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Shotgun Mic on a cam with no Mic input?

Posted: Wed, 14th Jan 2004, 8:34pm

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Troy

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I have a JVC-DVF21 Camera, and after shooting some video with the intent of making something of it (Not just family vacation) I have realized that the built in Mic sucks buttermilk.

I was looking at the $55 Audio Technica shotgun Mic on Ebay and thought I might give it a try, but I don't think my cam has a mic input. I have AV inputs, but I think it either records both AV Audio and Video, or Camera Video/Built in Mic, with no way to just use the AV input for sound and cam for video. (For which I would have to have built a pre-amp to do anyway, not that it's a big deal.)

Sooo... to the point of the post, has anyone attempted or heard about anyone opening a camera and running leads to an external connector?

Both being condenser Mic's the input levels should be close enough, I'd think. It's some kind of stereo Mic built in, so I could even do two Mic inputs, or one with a stereo plug that could be split to two. I was just hoping someone has done this and could advise me on whether it worked, was a real pain or even a total failue.
Posted: Wed, 14th Jan 2004, 8:40pm

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wdy

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Haven't heard of anyone ever litterly opening up there video camera...my opinion a very "BAD" idea...I'm sure this is also against some of the warranty policies so if you still want your warranty to be able to be used im sure they wont take a product that you have littlery opened up and played around with its electronics. I recommend staying away from this. As to get better audio..im not exactly sure cause you dont have mic in. I just wanted to give you my opinion on opening up your camera confused
Posted: Wed, 14th Jan 2004, 8:58pm

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Troy

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Yeah, opening it might be a little risky, but I'm fairly decent with that kind of stuff. I would say I'm an intermediate electronics fiddler.. I can do stuff like make my own pre-amps or wire up a timed blinker circuit for my Vader costume, etc. I'm not quite to the level where I could calculate the impedence and match the inputs just from the schematics, which I don't have anyway. (I'm pretty sure I could match them "close enough" by trial and error, though.)

As to warranty, I got the cam several years ago, so I'm pretty sure it's no longer under warranty anyway. Mini DV was pretty new when I got it.
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 12:20am

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EddieOue5

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If I read correctly, your camera does have a av input, yes? In that case, run your audion input cable to an external recording device that either uses a batteries or power cords (if you're shooting indoors), then plug the external mic into the external recording device. Of course you may not be able to control the sound quality unless there is an equalizer on the device (in that case) it would be a rather expensive device. However you have solved the problem of recording audio to your camera. Only problem is your power source. The camera must br pretty old if it doesn't have an external mic input. I would reccomend buyin a newer camera or borrowing one that does. Beleive it or not I used a lapel mic taped to a broom stick, cover the tip with a cotton ball or sock. It does damn well, I must say. It looks real goofy though! eek However it works! I then mix my sound in post to sweeten it a bit!

What I have said is all in theory since I have neverhad that type of problem, if it doesn't work excuse my ignorance! LOL!! I hate bad advice...

Just trying to brainstorm with you! Good luck!

Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 3:38am

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elementcinema

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ussually a camera has one of those mic inputs like computers do or AV inputs and you can but those adapters at radioshack or a store like that. the adapter will make it a real mic input and it will stay stereo and the sound will be great..im just pulling this out of my ass i dont know too much but all i know is that you can get an adapter! biggrin
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 3:42am

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FiveIronFrenzy

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Hmmm....

Go with an adapter!

Oh, that was already posted! Well listen to the smart guy....






Oh by the way...its not me!

eek
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 4:09am

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sek0910

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I think if you switch your cam to AV input, it works both for audio AND video, as it would be expecting an analog video source such as a VCR. Thus it would cut out the video via camera lens as well as the built in mike.
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 7:01am

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Troy

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I was researching some old posts on here, it really sounds like the best way is to get a MiniDisc recorder and use that for audio instead. Circuit City has one for only $100, it may be the way to go.

Of course, then I have to deal with synching the studio later... *sigh* or shell out more money for a better camera.

I kind of hate to upgrade, the cam has some years on it, but it's still MiniDV. The picture quality isn't too shabby, either (At least, I don't think it is.)
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 5:09pm

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novaHunter

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I checked out the Mini Disc recorder. Looks like a good idea. I too need to find a way to get better audio. I have an Elura, and the only way to have a mic attached is with a dock unit that is no longer sold.

