DV Camcorders with Audio in for Tie Clip mics.

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Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001

Hello.

I'm looking at investing in a DV Camcorder for my amateur video work. I'm still using a JVC S-VHS-C camcorder and, as well as looking for better picture quality, i'm hoping to get at least two tie clip mics to attach to a new camera, to improve vocal quality.

My question is, how many DV Camcorders have suitable Audio In sockets for microphones? I know a lot of cheap mini DV cameras have audio and video in, for recording analogue footage to DV tape. Presumably thats the "Audio In" most of the specs for these cameras refer to, and they're not suitable for a microphone input whilst filming.

Am I looking at having to get a top of the range camera? If that's the case, I may as well see if the built in mic would be suitable.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

DV Ed
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Joined: Jun 10 2002

I think (at least from what I ahve seen) that nearly every mini DV camera has a stereo 3.5mm jack plug that will allow you to plug in an external mike.

Ed

shaunconnell
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Joined: Jul 17 2004

Dangerously

I recommend for the sake of quality that you use an external mic. I can personally recommend the Sennheisser MKE-300, an external shotgun mic that fits to the shoe adaptor on a camcorder and plugs in by a standard 3.5mm jack. This jack is mono so you will need a small adaptor to convert the signal to stereo. This can be purchased for less than £1 from your local Maplin.

This is a major improvement of any built in mic.

Hope that helps.
Shaun

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001

Thank for the advice. I can't really afford a top of the range shotgun mic, and I was only thinking of getting a £500 - £600 DV camcorder. The main thing I want to improve is speech in conversation scenes. At the moment, the voices sound like a microphone too far away, which it is.

If the shotgun mic could improve that as well as other audio problems i've had (wind noise is the main one, as well as background hiss) I may well look into it.

Would some sort of tie clip microphone setup attach to most DV camcorders in the same way as an external mic?

Thanks again for the advice. It is greatly appreciated.

shaunconnell
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Joined: Jul 17 2004

You could try sourcing a Sennheisser MKE-300 from ebay. Alternatively, members within the forum have been known to sell one. Expect to may around £80 for one.

If you want to monitor the sound at the time of recording take a look at the Sennheisser HD25-SP. Again, you can source ex BA/Concorde ones on ebay for around £35. They are stunningly good quality and cover the full frequency range of the Sennheisser MKE-300.

Out of interest, what DV cam are you looking to purchase?

Shaun

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001

Well, i've been thinking about getting a DV Camcorder for years now, but didn't have the nerve for fear that I wouldn't use it enough. I seem to be filming stuff, then spending months on end doing effects and editing the footage. But the audio problems are now starting to annoy me.

On the cheap side, I thought about getting the Sony DCR TRV-33, since I fancied the "true" 16:9 and the picture quality. Last year I think the Sony DCR HC-40 was the most similar replacement. I suppose they'll be wheeling out this years range soon.

Then again i'm thinking I could splash out more (£1500 +) on something that would be a huge improvement, not that any DV Camera wouldn't be an improvement on my old faithful S-VHS-C camera. But when I think about how much the a camera would be sitting on my shelf while i'm doing effects and that, I think the cheap option would be best.

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001
Will a Sennheiser MKE 300 work on a Sony HC40?

Well, I invested in a Sony HC40. I got it cheap as it is now discontinued.

I was pretty shocked to discover that the background noise is worse than the four year old JVC analogue camera!

I discovered that my cheap, old, handheld microphone had less noise when used in the mic socket. But the audio was only in the one speaker, cos the mic is mono and the socket is stereo. I've ordered an adaptor that I think will solve that problem.

Will a Sennheiser MKE 300 D work on this kind of camera? From what i've read, it will work fine, but it's only a small Sony Handycam and the mic is pretty expensive, so i'm asking to be on the safe side.

RayL
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Joined: Mar 31 1999
DV_Ed wrote:
I think (at least from what I ahve seen) that nearly every mini DV camera has a stereo 3.5mm jack plug that will allow you to plug in an external mike.

Ed

Watch out for cameras which allow an 'external mic' but only a proprietory one that fits into a hot shoe, and which have no 3.5mm socket.

Ray Liffen

DAVE M
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Joined: May 17 1999

You could do worse than an ATR35s mic. Cost about £25 I use them for unobtrusive work in interviews etc, connected to cheap camcorders. mono 3.5mm jack with 10M of lead.

you can dangle them from ceilings or stick them on a bamboo "boom"

They were used on the BBC video diary series as a battey runs for 200 hours. The beeb just sent a fresh mic to the participants by post, ensuring the battery was always fresh.

I have extended the cable to 20M without creating hum.

mooblie
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Joined: Apr 27 2001

Dangerously, I understand that your goal is to secure better sound than the in-built mic, and you are considering shotgun mics and/or tie-clip mics.

I must point out the the use of either is VASTLY different - OPERATIONALLY. Depending on what you're shooting, the need for a wire connection for the tie-clip between the subject and camera may rule it out - the lack of spontanaiety in wiring up a subject, compared to the "freedom" of a shotgun, makes them VERY different animals, for very different applications. This over-rides any difference in sound quality in my opinion.

Just my 2p.

Martin - DVdoctor in moderation. Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001

I'm starting to go with the shotgun mic idea. Tie clips look to be far more awkward to set up.

The camera has what the manual calls an "Intelligent Accessory Shoe" and a 3.5mm stereo mic socket.

Would something cheaper, in the shotgun mic category, like the Audio Tehnica ATR55, be much of an improvement on the built in camera?

I'm looking for reducing background noise and i'm mostly filming staged conversations indoors. Some of the vocals will be filmed from some distance across a room as well.

NigelP
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Joined: Aug 5 2003
Atr 55

The first external microphone I had was the ATR 55 - fairly good I thought, apart from picking up a hum anywhere new a camera or TV (so only used at least a foot from the camera, never with the supplied shoe mounting). Then splashed out on a K6 / ME66 - talk about chalk and cheese. However did I put up with the ATR55 for so long ?

Arthur.S
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Joined: Jun 2 1999

These are available for around 80 quid. I'm thinking of investing in 2 for my own cameras. While I like the 300D I have, I've never managed to get a 'stereo' converter to work. The Maplins version produced no sound at all! A purpose made mono>stereo still doesn't quite make it (If fully pushed home I just get the normal signal on the left channel) The Rode videomic comes ready wired for mono>stereo.
Have a look at these 2 reviews. Sounds good.
http://www.pana3ccduser.com/article.php?filename=The-R%D8DE-Videomic

http://www.sundancemediagroup.com/articles/Rode_VideoMic.htm

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001

The Rode VideoMic looks very interesting. But, after reading up about it, I came across another problem I hadn't thought about.

Since this is a pretty cheap camera, would a shotgun mic pick up the noise from it? It's only a quiet high pitched noise from the tape mechanism, but would be a pain if a new mic picked it up constantly.

I run all my footage through the Sony Noise Reduction plug-in in Sound Forge, but since built in mics give off a wide range of noise, it's harder to remove all that noise without affecting the sound (normally dialogue) too much. If I can get it down to just a high pitched hiss, then this would be less difficult to remove. However, I think if a new mic picked up the tape mechanisms noise, that might be hard to remove without harming my audio too much.

I got an Mono>Stereo 3.5mm adaptor from Maplins (part no. FK15R) which worked fine with my hand held mic. There is only a slight high pitched hiss when using this microphone, but, when I put it near the camera, the noise from the tape mechanism is there.

Many thanks for all the advice.

John Disdle
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Joined: Dec 28 2000

I get this high pitched noise with an external mic. on my Panasonic DS15. £700 about four years ago. The internal mic. only picks up slight zoom and focus noise. This is only evident in a very quiet room.
Perhaps someone will tell us if it happens with a £2,000 job.

I bought an accessory shoe on a 200mm arm, from Jessops for £9.99. Camera one end, mic. the other.
A more sensitive mic. will also pick up more unwanted noise as well as wanted. And will cause sound clipping in spite of the camera AGC.

Arthur.S
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Joined: Jun 2 1999

A good shotgun mic is far more sensative than any 'onboard' camera mic. Firstly, you need to set the audio level manually in the camera menu. I don't use AGC with an external mic. 2ndly, the Rode also has a built in shock mount - a huge bonus IMO - to cut down on any motor noise. The only mark against it that I can see, is the lack of a pouch to transport the mic in.

Andyp1
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Joined: May 29 2005

You may find that a pair of radio mics. on VHF represent good value. I used an S-VHS (Mitsubishi HSC50) camera with this kit. I now hav a JVC GR-PD1 and the built in mic is worse than the 1991 Mitsubishi unit.

I bought an Azden VHF radio mic set (hand held and tie clip set) around 8 years ago for around £120.00. Don't know if you can get this now. Makes a difference in shooting weddings though.
;)

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001
High pitched noise from the 3.5mm mic socket. :)

I think i'll have to go for the shotgun mic. I'm really interested in the Rode Videomic.

When I attach JUST the adaptor for the old microphone into the cameras 3.5mm socket, I still get the high pitched noise. Is that normal, or is something wrong with the socket or camera?

