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Camera Microphone?

Posted: Tue, 1st Jul 2008, 11:15pm

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Jabooza

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Well, Penguin (Darth Penguin has recently changed his name) and I are desperately in need of a camera microphone. We were wondering if anyone knew where we could get a free microphone that delivers perfect quality. However, in the event that no one knows where to get one, does anyone know how we could get a hold of one that is within a decent price range (less than hundreds of dollars), and works decently? Also, a specific answer would be nice, not just "some cheap one from RadioShack" (which would probably be worse than the microphone on the camera anyway).
Posted: Tue, 1st Jul 2008, 11:45pm

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Arktic

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The Rode Videomic is pretty much the gold standard for performance and value for a reasonably priced camera-mounted shotgun mic. It connects with a standard minijack, so means it's reasonably compatible with lower-end camcorders. You can probably get one from $120 - $160.

But of course, a camera-mounted mic isn't going to ever match the performance of a boom or similar. Depending on the purpose, you might want to consider saving up a bit more for a second-hand boom mic, which will offer better quality and more versatility wink

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jul 2008, 2:18pm

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Jabooza

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Arktic wrote:

The Rode Videomic is pretty much the gold standard for performance and value for a reasonably priced camera-mounted shotgun mic. It connects with a standard minijack, so means it's reasonably compatible with lower-end camcorders. You can probably get one from $120 - $160.
I think that one may even be a bit above our price range. smile
The microphone doesn't have to really good or anything. Just as long as it's better than the mics on the cameras (which make horrible buzzing sounds).
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jul 2008, 4:10pm

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Arktic

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It's possible that it's not the mic that's at fault, but it could be that you've got a noisy tape deck, and the mic is just picking that up.

You may need a more directional mic, or to move the mic away from the camera.

Personally, I'd suggest waiting until you can afford a Rode Videomic, or something similar/better. Anything less than $100 is probably going to be a bit of a gamble as to wether it'll be any good. You could try ebay for a second-hand one, but I think you're better off just waiting until you can afford a decent bit of kit, rather than moving from sub-standard sound to a-little-bit-better-but-really-still-sub-standard sound.

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jul 2008, 4:21pm

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pdrg

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Good sound isn't just about which mic you use, it's about cable lengths, balanced/unbalanced lines, recording media, mic placement, levels, dynamic ranges, mounts, blah blah. No, I don't know it all, I pay soundies to know it for me, but in short, for some easy wins...

Even a $2 mic close to the action (just out of frame) is likely to give you better results than what you get built-in to the camera. Keep the cable run as short as you can, good cable, with as few connections as possible. And try to avoid movement or it'll sound deafening through the mic if you haven't got it suspended between rubber bands to reduce the hard-path sound. Hardly ideal, but the mics on cameras are not just poor, but also trapped close to breathing cameramen miles from the action, and expected to do a half-decent job, they just can't.
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jul 2008, 4:37pm

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No Respite Productions

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I can second Arktic's recommendation, used a Rode Videomic on my last project and the sound was fantastic. Well worth saving up the pennies for, it's pretty much in a class of it's own and ideal for low budget film making. In fact it was created for that very reason when one of the Rode technicians noticed there was nothing like that out on the market.

Just be aware that if you plan to shoot outdoor scenes and it's very windy where you live then you are *probably* going to have to invest in the Catskin as well. But again, worth every hard earnt penny in my opinion.
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jul 2008, 10:08pm

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Jabooza

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Arktic wrote:

It's possible that it's not the mic that's at fault, but it could be that you've got a noisy tape deck, and the mic is just picking that up.

You may need a more directional mic, or to move the mic away from the camera.
Well, I think you're right about the mic picking up sound from the camera being the problem, but the thing is, the mic we're using is the one built into the camera. smile


pdrg wrote:

Even a $2 mic close to the action (just out of frame) is likely to give you better results than what you get built-in to the camera.
A while ago I bought a $50 mic from Circuit City, and it had so much static that it was worse than the mic on the camera that picks up the cameras buzzing.


