Question About Sony Mics

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Benjamindaines, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. Benjamindaines macrumors 68030

    Benjamindaines

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    #1
    I am in the market to buy an HD camcorder and external mic, I looked on Sony's website and found these:

    Camera: HDR-HC3 HDV 1080I Handycam Camcorder Link

    Mic candidate 1: ECM-HGZ1 Shotgun Microphone Link
    I like the fact that it syncs with the zoom of the camera but why is it so cheap?

    Mic candidate 2: High-Fidelity Stereo Microphone ECM-HST1 Link
    I like that is specifically says that it's a stereo mic (which the other doesn't).

    What are the pros and cons of all 3 of these? Please don't say it could explode. :p
     
  2. Benjamindaines thread starter macrumors 68030

    Benjamindaines

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    #2
    Now I'm even more unsure, the camera I'm looking at has a model that records to a 30GB HDD. Which do you think would be better, DV tapes or HDD? I know that quality would be better with the HDD because there is no analogue > digital conversion but you don't get the backup of the tapes and it's limited to how long you can record.
     
  3. Carl Spackler macrumors 6502

    Carl Spackler

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    #3
    I think drives are the way to go, not tapes. All you need is one fat dropout to ruin your day. Tape needs to die.

    I have no clue about the Sony branded mics. Shotgun mics aren't really intended for stereo recording, instead, they are designed more for isolating a subject. They are probably cheap, because, I bet, they offer marginal quality. Amazon reviews aren't pretty for the shotgun. I'd look into Sennheiser or Shure along with a shoe mount, but they're going to get pricey and you may not want to go that route.
     
  4. evil_santa macrumors 6502a

    evil_santa

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    #4
    there is no analogue in DV (digital video) !

    personally i like having stuff backed up on tape, hard disks can die & develop faults as well as limit you in record time.
     
  5. sturigdson macrumors regular

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    #5
    I agree with Evil Santa on this.

    First: There is no difference in quality between the taped media and the HDD media in regards to this camera. They both are digital media. There is an advantage to the HDD camera in one regard: it will be much quicker to transfer the footage from the camera to your computer for any editing or duplication purposes.

    In my opinion, this is your ONLY advantage. Taped media has something that HDD media does not: unlimited backup space. Consider that if you record directly to a camera's HDD, when you download your footage to your computer, in a year, you delete that footage. If you lose the DVDs youve burnt, or if they get scratched, all your footage is GONE. for good. Never to be seen again.

    If you record to tape, you always have that tape. [of course, tapes go bad over time, but tapes remain considerably more durable than HDDs do at this point.]

    I completely disagree with Carl- I think HDD recording has it's specific, situational advantages, but I personally do not want to lose my footage. I shoot video for a living- if my HDD backup of the video goes down, I'm out.

    Also, consider the fact that you're always limited in terms of space. This, to me, is the no-seller on HDD systems.
    DV and HDV take about 13 GB/hour to store, give or take. Which means that you get like 2h15mins of footage. After you record 2 hours of footage, you'd better hope you're near a computer, and that your computer is powered up and ready to download, and that it's all smooth, because you'll have to stop shooting, download all the footage, and start again. I'd much rather just pop in a tape and be sure I don't miss anything while I'm shooting. It may be convenient for smaller events, but I find this to be ridiculously limiting.

    As for the mics themselves, I agree with Carl here- the shotgun mic is intended to isolate sound from one or two sources. This one even allows you to change its sensitivity and focus, which seems like a good idea. However, the Amazon reviews for it are TERRIBLE. So I'd stay away. I'd consider your second mic choice- it's likely to give you significantly better audio quality than the in-camera mics. But if you can, invest in a good sannheiser or shure mic.

    Good luck, and have fun with a great camera!
     
  6. Benjamindaines thread starter macrumors 68030

    Benjamindaines

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    #6
    Yeah, I definitely like having the backups and not being limited by time when recording. Everything you said about the HDDs are my fears so I think I'm going to go with the tapes. Thanks for the info on the mics, I'll be getting the second mic if the internal mic isn't sufficient.
     
  7. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    #7
    If I'm not mistaken, the HDD camcorder you refer to is not HDV format, but the new AVCHD format.

    The early reviews of Sony's first AVCHD camcorder, the HDR-UX1 (uses DVD media), on camcorderinfo.com are not great as far as picture quality. Probably the HDR-SR1 HDD-based AVCHD camcorder will not be much better. These are first-generation camcorders using the new H.264-based format, and they are not utilizing the codec at its maximum quality. (However, audio for the format should theoretically be better than HDV's.)

    Right now, myself, I'd go HDV. Or at least see what Panasonic's AVCHD camcorder offerings will be in a few months.

    Good luck.
     
  8. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #8
    Benjamin,

    I own both the HDR-HC3 camcorder and the ECM-HGZ1 shotgun mic from Sony. I love the camcorder for the great job it does on video, but its audio options and controls are limited, to say it nicely. Whenever audio matters for my recordings, I use separate audio recording equipment and synch up with the video later. When audio is not that important, the convenience and small size of the HC3 are hard to beat, of course.

