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Author Topic: Mic+recorder for surround (post)purpose on DSLR  (Read 604 times)

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Offline adrjork

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Mic+recorder for surround (post)purpose on DSLR
« on: May 20, 2017, 11:28:17 PM »
Hi everyone,

I’m going to start with a theatre-oriented documentary for school (and perhaps for a competition).
Up to now I’ve made video-oriented stuff, and a good stereo-audio was more than sufficient. But my last work was recently shown in a theatre as DCP and I heard the lack of a more complex audio track.
So, for my next work I’ll try to build a 5.1 audio track.
Anyway there are 2 conditions:
1. I’m a one-man crew, so I’d need to use an effective form factor audio recorder mounted on my camera;
2. The kind of sounds I need to capture are ambient sounds (then no interview set) like audio in nature documentaries.

So, please, I need your advices.

I tried to figure out what to buy:
First of all I thought to avoid a camera-connected microphone, for the simple reason that camera’s pre-amps are not so good and add noise. So I thought to go for an external recorder, and specifically for a recorder with built-in mic (avoiding having cables that can produce noise if inadvertently touched buy the operator).

REAL SURROUND RECORDER
The first option seems to be Zoom H2n (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/811053-REG/Zoom_ZH2N_H2n_Handy_Recorder_Portable.html): this tiny recorder gives a true surround 4-channels audio thanks to 3 front capsules and 2 rear capsules. It seems great but I have 2 doubts here: 1. the little capsules are not "deep" like a shotgun, so I’m afraid they can capture only a near sound field (and perhaps also the noise of camera or operator’s steps); 2. having the recorder mounted on the camera, the 2 rear capsules will capture the noise from the operator actions!

FAKE SURROUND FROM STEREO
Since what I wrote above, I thought another solution could be buying a stereo recorder instead, to have at least 2 varied channels from which I could build a fake surround in post. Stereo recorders with integrated mics are:
1. Sony PCM-D100 (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1008089-REG/sony_pcm_d100_portable_stereo_field.html): the pros are S/N ratio up to 100dB and the variable angle of the mics’ capsules from 90° to 120°;
2. Tascam DR-100mkIII (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1263849-REG/tascam_dr_100mkiii_linear_pcm_recorder.html): the pro is S/N ratio of 109dB thanks to the AKM AK4558 converters, but mics’ capsules are fixed in parallel position;
I’m wondering if these products can record a deeper sound-DoF than the Zoom H2n?
If I’d go for one of this stereo recorders, I should process the 2 channels to obtain a fake 5.1 in post.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FROM SHOTGUN MONO TO FAKE SURROUND
Many videographers use shotgun mics for their cameras, so I found 2 models with integrated recorders:
1. Tascam DR-10SG (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1257804-REG/tascam_dr_10sg_camera_mountable_audio_recorder.html);
2. Shure VP83F LensHopper (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/966010-REG/shure_vp83f_condenser_shotgun_mic.html?sts=pi) that declares a S/N ratio of 78dB (a bit poor in comparison with the stereo recorders above). Here the doubts are: 1. a bit noisy mics; 2. do you think is it possible to build a fake 5.1 in post starting from the shotgun mono recording? I suppose not, but I prefer to wait your advices.

Now, please, tell me which solution do you recommend for my purpose?

Thanks for your help.

Offline old and in the way

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Re: Mic+recorder for surround (post)purpose on DSLR
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 09:21:29 AM »
The sound device mixpre 3 or 6 recorders are a good bet. Add a rode videomic pro . both decks have time code . the 3 does 5 tracks . i dont know what your budget is but this would be a killer for less than a grand. External mics are always better than most recorders internals.

Offline adrjork

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Re: Mic+recorder for surround (post)purpose on DSLR
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2017, 11:03:17 AM »
Thank you so much for your reply. Of course mixpre is a good solution for its sound quality. My doubt about using this kind of preamps is the use of cables: moving around with the handheld camera (or even with the glidecam stabilizer) I'm always afraid of touching the cables, that means adding a big pop in the recording. Another thing to say is that having to do a documentary, I think it will require to me to be fast and practical (my talents are common people working, walking, etc.) For this reason I thought that a tiny recorder with integrated mics were a compromise - of course - but also a faster setup than going around with 5 mics, 5 cables and a preamp-deck.

