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  #1  
Old 01-01-2017, 01:46 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Default Thoughts on LAMPG Video Shooters

I started shooting video back in 2007, using YouTube to promote my slack key CD by creating "Look At Me Play Guitar" videos. I borrowed my wife's DV tape camera and recorded audio on a handheld recorder then merged the audio and video in post. Transferring files to the computer was real time, so a one hour shoot took one hour to load for editing.

My first HD cam was a Flip Mino HD shooting 720P and transferring files over a USB connection. I still recorded audio separately but I was constantly scanning the market for cameras with better audio, mic inputs, manual level control. I tried webcams, pocket digital video cams, point and shoot still cameras, and camcorders, but none of the ones I tried did the job on the audio side. I have some terrible sounding YouTube videos to prove it.

The first camera I found with HD video and decent audio was the Zoom Q3HD. I shot a fair amount on that, did some comparos and tutorials, but due to tech progress and budget creep I found myself moving up to Panasonic Lumix GH series compact system cameras and those have been my main shooters for the last few years, even though they still required parallel audio recording. I've stayed curious about cameras designed to record music, with directional mics and clean preamps, and I've bought examples like the Zoom Q4 and the Sony HDR-MV1. Bought them, but then realized that I'm hooked on the higher video quality and greater flexibility of my CSCs.

I've read posts about shooting LAMPG video that recommend more recent consumer camcorders, especially the Canon Vixia HF series. When I started scouting the used market I was impressed with how low the prices had gone so I gave in to the impulse and added an HF R500 to my camera collection. Just for fun I put together a comparo between my Sony MV1 and the Canon:



I also did a writeup with a little more info at the Homebrewed Music blog: http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2016/...canon-hf-r500/

Hopefully somebody will find this rambling useful.

Fran
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:20 PM
Racerbob Racerbob is offline
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Great job Fran. I have an aversion to the "fisheye" nature of most of the video + high quality mic units. I see nothing wrong with using an external mic with the Cannon as you did. That would be my choice.
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Old 01-01-2017, 10:41 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Very nicely done, Fran.

Since the fisheye of the Sony is so hard to watch I found the Canon Vixia to be SO much better. Once you coupled the Zoom H1 mic to it I found the combination to be very nice. After the improvement in video coupled with a pretty decent audio I think it would be very difficult to go back to a "music" camera.

I do understand that your camera of preferance is a bit higher up the food chain, but this is a close second.

I thought you had a self-powered Rode N4? That seems like it might work really well for getting good audio into the camera. I'm also curious if the camera itself has any self-limiting or compression on the audio input, although I didn't hear any artifacts from the short demo.

Thanks again for your hard work!
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Old 01-02-2017, 07:49 AM
KevWind KevWind is online now
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Thanks for the thread. It has brought home one point for me.

My thoughts. The first thing I noticed was the mis matched audio level on the first comparison, made it fairly difficult to accurately evaluate the sound difference of the onboard mics.

That said, while I think it is very clear the onboard sound on the Canon/camcorder is substantially lacking compared the Sony,
the video was substantially better on the Canon .

For me, given that I already have an older Cannon Vixia I now will simply use it and since I don't need mobility I will just use my recording sound system, then import the video to my system computer
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Last edited by KevWind; 01-02-2017 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:40 AM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Very nicely done, Fran.

Since the fisheye of the Sony is so hard to watch I found the Canon Vixia to be SO much better. Once you coupled the Zoom H1 mic to it I found the combination to be very nice. After the improvement in video coupled with a pretty decent audio I think it would be very difficult to go back to a "music" camera.

I do understand that your camera of preferance is a bit higher up the food chain, but this is a close second.

I thought you had a self-powered Rode N4? That seems like it might work really well for getting good audio into the camera. I'm also curious if the camera itself has any self-limiting or compression on the audio input, although I didn't hear any artifacts from the short demo.

Thanks again for your hard work!
I have been fooling around with various versions of this comparo for a couple of weeks and initially I used the NT4 for the powered mic - but the NT4 cost about twice what I paid for the Vixia!! These Canon camcorders are seriously cheap (grin).

Avoiding artifacts in the Vixia audio was a big part of the fooling around. It would be wonderful if Canon would give a detailed description of the operation of the audio, but of course they don't. In my fiddling I found that somewhere between 10 and 20 on a 100 scale, the Vixia started "messing" with the audio. Not very scientific, but I ran out of patience and when I found a more or less sweet spot I just went with it.