After some tests, the noise is pretty easy to remove without damaging the audio too much. However, that was a male voice. I've had nightmares with inbuilt mics and female subjects with quiet voices since removing the hiss also takes away the higher voice.

Steamage
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Joined: Nov 11 2003

The Rode VideoMic would be top of my list for your application. It looks very good on paper. It has a built-in shock-mount that should reduce motor noise to unnoticable levels. However, I've not talked to anyone who has actually used one yet!

I use an MKE-300, which is great, but is currently over-priced IMHO. I'm told it is out of production now, and the stock still on the market keeps getting marked up. (Can anyone confirm this story?) The last magazine ad I saw gave a price of £180, which I'd say is about £50 too much! It's almost as much as a "proper" AT835 (but that's a bit big for a little Sony).

Mark @ Steam Age Pictures - Steam trains on video in aid of railway preservation societies. Latest release: "Mainline 2012, LMS Locomotives", on DVD or Bluray Disc.

John Willett
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Joined: Jun 1 2001
Steamage wrote:
I use an MKE-300, which is great, but is currently over-priced IMHO.

No - it's good value for money if you bear in mind the audio quality it has.

Steamage wrote:
I'm told it is out of production now, and the stock still on the market keeps getting marked up. (Can anyone confirm this story?)

It's NOT out of production - it's a current product.

Steamage wrote:
The last magazine ad I saw gave a price of £180, which I'd say is about £50 too much! It's almost as much as a "proper" AT835 (but that's a bit big for a little Sony).

£180 would refer to the "D" version which has been modified to make it better with digital cameras.

And have you compared it quality-wise to the AT? - a mic. is judged by it's results not it's looks and Camcorder User didn't give the MKE 300 top marking for nothing.

John

John
 
A picture tells a thousand words, but sound tells a thousand pictures.

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001

Well, I ordered a Rode Videomic from Dolphinmusic.co.uk. I'm also going to borrow my mates Sony Handycam (a HC-18 think) to see if the same noise problem happens when the mic adaptor is used on it.

I think, if I get another tripod, if I keep the mic as close to the action as possible, I can easily remove the high pitched noise. I'll let you know how I get on.

Arthur.S
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Joined: Jun 2 1999

Just out of interest, how do you remove the noise from your soundtrack!

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001

Sorry, I should've said earlier. I use Sony's Noise Reduction plug-in for Sound Forge. You find part of the track with JUST the sound you want to remove, highlight it, then the plugin captures a noise print from that part and removes that area of the audio (I don't know the technical terms) from the whole track.

However, you have to be careful you don;t remove too much of that audio or you'll do some very odd things to the rest of your sound. I use a really noisy PC, and i've altered the audio on my footage only to discover, when I make a DVD or a VHS copy of the final edit, that I messed up the audio.

I'm going to build a new, quieter PC pretty soon.

Morts52
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Joined: Jun 4 2005

I use the Sennheiser 300D a lot of the time, I have 3 of them.
It is the digital version of the Sennheiser 300.
The standard Sennheiser has a lot of handling noise, whereas the digital version is very quiet in use and well worth the extra cash.

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001
Rode Videomic gets delivered by overarm hand!

Got the videomic today, but wait till you hear this:

A few weeks ago I ordered some Star Wars toys for a mate's little lad. They were sent by Citylink but, because I live alone, I was out at work when the parcel arrived, so a note was dropped through the letterbox and I had to ring up to arrange another delivery address, my day off. This happens to me quite a lot with various delivery companies, since i'm not in in the daytime for all but one workday. One company delivery bloke knows me quite well and knows he can drop it off at my Mams, who lives nearby, or at work.

So, I've just got in from work, no note saying "we've got your VideoMic, please ring to arrange a delivery." "Fair enough", I think, "it's only been a few days and Dolphinmusic didn't have them in stock when I ordered it". Then I went into my backyard to bring in the bin, and what do I find in the backyard? A Citylink bag. He's thrown my £90, rather fragile, microphone over my back wall, onto a brick that was on the ground, I might add!

Now, I know it's in a box, and the box is covered in large bubble wrap, but for all he knows, there's a b****y vase in there or something! Plus, I don't go into my backyard very often, certainly not every day or two days. So what happens if it's there for two days and it rains?

I know I cause these delivery companies some bother by not being in, but does that exclude me for using Internet shopping? It's not as if I can get Rode Videomic at Tescos! If they want someone here when they call, they better let me know exactly when they're going to call. I mean, they are a delivery company, is making one more delivery that much of a pain?

