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advice on best type of external microphone to buy for my Camcorder

Discussion in 'Photography' started by iswise, May 21, 2011.

  1. iswise

    iswise Member

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    Hi all, I have an HF200 Canon camcorder. Am planning to purchase an external mic to improve sound quality and enable use on a separate stand/boom and with a dead kitten to reduce wind and camera noise compared with the built in mic. Does any one have any tips/advice regarding:
    a) should I go for a "shotgun" type mic?
    b) has anyone got an HF200 or similar with external mic and can advise on results?

    I am currently thinking Rode Videomic but havent yet taken the plunge!
    Any thoughts will be much appreciated.
     
  2. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    I have a Rode Videomic, but find that whilst for reasonably close work, like on station platforms where you only get the loco from a couple of hundred yards, it is fine, but it is not directional enough for the longer shots where you can hear and see the loco for much further, so for those I use a Sennheiser MKE 300.
     
  3. Orion

    Orion Well-Known Member

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    Be careful about your choice of microphone! Take your camera to a shop and try it out with the camera, not all mics work with all cameras. I use a Canon HG10 and a Rode SVM and it's fine.

    One issue with directional mics is that if they aren't actually pointed in the direction of the subject then the sound falls off and eventually disappears. This isn't a problem if the mic is always attached to the camera, but there are circumstances where its a good idea to separate the two, like when it's very windy.

    Best of luck with your search.

    Regards
     
  4. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Agreed, so if it's particularly windy then I use my Rode on the ground or in the shelter of bridge parapet or wall. If you camera has a headset socket, then using a set of small earphones you can hear exactly what the camera is going to pick up and adjust the mic position accordingly. This can also be useful when waiting for a loco to appear, listening on the headset you can often hear it coming before anyone else.
     
  5. iswise

    iswise Member

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    Thanks very much Ralph and David - very useful advice and much appreciated. Still not decided what to do, so one more question Dave if you have a moment - Advice from the AV forums says the Rode SVM could be a bit large for my Canon HF200 but I reckon your HG10 is similar in size Dave - do you use your mic mostly on a separate stand or mostly onboard the camera itself? - thanks again. Ian
     
  6. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    It's the SVM that I have, http://www.rode.com.au/microphone.php?product=StereoVideoMic and yes it is too big for my Sony HDR-HC9, the average sized modern video camera, but as it is not a directional mic then it works fine either on the ground or propped on a wall or fence. This video of mine was done with the SVM, in the first part the mic was on top of my camera box on the ground infront of the tripod, and in the second part you can see it sitting on the wall in the left of the shot, complete with furry cover. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRLRvLX597I
     
  7. iswise

    iswise Member

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    Thanks again for your time in replying Ralph. Great sequence of classic winter fells steam. One last favour - out of interest could you post a link to a long distance shot where you have used the Sennheiser - of course conditions wont be equivalent and from most of what I am finding the Rode SVM is pretty well regarded but just to "complete" the picture before I take the plunge !! Thanks. Ian
     
  8. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Ian, this is a recent one using the Sennheiser plus foam sleeve and furry cover. Conditions for the Scot were very cold and no wind at all, in this case there was a slight breeze, but blowing towards me thus helping the sound.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNoSiqteeY4
     
  9. iswise

    iswise Member

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    Great stuff Ralph. . I guess the Rode is more ubiquitous and probably the best bet as a starter. Best get the wallet out !! Thanks again for your time and trouble in responding. Ian
     
  10. Orion

    Orion Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, you might find that there are a few issues with 'dead cats', in that the fur can get in the way of the lens and when it does it's a problem. The photo below taken before a background of this thread shows the problem and my solution. You can make up your own mind as to whether the mic is too large for the camera, I don't think it is, you might. The results are excellent.

    IMG_0079.JPG

    I use the mic normally on the camera. If the wind is strong and I judge that I might be getting wind noise on the soundtrack, I take the mic off the camera and, using the extension lead shown in the link below, I put it behind a tussock of grass, a bridge parapet or even my backpack to hide it from the wind. You won't hide it from the sound, what you can hear, the mic will pick up. One thing though about using extension leads, if the lead is allowed to flutter in the wind it will affect the sound; mechanical noise will affect the soundtrack. Wrap the lead around a tripod leg.

