Canon 5D Mark III + Filming Equipment?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by seroptics, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Hello community!
    I have a question regarding the Canon 5D Mark III and filming!
    I noticed that by default, the Canon 5D Mark III doesn't record the best audio. I'm definitely in need of a professional microphone.
    Here's an example of how a high quality video can be ruined by bad audio:
    Above is a show I produced and everything seemed great! I thought it was my headphones that was bad. I listened to it on an external device and the audio is even worst! The background noise is just so bad.
    I do video as a hobby. This means that I'm not quite in a rush to purchase any professional-grade microphone or filming equipment. But I do want to be aware of the equipment out there.
    1) My question is, is it better to purchase a stand-alone equipment or one that fits with the Canon 5D Mark III DLSR? For example, should I buy a separate microphone system? Or use one that connects to the jack of the 5D3? Does the sound quality of analog (5D3) sound worst than that is of digital quality? Currently looking at the Rode Videomic.
    2) What do you guys think of the System Zero Follow Focus X1L for the 5D3? Its $500 and it seems it allows you to autofocus in video.
    3) Lighting equipment? Is the mounted or lighting stand better? Any recommendations?
  2. I would suggest a separate microphone system but it depends entirely on what type of video production you're recording. For a talking head/interview situation, an interviewer with a hand mic can work. If you're recording multiple individuals such as a stage production, not only would you require multiple mics, likely wireless, you'd need to have a minimum of a two camera shoot, mixing board and feeds to both DSLRs.
    Not to rain on your parade but creating high quality video productions with DSLRs requires a lot of additional gear. If you have a look at you'll quickly get a far better overview of what is required than you're likely to find on this site.
  3. stp


    It' whole other world.
  4. A separate sound system is essential for high quality audio, preferably something with 4 or more inputs (and tracks). That way you can mix and tweak the sound off line and sync it with the video in post production. Considering the extremely poor quality of the built-in mic, you should plan on a line level feed to the camera from the sound system. It's very easy to sync sound and video within 1 frame (30 fps) in Premiere Pro, Final Cut or an Avid system.
    If you wish an untethered camera, there are several two channel mic preamps, ranging from $250 to $500, which bolt to the camera and provide balanced (XLR) inputs and a line feed to the camera. In a pinch, you could use this as the only audio source. That tends to be noisy and inconistent because the mic to performer distance is uncontrolled. A $60 stereo mic will work as well as a $2500 studio mic in that application.
    For documentaries and training videos, I use a wireless mic for the speaker, hand-held or lavalier. For music, I use up to 16 stand mics, or fly mics from the ceiling for classical. You can make an impressive one camera music video by recording in session, then having the musicians play in sync with speakers.
    Lighting is a wild card. How much do you want to spend, carry and set up for a shoot. Not many places can handle the power for 1000W floods. I'd look at an LED system - a couple of Cool-Light floods for groups and interviews, and two or more fresnels for more reach. LED light is very actinic on video, so a 25W fresnel or parabolic will light up half a stage from 50 feet. Systems with adjustable white balance are worth every nickel. Budget about $5000 for lighting. On camera lights are for news gathering, and little else. The lighting is too flat, and blinds the talent. Many times, you can do with available light, which seems to center on 2500K. Do your white balance in real time. It can take hours to render in post.
  5. I studied film production at NYU for a couple of years, and audio recording was separate class unto itself (not to mention a separate job on a film crew). Absolutely forget about the built-in microphone and anything that goes into the hot shoe on your camera. The microphone generally has to be on or near the person speaking.

    What microphone you need depends on what you're shooting. If it's a standup interview like you see on the TV news every night -- the reporting standing there talking to someone and pointing the microphone back and forth, or the reporter speaking to the camera and holding the mike -- you need a handheld mike. The same mike can also be used on a podium or table in front of someone speaking. The classic is the Electrovoice 635A. It's about $130 and has been made since the 1960s. They also make the RE-50 for maybe $150. Basically the same mike with a built-in windscreen. About 80 percent of the mikes you've ever seen being used on TV are these two.

    For sit-down interviews, you want a tieclip mike, which clips either to a tie, lapel, shirt, sweater, etc. Still visible in the shot but less so. There are many versions, ranging from about $30 at RadioShack to about $200 $300 from Sony and others.

    Beyond that are shotgun mikes that can be used as far as 5, maybe 10 feet away. They can be held on a boom overhead, the usual practice for theatrical movies. Can also be mounted on-camera with the appropriate bracket. They are designed to pick up from farther away but are tricker to use. About $200 and up.

    Any microphone will work with you camera. You just have to have the right connector. www.markertek .com is a broadcast supply house that sells every type of cable and connector you can imagine. You can get an appropriate cable, including the right adaptor to plug into the camera, for $50 or less. You can also buy a variety of boxes that screw onto the bottom of the camera and give you level controls and XLR connectors (the standard microphone connector for professional audio). Those go for around $150 and up but you don't really need one unless you're using more than one mike.

    Double system sound -- using a separate recorder -- isn't really necessary and has all its own issues with syncing the sound to the picture later. If you're recording interviews or basic voice audio, the recording system inside your camera is fine. It's just the built-in mike that's a problem.
  6. A lot of good advise already given.
    I prefer separate audio recording equipment, what type of microphone depends on environment and what you are recording. Some of the best microphones for voice work were ribbon mics used in the 1940's, a vintage RCA could run $2000 and needs a mic amp...also these are delicate instruments and even blowing into the mic could destroy the ribbon. Using one with a noise blanker, you can can get amazing recording quality with no ambient noise like fans or motors getting into the final recording. These are most often used be serious professional voice over actors. Condenser mics are good for many applications such as music and instruments and general use. There are a lot of mics on the market and some good ones for as little as $120, some need phantom power some don't. You can research on the web what will best meet your needs and budget. You could run the mics into a mixing board and out into a notebook computer to record the audio using software like Adobe Audition (Formerly Cool Edit Pro) and record at least at CD quality MP3. You can then mix the video and audio in Adobe Premier or Final Cut. If you also dual record your audio with the camera, syncing audio isn't that hard and just a matter of lining up the camera audio with the external audio, then muting or cutting the camera audio in the software before final rendering. There are also dedicated battery powered recorders that accept external mics just for this stuff. Many brands of recorders, mixers and mics. You don't need the most expensive stuff. If there is a local community college near you that teaches video production, you may want to opt for a class, there is also a wealth of info on the web.
  7. I think Craig has honed in on the most important factor -- that your mic is too far from your subject, such that the subject's voice is drowned out by background noise. Even a cheap lavalier (lapel) mic will improve the sound immensely.
    If you have an assistant or can set up a microphone boom over a stationary subject, the best possible mic would be a directional one pointed down towards the subject from overhead. You would put a wind screen (foam rubber tube/hat thing) over it in breezy conditions. You've seen these rigs as parts of comic routines, where the microphone guy keeps bumping the subject in the head with a very long microphone. It's very easy and commonplace (therefore affordable) to achieve 20 dB suppression of off-axis noise with an not-too-exotic microphone.
    I have to agree that you don't need the very finest quality of mic for recording the human voice for video production purposes. The spectral range of the human voice is not all that challenging for recording equipment. What's far more important is the protection of the mic from breezes, rustling, breath pops, etc. If you were recording music, the performance of the mic might be a bit more demanding.
    FAIW, I used to use a Sennheiser directional mic similar to the e614 for my field recordings when I was still involved in research. It was an excellent mic that IMO would be overkill for what you're doing. For what I was doing, though, it was extremely important to achieve a very flat response from 60 through 6000 Hz, which doesn't sound challenging, but it is. (Most manufacturers' specs are rather fanciful/optimistic.) The mic delivered well. For doing what you're doing, I'd honestly buy something more modest.
  8. Hey thank you all for your feedback!
    If you have any suggestions for forums / sites / resources that can help me with filming let me know!
    I ended up purchasing a H1 Zoom Mic and I'm impressed with it's performance. Videos are below:
    Event Invitational
    Here's Episode 2

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