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Audio on GH4 and NX1


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I have a 4-year-old Panasonic prosumer video cam and I'm looking to purchase the Panasonic GH4 or the Samsung NX1. My microphones are all made for XLR connections and my camcorder has them. I also have a 4 track Tascam when I need more than two inputs, but when I have no sound person the XLR connections save the day on my Panasonic.

If I do go with the Panasonic GH4 I'd get the YAGH Interface Unit to record audio.

What are Samsung NX1 users doing to capture audio? Does Samsung offer a unit for XLR connections for the NX1?

Thanks.

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The NX1 currently has a audio gain issue. It's workable, but only if you have a signal booster going into it. If you can afford the YAGH interface and are used to Panasonic, that is probably the route you should take at the moment.

The other option is wait and see if the issue gets fixed the the next firmware update on the NX1 (they have been frequent so far). However, even with it fixed, the GH4 with YAGH interface will give you far more options and higher quality audio.

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I can't imagine getting really pristine sound from any DSLR - so-so circuitry designed to be tiny, not awesome.

It's not about camera gain settings or XLR adapters. Don't choose a camera based on its audio capabilities, choose it as a camera. A Tascam DR-60 is 10x the utility and quality, and comes with PluralEyes, so your synch issues are history. 2 tracks with phantom power (and a -6DB backup track of each for safety) and 2 more line ins, headphone out with a level KNOB and line out - with a knob as well. A really, really unobtrusive limiter and a low cut. Can't beat it for $200. And that's just the entry level, but you get XLR combo's, good meters, a wealth of features.

I shoot plenty of corporate stuff all by myself. It really doesn't take me any remarkable amount of time to plug my mics into a recorder vs. a camera. When I'm doing interview stuff or planned-out stuff with DSLR or BMC style cameras, I run a line out from the Tascam to the camera for cleaner synch. But PluralEyes synchs with the in-camera mic just fine. You can mount a recorder on your rails or stick it where it's convenient.

If the gig is just a crazy run & gun deal, I use a "video" camera with ND, zoom, a real viewfinder with peaking, XLRs, etc. I've watched the DSLR guys miss 20% of their shots at those deals.

Plugging mics into an NX1 (or a 5D or a Nikon or a BMC)... just don't do it. If you can afford a YHAGI you can afford a great recorder and do it right. $199 gets you out of the crap preamps realm, and if you have more budget you can get more. And the YHAGI is pretty overpriced unless you need the SDI. Dual system sound just does not add complexity to worry about. YMMV and my .02 of course...

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Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. The Tascam unit I have is the DR680 and it was useful when I purchased it for recording several talking heads (3-5) at one time. I had some problems with the layout of the controls on it: They were not the most user friendly.

Looking at the newer (and less expensive) models it seems like the things I wished were easier on the DR680 have been updated. I especially like the DR-60D and the DR-70D.

I also appreciate the logical view that a videocamera is right for situations like Run n' Gun and a DSLR for video makes sense when you're setting up gear (lights, booms, etc.) for a narrative shoot. In the latter situation I can use a separate unit for higher quality audio with an out going to the camera.

Thanks again.

 

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I've wondered myself - if the screw mount on the 70d is the same hardware as the 60d, that thing is pretty big!

My only issue with the 60D? When the meter says it's peaking, it's not even close. I've gotten a lot of audio tracks that are pretty weak until I learned to (A) kinda slam the meters, (B) activate the -6DB safety track for peace of mind and (C) use the limiter (See"B")!

Also, it has some issues with rechargeable batteries, announcing they're too low of a charge. But the 60D will run ALL FREAKING DAY with something like an Anker USB battery - $30!!

I mount mine on a crossbar of 15mm rod, works great for tripod work...

rig2.jpg

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​I've been looking for a practical way to mount mine- you look like you've find a pretty great solution! Mind posting any detailed pics?