All we want is a mic that won't pick up the camera buzzing and won't generate it's own buzzing or noise. We might be able to afford a Rode Videomic, but I'm not sure. We'd like to try to get something a bit cheaper, and it doesn't have to be super high-performance or anything, just as long as we don't have any buzzing or static in the sound.
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jul 2008, 10:24pm

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JornLavoll

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the røde videomic is at the bottom of the price range as far as my experience is. i wouldnt know where to start looking for a cheaper mic and expect good performance.
bad noise and hiss will also most likely come from plugging whatever external mic you are using directly to the (cheap) preamp on the camera. so be aware of that, even a superdupermic will leave you with a noisy audio track.
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jul 2008, 10:27pm

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Penguin

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pdrg wrote:

Even a $2 mic close to the action (just out of frame) is likely to give you better results than what you get built-in to the camera.
Sorry if this comes off as blunt, but you're wrong. Well, at least in our experience. As Jabooza said, we've tried $50 dollar mics made specifically for video, and their quality was nothing close to the sound on the camera mic. I'm pretty sure the problem is just that we have a noisy tape deck, because the sound quality is fine apart from the incessant buzzing.
Posted: Wed, 2nd Jul 2008, 11:49pm

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pdrg

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Penguin wrote:


...you're wrong. Well, at least in our experience.
Indeed in your experience - personally I've seen superior results with a £1 mic just out of shot with far less background noise etc. I'm not saying all £1 mics are all always better than all onboard mics at all, I'm saying getting a mic closer to the action can pay off well, even sometimes with a cheap mic.
Posted: Thu, 3rd Jul 2008, 1:14am

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Penguin

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pdrg wrote:

Penguin wrote:


...you're wrong. Well, at least in our experience.
Indeed in your experience - personally I've seen superior results with a £1 mic just out of shot with far less background noise etc. I'm not saying all £1 mics are all always better than all onboard mics at all, I'm saying getting a mic closer to the action can pay off well, even sometimes with a cheap mic.
Hmm... care to mail us one of these magical high quality $2 mics? smile
Posted: Thu, 3rd Jul 2008, 1:43am

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pdrg

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Pingu, if the shop was still around certainly I would! But it sounds like you have your answer - save for the rode and shoot with the mic onboard. If you wanted to spend more cash I'd direct you towards an ME66, and running a balanced line to the camera, now that's a nice setup, but as I don't know if you can take balanced lines you may need a beach box.

But yeah I was very pleased for a quid - worth every penny!
Posted: Thu, 3rd Jul 2008, 10:35am

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EvilDonut

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"the best sound is from a mic placed close to the subjectttt...."

"close to the subjeccctttt...."

d
Posted: Fri, 4th Jul 2008, 4:04pm

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Jabooza

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Does anyone know where we could get a hold of the Rode Videomic for the best price (besides a used one)? I think we might be able to get one.
Posted: Fri, 4th Jul 2008, 5:36pm

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PSFreak

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http://tinyurl.com/6jtqtl

Maybe this is what your looking for? Indy mogul uses it anyway smile
I'm sorry if I'm of no help, I don't know much about microphones unsure
Posted: Fri, 4th Jul 2008, 5:50pm

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Jabooza

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PSFreak wrote:

http://tinyurl.com/6jtqtl

Maybe this is what your looking for? Indy mogul uses it anyway smile
I'm sorry if I'm of no help, I don't know much about microphones unsure
That one looks pretty good to me (the price is right too), unfortunately though, I know nothing about microphones either. Anyone know how good this is?
Posted: Fri, 4th Jul 2008, 7:18pm

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JornLavoll

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never tried that shotgun, but i know some audio technica mics from studio use, and audio technica produces some great bang for buck mics. I'd say go for it smile
Posted: Fri, 4th Jul 2008, 9:02pm

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Thrawn

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PSFreak wrote:

http://tinyurl.com/6jtqtl

Maybe this is what your looking for? Indy mogul uses it anyway smile
I'm sorry if I'm of no help, I don't know much about microphones unsure
I got one of these last year, and while it's most defiantly an improvement over the on board mic, it's not exactly a rode video mic. It's pretty decent quality, though. I payed around eighty dollars for it, and I consider it a worthwhile investment. So if you can get it for fifty, go for it.
Posted: Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 8:34pm

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Jabooza

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I think we may be getting that one then.

This mic would be able to connect to lower-end cam-corders (more specifically this one), right?
Posted: Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 8:48pm

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PSFreak

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Hmm, I'm not sure... http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/Canon-ZR500-First-Impressions-Camcorder-Review.htm

At this site it says "and, get this… a microphone jack. In fact, the ZR500 is the only ZR cam with a mic jack."

Maybe it cant?
Posted: Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 8:55pm

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Jabooza

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Well, I know the ZR 800 hundred has a mic jack (I own one), but I'm not sure if it would be compatible with [i]this[i/] mic or not. (The mic jack on the camera is the same kind computers usually have [the kind that's the same size as a headphone jack]).
Posted: Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 9:45pm

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Arktic

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If it's headphone sized, it'll be a 3.5 (1/8'') mini-jack socket.

Any microphone that uses a jack will be compatible - either directly, or with a connector (most commonly a 1/4'' to 1/8'' plug).

Cheers,
Arktic.

EDIT - The ATR-55 has a 3.5 mini-jack, so you should be good to go for that. I'd recommend that you try it before you buy it though - if it's rubbish, and you end up having to try something more high end, you might have just wasted $50.
Posted: Sun, 6th Jul 2008, 9:54pm

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Jabooza

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Hmm... not sure how I'd be able to try one before buying. I don't think there's anywhere around where I live that would have one (and no one I know does). And I don't think you can just take things back to Amazon.com if they're not good.
Posted: Mon, 7th Jul 2008, 1:10am

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ben3308

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Save up for at least a Rode NTG-2. You won't regret it. $249 and you get a shockmount, XLR-to-minijack adapter (which will work with any camera with a microphone input, XLR or not) and the audio is great.

Take it from my experience with lower-end and mid-range products: nothing else will be worth it, or distinguishably different than your camera's own microphone. I would advise against saving towards the Rode Videomic, because in my experience it's an incomparable piece of crap.

Then again, if you really want to save up, the Sennheiser ME-66 is good, and the ME-67 is almost as good as the 66.

Just save up money, man. Otherwise forget about clean or even different audio. You did dubbing on one of your movies if I'm not mistaken (and the audio quality on that was fine, albeit out of sync) and a crappy, cheap separate microphone will likely only give you the same- if not worse- results.

When constructing things on a need-to basis for filmmaking, you need at least a miniDV camera (obviously) and you need a passable microphone. Fluid head tripods and 3CCD cams are the next step up, but right now I would say that it'd be wise to save for the essentials. This is coming from someone who does everything the cheap way, too. biggrin
Posted: Mon, 7th Jul 2008, 1:19am

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Thrawn

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I have to say, ben, that our experiences are different. A cheaper mic has been %100 better then the built in mic could ever be, but that may be because I use mine with a boom pole. I agree that the Rode NTG-2 will provide great audio, but if you don't have the money or time to save up for something that expensive...
Posted: Mon, 7th Jul 2008, 2:32pm

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Jabooza

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If I bought the Audio Technica one from Amazon, does anyone know if I would be able to return it if it turned out not to be so good?
Posted: Mon, 7th Jul 2008, 4:50pm

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pdrg

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Check the Amazon terms and conditions for that one, it may vary country by country.

As for the good mic Vs close mic debate, physics (inverse square law) would rather support the closer the mic, the better relative signal levels for the subject compared with the background noise. Best of all is a good mic close, but even a lovely ME66 can't compensate for poor positioning!