    It's good idea, even with all the wind protection you can give to a mic, to film, wherever possible, in a sheltered position. The sound of rustling leaves is better than wind noise and you can even incorporate the overhanging branches in your film.

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/3.5mm-stereo-extension-lead-11425?ordercode=L35BA

    If you have more questions, please ask. If an answer is possible it will be given.

    Regards
     
  11. BillR

    BillR Well-Known Member

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    Personally I wouldn't bother with an external stereo mic, a bit of velcro and fur works wonders on the cam's in-built mic Used on stations or very close to the action only. For anything else a shotgun mic such as the MKE300 is the best bet IMHO.
     
  12. Orion

    Orion Well-Known Member

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    Looking this mic on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sennheiser-MKE-300-Camcorder-Microphone/dp/B00005UQIH I wonder if it might protrude into the image on my HG10 camera.

    Most people, including myself, have tried covering the internal mic with velcro and fur. The consensus is that it doesn't work; that the problem of wind noise demands a more sophisticated solution.

    Which camera do you use?

    Regards
     
  13. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    The fur did just get into shot on mine but a quick shave of the lower regions!!! solved the problem.
     
  14. iswise

    iswise Member

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    Thanks for more sound (sic) advice David. Much appreciate the time and effort you've taken to respond. Will go for the Rode SVM and look forward to enjoying the results. Many thanks again. Ian
     
  15. BillR

    BillR Well-Known Member

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    It around 10 inches long and as can be seen mounts at the rear.
    I use mine on the tripod via a small DIY bar that is attached to the handle.
    Short vid here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qjHPW2QUJg

    I'm not saying it's the panacea but for moderate winds that would otherwise spoil a shot mine works AOK. I've many a shot with the trees in the background whipping around and no rumble on the audio track. I guess it's how you construct it :)

    Currently a Panny SD700, which is a very small cam.
     
  16. iswise

    iswise Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply Bill.
     
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  17. Big Dave

    Big Dave Member

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    Re: Buxton Spa 5/11

    I have a query?

    I've seen reference on here to mic sensitivity and as one who records sound only I find this interesting.
    One of the video guys may have the answer, do you have the option of manual recording level setting or are the cameras limited to automatic recording levels only.
    The reason I ask is as someone commented on the loudness at Combs Reservoir but automatic recording levels would explain this as distant sounds would be boosted and am wondering if this is why some otherwise superb videos are marred by intrusive traffic or wind noise.
    One place where I've seen guys take a lot of care to get super pictorial results is on Beattock would a hypercardiod or shotgun mic help or has that avenue been explored and it's just that bad.
    I do wonder how you guys do it. at least with sound recording hedges and trees don't matter.
    I do look forward to seeing your contributions Austin RAB4472 Khankadet SGThomson and many others thank you>
    I would like to do more sound recording but don't know where to go particularly up north, it needs to be accesible as I'm a wheelchair user.
    I am looking forward to the 26th Nov when two are scheduled each way on the North and West route.
    Video people could do worse than explore the lane that runs from behind Bromfield SB to come out by Onibury LC.
    Remember both will have stopped at Ludlow.

    Cheers Dave
     
  18. free2grice

    free2grice Part of the furniture Friend

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    Re: Buxton Spa 5/11

    The better quality video cameras have the option of automatic or manual recording levels with two levels of sound (right and left) for stereo.
    A few cameras have standard and shotgun microphones as standard. The shotgun mic is a gem for long distant video sequences.

    I hope this helps. <BJ>
     
  19. royce6229

    royce6229 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Buxton Spa 5/11

    Hi Dave
    If you have any particular trips up north you are interested in let me know and I will see if I can come up with some suggestions for recording spots that might be ok for you.
     
  20. steamingyorkshire

    steamingyorkshire Well-Known Member

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    Re: Buxton Spa 5/11

    We always use directional microphones and are always placed on / near the floor due to there been less wind on the ground.
     

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