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field sound with one man crew?


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#1 Frank Martin

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 09:57 AM

Hi,

I have read a lot about field recording, microphones etc. now. There are plenty of great sites with useful information about technical specifications and comparisons. But what I'm lookin for is somebody with experience.
Usually I'm filming with a small crew and have to admit, that I was ignorant and stupid enough not to think about the sound and always left it to someone else.

Soon I'm going to spend a couple of weeks in latin america for a documentary. On my own, and with my own equipment. I chose the Canon 7D because I already have a couple of good lenses and because it fits into my backback and it will be a lot of walking. First test with the camera showed awesome results (although its looks a bit funy on big tripod).
Now the huge problem is "sound". I know, that I can't get the perfect solution. But maybe someone could help me finding the best compromise.

These are my first thoughts:

(1) Get the Rode Videomic (or Sennheiser mke400) and thats it. I guess I would have some noise and a problem if my protagonists turn around or walk out of the visual field.

(2) I coud get the Juicedlink adapter and connect it with a good microphone (or two).
I think about the Rode NTG-2 (supercardioid) or AKG C1000s (cardioid and hypercarioid) - maybe even the Rode M3 or Shure 57 (cardioid) would do. I guess you wouldnt hear my own voice then, but I dont really like interview situations in documentary anyway. The M3 or Shure are not as long as the NTG2 or AKG, but I have no idea if they are suitable for documentary.

(3) I could buy a mobile recorder like the Zoom H4n, connect it with one or two of the micophones, attach it to my camera (or pocket) and try to catch its signal with the 7D as well for a reference (is this possible). Again, microphone put on top of the camera. I'am a little bit afraid about synchronizing the sound later, though - but an external recorder would give me the opportunity to connect it to a lav mic or plant the microphone elsewhere. (I'm not shure about whether I should use lav mics or not). I somehow think, that mobile recorders are a fantastic idea, but I have to keep in mind, that I have fo film, pull focus, record sound and maybe have to talk at the same time.

Hopefully theres someone out there with a little bit experience as a one man/women crew who found himself confident with his sound?
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#2 Brian Rose

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 12:08 PM

I was in an identical situation on my last documentary. I had to interview an individual and grab B-Roll all as the sun was going down, and I was the only person on the shoot.

For the camera, I had it attached to a glidecam rig with vest, shock arm and sled, thus eliminating the need for a tripod, yet not sacrificing steady, fluid shots.

As for the audio, I used wireless mikes rigged to the subject, with the receiver attached to a backpack. The wires ran into the backpack and were hooked to a Marantaz 670. I slated the two before hand, and let em roll. So I was able to grab great sound and video, all as a one man crew (though I imagine i looked something like one of those one man bands, with all the gear attached to my body!)

BR
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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 12:08 PM

A common set up is to have the hyper cardioid on the camera (this can be removed if required using an extension cable) and use a radio mic on your subject. Usually people do this using single system sound with a video camera that records the audio tracks, so you don't need to worry about starting a separate recorder and ensuring you have sync slates.

I'd check out using a Beachtek on the camera.

http://www.beachtek.com/

These have been used for many years on the MiniDV cameras.

I'd keep separate audio tracks, not trying any in field mixing and use a pair of good closed headphones to check the audio quality as you're filming.
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#4 Frank Martin

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 04:49 PM

Thanks a lot.

Reading about the slates, I guess I should really go for a system that does the sync job - as long as it doesnt affect sound quality.
But maybe recording with the Canon is not that bad at all, even if plugged with a mini jack in the end.
Found these videos on the web, where a beer drinking guy compares some solutions:


I know the Beachtek from the VJ equipment of the local TV station around here. After listening to this videos, the Juicedlink seems by far less noisy on a Canon 5DMII although I did hear an occacional clicking. (Unfortunately you never know which of these videos is part of a viral marketing campaign *gg*)

Well, I have to think about a wireless mic then.
Although in documentary this always looks a bit "scripted", as whether microphone nor transmitter with antenna belong to the real environvent. Never tried the under shirt versions, yet. The only thing is, that I dont think, every porotagonist will have a belt, pocket or shirt, and sometimes there will be more than one subject.
I will definately miss the boom operator.

Edited by Frank Martin, 17 April 2010 - 04:52 PM.

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Metropolis Post

Visual Products

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc