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D800, Movies, Microphone and focus noise

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5703 posts

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Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Wed 28-Mar-12 01:49 PM


I have been playing with movies (they hold not strong interest but since it does them...)

I am using the built in mic and a 24-70/2.8 lens (no VR), with more or less default settings.

When I record, the lens is continually focusing (and doing a pretty good job actually). but the focus noise is extremely loud on playback, I guess because the lens is an inch from the mic. It's loud enough to be almost unusable.

Has anyone else noticed?

Did anyone get the Nikon add-on mic, either the Nikon ME1 or something else, and try it? I could see where a true, feet-from-camera external mic would be better, but does a hot-shoe mic get far enough away this problem goes away?

Note I have no other lens with me at the moment (long story) so not sure if that lens is louder than most. It actually seems a bit loud from memory, but new camera, new lens... hard to say from memory. But VR is also going to add some noise.

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2807 posts

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#1. "RE: D800, Movies, Microphone and focus noise" | In response to Reply # 0

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Wed 28-Mar-12 12:48 PM

Standard answer, The great proportion of people shooting real project with DSLRs are not actually using the audio from the camera for anything but a guide track. So the noise doesn't matter.

They are also manually focusing so focus noise is immaterial.

These things make VERY poor camcorders for the common person.

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LMMiller9

Potomac, US
1168 posts

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#2. "RE: D800, Movies, Microphone and focus noise" | In response to Reply # 0

LMMiller9 Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2005
Wed 28-Mar-12 12:54 PM

I think you must have a detached mic to get good audio. I bought a RODE mic from B&H. They list this as an accessory on the D800 page. When you buy it you also get a free bracket which holds the mic away from the camera. This is a good idea.

I was advised by a professional video guy that this was a "must."

To be honest, I haven't used it enough yet to report on how well it works.

Larry Miller, Potomac, MD
DF/D810
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km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3559 posts

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#3. "RE: D800, Movies, Microphone and focus noise" | In response to Reply # 0

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Wed 28-Mar-12 01:37 PM

Getting good sound is seldom a matter of equipment but distance and acoustic characteristics of the space. Any $2 mic, close to the sound source will beat the pants off a $2000 shotgun mic 30 feet away. So there are lots of options, for example a small digital recorder with built-in mic hidden in the flower arrangement 18 inches from the speaker in a seminar will do much better than the camera mounted or camera located mic.
Another reason for sound pickup close, besides isolating the sound source from the highly reverberant acoustic space closer to the optical vantage point, is the difference in speed of sound versus light. The sound travels at a nominal 1100ft/sec so being 30 feet away means sound pick up will be a little less than 30milliseconds delayed from the visuals. That does not sound like much but we sense it and our brain tells us somethings is wrong. The delay becomes irritating even if we can't put our finger on what is causing our uneasiness.
Get the mic close and that problem goes away, as does the terrible echo and reflection signals that dominate the waves reaching the mic when more than a couple feet from the source. Our brains filter much of that clutter out of our consciousness in a live acoustic space but the mic can't do that. The result is that familiar tinny, man in a cave sound that most people assume is due to a bad mic or recorder. Actually any mic will pick up that because it really is there even if we are not very aware of it when listening in the same room.

So, use a mic close the subject and be careful with levels and the quality and cost of the mic becomes less important. Getting too far away, 15 feet for example inside a building, and even the best mics will give poor results. The camera will accept 3.5mm phone plugs common on small electret-condenser mics so plug one in and place it close, making sure the cord is not in the frame. For more serious video recording, a sound engineer is needed and a boom operator to keep the mic close but out of frame. You really do not need fancy gear for good sound. The same electret-condenser mic element in a cheap computer mic(<$5) is used in more expensive video mics like the Rhode. The element itself costs $0.20 from Panasonic that is used in hundreds of models of mics from $5 to $200. Real quality mics are too fragile for most field recording, they are used in dialog replacement in a studio in post production. Due to the visual cuing, we are less critical about speech quality when it is appropriate for the scene and in sync, it will seem realistic even if the captured quality would be marginal when used in a audio only experience where we have to rely on ears alone to judge the content.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5703 posts

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#4. "RE: D800, Movies, Microphone and focus noise" | In response to Reply # 3

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Wed 28-Mar-12 02:51 PM


Thanks. For me, I do not intend to do significant amounts of video, or anything serious (e.g. the boom operator type), but more the occasional event. Say I was shooting volleyball and wanted to just pick up the background noise, or candids and dancing at a wedding, same idea.

The problem is not the quality of the background noise (what I hear so far through the D800 is actually OK), but the overriding, loud clacking from the lens is louder than everything else. If that were absent, I would be quite happy the way it is.

The manual focus comment is interesting, need to think about that and experiment. I don't know video, just assumed you let it auto-focus. If it's not auto-focusing this is moot.

PS. I saw the book mike at B&H also, thanks, if you test please post comment how it worked, especially if you have time to compare with the built in with regard to AF noise.

Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

Antero52

Vantaa, FI
2675 posts

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#5. "RE: D800, Movies, Microphone and focus noise" | In response to Reply # 0

Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009
Wed 28-Mar-12 02:58 PM

What I sometimes do with my camcorder is simply place a dictation recorder in a good or convenient location and just leave it on. For instance, on travel agency bus rides, the tour guides often talk lots of BS, spiced with occasional good stories. With my camcorder, I never catch the good bits. With my dictation recorder, I always do because it is always on (or in voice-activated mode). How do I use the audio from the recorder? I use some audio-processing software to extract the good stories as convenient MP3 files. I edit the movie with Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 14 (almost any movie editor will do). I place the movie (video+camera sound) on the main editing track and the external audio file on an auxiliary audio track. When I compress the time scale enough, I can see that the sound intensity profiles of the audio tracks are similar but the external audio is offset to the camera sound. I then shift the external audio until it looks aligned with the camera audio. Then I expand the time scale and do a more precise alignment, zooming in (on the time scale) as long as it takes. The final step is turning off the camera audio track.

As Stan said, even the simplest of mics (or recorders) placed close enough to the source outdo the fanciest equipment far away.

Regards, Antero

G