​I use a 15mm rod fitting I found on ebay on the bottom of the DR, and a 90-degree fitting on a piece of 15mm rod. The rod is fastened at 90 degrees on the left rod in the pic, and the right rod keeps it from twisting (the weight of the DR would make it drop, but the rod under the DR hits the right rod so it's stable, if that makes sense!). Can't remember the link for that little part, it was like 9 bucks from China. If you go into eBay photo and search "15mm rod" you'll get about 400 little doodads, some of which are pretty useful.

dr60d.jpg

By the way, now I use a little Anker USB battery - I had an old Sennheiser G3 receiver shoe mount, I just velcro the Anker to that and it lives on top of the DR via the DR's male screw.

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​What a rig! What are you shooting with here?

​That's my "there's time to get it right" without a rental setup, vs run & gun camera... Nikon D7100, Fotga follow focus, a loupe, matte box, and (somewhere off frame) a monitor with peaking and 1:1. Probably an 85 1.8 on the camera, this was a corporate interview and that lens... if I had panties they'd be soaked! I just use rubber hoods pressed against the matte box instead of donuts, that's very quick and easy and I can leave them on the glass. Well, just scrolled up, not sure what lens that is, could be a nikkor 35-70 2.8? Sold that a while ago for a 28-70. It's a great little setup and was pretty cheap - that Fotga FF is really a super buy.

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  • 4 weeks later...

You're never going to get professional sound no matter what you do, so why make it difficult? The majority of Hollywood movies are post dubbed, so just plug a good shotgun mic into a camera that has manual controls and get a lot of close ups for your dialog. Recording sound is a craft and it is offensive to the craftsman that have spent years honing their craft to think you can just plug a mic into a Tascam or Zoom and get pro sound because that's what real productions do.

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The trick to getting professional audio (low noise, excellent quality) is to use a preamp into the DSLR. In the field, the Sennheiser G3 wireless lav system works great, especially for run & gun and guerrilla shooting when you don't (or can't )have a boom operator. I use two G3 systems for two channels and a simple Y-adapter into the Sony A7S and it works great. In the studio / green screen I use a Sound Devices USB Pre2 (also a stand alone preamp, same hardware topology as the 744T) and an Audio Technica BP4029 mid-side stereo shotgun. For ADR in post I use a Shure SM7 mic into a Focusrite 2i2 (amazing quality preamps for the price. Not as good as Sound Devices, but it's a more stable solution as a computer input device (SD made some odd choices for the USBPre2 hardware (as in it never turns off, even when the computer sleeps + some driver issues)).

Example audio: http://brightland.com/w/delta/ : jump to 6:30 to hear VO (SM7 + Scarlet) and BP4029 + Sound Devices (into a GH4) for prelude to fight scene. Earlier scenes used the G3's into the A7S. All audio sweetening done from within Premiere Pro (used to use Pro Tools, including their crazy expensive hardware) and small amounts of Audition (waveform editing). For shorts/indies/corporate/for-fun, this level of hardware is plenty good!

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It sounds like you have a really nice set up. But for me, even wiring lavs and setting up wireless is too time consuming. However, I do like the beachtek slr mini. I may invest in that, in the future, for a bigger project. But for me, a one man crew, the easiest, best solution will be my go to every time.

Obviously, I understand, you will get better audio doing double sound, but is it really worth all the trouble involved? I am not a sound guy, I can't afford a sound guy, and I don't know any sound guys. 

I do know I can plug a mic into my camera, adjust the levels, and get a mic a couple feet away from an actor's mouth. A close up and usable audio all in one shot.

Cut. Next shot. 

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The trick to getting professional audio (low noise, excellent quality) is to use a preamp into the DSLR. In the field, the Sennheiser G3 wireless lav system works great, especially for run & gun and guerrilla shooting when you don't (or can't )have a boom operator. I use two G3 systems for two channels and a simple Y-adapter into the Sony A7S and it works great. In the studio / green screen I use a Sound Devices USB Pre2 (also a stand alone preamp, same hardware topology as the 744T) and an Audio Technica BP4029 mid-side stereo shotgun. For ADR in post I use a Shure SM7 mic into a Focusrite 2i2 (amazing quality preamps for the price. Not as good as Sound Devices, but it's a more stable solution as a computer input device (SD made some odd choices for the USBPre2 hardware (as in it never turns off, even when the computer sleeps + some driver issues)).