Fran
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Old 01-02-2017, 12:00 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Thanks for the thread. It has brought home one point for me.

My thoughts. The first thing I noticed was the mis matched audio level on the first comparison, made it fairly difficult to accurately evaluate the sound difference of the onboard mics.

That said, while I think it is very clear the onboard sound on the Canon/camcorder is substantially lacking compared the Sony,
the video was substantially better on the Canon .

For me, given that I already have an older Cannon Vixia I now will simply use it and since I don't need mobility I will just use my recording sound system, then import the video to my system computer
Ordinarily level matching is my first priority, but with the auto-level processing and the near freezing temperatures upstairs in my studio I couldn't bring myself to do the work needed to get levels matched. In this case it seemed to me that the qualitative difference was great enough that level differences weren't a critical factor. Interesting that you were confounded by the loudness difference, just shows I should have taken more care.

I was actually surprised at how much worse the Sony video was compared to the Canon. I think the lighting was a worst case for the Sony, it appears to be scene averaging for exposure while the Canon is using its face recognition to expose for the skin tones. I could actually see the adjustment in progress when I walked into the scene and put my face in front of the black background. There are lots of options in both cameras, specifically a "spotlight" setting that might have helped the Sony in this case, but I ran out of desire to try every tweak exhaustively.

I should have started my video by pointing out that parallel audio is the winning approach for quality regardless of the camera, and that I (nearly) always record audio separately and that after a bit of a learning curve the post processing needed to align audio and video is a snap, at least for the small scale projects I do. But I have read numerous requests for suggestions of cameras with decent audio capability, and many suggestions that the camera audio of the Vixia was satisfactory. And after this bit of fiddling I would agree, for some version of satisfactory. Not something you and I are likely to use, of course.

Fran
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:03 PM
tammuz7000 tammuz7000 is offline
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Thanks Fran. Very interesting comparison since I have a canon vixa. The sound quality i get is like yours with acoustic guitar and I haven't tried a separate mic.
I think in all these vids on YouTube, I would rather get a better sound than a better picture. I have a Sony pcm10 and need to try your approach with the canon.

How about just an iPhone with a better mic or an iPad? I see many vids with the iPhone that look good and the sound is decent. Not perfect but decent. Adding a quality mic to an iPhone might be the easiest approach. The easier it is, the more likely I will actually do some vids of my acoustics.

I was at the prs factory this summer and they had a studio and were doing demos of their guitars and amp. They used multiple dslr cameras and an AVID interface with few condenser mics. They do a great job with their vids.

The other guy I watch all the time on YouTube is pete thorn. He uses a point and shoot camera with his interface for his electrics. He gets an awesome sound using his universal audio appollo. I think Pete does the best vids with his set up and his gear reviews. His camera approach is simple and also uses his Mac and Apple logic to do them.



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Last edited by tammuz7000; 01-09-2017 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:59 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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I think an M10 would be a great tool for feeding the Vixia audio. Of course, parallel recording is really the way to go if audio is a high priority. But it's sure convenient to pull a clip out of the camera, trim heads and tails, slap a title on it, render and upload.

I've done Homebrewed Music videos and blog posts covering many different ways to shoot LAMPG video, the iPhone with an iRig Pro mic interface that lets me use any of my studio or stage mics into the iPhone. http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2015/...-lampg-videos/

The Compact System Camera approach to video has really taken hold, and that's what I'm almost always using for my "real" videos. Panasonic just announced their GH5 which will include an option for an XLR input module among a number of other very high spec video features. Of course the price keeps going up as well as the specs.

Fran
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  #9  
Old 02-22-2017, 10:55 AM
tammuz7000 tammuz7000 is offline
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Fran,
How would I hook up the Sony pcm10 into my canon vixa? I tried a stereo cable and got no sound from the Sony as a mic. Is there a trick to what mode I have the Sony in or canon? I went from Sony mic to canon mic with a cable and could not get any sound from the mics. I had the Sony on but did not se any levels or hear any difference.

Tom
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Old 02-22-2017, 11:41 AM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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I believe you need to press Record on the Sony to get a signal. This is the way my PCM-D50 works. Pressing Record puts you in "monitor mode" or "Recording Standby mode" as Sony calls it. Until you do that, the mics aren't active so no signal is present at the headphone jack or line out.

Fran
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