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Boom Mic Question


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#1 Mark Lahn

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 01:46 PM

Hey Folks,

I have a question about boom mic operation. Now I realize that the boom mic can be connected directly to the camera using an XLR input. I'm currently using the Panasonic AG-DVX100A which sports 2 XLR connections. However, to my knowledge, Mini-DV dosen't exactly have the best sound built in. So my question is, what device do most boom mic operaters carry with them to record the sound?

I know it must be some sort of mixer, but aside from my guy carrying around a small behrginer, what do most people use? With my cameras, would you suggest skipping the step of going outside of the camera for audio, or does it make that much of a difference?

Thanks
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 03:18 PM

For quality location sound you should have good production quality mixer between the mike and the camera, a boom operator concentrating on the action with a pair of closed back headphones listening to what they're getting, and a location recordist riding gain on the mixer and also listening with a pair of closed back headphones. The boom operator needs to be certain they're getting consistent sound quality since directional mikes not only change amplitude but sound quality off axis and a good location recordist will hear quality changes and any noise or sound in the background that has to be dealt with.

If you're running a camera and concentrating on your framing, etc. you will never notice garbage in the background of your sound and shifting sound quality until you're playing the tape back by which time it may be too late to correct what would have been easy to fix on location.
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#3 Mark Lahn

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 03:28 PM

For quality location sound you should have good production quality mixer between the mike and the camera, a boom operator concentrating on the action with a pair of closed back headphones listening to what they're getting, and a location recordist riding gain on the mixer and also listening with a pair of closed back headphones. The boom operator needs to be certain they're getting consistent sound quality since directional mikes not only change amplitude but sound quality off axis and a good location recordist will hear quality changes and any noise or sound in the background that has to be dealt with.

If you're running a camera and concentrating on your framing, etc. you will never notice garbage in the background of your sound and shifting sound quality until you're playing the tape back by which time it may be too late to correct what would have been easy to fix on location.


Do you have any reccomendations on devices for use with the boom mic operator as far as recording the audio? To my knowledge, it will probably achieve a better mix than going back to the mniDV tape. I could be wrong there though.
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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 11:31 PM

Do you have any reccomendations on devices for use with the boom mic operator as far as recording the audio? To my knowledge, it will probably achieve a better mix than going back to the mniDV tape. I could be wrong there though.

miniDV audio when in 2 channel 48kHz is more than good enough for many uses. It's 16 bit PCM therefore it's actually a little bit better than CD quality. Use an external mixer and feed the camera at line level from it (assuming your camera has an external line input). It's probably still better to use an external mixer and feed the camera at mike level if the camera doesn't have a line level input (I do that with my little Sony TRV30 playtoy and have always got good audio).

If your camera doesn't have XLR inputs, use gold plated 1/8" connectors and make certain the audio cable is tied or gaff taped so that there is absolutely no strain on the plug. You can make 1/8" connectors behave but you've got to be real careful rigging them.
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#5 Mark Lahn

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 06:12 PM

miniDV audio when in 2 channel 48kHz is more than good enough for many uses. It's 16 bit PCM therefore it's actually a little bit better than CD quality. Use an external mixer and feed the camera at line level from it (assuming your camera has an external line input). It's probably still better to use an external mixer and feed the camera at mike level if the camera doesn't have a line level input (I do that with my little Sony TRV30 playtoy and have always got good audio).

If your camera doesn't have XLR inputs, use gold plated 1/8" connectors and make certain the audio cable is tied or gaff taped so that there is absolutely no strain on the plug. You can make 1/8" connectors behave but you've got to be real careful rigging them.


My camera does in fact have 2 XLR inputs so it's perfect for true stereo mixing.

Thanks guys.
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#6 Christopher Kennedy Alpiar

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 01:31 PM

My camera does in fact have 2 XLR inputs so it's perfect for true stereo mixing.

Thanks guys.


errr you mean stereo tracking, mixing is what you do in post. Dont forget the only way to record in stereo is with 2 mics, or in some cases with a "stereo" mic that has 2 xlr cables coming out of it. DONT use a splitter to go to both left and right channel from a single mic out, you are just adding noise to the chain and it is not stereo, just 2 channels of mono. If you want sound on both channels and your camera reserves left and right for your 2 inputs, use the left only and dupe it to the right in post (and dont forget to hard pan left and right then). Its still not stereo but it will have less noise then using one of those knife-in-the-heart-of-a-sound-engineer splitters lol ;)
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