Anyway, I remembered that the iPod could now record audio. Griffin Techologies' iTalk supports an external mic, so it might be worth checking out when it's released. It's only $40.

Syncing the audio shouldn't be too hard if you have the audio from your camera and the external mic. Just match them up on the timeline, and bam! You're done. (At least that's in theory. I've never tried it. smile)
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 6:34pm

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Troy

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The problem with re-synching the audio is the audio doesn't start and stop at the same time. You can still line it up, but it's not like you can take the days shooting and load it all to your PC, line up the audio once and have everything in synch. You'd have to line up each clip.

One thought just occured to me, with something as small as the MiniDisk recorder, you could easily set up the recorder, connect it to a strategically hidden lapel mike, and have the actors just carry the recorder on them in a pocket and get great audio that way. Mixed with the larger scene audio from the camera you could choose your level of ambient sound too.

That would even beat the boom/shotgun mic that way.

Hmmm....
Lapel Mike, $20
MiniDisc Recorder $100
Decent sound......... Priceless! wink

Of course, you then need a whoel setup for each speaking actor, but 2 or at most 3 would get me by most of what I do. (Goof off films.)
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 6:36pm

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Crawford

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Use a slate to help sync the audio.
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 9:56pm

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elementcinema

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thats alot of work. you can just buy a shotgun mic and then an adapter and youre set. its not that hard to find an adapter. there are some for computers even that ive seen at lots of places! just looks around. it also gives you that better movie making feeling witha shotgun mic..its fun to use! biggrin
Posted: Thu, 15th Jan 2004, 11:56pm

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Troy

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An adapter won't work.. I have AV inputs, but I don't have a way to control whether I just use one or the other.. IE, if I switch to AV, it records the sound AND video through the AV port and won't get video from the camera.

I appreciate the inpout, and I may give it a try if the MD idea proves to be too much of a PITA.

Thanks,
Troy
Posted: Fri, 16th Jan 2004, 4:46am

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elementcinema

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cameras usually have mic inputs..little small ones like for headphones..check and see if yours has that..but im sure you wouldve prolly have mentioned that..but thats what i did. i have a mic input and i bought an adapter for my shotgun mic.
Posted: Fri, 16th Jan 2004, 2:50pm

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anonymous

Hey troy!
I would agree with the md idea! If you use a clapper board and you continue to use the audio from the cammeras built in microphone you will get a high frequency peak on the md audio track and the cammeras audio track sync them up and the audio will be perfectly synced with video, that how i do it and it works perfectly!
Posted: Fri, 16th Jan 2004, 2:53pm

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Conspiracy Studios

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Sorry that was my post above!
Posted: Fri, 16th Jan 2004, 4:45pm

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Troy

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I checked for the Mic input... I actually assumed I had one, untill I actually looked. I have a "JLIP" connector, Firewire, one marked "PC" that I really haven't figured out what it is but I don't think it's a Mic in, and lastly I have AV in/out and S-Video.

Anyone know what PC might be? Could it be one of those handy camera controller inputs? (Picture Control.. hehe, wishfull thinking I imagine.)
Posted: Wed, 28th Jan 2004, 7:33am

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Troy

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If anyone is interested, I just got finished doing the camera hack. (I decided that while MD recorders would be nice, I couldn't aford 2 complete rigs to do it with.)

Sooo.. it worked, or at least seems to with my cheapie Rat Shack headset mic. If anyone wants to know exactly how I went about it let me know.

The short version:
The existing camera mic had 3 wires going to it. Red, White and the bare ground. (Basic stereo input) I simply hooked the red and white to two switches (Single Pole, Double Throw) so that one way it was hooked to the built in Mic, and the other way it was hooked to the external Mic jacks. The ground I just ran straight to all the connection points. I mounted the Mic Jacks and switches into the existing cover for the built in light... which was so useless it was no loss.

The only real surprise was that the audio doesn't have complete isolation... which in hindsight shouldn't have been a surprise, as most stereo electronics (Especially the cheap kind) have some degree of "crosstalk". It's still way, way lower on the "wrong" channel, but you could still hear it some. I am getting an ATR55 boom mic later this week, I'll update results then.
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 3:54am

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adamlightandmagic

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While you do seem happy to tinker with the innards of your camera, I think it just makes for slower working. Your minidisc idea is sound. It would've sounded better and cut down your work time. Even though you'd have to sync things up, it's not that hard. like someone mentioned, use a clapper board.

But you seem into the idea of changing your camera's setup, so if it was something you've been wanting to do for a while - Fair enough.

Adam.
Posted: Thu, 29th Jan 2004, 10:51pm

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Troy

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It's mostly about finances... the Camera Mod cost ~$6, where the minidisc recorders seem to run around $200 each, plus mic.
(The $100 one I originally was considering didn't have Mic in, just line in)

Soo.. $450-$500 was too much to spend to make a couple of goof-off commercials and other immediate projects. Plus, reading a bit around the net, several other places mentioned that clothing/contact noise can really cause problems with lapel style mics.

I figure with the shotgun mic ($50) and the ($6) camera mod, the audio should at least be a lot better than what I had, and it's a small enough total that I'm willing to drop that much on it.

I also have an unrelated use for the mic, so it will come in handy later and will be reuseable.

All in all, I just couldn't think of a better course of action.. the camera mod was a fairly safe bet, and even reversible if I ever so choose.

Why would a shotgun mounted to the camera be slower? Am I missing something about the whole thing?
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 1:02pm

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anonymous

Yeah. I was looking around about the Minidisk idea, but the more expensive models are the only ones with an external microphone jack. So, I was wondering, does anyone think a microcassette recorder would work? It's 40 dollars, and it comes with an external microphone jack along with a lapel microphone. Thing is, I just want to know if it'll record well, and how would I get it on a computer to synch up with video?
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 6:22pm

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adamlightandmagic

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Well, my minidisc cost me £50, which is roughly $90. I found the same model as my brother's minidisc on Ebay for less than half of what he paid. Not only that, but it was brand NEW!
The mic that I like using with the minidisc is a crappy grey one that I got with my computer. Strangely, it sounds amazing! Very natural sounding recordings.

I've recorded with microcassettes before and they won't work well for what you want from it. The quality is nil. Onboard camera mics are better! Huge waste of cash if that's what you were planning to do. And then you have to wonder how to get it into the computer. Even worse. You're far better off, sticking with your camcorder's audio.

But like I said, minidisc is a very useful medium. I'm looking into getting a minidisc player with digital outs to transfer recordings to my computer in original form. But as long as you have a decent soundcard, analog transfers are fine.

Adam.
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 7:15pm

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Troy

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Any chance you have the model number handy? I'd probably go for a $90 Minidisk, even after the camera hack. It would give me yet another source to pull from, so I could have 1) Original camera audio 2) The boom Mic audio and 3) Minidisc audio. Much like filming shots, I figure the more takes of the audio I have the better the chances that at least one is decent.

Still, the cam hack was super easy so it was worth doing.

I do plan to upgrade the camera eventually, I just don't have a bunch of cash at the moment, maybe after tax refund.

Thanks,
Troy
Posted: Fri, 30th Jan 2004, 7:21pm

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adamlightandmagic

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If you have a boom mic, I really don't see the point in getting a minidisc. You'll just make things harder. And it won't sound much better, if any, than your boom mic.

Adam.
Posted: Thu, 5th Feb 2004, 9:20pm

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Troy

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Ummm, WOW!

One advantage with the boom mic setup I did was that I can record both the Boom, and the built in microphones at the same time. That way I can A/B the audio to see what the difference really is, and I am quite pleased!

The shotgun Mic, (on Normal Mode) sounds better, with a clearer signal, greater range and overall "smoother" sound than the internal Mic, by far!

Background noise was reduced big time, and the sound overall is just so much better it's like moving from a telephone to a full HiFi system.

I was shooting indoors, so I didn't go into "Tele" mode as the distances were pretty short.

I have to call the camera hack idea a complete sucess!
Posted: Thu, 5th Feb 2004, 9:34pm

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adamlightandmagic

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And Troy lived happily ever after. cool

THE END..? twisted
Posted: Thu, 5th Feb 2004, 9:38pm

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Troy

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Heh, when it comes to tech toys, does it ever really end? wink

Eventually I want a better camera, this time WITH mic inputs! And of course, I'll need to get better Mics then, and a decent tripod, and a dolly, and lights, and.....

For now, though.. I'm happy with what I am getting out of the equipment I have.
Posted: Thu, 5th Feb 2004, 9:48pm

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adamlightandmagic

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Troy wrote:

Heh, when it comes to tech toys, does it ever really end? wink
Too true.