the audio in the camera is not good enough. That statment is a myth, especially for what sounds like your first outing. I know folks here are trying ot help but I don't think they are considering what you are dealing with here as someone new to this. As a professional I can tell you that your in camera audio will be perfectly acceptable for recoding voice. It will do more than enough for your budget. I've used DV audio for TV programs seen all over teh world and for thigns projected in theaters. No one ever knew the difference. Save yourself the potential problems with this project and simply use your cameras audio and save yourself potential hassles.
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#7 Ed Smith

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:02 PM

Walter,

I don't think you're being flippant at all.

I'm a pragmatist, so we'll very likely go with in camera audio. Our only goal is to get the cleanest vocal recording we possibly can. I'm a believer in not creating unnecessary problems, so I appreciate your thinking about where we're starting.

My question about the brand of recorder originates from the fact that I do like to get as much info as I can, if no other reason than to have on file for later. My goal is to simply make the best movie that we can, given our resources, time, and experience--and I do understand that better equipment doesn't always equal a better product, particularly if the requisite skill and expertise is lacking.

Thanks for your advice. I'm most grateful.

Ed
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#8 Dennis Kisilyov

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 03:13 PM

1. M-Audio http://www.zzounds.com/item--MDOMICRO
records to compact flash.

2. Zoom http://www.zzounds.com/item--ZOMH4

Benefits of both is that they use 24bits and can do up-to 96khz, where as your DV is going to be 16bit/48khz with audio compression applied.


Your signal chain though should include a pre, as pre-amps are not good in either these nor your camera.


[MIC-Boom] ---------> [PreAmp - Peak at -6dbV] -------> [Cam or Solid State Recorder]


Your source material running at 96khz and 24bits will be far easier to clean up if noise does happen, don't use this as the golden sword so to speak.


I agree dialogue stays between the low-mid to mid-high frequencies, so a DV cam with it's built in compressor and eq chain before the stuff hits tape is 100% OK. Just depends on how careful you want to be.


But recording directly to DV will be easier and faster, it will sound better with a proper pream though...

MINIDISC is EVIL, it has a compressor, limiter and a bunch of other things in the signal chain of the MIC input. ADTRAC compression is HIDDEOUS, intended for capturing _MASTERED_ final audio, and represents a frequency scale algorithm that does not favour speach.

ADTRAC is propietary and copy-protected, so to get your digital recording out of your MINIDISC w/o suffering analog generation loss (playing it back and taping in through the analog out) is near impossible.
I'm sure some SPDIF/EBU reconnect is available but yet again its 1x speed. (i.e. you cannot just download what you've recorded)

Yeah there is a digital connection, but only for ADTRAC-5 which is worse than MP3 and Windows Media 96k-bit.

Edited by Dennis Kisilyov, 20 March 2007 - 03:13 PM.

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#9 Hal Smith

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 03:18 PM

Thank you for the feedback. Are there any good tutorials/books/places to get helpful tips on boom pole operation?
Ed

Have a peek at:

http://www.amazon.co...3103501-8904904

If you have an Amazon account you can search sample sections within the book. Search for "boom" (the author talks about booms rather than fishpoles for the most part but the mike technique is identical).

The author, Tomlinson Holman invented the THX system, definitely a man who has "been there, done that".
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#10 Dennis Kisilyov

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 03:35 PM

I missed the Shure field mixer part oops.

Yeah you should be 100% dandy with a solid state recorder. Your Shure Mixer is acting as the Pre-Amp. :-).
Make sure your V/U meters on the Shure do not read above -6db - then connect it's line out to your recorder.

I don't believe the DV cams are switchable for Mic/Line.

Make sure you hear no noise in the system and capture as much as you can "un-mixed", oh and

"shock mounts" - "shock mounts" - "shock mounts'.
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