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Low Budget 16mm Sync Sound


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#1 Ron Flex

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 05:03 PM

I have read that you can use MiniDisc as a double system sound recorder. Is this correct? Will it stay in sync with my sync camera or is there a high chance of it drifting?

I have non of my own sound equipment and I am hoping to snag one of the booms and mics from my University. There will be no mixer. I could try and snag a mono mixer as well but the problem is that technically I am not allowed to borrow these items for private projects.

So, I have never used a MiniDisc recorder before but have seen them on Ebay for around 15 pounds for a second hand Sony one. I am assuming I can just plug with boom into the 3.5 line in. Then have a set of headphones plugged in as well. Will I be able to hear what is coming through the line in from the headphones in the headphone jack?

DATs and HDD recorders are way too expensive.

Any advice on using Minidisc to record sound?
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#2 John Brawley

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 05:27 PM

I have read that you can use MiniDisc as a double system sound recorder. Is this correct? Will it stay in sync with my sync camera or is there a high chance of it drifting?


Hi Ron.

You can use minidisc to record but remember that the audio is pretty compressed (data) so you are sacrificing a lot of quality. Also, the recorder's use a tiny 3.5mm stereo mini jack input, so it's going to be an adventure getting a signal into that. The connectors tend to fail pretty quickly after a bit of use.

jb
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#3 Ron Flex

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:36 PM

the audio is pretty compressed (data) so you are sacrificing a lot of quality.


Ah yes. I read something about the naff compression. However I also heard that it is possible to choose how you encode the sound through the sony software. I heard that you can fit 2 hours of .wav onto 1 minidisc which would be great for me. I have read that you can choose between .mp3 .wav and their format using the correct software.

Also, the recorder's use a tiny 3.5mm stereo mini jack input, so it's going to be an adventure getting a signal into that.


Do you mean because of the XLR connections on everything? At University we use a XLR to 3.5 adapter iirc. I could even make one up at home hear. Only a case of chopping and soldering 3 wires.

Can anyone confirm that you can hear what is coming through the line in, through the standard headphone jack on the MiniDisc recorder?

Edited by Ron Flex, 01 December 2008 - 06:38 PM.

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#4 John Brawley

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:47 PM

Ah yes. I read something about the naff compression. However I also heard that it is possible to choose how you encode the sound through the sony software. I heard that you can fit 2 hours of .wav onto 1 minidisc which would be great for me. I have read that you can choose between .mp3 .wav and their format using the correct software.



Do you mean because of the XLR connections on everything? At University we use a XLR to 3.5 adapter iirc. I could even make one up at home hear. Only a case of chopping and soldering 3 wires.

Can anyone confirm that you can hear what is coming through the line in, through the standard headphone jack on the MiniDisc recorder?



Im not sure about the record format being selectable. All the recorders I saw where inherently using Sony's proprietary ATRAC encoding (like MP3)

And again, i think it will depend on the model. I feel that mic level input is more likely as they were envisaged to be like Dictaphones.

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#5 Ian Cooper

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 05:37 AM

I use a mini-disc to record my audio. Ok, it's not perfect, but I suspect my current 'budget' microphone is more of a limitation that the audio compression used to record it!

The 3.5mm jack sockets can be a pain as the "noise" generated by the plug rotating in the socket can ruin the sound recording! A bit of camera tape securing the mic. lead to the body of the recorder will go a long way to avoiding the problem.

For £15 give it a go, you haven't got much to loose and you might just be happy with the quality it offers. ...although if you can afford to rent/buy a sync sound 16mm camera then I'm sure investment in higher spec. audio equipment will give the end production a more polished appearance!
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#6 Ian Cooper

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 05:42 AM

Can anyone confirm that you can hear what is coming through the line in, through the standard headphone jack on the MiniDisc recorder?



I certainly can with my MiniDisc recorder - it's a Sony, but I can't remember model number off the top of my head.
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#7 Ron Flex

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 05:57 AM

I have had a thought. Could I not use the sound module built into my camera? CP16A.

I plug the boom mic into the Ch1 XLR. Then I can set the levels etc. I can then plug the line in from a Minidisc into the headphone jack of the CP16A. Then plug headphones into the Minidisc.

This surely would be better than the other method since I would be able to check and set the correct levels for the audio, plus the sound module has an amplifier. The only problem I can see is getting the correct volume setting for the CP16A phones out. Although I believe this can be done with trail and error.