    The shotgun mic is, in my opinion, a small improvement over the built-in microphone when the sound you record is coming from straight ahead. Don't be fooled by its "zoom" function: all it does is mix between the shotgun mic and the camera's built-in mic, depending on the video zoom setting. My advise is to leave the switch on the shotgun mic in "gun" setting and disregard "zoom".

    I also have the Sony wireless bluetooth mic for the HD3, which again is convenient if best audio quality is not needed. Too bad the HC3 doesn't have external mic inputs; that and the ability to control gain manually would be really great additions (which Sony will give you only on the more expensive HDV models).

    As far as tape vs. harddisk goes, I prefer the tapes, too. About the only time I wish I had a harddisk recorder is when I tape live events that are longer than one hour, forcing me to switch tapes in the middle of an event. Other than that, the tapes provide piece of mind (read: backup) and independence from having my computer with me.

    - Martin
     
  9. Benjamindaines thread starter macrumors 68030

    Benjamindaines

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    #9
    Awesome, I have a question for you. Does the HC3 pick up the sound of the tape motor? The camera I have now picks it up like a B**ch and it's a REAL pain to remove.

    Also, what audio recorder do you have?
     
  10. Carl Spackler macrumors 6502

    Carl Spackler

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    #10
    Perhaps my experience with tapes has been bad and perhaps ones media of choice is determined by what one shoots. Tapes do indeed offer a certain amount of security and flexibility in that if the drive fails, you're up a creek and when it's full, you're done. There is no error free media, but after dealing with a couple of dropouts on Sony Digital Master tapes in some really nice scenes, I'm left shaking my head in editing. I've been leaning toward acquiring my images with as few moving parts as possible. I now find myself shooting more takes for safety than I normally would and adding more time and money to may shooting day. I'm by no means close to buying a new camera, but I'll keep an eye on HDD failure rates. Right now, I'd trust an HDD as much as a tape, but I'd trust a P2 card even more.

    I also believe that tapes are slowly making their way out of the market. It's a moot point at this point in time, but I, for one, will be glad to see them go. I went to the Final Cut Pro / HVX200 demo at South by Southwest earlier this year and the guy from Panasonic noted how much less expensive it would be not to have to put tape transports in cameras.

    On the issue of backups, I agree wholeheartedly with what everyone else has said. It's still a great way to have all of your footage tucked away for later. I don't know what I'd do with all my footage if I have tapes.

    I'm also curious about the dual system for recording audio. I haven't gone into HD yet. I shoot with and XL2 currently, but as I recall, the audio format recorded with HDV was lacking, as 2jaded2care pointed out. I'm also eager to see what Panasonic offers with AVCHD in the next few months.
     
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #11
    Have all your dropouts comes on the same camera? If so, maybe getting it serviced or switching to a different brand of tape would help. Or maybe you are just unlucky. ;) Between various gigs over the past few years I've probably worked w/over 25,000hrs of video (dubbing, editing, digitizing, etc.,) and only run into drop outs maybe a dozen times (including bad tape stock and machine malfunctions). If you are getting drop outs "often" then something is wrong.

    IIRC the tape transport system used in the DVCPro50 format costs something like $16k. There's no way the HDVX200 could exist at it's price point w/o using P2 cards or a HDD.

    Something I mentioned in another thread is that once Blu-ray or HD-DVD (or some other high capacity, low cost, removable storage medium) comes into play we'll see the need for tape really drop off. But right now there's nothing that can really match tape for it's security, flexibility, and cost. Hopefully in 3-4yrs though an inexpensive, robust workflow will be out there that doesn't require tape.

    HDV audio is compressed, but unless you are doing some hi end recording and mixing it should be adequate.


    Lethal
     
  12. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #12
    I haven't noticed that it does. I don't remember ever hearing anything recorded with the HC3's built-in mic that sounded like the tape motor. There is noise, yes, but I haven't associated that noise with the motor.

    I have two different systems. Depending on what the situation calls for, I use either a MicroTrack 24/96 digital recorder or a Tascam FW-1082 firewire mixer connected to a laptop. With the latter, I often still connect the MicroTrack to the mixer's monitor output to have a backup in case something goes wrong with the laptop. The MicroTrack is small and convenient but will record only two tracks at a time; also, its mic pre-amp is a little more noisy than the Tascam's. The Tascam mixer is a great device which when I am not recording I can also use as a control surface (it has motorized faders).

    - Martin
     
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #13
    Hands down the tape wins. All of the HD records compress the video to mpeg while the Mini DV does not use any interframe compression. DV is the best quality you can get without going to HD.

    Of course there is ALWAYS analogue > digital conversion when you make any kind of digital recording of the "real world".
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #14
    Don't buy any of those Sony mics.

    I have an Audio Technica ATR25. It is a stereo mic made for use on a camcrder. The sound is very natural. In my opinion the best under $100 mic for your purpose.

    t does pick up handing noise.

    A shot gun mic is a very specialized device. You would be better in most cases t use a wireless llavalier if the subject is that far away
     

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