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Author Topic: External microphones for video recording  (Read 1424 times)

Tom

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External microphones for video recording
« on: May 11, 2017, 07:58:19 PM »
The internal mic's in my Panasonic G7 are poor at capturing audio, so I'm looking for an external mic. There are mic's and there are mic's, as illustrated by the polar patterns in this Microphone wiki. I understand the patterns, but which should I buy for recording in a theatre/small concert?
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SeilerBird

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2017, 08:07:53 PM »
The big question is do you want to record the group or do you want to record the group and the acoustics of the building? Since the building will change from one recording to the next you should probably get a mic that records the group and not the building, meaning a directional microphone. But you must remember recording engineers and good microphones cost a lot of money. Don't think you are going to approach anything near professional level with a camera and a cheap mic.
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Larry N.

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2017, 08:59:06 PM »
B&H Photo (among other places) has a huge selection of mics. I'm not certain, but you may want a shotgun mic (one of the shorter ones), Tom. There are a number of different kinds of mics that mount on the shoe, which I suspect you want for portability. I suppose you have the 3.5mm jack (stereo, I hope). You can even get XLR adapters but now it's getting away from easy portable use.
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8Muddypaws

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2017, 09:38:06 PM »
Shotgun Mic X3.  Or perhaps one that has switchable patterns. 

I use an old Zoom H2 handheld (or tripod) mounted digital recorder.  It has several microphone models built in but is not quite directional enough for small groups.  When I can I patch it into the sound system.  When I can't I put the recorder as far away from 'people' as I can.  It's old but it does 24/96 samples and produces great results.  I've used it to record a philharmonic orchestra many times.

With all that said - shotgun X3.  Or a mic with switchable patterns.  Turn autofocus off or mount the mic on it's own tripod or as far from the lens motors as you can get it.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 10:41:02 PM by 8Muddypaws »
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2017, 11:18:17 PM »
Thanks everyone. I looked at shotgun mic's, but for some reason dismissed them. Why would they be better for theatre use than cardioid? Time for me to look again.

I figured I'd mount it in the hot shoe, and plug into the 3.5mm jack. The camera has a "silent" mode, but I guess the mic would still pick up the autofocus noise?

FWIW this pro uses shotgun.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 11:26:55 PM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2017, 04:42:43 AM »
Thanks everyone. I looked at shotgun mic's, but for some reason dismissed them. Why would they be better for theatre use than cardioid? Time for me to look again.
A cardioid would pick up too much audience and theater reverb noise. The shotgun would only pick up the band.
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2017, 11:31:06 AM »
Audience noise isn't an issue in our concerts; We don't have screaming females throwing their underwear on stage. Applause can easily be edited out.

Maybe I was overthinking this, but I assumed I'd want to capture sound from the theatre's audio system, and therefore assumed I didn't want/need a mic that was "too directional"  ???
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SeilerBird

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2017, 11:51:37 AM »
Audience noise is not an issue. The acoustical characteristics of the hall are the problem. You can't edit that out.
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2017, 11:54:18 AM »
Quote
Audience noise is not an issue.

Thanks. I misunderstood your earlier post:

Quote
A cardioid would pick up too much audience and theater reverb noise.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 11:56:17 AM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2017, 04:17:31 PM »
Audience noise is always an issue.  A cardioid pattern will pick up a sniffle or sneeze very well.  Also camera noise.  (Remember the square of the distance thing from science class.)  A 45db sneeze 5 feet away will be much louder than an 85db band at 50 feet.  Even a shotgun mic is not a complete cure. 

It's a complete pain trying to edit those sounds out.
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2017, 04:24:23 PM »
Thanks Russ.
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2017, 08:54:13 AM »
Quote
A cardioid pattern will pick up a sniffle or sneeze very well.

Re-reading your reply Russ I'm reminded of one performance where someone set up a small digital (audio) recorder on a tripod near the back of the audience. One guy sitting in front of the mic proceeded to "clap along to the beat" on some numbers, and that's all we heard during playback  :o

Meanwhile, the new external mic arrived yesterday. Still playing around with it. Coincidentally, tomorrow I have a meeting at the theatre for our upcoming show, but not having a band or an audience won't be a good test  >:(
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 11:21:11 AM by Tom »
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Larry N.

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2017, 10:01:53 AM »
...
Meanwhile, the new external mic arrived yesterday. Still playing around with it. Coincidentally, tomorrow I have a meeting at the theatre for our upcoming show, but not having a band or an audience won't be a good test  >:(

Not a good test of the equipment response to the audience, but an excellent chance to perfect your setup in other respects. Knowing what you have to work with, what spaces are available to set up, checking camera angle(s), and advance practice on actually setting up can be a great aid (rehearsal, if you will) to getting the best results.

So which mic did you get?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 10:07:32 AM by Larry N. »
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2017, 10:22:21 AM »
Quote
Knowing what you have to work with, what spaces are available to set up, checking camera angle(s), and advance practice on actually setting up can be a great aid...

Coincidentally, we attended a concert at the same theatre a few weeks ago. I had the camera with me, but not a tripod which will be necessary for the upcoming show. That was when I realized how bad the on-camera mic's are.

Since I'll be performing at the upcoming concert, I won't be able to manage the video-taking. I'm hoping I can give my DW sufficient 'training' this week.

Quote
So which mic did you get?

I bought this one. Despite the hoopla, I'm not convinced it's a true shotgun mic.
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Larry N.