Here is a picture of the sound backplane on the CP16A for anyone unfamiliar:

http://img266.images...=dsc0005wt3.jpg

The XLR inputs are on the front of the camera.

Edited by Ron Flex, 04 December 2008 - 06:00 AM.

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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 08:39 AM

http://www.bhphotovi...le_Compact.html

I know it's $500. . .but, it's certainly going to be better to work with than miniDisc, which i've always had troublee finding disks for. The fact it's CF card based means you can bring the audio directly into your NLE. . . hell, you could probably buy it for production then sell it for around $400 or so, or just rent one out.
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#9 Ian Cooper

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:20 AM

If you're interested in that route, then FilmCameraKit have the same recorder advertised at £375, which works out cheaper than the BHPhoto price once you've added on VAT, and certainly cheaper once you've included carriage and import duty!

If you decide to try the MiniDisc route connected to the camera, then I wouldn't worry too much about connecting the input of the MiniDisc to the headphone output. My Sony MiniDisc is designed to use mic. input levels, or it will automatically accept 'line' levels or even the output from headphone jacks - of course different equipment will have different specs. Getting minidiscs on the high street seems all but impossible these days, but I've been able to get them cheap enough from online suppliers.
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#10 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:36 AM

I would take a look at this as well. One of these may serve you well in the long run:

http://reviews.cnet...._7-6608500.html

I bought the Sony one about 6 months ago and am happy with it, but it wasn't cheap.

Tom
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#11 Ron Flex

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:38 AM

I am not interested in an expensive route. I physically do not have the money. My University has mixers which can take CF cards and record but there is no way I could rent one out and pretend it was for University work as we have not used them yet.

I looked on Ebay and a 2nd hand Minidisc player is only £10-£15. Who knows, the results through the cameras amplifier might actually be good. :blink: The only downside I can see is the crappy ATRAC compression. I am sure I read of a hack to allow different compression methods. I will have a browse for it later.

Although if I had a ton more money I would get a HDD recorder. Even renting really is not an option for me.

Edited by Ron Flex, 04 December 2008 - 10:40 AM.

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#12 Ian Cooper

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:49 AM

If you're on a limited budget then I'd follow the MiniDisc route - it's worked fine for me and doesn't cost much to experiment.
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#13 Larry Wilson

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 11:27 AM

I have read that you can use MiniDisc as a double system sound recorder. Is this correct? Will it stay in sync with my sync camera or is there a high chance of it drifting?

I have non of my own sound equipment and I am hoping to snag one of the booms and mics from my University. There will be no mixer. I could try and snag a mono mixer as well but the problem is that technically I am not allowed to borrow these items for private projects.

So, I have never used a MiniDisc recorder before but have seen them on Ebay for around 15 pounds for a second hand Sony one. I am assuming I can just plug with boom into the 3.5 line in. Then have a set of headphones plugged in as well. Will I be able to hear what is coming through the line in from the headphones in the headphone jack?

DATs and HDD recorders are way too expensive.

Any advice on using Minidisc to record sound?

You've probably gotten all the answers you could need, but here's another one:

 

MD is a perfectly acceptable recording format. The one drawback, as I'm sure you've found already, is the lack of timecode on any of the more affordable portable units. But one of the tips I recall reading somewhere is that if you don't have any kind of timecode or any way to sync your camera and MD recorder, you should keep your shots as short as possible to minimize the possibility of sync drift. Admittedly, that's greatly dependent on the accuracy of your camera's motor, but I suspect that if at least the camera is crystal-controlled, you won't have issues.

 

By now, however, you've probably found a more modern sound option. The other problem is that MD was a dying format when you originally posted, and it's even more so now. Media is going to be even harder to find than back in 2008. You might want to investigate the many flash-based recorders out.


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#14 Rudy Velez Jr

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 10:17 PM

So what is the opportune way to record sound for 16mm in 2013 ?


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#15 Larry Wilson

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Posted 27 November 2013 - 10:09 AM

So what is the opportune way to record sound for 16mm in 2013 ?

Anyone of the portable memory card recorders out there would do the trick. Zoom seems to be the leader in that field. Not having used one myself, I suspect that you would use the same method as you would for MiniDisc if your camera's not sync-capable--keep your scenes fairly short.

 

In fact, even an iPhone would work. Pro8mm has done several demos of Super-8 double-system material shot with iPhone-recorded audio.


Edited by Larry Wilson, 27 November 2013 - 10:11 AM.

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Visual Products

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Wooden Camera

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Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Opal

Tai Audio

Technodolly

The Slider

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS