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What is a good Audio Recording set up for D800 video recording?

true_superfly

US
116 posts

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true_superfly Registered since 27th Mar 2012
Thu 31-May-12 01:32 AM

I am completely clueless in DSLR video recording.

What do you guys use for audio recording? All I have is the Nikon ME-1 mic. My video recording will be mainly indoor concert, indoor wedding, plus limited amount of landscape (water fall, etc). I am just experimenting with DSLR video. So this is not gonna be a HBO production. Is there such a thing as reasonable good audio set up and reasonable size & weight & budget?

Any advice is appreciated.

RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3373 posts

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#1. "RE: What is a good Audio Recording set up for D800 video recording?" | In response to Reply # 0

RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter Member
Thu 31-May-12 01:30 AM

The on-board D800 recording is better than most.
To eliminate background noise, you will need a directional boom mic.
It should be mounted with rubber or off camera so you do not pickup AF motor noise.
Off camera separate recording devices can be a lot better but will be difficult to sync to the Video at the right time.

I use an Azden SMX-10 Stereo Mic mounted to the camera shoe.

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PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2817 posts

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#2. "RE: What is a good Audio Recording set up for D800 video recording?" | In response to Reply # 0

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Thu 31-May-12 02:39 AM

The zoom H4N is the most popular inexpensive audio recorder among the DSLR budget filmmakers. It's a decent option for someone starting out. There are a lot more and lot better options, but it will get you going. Sync isn't too difficult to off at all. Just record with the camera mic and the external recorder at the same time, and when you start rolling, snap your fingers where both mic's can pick it up. In sync, you'll be able to line those two up in just a few seconds, and can then get down to editing. Or you can use Pluraleyes/dualeyes sync software that does the sync for you automatically.

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km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3574 posts

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#3. "RE: What is a good Audio Recording set up for D800 video recording?" | In response to Reply # 2

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Thu 31-May-12 03:16 AM

The single most telling difference between good sound for audio and and bad is having the mics close to the source. Room reverberation is not as audible to the audience as it is to microphones, not because of any real difference between ears and mics in sensitivities but because the human brain filters out much of the sea of reverberation artifacts from our consciousness. The further a source is way, the lower the ratio of direct sound to reflected delayed sound the less intelligible the sound so getting the mics close to the source makes a big difference regardless of what quality of mic is used. A $5000 condenser mic will sound worse in a concert if mounted at the camera location than a $5 electret mic mounted where the strongest clearest sound is direct from the source.
So, a long play pocket digital recorder with built-in mics placed up at the stage can work better than one mounted on your camera out in the audience. A small digital recorder turned on and left on for the entire performance can act as the time marking reference for the whole video, where the sound has a single continuous time code progression from start to end and video clips can be placed on that time line for easy location and sync. Having a number of disconnected lengths of time code complicates syncing in editing and post.
There are low cost wireless mics that would allow more flexibility in placement. An alternative is making friends with the crew and get a direct board feed for the Front of House mixer. Those feeds will be from close mic's instrument mics so if crowd and ambiance sound is to be mixed in for more realism be sure to use the source from the stage area because the crowd noise and reflections delayed by about 1ms per foot of distance, meaning a camera mounted ambient mic mixed with close mic's stage feeds will be badly out of sync. Stage sound can be quite high level so preventing overload on the recorder in the camera mics is a task, if you are using the internal mic or some mic plugged into the mic input jack. Good sound for visuals is not easy, it is a field that is just as complex or even more so than the video, but it can, when done well, greatly improve the impression left by the visuals. When done badly, it can ruin any video's impression.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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true_superfly

US
116 posts

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#4. "RE: What is a good Audio Recording set up for D800 video recording?" | In response to Reply # 0

true_superfly Registered since 27th Mar 2012
Thu 31-May-12 03:53 AM

wow,

all your advices are very helpful.

The Azden SMX-10 seems to be a much better option than my Nikon ME-1. Then I looked up the H4N. I stumbled upon a YouTube review on the H4N (darn it, this guy knows how to play piano). Not sure if it is his music or his review, I am completely blown away. I am seriously thinking about getting a H4N to replace my ME-1.

Stan, your advice is gold! I keep hearing some other audio engineers telling me the same principle.

A big thanks!

superfly

Antero52

Vantaa, FI
2683 posts

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#5. "RE: What is a good Audio Recording set up for D800 video recording?" | In response to Reply # 4

Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009
Thu 31-May-12 04:09 AM

I second Stan’s recommendation to use an external recorder. I use it occasionally to record sound continuously. This is handy in, say, tourist buses, where the guide sometimes tells interesting stories or anecdotes that would greatly enhance travel videos. The problem is that I can never capture those stories with my camcorder because it’s never recording (or even on) at the right time. But a small external recorder can be left on for several hours.

I never use time codes. If I have to sync the externally recorded sound and the camera-recorded sound, I use a video editing program (Pinnacle Studio Ultimate). I place the camera-generated video/audio on the primary track and the externally recorded on an auxiliary track and use the sound intensity profiles to align the external sound with the primary track.

Regards, Antero

RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3373 posts

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#6. "RE: What is a good Audio Recording set up for D800 video recording?" | In response to Reply # 5

RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter Member
Thu 31-May-12 11:58 AM | edited Thu 31-May-12 12:01 PM by RRRoger

I had a portable an older Tascam equivalent to the DR-100 without remote.
It was very good until I lost it in Yosemite (with recordings of Water Falls and the River).
I mostly used it as an external mic and also backup.
It can record to the camera as well as a separate 32GB SDXC card at the same time.
I have long stereo cables so it could be located far from the camera and close to the action.
It was also handy at job meetings and as a personal MP3 player.

The price has gone up but so has the functionality (remote).
If I had the money I would replace it, but for my use the Azden is more than "good enough".

If you already have a ME-1 and want better, I would add an external recorder.

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WhereRu

Pleasant Prairie, US
95 posts

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#7. "RE: What is a good Audio Recording set up for D800 video recording?" | In response to Reply # 0

WhereRu Basic Member
Thu 31-May-12 04:03 PM

My recording setup is an Edirol R-09HR digital recorder with Church Audio cardioid mics via a battery box. These are "stealth" mics and can be hidden in clothing on the subject or mounted easily on a boom pole. No problem with sync at all. I plan to buy an on camera mic as well.

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G