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2017, 12:58:50 PM »
Thanks. I looked up the mic's pattern on the BOYA website, and it appears to be (as mentioned on the BOYA website, and in Amazon's specs) a super cardioid, but not as aggressive as many/most shotguns, which for your use might be an advantage. It's an inexpensive mic with surprisingly good specs -- let us know how it works out, and I may get one too, if the audio is pretty decent (my Vivitar shotgun mic is good for some things, but it's not high quality audio).

If yours includes the wind muff shown on the page you linked to, that's a great device to have -- drops wind noise outdoors by a BUNCH (and softens what's left). I have a similar muff for my Sony FX1 camcorder, but would love to have one for my Canon G-20, too (haven't found one yet that will fit).
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2017, 01:03:49 PM »
Quote
If yours includes the wind muff...

It does, but I thought it was a duster  :-[   Goofy looking thing.
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Larry N.

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2017, 03:53:42 PM »
Quote
Goofy looking thing.

Yup, but effective. I've compared my FX1 with and without the "dead cat," as some term it, and it changes an almost unbearable (at normal listening volume) wind noise that hides most of what you say while holding the camera to a muffled, only slightly annoying sound, that is a gentle background to your "narration." And that's even in strong winds coming up the canyon high on Trail Ridge Road, with winds I'd estimate to be in excess of 20 knots hitting the mics.

You might note the next time you see press cameras outdoors in the wind and notice the fuzzy things they use -- the same thing. Compare it yourself when you get a chance, and I think you'll find a pleasant surprise.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 03:57:09 PM by Larry N. »
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wb6kwt

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2017, 10:47:29 AM »
Hi Tom, I worked in video production for 15 years before I retired and always asked the audio tech, at an event, if he had an extra audio out that I could use. Most of the time I was able to connect to the audio mixer. Sometimes it would be a 1/4" unbalanced out and if I was lucky a XLR out. I carried different adapters and direct boxes just in case I needed them. My personal microphone that I used for your type of event is the Sennheiser ME66 shotgun microphone. It's not the most expensive one that Sennheiser sells but I've always had good results with it.

Bob
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2017, 12:03:41 PM »
Thanks for the insight Bob.

Quote
... always asked the audio tech, at an event, if he had an extra audio out that I could use.

That was the conclusion I've come to for recording audio (no video). What did you record (audio) to?
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2017, 08:07:21 PM »
Quote
... asked the audio tech, at an event, if he had an extra audio out that I could use.

Met with the sound techs at the theatre today; They can give us a thumb drive &/or link to an audio file of the whole show. Neat! So, even if my external mic' doesn't do a good job, we can dub the "good" audio onto the video.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 06:10:10 AM by Tom »
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Lou Schneider

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2017, 09:15:29 PM »
"Good" audio from the theater mixer might not be as good as you think.

If the band is pretty much filling the hall on it's own, there isn't much for the sound reinforcement to add.  Unless the sound guy is providing a separate recording mix you might wind up a feed that's heavy on the vocalists and light on the band's contribution.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 09:21:05 PM by Lou Schneider »

Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2017, 10:47:50 PM »
Hi Lou, you might be right.

Quote
Unless the sound guy is providing a separate recording mix ...

They talked about a "2-track" recording, but I didn't understand what that meant.

Hopefully, it's redundant to what we get on the external mic' on the camera.
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2017, 06:28:35 AM »
Interesting article on 2-track recording:

http://www.deltamedia.com/resource/live_recording2.html
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2017, 06:38:29 AM »
My first experience with an external mic, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was almost half way back in the audience seats and could barely hear these guys talking, but they're definitely audible when I play back my brief test recordings through my new on-camera external mic.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 06:44:46 AM by Tom »
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Larry N.

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2017, 07:04:01 AM »
That's great, Tom -- how did it sound? The real test, of course, will be when you record music. I'll be interested to see how the sound quality is.
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2017, 08:09:49 AM »
Larry, this wasn't much of a test, given that these guys were holding a normal conversation, and two of them had their backs to the camera. I was just glad to be able to hear them and make out what they were saying during playback. A huge improvement over the Panasonic's built-in mic's. FWIW I was three rows behind the sound booth, visible adjacent to the right-of-center aisle (see attached pic).

As you say, the real test will be in the concert. My concern now is to not have "too much" volume and end up with distortion; I don't know any way to monitor that while recording video.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 08:38:51 AM by Tom »
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8Muddypaws

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2017, 05:36:15 PM »
Does the camera have built in audio compression?  If it does and you're worried about something being extremely loud in relation to the rest of the material (say something like a kettle drum, cannon, banjo, etc) use it.  Compression is tricky.  Use too much and it sounds horrible.  Use too little and you get clipping and overflow.

It's easier to do than to explain.  :o

Doesn't the camera have a way to set the audio recording level?  Maybe it's done automatically?  Maybe it's magic!?!?!
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 05:38:18 PM by 8Muddypaws »
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Tom

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2017, 06:10:15 PM »
Russ, you're going to make me read the manual, and I don't do manuals  :-[
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8Muddypaws

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2017, 07:15:49 PM »
Wouldn't think of it.

I'll bet there's a YouTube video.   ;D ;D :D
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8Muddypaws

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Re: External microphones for video recording
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2017, 07:45:35 PM »
Nope.  Thousands of them!  Watch them all?
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