Question by K_Alejandro: What would be a good simple and compact setup for audio equipment for recording music and movies?
Just chatting about this with a friend, trying to evaluate some different options.
He already has a Canon 5D II and feels that the external mic input is just not going to cut it for serious amateur level movie recording. I’m considering buying a 5D II in the next 6 months or so (I already have a good selection of high end Canon glass and an older DSLR) and starting mucking about with making some music videos.
He’s looking at doing small scale commercial movie work. We live on opposite sides of the planet, so we won’t be working together.
Both of us are well familiar with professional level photo editing and video editing software, but as we are both photographers before videographers, we are a bit behind on the times with audio equipment.
The thinking is that if the 5D audio quality is insufficient, we would just use externally recorded audio source.
Now for his uses, he’s been looking at portable solutions. Stuff with batteries that can record very high quality audio on to either a HD or SD.
He found one with a 40GB HD, but really, that just doesn’t seem modern enough (both of us shoot multiple 16-32GB CF and SD cards and burn through 250GB+ hard drives like water). Also, it doesn’t seem to have battery power options.
So what would you recommend for audio mixing and digital recording?
I’ve actually been pretty happy with inputting directly into my PDA with Resco Audio Recorder at 192kbps. I have a pretty basic Roland Micro Cube which can run for hours on 6 AA batteries and can handle clean audio from an instrument and vocals. My mike of choice is a Shure SM58.
As far as I’m concerned though, I’m just mucking about.
What is out there for 4 channel mixers that can be battery powered?
What is a pro level recording device that works on batteries, can record at very high quality and can deal with removable media?
yeah, I’m personally only planning on doing music videos. Max length is probably about 5 minutes or so.
The Edirol 4 channel was actually one thing that we had been discussing, but the price is a tad steep.
Now the only other question is – for long duration vids, will digital recording keep consistent enough time that I can just sync sound up at the beginning of the clip and have it stay in sync for several minutes?
I’ve had problems with this in editing from tape before.
Answer by zookmook
Although the 5DII can shoot 1080i HD video it appears that the audio capabilities are quite limiting so you will need a versatile portable recorder to make up for the shortcomings. Unfortunately one of the key elements to using a field audio recorder is the ability to sync your audio with your video, a feature which the 5D does not have so you will have to do your best to position the audio in the time line so that it will be synchronized with the video.
Also, you need to realize that the 5D II is limited to 12 minutes of HD video recording so long clips will not be possible.
In any case, here are some recommendations for audio field recordres from best/priciest to simplest.
Your best option would be something like the “Roland R-44″ Four-Channel Portable Field Recorder:
It has all the bells and whistles and can record unto SD media and is battery and/or AC powered. The advantage to this recorder is that it is a four channel recorder which means you can record up to 4 audio channels independently. It also has four XLR mic inputs giving you total quality and control in field recording. This is useful when you are doing interviews and need to isolate different audio sources. In post you can place each audio on its own track and process it separately. It also has a built in stereo mic pair to capture ambient sound.
If you are looking for something simpler and less expensive, the “Ikey Audio” portable recorder is your next choice.
It has a USB plug and can record unto any USB device such as flash drives and iPods. It does not have balanced inputs but the two RCA line inputs will do just fine with an additional Direct Box. It only has two channels so it would not be ideal for multiple audio sources.
Edited to add: There are ways to record two sources on a stereo only recorder and that is to use two mics, each receiving a signal from each stereo pan. You then bring the audio file into a software that can split the stereo signal into two mono tracks and you have two independent audio sources.
Lastly, for a much simpler solution you can’t beat the “HHB DRM85-CLI FlashMic”
This is a simple battery operated microphone which has built-in flash memory so no inputs are necessary. It also has a built-in preamp so you can control the gain right on the mic. Battery operated and USB connection makes it simple and ideal for interview type single source field recording.
Again, with no sync capabilities you will need to record is short bursts with small audio segments. Then you will need to drop those audio clips into your video editor and manually align them to the video which can be quite tedious.
Edited to add: I guess the above does not matter much if all you will be doing is music videos.
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