Personal View site logo
Make sure to join PV on Telegram or Facebook! Perfect to keep up with community on your smartphone.
Doc recording kit options
  • Hi everyone.

    So, I am looking to have a few things sorted out in the sound dept. for a doc I am working on. I have decided that the subjects will have lavs with Tascam DR-05 recording on 16GB cards (enough space for the 12hrs or so quoted by Tascam on battery life with Eneloop Pros) I can't afford wireless, so the recorders are the best combo right now for lavs (opinions welcome on this) I heard samples of Zoom H1 vs the Tascam and the Zoom has too much hiss to my taste.

    On camera:

    This is where I am finding a bit of a hard time deciding. I want a compact kit (preferably without a rig)

    Kit 1: Roland R-26 using all of its mics recording to their own independent channel (thats 2 omnis + XY) AT875r recording into the Roland R26 Since this test showed that the Roland has a bit of a hiss, I thought that using a Fethead attached the already short AT875r will give me a lower noise floor.

    • Omni + XY + Shotgun channels to mix in post along with the lavs. --For this kit, I would need to get a cage to have both the Roland and the Shotgun mounted on the GH2.

    Kit 2: For a lower price as the above: Zoom H6/H5 w/ SSH-6 mic. This module mic is a XY and short shotgun at the same time, which (with Zooms software) you can then choose how much of each set (XY and shotgun) you can have in your final mix later.

    Sample of software and mic tests:

    • on this one is that the AT875r takes the bench of gets sold because the module replaces it. The recorder mounts directly on the hotshote (no cage, or rig)
    • Not enough samples from the SSH-6 mic out there, especially indoors and with dialogue, so it's a bit of a gamble and I don't know how well the noise floor will be with that combo. -/+ XY and Shotgun only left to mix later in post with the lavs. Hearing samples from the Omni+XY+Shotgun on the Roland leaves me with a bit of nice feeling.

    Kit 3: The original kit I imagined I would get.

    Tascam DR-70D AT875r

    • cheaper than both above
    • Dr-70D pre-amps are very nice but could also compliment them with a Fethead
    • DR-70D built-in mics may be stereo...but they don't really give a stereo feeling so kind of pointless and the main reason for me to look at the above

    That's pretty much what I have right now as options.

    I also read about the Olympus LS-100 which has nice quiet pre-amps (for the XLRs) but I was advised by a friend that the 16bit recording may be too limiting if I need to compensate for either noise or for mixing. Any opinions on that?

    Sadly enough no shop in London has all of these so I can test them all in one place and see what may fit best.

    Also, my doc stuff is multi-field (indoor, outdoor) fly on the wall style 95% of the time so I really like the idea of having mixing options between the lavs, stereo and shotgun.

    What do we think??

  • 13 Replies sorted by
  • I'm now very pleased with Rode Pin Mic's --- very easy to hide, or make unobtrusive and great sound quality (for the price).

  • I think your workaround for the lack of wireless is clever - remains to be seen how much handling noise the Dr-05's will reject. As for the rest of it, I can't help but think you're over complicating a bit. I get the time honoured wireless mic on one track, and boom sound on another from most pro sound recordists and that's usually enough, coupled with some separate atomos tracks. Too many options slows post production down..

  • Hi Vitaly,

    Thanks for the tip! Well...I have a Blackberry and one of my subjects has Windows Phone. I could get maybe some cheap android stuff... but my lavaliers don't play with phones (at least with my BB and my gf's OnePlus)... Thinking as well about the HW quality in the phones that could maybe not be outstanding.

  • Something cheap (if you just use cheap used iPhone 4)

    Android thing - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shenyaocn.android.WirelessMIC

  • Attempting to record audio with no means to monitor it is a recipe for distaster.

  • It's OK. I get your point.

    What I am looking for here is someone with some experience with similar set ups or the gear I mention so I can have just a bit more guidance on the capture and the post workflow. I ran a set of lavs today and they are good. The Mic J 044 actually captures quite a bit of ambience sounds as well, so I can see it helping with the overal feel of the scene too.

    I need to test it with RF interference and see where it could fail on its own.

    Cheers,

  • No disrespect to your input, just that I need to make this work for an already streched out budget. Worth noting too is that I wouldn't want to carry a mixer/recorder on a bag... I need to be as inconspicous as possible.

    I don' think that you buy all for one single specific doc, or do you?

    Also all I see is that you set your mind more in the sum and ideas you saw on internet instead of specific result (sound part of docs you will do).

    Being shotgun oriented is not really easy thing and not light certainly. As you NEED to monitor it, also untrained person will be, well, moving and quite randomly. You also need someone SKILLED to carry boom pole, as well as you need boom pole and wind protection (for any outside shooting). You can put mike on the stand, but it will also require pole and balance of whole thing (as well as specific instructions for talent). And no, you can't put mike on camera for any good quality sound. You need it to be as close as possible and directed properly.

  • But I can't lav everyone, and I don't need to...hence the shotgun+field recorder. I'm shadowing one person and most of the doc is about this individual, but he has a signifcant other so that takes the second lav. For friends and work, I'll just shotgun+field record whilst keeping the lav on the first person.

    I know about the chinese lavaliers, hence why I got two JK MicJ 044. I heard them through a few tests here:

    The H1 has more self noise than the Tascam 05, hence why I'm going in that direction as well. Used recorders are not TOO different in price to new recorders, at least in the UK, and I mentioned, US importing doesn't help much either (had a look at ebay.com) and actually, with a weak Euro, some other EU ebays work out similar to US prices.

    An intermediary doesn't help much (I have a uncle in the US I usually ask for him to send me stuff here) because UK customs can get really painful (I tried a few times in the past and my stuff didn't pass through well) Again, I don't know where you live now but importing is not as advantageous, especially with a strong dollar. For $350 (Dr 680 used on ebay) + around $40 and 20% VAT when it lands, it ends up being around $468, or £309. They sell for around £300-320 in the EU and UK already if you find a used one.

    The AT wireless will be something I can consider in the future, but not now. I have known documentaries aired on the BBC and Channel 4 that often use a mix of shotgun and 2-3 lavs, because it depends on the story you are working on. It's doable and I am not doing a story that depends on many people being in the same place at once or whether I need accurate dialogue from all of them. The important dialogue is from 1 -2 at the same time and sometimes a few people around these 2 -lav'ed people.

    No disrespect to your input, just that I need to make this work for an already streched out budget. Worth noting too is that I wouldn't want to carry a mixer/recorder on a bag... I need to be as inconspicous as possible.

  • I quoted Tascam 70D in the UK for £216 and it is $300 in the US...

    It is, but if you have time and look back it was $199 just very soon ago :-) And as I said, you can use intermediary.

    By looking at the 70D, I won't be using all channels, though. I actually just thought of that unit because of the quality pre-amps (which apparently are better than 60DmkII) for the AT875r AND the built-in mics for stereo ambience...but they are not so "stereo"...

    Never say never.

    As I know reasons about things you say and why you think so. Yet, I just tell you that it is wrong approach.

    First, 4 inputs is really minimum for doc, as any sudden group discussion or interview will quickly use all of them. This is why DR680 is my suggestion (plus original version is cheap now).

    Second, if you so want to use separate recorders on first stage, while working on funds to get wireless mikes, you can get refurbished/used recorders and buy set of cheap Chinese lavaliers (we have few topics here on them).

    In any case possible use wired lavs.

    Third, check personally wireless options and invest in best possible (yet I suggest to not spend money in most mentioned G3 systems) as soon as you can.

  • Hi @Vitaly_Kiselev

    The options I mentioned give me a total spend of about £580 or less (including x2 lavs, x2 Dr-05, and whatever field recorder/shotgun combo I get)

    While the AT unit looks nice, and affordable, ~$490 (incl postage and VAT on that auction's description) is about ~£320 for that kit alone. I would need to get a second transmitter for another $150 +postage and VAT.

    I don't know what currency area you are in (tempted to say Russia but you never know these days) but the stronger dollar and the 20% VAT (and sometimes duty on top) when importing something from the US doesn't make any or much difference. I quoted Tascam 70D in the UK for £216 and it is $300 in the US...

    The lav combo I came up is JK MicJ 044 hooked to DR-05. That's about £85-90 per set. I understand I won't be monitoring them and that can be a failing point but I don't have the budget to go for good wireless and a mixer/recorder (which also means I need to bag that extra weight and I want to keep as easily mobile as possible)

    By looking at the 70D, I won't be using all channels, though. I actually just thought of that unit because of the quality pre-amps (which apparently are better than 60DmkII) for the AT875r AND the built-in mics for stereo ambience...but they are not so "stereo"...

    So, I need to make the most of what I can have and be as mobile as possible, hence the options I listed.

    Thanks for the advise, though. Really appreciate it.

  • Also, my doc stuff is multi-field (indoor, outdoor) fly on the wall style 95% of the time so I really like the idea of having mixing options between the lavs, stereo and shotgun.

    Small recorders with lavs work, but...

    Ideally you want as few fail points as you can, and separate lavs without monitoring are BIG possible issue.

    I suggest to get Tascam DR-680 (so you will have enough inputs almost always) or Tascam 70D (if you are only one guy and absolutely sure that it will be enough). Remember, you can buy cheap in US, ship to Shipito and ask to make cusom declaration :-).

    As for wireless system, ideally I suggest latest Sony UWP-D sets. But Rode also coming with cheaper option - http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/12219/rodelink-digital-wireless-audio-system#Item_15

    Cheapest digital one is - http://www.ebay.com/itm/BOYA-2-4GHZ-Wireless-Lavalier-Microphone-BY-WM5-for-Canon-5D-III-60D-70D-LF479-/201264072150?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2edc4605d6 , but it is not really top quality. But you can test one.

    Some people also adapt Line 6 digital systems.

  • just my 5 cents. the zoom h1 combined with my cheap audiotechnica 20$ lav mic does not have a lot of hiss- the lav mic is not very hissy itself so, no comparison to the internal condenser mic. the h1 is sooo small and nice. I think its perfect for this application.

Start New Topic

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Sign In with Google Sign In with OpenID

Sign In Register as New User

Tags in Topic

Top Posters