Offline old and in the way

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Re: Mic+recorder for surround (post)purpose on DSLR
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2017, 11:34:44 AM »
i think that you would want to do most of your surround effects in post. if money is no object a soundfied 2000 mic but thats 5 grand.the mix pre 3 mounts to the camera . small size .whatever mic or mics you use can be used xlr (pretty robust) unless your wanting to use 4 iso channels with 4 mics . a good pair of omnis would give you a wider dynamic field.any way
my thoughts are that you could do a lot more in post and with good pres .

Offline stuartprovine

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Re: Mic+recorder for surround (post)purpose on DSLR
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2017, 12:28:51 PM »
The suggestion of the Rode Videomic Pro (or preferably X) for a camera mounted mic is a good place to start. Keep in mind that dialog, if there is to be any attached to non-background actors, is almost invariably mixed in the center channel. Foley is generally mono sources mixed to LCR or sometimes 5.0 to make use of a small amount of reverb in the rears.

The problem I'm seeing with your proposed setup is that even if you do record stereo and then use something like Nugen Halo Upmix to create a 5.1 output, things like footsteps, onscreen dialog, cars, etc will also be upmixed and won't sound right. If you must do the recording this way I'd suggest doing long takes where you can steal chunks of clean ambience (no transient fx poking out or dialog), and cut the sound so that you layer this clean background amb into the surrounds. This would mean basically that your synced sound would be LR, and your clean "extra amb" would play LsRs.

Best scenario based on the described situation is that you record with a tight pattern mono shotgun mic for the C channel material simultaneously with the stereo Videomic as your LR, you still do the extra ambience recording to be layered into the rears, and then you do as good a job mixing as you can in a properly calibrated surround dub stage or edit suite. This still isn't ideal or how feature films are done, but it might be ok for this as long as you keep your expectations reasonable.

Good luck!
-S
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 12:30:46 PM by stuartprovine »

Offline mnm207

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Re: Mic+recorder for surround (post)purpose on DSLR
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 02:51:28 PM »
A stereo recording from a camera mounted mic or recorder probably isn't going to give you the more complex soundtrack you want. It might provide a base that you can build on, but alone it won't be enough. With the exception of dialog, sound for film is generally built up from layers of sounds recorded independently. Even documentaries make use of sound that was recorded separately.

By all means record a stereo track of the ambient sound as best you can while filming, but expect to record additional sounds or license them to build the soundtrack.

I'd suggest the forum at JWSoundgroup.net might be a good place to get the info you need. That board is more focused on sound production for film. And, Paul Virostek's field recordists series on his blog, http://www.creativefieldrecording.com/, have a lot of information on sound for film.

Good luck!

Offline adrjork

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Re: Mic+recorder for surround (post)purpose on DSLR
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2017, 10:55:32 PM »
Thanks everyone for your replies.
I absolutely agree on making 5.1 in post, adding clean recordings (without camera) of ambient sounds and mixing various mono sources. I'd use the "with camera" recordings as base for the mix in post.
If I understand correctly, for the "with camera" sessions I should record ideally a front stereo image for front ambient, but also a central mono for dialogues (if any). For this purpose I see only 3 ways:
1. Using a mid-side capsule (Zoom H5n or H2n) that gives a clear central mono + sides, then we can convert it into a stereo image + central (LCR), but it's possible that the 180° side capsule captures my movements as operator;
2. Using stereo capsules at 90° to capture the stereo image only: 90° should avoid capturing operator noises, and we can convert stereo into LCR as well;
3. Using stereo capsules at X/Y: same as above but with enhanced central region for dialogues (but my documentary should not have dialogue).

So, just a couple of questions:
1. Which options do you prefer, from the 3 above, for the base "with camera" recordings?
2. In this LCR obtained scenario, with clean ambient recordings in LsRs, how should I use reverb? Is there any specific technique? (I don't know... perhaps adding to LsRs the reverb-only from LR? or something similar?)

Thanks really a lot

P.S. Thanks for the forums links mnm207! I'll surely visit them!

 

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