Example audio: http://brightland.com/w/delta/ : jump to 6:30 to hear VO (SM7 + Scarlet) and BP4029 + Sound Devices (into a GH4) for prelude to fight scene. Earlier scenes used the G3's into the A7S. All audio sweetening done from within Premiere Pro (used to use Pro Tools, including their crazy expensive hardware) and small amounts of Audition (waveform editing). For shorts/indies/corporate/for-fun, this level of hardware is plenty good!

The best way for getting clean audio on a run and gun situation that I have found is using a Roland R-05 digital recorded paired with a Sennheiser ME2 lav. Pin that on the talent, set the levels, lock it on hold, and let it rip. Risky, yeah, sorta, but if you're running and gunning, you really don't have time to tweak the audio any way. Although, yes, at least you can make sure you're recording audio, I have never had an issue with the Roland R-05. I'll admit, it's probably not advisable as your only audio source, but it definitely makes for a great redundant source, if you're leary!

 

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mercer- yes, thanks, Delta was our first narrative short. We had no complaints for audio/sound (other elements- yes; a learning experience for us! ;)). Glad you got the humor shots! (I shot everything- no stock footage). The short was supposed to be campy and fun; special effects a homage to old-school video games / Star Wars, etc. We'll improve the story (and everything else) on the next one :)

The simplest solution would be a shotgun mounted on camera with a high-quality isolated mount (and far enough away from the lens to mask stabilizer noise, etc., when present), with a decent preamp (either in the mic system (Rode etc.)), or as another piece of hardware (JuicedLink sounds cleanest for the money, SD's MixPre-D sounds much better and has superior limiters: worth over double the cost IMO. The hacked iRig Pre is perhaps the best low cost, ultra small solution: http://www.dslrfilmnoob.com/2012/11/25/irig-pre-hack-cheap-xlr-phantom-power-preamp-dslr/ ). You could also rig a boom to a backpack, etc., to get the mic closer to the subject (really need to get mic pointed down towards the ground to take advantage of noise rejection).

Regarding dual sound, IMO it's only worth it for larger productions, with a dedicated sound guy, and only when using Sound Devices or similar quality gear (I have a Zoom H4n and Tascam DR100mkII: not high enough quality vs. internal DSLR with a preamp to warrant extra effort of separate sound. DR680 and newer are good and SD 702 and up are preferred. SD gear has amazing preamps, not only clean, but a very full, natural 'Hollywood' sound. The SD limiters are also very, very good: the extra cost for SD gear is worth it: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/429566-REG/Sound_Devices_702_702_High_Resolution_2_Channel.html . How many 5.0 reviews do you see on ANY piece of gear? Pretty amazing).

Steve M.- going wired like that can certainly sound better than wireless (until getting to the Zaxcom or Lectrosonics digital wireless level), though the Sennheiser (and similar priced gear) is more than good enough for indie work (even material planned for streaming paid delivery). Another solution that can be 'free' is to use old cell phones as lav recorders (even your current cellphone). Rode makes a decent lav for the iPhone & Android: http://www.amazon.com/Rode-smartLav-Lavalier-Microphone-Smartphones/dp/B00EO4A7L0 . It is technically possible to have an app be remotely controlled to start recording, meaning a bunch of iPhones/Androids could join an adhoc wifi network and be triggered to record remotely, then send a compressed AAC copy over wifi back to the controller, where mixed audio could be monitored live (if this already exists- very cool)). In post the locally recorded uncompressed WAV files can be used for editing (along with timecode and/or sidecar metadata to make syncing easier).

Not monitoring lav recordings live is indeed very risky- many times the mic/cable rub and must be readjusted due to talent movement (cable loop taping and careful placement help, but there are still issues that come up during recording).

 

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The driving through Hollywood footage was great. I really liked the grade you did on those shots. They looked so different from the rest of the footage, so I just figured you had used stock footage. Also. I must say your main actress is pretty easy on the eyes. Oh yeah and she wasn't a bad actress either. You obviously are very informed with sound. Half of what you said went over my head. 

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