I might complain to Citylink and let Dolphinmusic know what their delivery company is up to. I don't have a battery yet, so I won't know if it's damaged or not till tommorrow. I'll have calmed down by then, so I probably won't do anything about it.

Anyway, I'll let you know how I get on. Sorry about going off on one like that. Just to letting you all know what kind of company Citylink is.

Thanks. P.

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001
Rode Videomic verdict.

Found a battery for the Rode Videomic. The mic attaches to my Sony Handycam very easily.

It picks up the camera noise quite a bit, so I attached it to the tripod, which it also does easily once the hot shoe connector is removed. This is how I planned on using it anyway for indoor use, and ambient noise would drown out any camera noise when used outside, I imagine.

I think the mic socket is dodgy on this camera. Sometimes it picks up the mic input, and sometimes it doesn't. So I managed to piece together an array of adaptors to make one headphone attach to the Handycams ridiculous 10 pin audio/video out socket, so I can guarantee the cameras picking up the audio whilst recording. Can you get headphones for one of these audio outs on this camera? As well as the Audio/Video out 10 pin socket, it has the Firewire, obviously.

A big problem when the camera was on the tripod was the amount of bass it picks up. It picks up anything that moves. Footsteps and wires brushing against the tripod are the worst, but I imagine filming with a number of people would mean a lot of bass distortion. Is there something I can do about this? Maybe some sort of padding under the tripod. I'll also need to buy a new tripod for this mic, so perhaps there's some sort of stand that could help the problem. I can't really ask someone to turn up just to hold a boom all day either. :)

So, in conclusion, if I can solve the bass problem, this mic should work out fine. I reckon I can record dialogue loud and clear enough not to have to remove background noise, since I won't need to turn the audio up in the edit, and as long as I remember to monitor the sound, it should be fine. I'll also have to remember to close any windows, it picks up the cars down the street (!).

Thanks for everyones advice. It has proved very useful.

John Disdle
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Joined: Dec 28 2000

Thought this mic. had a shock mount. Perhaps it`s damaged if it picks up so much camera noise.
It sounds as if it is very sensitive, with a good bass response. It will be interesting to hear the results when recording in a windy field.

John Willett
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Joined: Jun 1 2001

Camera mics normally have a deliberately reduced bass to reduce windnoise and rumble (or a bass-cut switch to do the same job).

It does sound as if the mic. has too much bass (check to see if it has a switch) and no suspension - consider a Rycote Multimount if it's not faulty.

John

John
 
A picture tells a thousand words, but sound tells a thousand pictures.

Arthur.S
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You are adjusting the audio manually aren't you? If you leave it on auto it'll be waaay to loud.

John Disdle
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The Sony HC40 has only auto audio record. You could get round it with a 10K pot between the mic. and camera, but you would have to monitor the camera audio out.

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001

The audio seems to be fine through the microphone. Loud voices very near the mic don't seem to distort or overload the recording, although I might not put it that close if I can help it. When the mics plugged into the PC, the mic input has to be turned right down to stop distortion, but the camera seems to handle it fine.

There is a high pass switch on the mic, that helps the bass problem somewhat, but I don't think it's going to be much of a problem as long as I stop the mics wire brushing or knocking the tripods legs, I'll probably tape the cable to the tripod to stop it moving. The sound it picks up, in both "Normal" and "High pass" isn't overloaded with bass, so I think it's working properly. The shock mount also looks to be intact.

I'll let you know how it handles outdoor use and any other issues that come up when I actually get to use it for video work.

Once again, thanks for all the advice. It's been extremely helpful.

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001
AC Power lead hum.

Discovered a new problem today. If I power the camera with the AC adaptor, I get a rather loud hum in the background. I've read threads on this forum from people with the same problem, but it's a bit over my head.

The noise problem is very slightly improved if I don't use the extension lead for the microphone, and there's no problem when using the in built mic. When the new mic is attached but switched off, the noise is very loud.

Any ideas? I think i'll have to get another battery anyway, since the one you get with the camera is rubbish, so i'll need one for outdoor use.

DAVE M
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Joined: May 17 1999

are you running on mains at this point? It may well be an earth - it would go if you ran on batt.

Dangerously
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Joined: Aug 22 2001

Yeah, sorry, I didn't make myself clear. It happens on the mains, not with batteries. This is the first time i've used this new mic for anything other than when I was testing the mic, and I always used the battery to test it. The thought never occurred to me that i'd have trouble using the mains. Now i've looked for it here, it appears to be a common problem.

I've ordered a long life battery and seperate charger from Keene. So, hopefully i'll be able to use one battery while the other is charged in another room. Actually, I hope the long life battery will last long enough for a filming session, and for outdoor work.