Shotgun Mic/Setup...Opinions before I plunge?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by JNSC, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. JNSC macrumors member

    JNSC

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    #1
    So I make YouTube videos (everybody says that, so I won't go into detail), but basically: I'm looking to step up the sound quality, and start filming this one thing in the next two weeks. So just some questions.

    First off, here's the camera I have: http://goo.gl/PRhQM It has a 3.5 mm input jack. I'm looking to have a shotgun mic that picks up dialog well for a "movie" video, but does a pretty good job of getting the gist of the surroundings in the background while not slapping the two together like the onboard mic. I have a few scenes where the camera would be pretty far from where the mic should be, at least too far for being mounted, so I'd put it on the boom I already have. Anyways,

    If I were to get this mic: http://goo.gl/AKvF8
    And route it from this wire: http://goo.gl/TUAK2
    Through this: http://goo.gl/DQSPz

    And into the camera, what would be the downsides? I know the setup is ridiculous but I literally only have the money to get the above. Soon I'll get this thing that mounts on the camera and goes XLR to 3.5 right there with more volume control, but this is cheaper and the big chunk of it won't go to waste when I do get that device ( http://goo.gl/wSSzA by the way).

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks
     
  2. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #2
    You should use a boom even if your camera is only 5" away from your talents.
    Instead of the Beachtek, I'd get a Zoom H1 or 4 .... or something similar from Tascam.
     
  3. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #3
    First: I agree with cgbier that a Zoom H4n is a better option than the beachtek. It allows for more flexibility, especially if you can sometimes have a dedicated sound guy and can place him seperately from the camera, only with the boompole, the recorder and headphones. Syncing in post is easy with modern software.

    Second: The setup you mentioned above is probably possible, although not ideal. The mic definitely seems to be a nice one (Azden is not that available in Europe, to I went for a different one) and you should not try to get a mic with anything but an XLR connector, so no complaints here.

    But the idea of XLR vs. miniplug connection is that XLR transmits a symmetric signal, from which the noise is later deducted. That's why you can run XLR cables for very long ways without recuding the signal quality significantly. If you buy a simple XLR-miniplug adaptor like the one you mentioned, the whole symmetric-cable-idea is lost, and you should again worry about not making your audio transmission cables too long. They can easily pick up weird noises from cellphones, lights, electric cables and other that are a pain to get rid of in post production.

    Main point being: There is a reason why these XLR-miniplug connectors are only sold with lengths up to 10 feet (well, 3 meters in Germany) and you should not try to extend that length with an XLR cable. Another downside is that you can not power the mic via phantom power. In your case, this is not a big deal since your mic has the option to be powered with a battery, but you have to make sure that the battery doesn't run out. One more thing to worry about.

    So: The mic is fine. The XLR cable is fine because you will need it anyways as soon as you have a connector for it. The adaptor in this setup will work, but no guarantee that you won't have interference noise. I actually tried setting up something similar and recorded it here, but I used the short 10 foot cable and mainly found that my XLR inputs were better suited because of the higher class microphone preamps they had. :(

    Finally: Good luck upgrading your sound. It's a great investment that is overlooked far too often.
     
  4. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #4
    Floh, that Pearstone thingie works perfectly. I use it to connect my NTG-2 to the H1 or the HV30. The cable is short enough to eliminate interferences, and the signal is correctly terminated.

    The Azden 2x offers a lot of bang for the buck. It is not as good as the Sennheiser 66/67 (a similar setup), but it works. You just have to do a bit more in post to clean up your audio if you are a pixel peeper. For Youtube it is more than sufficient though.
     
  5. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #5
    I never questioned the Pearstone thingie, I have a similar one (from before I had a decent audio field recorder). All I am saying is that you shouldn't try to extend it by using an additional 50 foot XLR cable.

    The XLR cable, although normally capable of transmitting a symmetric signal, won't be of any such use if the transferred signal is then converted into an asymmetric one. Basically, such a setup would (almost, there is some better shielding in XLR cables) be the same as if the little Pearstone cable was 50 feet long. And there really is a reason why they don't sell these. :)

    As I said, this setup may work fine, all the components are okay and fit together. But transferring an asymmetric signal over such a long way in a movie setup with lots of (highly loaded) cables and lights is likely to produce problems.

    What you could do to get rid of that problem is for example to put a so-called DI-box (like this one) in between the two cables. Although I would do some more research and get a passive (not active) DI-box that was not made by Behringer (now that is a crappy German company...), but I don't know where to search in the U.S...
     
  6. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #6
    Noppes, you have a balanced signal until the cable hits the Pearstone transformer. It acts like, or actually is, a balun.
     
  7. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #7
    Wow, that little thingie is engineered better than I expected. In that case, almost everything I said is not true.

    You are fine then with the setup you described and it even gives you very nice update options. Just make sure that you thoroughly attach the Pearstone adapter to your tripod or rig or whatever and not have it bounce around and wiggle on your camera mic input. And yes, still get a Zoom H4n over the Beachstone. It is more expensive, but a dedicated sound guy is worth a lot. And you can even record ambient sound with the awesome built-in microphones.

    Greetings, I'm off to Berlin now.
     
  8. JNSC thread starter macrumors member

    JNSC

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    #8
    I see what you mean about the Zoom H4n...that's next on my list now. Thank you both for the help!
     

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