VF48Hours Lockdown Forum

elfwaite
From: Dunedin
Since: Mar 2015
Posts: 3

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Basic Mic for under $100?

Hello all!
This will be my first year competing in the 48 Hour Film 'extravaganza' and I was wondering if anyone has any advice for me regarding microphones. My budget is minimal ($120 or so) and I am looking for a mic that I can use for this competition but also other __small__l projects that I am planning. So far, the two most promising choices I have looked at are the Zoom H1 (as both a boom and, lav mic transmitter) which looks pretty good or the iTalk app with a couple of iPhone lav mics (the downside of this is that we will only have two iPhones between a group of 4/5 actors) - essentially anything better than the hiss you get with the Canon 600D.
Which do you think would be more worthwhile for me to get? Any other suggestions?
Thanks,
Ellen

Director/Editor for Imaginary Friends Productions, Dunedin

2015 - Important Business (The Buddy Movie)
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Giles
From: Wellington
Since: May 2011
Posts: 78

Hi Ellen,
I really recommend recording sound directly on your camera, if you can, so you don't have to sync it up later. That's just one extra step in post production you really don't need, when you're already fighting the clock. How bad is the 600d audio? We shot our 2012 film on a 550d. We used a shotgun mic plugged via xlr in to a tascam recorder that was outputting to the camera at the same time as recording. I was expecting to use the files recorded on the tascam, but in the end the audio on the camera was fine and it saved a lot of time to use it, rather than syncing separate files. Could you use the Zoom H1 in a similar way, kind of as a preamp for an external mic? There are lots of $120 to $150 non xlr shotgun (ish) mics for sale on trademe, although I'm not sure they'd give much better audio than the zoom mics. Could you just connect the zoom's output to the camera via a long cable? With any long unbalanced audio cable you run the risk of a noisy signal, but it might be worth testing.
Have you thought about adapters that might improve the sound, like Beachtek type adapters?
As a first year entrant, it might be worth considering trying to get hold of a video camera that has better audio capability, even if it's an older camera. Sound is always the first thing to go wrong. It's tricky to get right and it is awful when it's wrong. I'd prioritize it over the camera, if you have that option.
I know I'm not really answering your question and suggesting a whole lot of gear you probably don't have, but the simpler you make the sound recording process, the better.
Do you know about MagicLantern? It's a third party bit of software you can put on many canon DSLRs which allows audio monitoring and control that the camera doesn't come with. It's brilliant and it's free! I used to use it a lot. I don't know if it's right for you, but you might want to look in to it.
Using multiple iPhone gizmos and lav mics sounds like a nightmare. I reckon keep it simple. We've only ever used a single mic on a boom plugged straight in to the camera and we've done pretty well.

2014| Noise and Pictures | Rubble | Co-writer, Director, co-D.O.P., editor.
2013| Noise and Pictures |Gift-Wrapped| Director, co-writer, co-D.O.P., editor.
2012| Noise and Pictures | Brains? | Director, co-writer, D.O.P., editor.
2011| Noise and Pictures | Super Self Me | Director, co-writer, D.O.P., editor.
2010| Noise and Pictures | Bottle o' Love Director, D.O.P., editor, music.
2008| Naked Pictures | Merely Players | Actor
2007| Naked Pictures | Happy Valley | Actor
2007| ??????? | Fear it, Want it, touch it. | Editor
2004| The Hilariafia | This Topia | 2nd D.O.P.
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clang
From: Wellington
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 197

Syncing can indeed be a time suck, and may be more trouble than it's worth in the 48 Hrs situation. Ditto for lav mics and other fancy stuff. Especially if you don't have an experienced sound techy.

I presume you're using a Canon 600D - that does at least have a external mic socket, so the simplest solution is a decent mic that will plug into that, and a long cable so you can use a boom pole or mic stand. For most DSLRs, there's nothing wrong with the sound recording, just the terrible onboard mic.

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Giles
From: Wellington
Since: May 2011
Posts: 78

in reply to clang:

Some DSLRs do have poor audio, but it sounds like the 600d is pretty okay. Now that I think of it, when we used the 550d, there was a bit of a hiss, but I ended up just filtering it out (probably on the final mix, in one go) quite successfully, which was much easier than syncing a whole lot of files. So yeah, I'm with you, clang. At least test the simple option, Ellen.

2014| Noise and Pictures | Rubble | Co-writer, Director, co-D.O.P., editor.
2013| Noise and Pictures |Gift-Wrapped| Director, co-writer, co-D.O.P., editor.
2012| Noise and Pictures | Brains? | Director, co-writer, D.O.P., editor.
2011| Noise and Pictures | Super Self Me | Director, co-writer, D.O.P., editor.
2010| Noise and Pictures | Bottle o' Love Director, D.O.P., editor, music.
2008| Naked Pictures | Merely Players | Actor
2007| Naked Pictures | Happy Valley | Actor
2007| ??????? | Fear it, Want it, touch it. | Editor
2004| The Hilariafia | This Topia | 2nd D.O.P.
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elfwaite
From: Dunedin
Since: Mar 2015
Posts: 3

I've attempted to filter out the hiss caused but the final sound tends to end up quite tinny and muted and the hiss tends to still be audible when people are speaking - then again, I was just using audacity... is there a particular application you would recommend for this?
In terms of the possibility of getting a mic or some kind, I did a bit more research into the Zoom H1 and found that it can be used as both a preamp and a mic. Working around my budget, I would use it simply as the mic, plugged into my Canon 600D (I did a bot more research on this too, and it tends to lead to some pretty good results).
Also, I checked out MagicLantern which sounds great, but I am worried about the possibility (however unlikely) that I would brick my camera...
Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it.

Director/Editor for Imaginary Friends Productions, Dunedin

2015 - Important Business (The Buddy Movie)
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elfwaite
From: Dunedin
Since: Mar 2015
Posts: 3

Also, if I was to plug the Zoom H1 into my DSLR, what cord would be best?

Director/Editor for Imaginary Friends Productions, Dunedin

2015 - Important Business (The Buddy Movie)
Reply

IronFilms
From: Auckland
Since: Dec 2012
Posts: 106

Zoom H1 + HTDZ HT-81 (or EM-320E etc) + shock mount + DIY boom pole + UltraDisk 4016 lavalier = ultra cheapest way to get "decent" dual sound system setup.

Then use PluralEyes to sync up in post automatically, if your NLE doesn't already do that (such as Premiere Pro CC).

I'd recommend ordering these ASAP, as some can come from China on eBay which could take a couple of weeks or more to arrive.

As for Magic Lantern, if you follow the instructions you've got essentially zero chance of bricking your camera. And I'd regard it as just about *ESSENTIAL* from my perspective that you add ML to your 600D, as Canon APS-C DSLRs are pretty darn awful but at least gaining the features of ML make them a bit more tolerably acceptable to use :-) So yeah, is a no brainer! Every Canon DSLR should have ML on it if being used for filmmaking!

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