Showing a basic setup with the JuicedLink DAR recorders. You can use it on your talent when Wireless is not a good option, and it even offers a remote Slate feature for faster audio sync in post. http://Juicedlink.com
Having come back from a recent project where I needed to place Lav microphones on three subjects, it's always a good idea that you have some type of backup plan. Here's an audio tip I thought i'd share using the new Alzo 3.5 mini stereo to XLR adapter.
The Alzo 3.5 Mini Phone Female to XLR Stereo Adapter Cord is simply advertised as a way to connect a basic stereo microphone into a camera that offers dual XLR mic inputs. One important feature I think they missed in their product description is the ability to use the cable for backup audio recordings. By splitting your signal into separate tracks you can record one at a normal level and one at a lower level in case your original audio becomes distorted from peaking (clipping).
So the next time you place a microphone to a subject, think about making sure you have a backup audio in place. I highly recommend you consider this tip in your future audio setups. You can find this Alzo Stereo to XLR Y Cable (click here)
ALZO 3.5 Mini Phone Female to XLR Stereo Adapter Cord
I don't know about you, but for me this is very exciting news. Robert from JuicedLink has made an announcement showcasing their first 'Portable Audio Recorder' belt pack. Here's a quote from the JL Blog Article:
Imagine, making these filmmaker-friendly alterations to the Zoom H1 for use with a lav:
Chop the top internal mic off, to make it belt-pack sized (a little smaller than the Sennheiser G3 belt-pack transmitter)
Make the connectors locking, so the lav can't pop out
Add "Audio Bracketing", so you have a backup recording in post if you blow out the main track
Make key buttons recessed, so a user can not accidentally stop the recording or change settings as they are active and moving around ... no "butt dialing"
In addition to headphones, provide a "thru" connection, so the Little DARling can be a front end recorder, then drive a wireless transmitter like the Sennheiser G3 system
When it comes to recording audio from a remote subject, wireless options can be expensive and also prone to interference. One inexpensive solution was to throw a Zoom H1 portable audio recorder into your subject's pocket and setup a LAV mic. For me this worked great, but you have to worry about audio levels since you can't monitor this remotely. With the new JuicedLink 'Little DARling', the audio is recorded in two separate tracks at different audio levels (as a safety). It's also easier to pocket than a Zoom H1 since it lacks internal microphones.
JuicedLink Audio Recorder Belt Pack 'Little DARling vs Sennheiser G3 Wireless Belt Pack
You can read more about the product over at the JuicedLink article (found here). Right now it's in an early development phase and Robert is looking for some feedback about how you would use an item like this, what features you think should be included, or other questions. For me i'd like to know how Pricing? How long I can record? How long does the battery last? Plug in power? Headphone monitoring and line out? If you have any other comments, make sure to leave them here.
Disclaimer: I help to design products for PhotographyandCinema.com. The article below is information about the new P&C GearBox. There are many other great DSLR style cages available within articles of this blog that you may also want to consider.
There are many High End, Super Heavy, Robust video cages available for the Professional market, but we found a lack of more affordable options for smaller style video cameras such as the Sony NEX-7 or Popular GH2. The P&C GearBox is designed to be simple, lightweight, modular, and of course - affordable.
The GearBox has a solid metal bottom and top bracket with several 1/4-20 mounting options for your accessories such as an LED video light, Portable Recorder, HDMI LCD Monitor, Microphone, Wireless Receivers, etc. To take up minimal space in a bag when packing up or traveling, the GearBox can easily be disassembled with a single Hex driver.
The GearBox will support a quick release plate underneath if you want to mount the rig onto a Tripod. Extension adapters are provided to support taller cameras, or if you want to add a quick release system into the cage unit allowing you easy removal of your camera body. The rubber coated side handles provide a non-slip comfortable grip and are spaced further apart to add stability for hand-held shooting styles. Interested in a Rail System? Soon to be released is the 15mm Rod adapter (sneak peek here).
For those that don't want to sync audio in post you may attempt to plug a microphone (like a Rode VideoMic, LAV mic, or Wireless Mic Receiver) directly to the camera's 3.5mm mic input, and then adjust levels from within the camera (unless you're stuck with AGC). One problem is that the camera's internal preamp is known to be fairly noisy if you have to boost the signal. The solution for better audio is to use an external preamp before feeding the signal back in to the camera and turn the camera's internal levels down to almost zero. The new Canon 5D Mark III now has a headphone monitoring port, but does it still suffer from internal preamp noise?
So here's an interesting question that comes in that might get your wheels spinning. Can you use something like the Fiio E11 portable Headphone Amp to boost and adjust your microphone levels? Unlike the other Fiio headphone amp options, the E11 has a 10 hour rechargeable battery and volume (gain) control. It's not going to offer phantom power to a microphone, but if you're already using a self powered mic, then there's no need for phantom power. The E11 has standard 3.5mm input and output connections.
We've seen a workflow where some people feed the headphone output of a Zoom recorder (for dual audio and because the preamp is better in the Zoom) back into the camera with a Sescom cable. Considering that option it sounds like a Fiio E11 could work out as an inexpensive external preamp for DSLR video (assuming the output signal is better than the DSLR). Anyone attempt something like this before? The E11 has some interesting specs, and you can take a look at the Product Description (click here).
Fiio E11 Portable HeadPhone Preamp - via Amazon
You can also find these Fiio E11 Headphone Amps via eBay (click here)
Fiio E11 Portable Rechargeable HeadPhone Amp - via eBay
B&H published a few articles in their Learning Library around popular gear in 2011. Check out a few of their articles that get in-depth with Fast Glass, Voice-Over equipment, Shotgun Microphones, On camera monitors, and Portable Audio Recorders. These articles are great reading materials for a more in depth look at at tips, tricks, and technical information.
Like I had mentioned, the Tascam DR-08 was due in today's mail bag. Here it is in all it's plastic glory. Not that plastic is totally bad, even the Zoom H1 has it's share of plastic for the build. I haven't placed them side by side yet, but the Tascam appears to be in similar size and function. Will do a nice little test later tonight for audio quality and then run through the pros and cons of each item that I can think of.