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Thread: Recorder or Camera

  1. #1

    Default Recorder or Camera

    Hello
    I'm about to shoot my first short film and will be using a sony vx2100 or maybe a sony Z1 im not sure yet depends if i can get access to it. my question is regarding the way i will capture the audio. I will be using a boom pole with an attached rode ntg2 mic (i chose this as you can power the phantom via battery and of course the vx2100 doesnt have phantom power onboard), its a 15 minute film with a lot of dialogue with 2 or more people in a scene which will be out doors and so warm and clear voice capture is very important as i've watched a ton of well videographed indy films but the crap audio has ruined the entire experience.

    My confusion lies with what to buy, i have around 600 (maybe more if the results from this thread warrant i will have to spend more to get good quality) to spend and dont know whether to by an external digital recorder such as the Marantz PMD660 or Edirol r-09 or maybe stick with the mic plugged directly into the camera? If this isnt confusion enough i now hear people talking about maybe i should get a mixer aswell, but if the recorder and my camera show an input audio level and the ability to ajust it then isnt the purchase of a mixer just over the top in my case bearing in mind i will only be using 1 mic?

    So yeh in a nutshell, should i record straight to camerea or am i going to hear a substation difference by parting with a lot of money for an external digital recorder which i am willing to do(any recommendations appreciated btw). Oh nearly forgot to mention, the project will be for part of a community project that if good enough may find its way to being aired on tv so regardless of the fact this is a learning expereince aswell as my first film I want to get something good which will enable me to perfect my craft and not have to upgrade again when i have done so. Thanks in advance for the help

  2. Default

    i would test the sound when recorded on the video 1st... if it sounds good then use the camera.... jst make sure you have enough cable so you camer and boom can work together but not be in each others way.

  3. #3
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    Film-makers talk about the "sound chain" and, like any chain, it's only as strong as its weakest link (cut to Anne Robinson winking)

    A good microphone is the first requirement. Rode are good value for money but I personally prefer an Audio Technica AT897 or, better still, a Sennheiser K6/ME66.

    http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wi...4dc/index.html
    http://www.sennheiser.co.uk/uk/icm.nsf/root/03284#

    Plugging the microphone directly into the camcorder is really the last resort. Microphones send out a signal at a very low level and this has to be amplified before it can be recorded or heard. The electronics required are called pre-amps because it is before the recording or mixing stage. Camcorders, especialy consumer or prosumer models often have cheap pre-amps to keep costs down. If you can give them a "line" input, a stronger signal in other words, you can bypass the camcorder's pre-amps. A mixer nearly always has good pre-amps because, in essence, that's what it's there for.

    Another reason not to put the sound directly from the microphone into the camcorder is because you need to be able to "tweak" the sound levels when you're recording and this is where a mixer comes in handy. It's very, very difficult to adjust sound levels on the camcorder when you're filming. A mixer makes it much easier but you do need someone to operate it.

    You can get a very good basic mixer with superb pre amps from Sound Devices but it costs over 600.

    http://www.sounddevices.com/products/mx2master.htm

    Failing that, have a look for something secondhand. the three best buys are Shure, SQN and Sound Devices, all of which come up regularly on Ebay. Audio Developments and Wendt are two other makes but secondhand they can be a bit dodgy and their older pre-amps are supposedly a bit hissy.

    If you want to get a stand-alone recorder then I would suggest the Marantz PMD660 as it has XLR in and phantom power. Make sure you get a late model as some of the earlier ones (apparently) had hissy pre-amps.

  4. #4

    Default

    great advice, so what would you suggest then...mixer with pre's which would go directly to cam or digital recorder with pre's built in and don't connect to camera?

  5. #5
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    Personally, I would spend the extra money and go for a mixer. If you change cameras you'll keep the mixer and it'll always have better pre-amps than the camcorder. By using a mixer into the camcorder you never have to worry about sync problems or compatability (video records at 48khz, some recorders prefer 44.1khz) and it's the "normal" way to go. It makes editing a lot quicker, you don't have to match up sound and picture and you know that it's in sync.
    If you later find you need sound and picture to record separately, you can get a cheaper sound recorder and connect it to your mixer.

    It's only if you're going to do drama or serious music videos that you need to consider a separate sound recorder.

    I'd look for a secondhand SQN3 or a Shure FP31 or FP33 on ebay if you can't afford the Sound Devices Mixpre.

  6. #6

    Default

    thanks again for the advice...yeh it makes alot of sence and to be honest i really would prefer to not have to sync up each clip etc. I will be shooting short films mainly and music videos of which i wont require any input sound. Now its just a question of what mixer to buy, these things arent cheap are they...looks like i better go and see if i can beg some overtime at work

  7. #7

    Default

    Another thought, maybe be abit ambitious but you gotta try... Is'nt there a way of using a digital recorder such as the Marantz as a mixer? For example, plug the mic directly into the record to make use of its phantom power and level control then attach that direct to the camera via the outputs (assuming it has a line out) to save me the hassle of syncing on my nle yet maintaing a strong quality chain?

  8. #8
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    I hate you...! That's actually a bloody good idea.

    With the Marantz PMD660 you can set it to have a "line out" when recording, so you connect a 3.5mm jack from the recorder's line out to the "line in" on the camcorder. It should work.
    The only downside is that the sound level controls on all these recorders tend to be a bit fiddly, in fact most soundies use a mixer to control the sound levels into the recorder, rather than muck about with the buttons on the recorder itself.
    It would be a lot cheaper than a field mixer though...

    Theoretically it must work, I can't think of any reason why not.

    Good idea!

    Edit: I'm currently at work but, if you want (and can wait) I'll try the set-up you describe when I get home (well, tomorrow morning) and get back to you. Although, I can't see any reason why it shouldn't work.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 01-17-2007 at 05:12 PM.

  9. #9

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by The Guru View Post
    I hate you...!
    my mission is complete
    Yeh if you could give it a test and let me know your results that would be much appreciated. I figure some extra time fiddling with digital controls to achieve correct levels is more attractive than an additional couple hundred quid for me at the mo so im quite happy to do this. And this way i can record to the actual recorder aswell as direct to camera simultaneously which gives me more freedom when it comes to editing, oh and i guess it would be handy to use it primarly to record buzz tracks.

    Guru thanks for the help, il be sure to post my works later this year when complete. Oh and a quick cheeky question (i know wrong place) do you have any suggestions on a generator to run 3 red heads for a night time location shot? was looking at the Honda 2000 but not too sure. Thanks

  10. #10
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    Sorry Cappa... we have sparks for that sort of thing

    Remember though you need the total wattage of the lamps plus 1 lamp. Redheads are normally 800w.

    huh?

    Lamps need double their wattage, for a fraction of a second, when they first switch on. So, for 3 x 800w lamps you need 3+1 (ie 4) x 800w = 3200w to guarantee that the fuse doesn't blow. If the Honda only kicks out 2000w (ie a 2kw genny) then you're well under-powered.

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