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What's the best MIC for Camcorders?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi guys, I'm new to the forums as well as Camcorders (especially Audio). I recently put up my first video on YouTube, and after having watched a lot of other videos, I'm not at all impressed with my audio results. My voice was recorded through a Shotgun Mic (DM-100) attached to the camcorder Canon HF G20. It does not have a XLR option. Here is the link for reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKELnMhWbas

I did do a lot of research before posting a question, and I am leaning towards the H4N. I just wanted to ask a couple of questions before wasting money on various microphones again.

  1. Would the H4N independently provide clear results, or would I need to pair it with another microphone for superior quality?
  2. Is it fairly easy and quick to sync the audio and video afterwards?

Any other recommendations or suggestions would also be greatly appreciated! I am sorry if this is in the wrong section.

Cheers
post #2 of 10
The best is the one that is the closest to the subject. Also, if you don't use XLR then shorter cable length will also improve quality. Or try radio transmitter.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ungermann View Post

The best is the one that is the closest to the subject. Also, if you don't use XLR then shorter cable length will also improve quality. Or try radio transmitter.

Thank you for responding. This will be used for indoor shooting, so I will be close to the Camera but in the video referenced above -- that alone did not produce good results. The Shotgun Mic was not clear, so that's why I'm looking for other options.

Do you have any experience with the H4N? Thanks again.
post #4 of 10
Great video. I was laughing the whole time (pretty sure I've done everything you advised the viewer not to do).

On your audio - your mic is too far from you - and it's a consumer mic with poor off-axis sound rejection.

If you use the same mic, with the same placement, and record the sound to an H4N, it will sound the same. And now you'll have to sync the sound with your video. It can be done, but for me, it's too much of a hassle and I choose not to do it.

I recommend a better mic and to get it to within 18-24 inches of your mouth. Yes, a lav would work, but then you have the potential for introducing clothing noise - especially with all the moving around you do.

I recommend a good pro shotgun mic like the $216 Audio Technica AT897 (I bought a used Audio Technica AT835b on eBay to save money), a windscreen and mic muff, a shock mount, a boom (and a stand, if you don't have a sound person), some XLR cable, plus an inexpensive impedance matching cable to plug the pro mic into your HF G20.

If your budget supports it, you can improve your audio even more with an external low noise preamp like the $249 RiggyMicro from JuicedLink - instead of the impedance matching cable. This video from JuicedLink shows the advantages of this approach over buying an external recorder (please watch at 720p):



If you want to go all out, you can get a professional preamplifier like the $899 Mix-Pre D, but that's probably overkill smile.gif


Here is a test I did comparing a consumer mic (an Azden SMX10, similar to your DM-100) to an Audio Technica AT835b pro mic with a line matching transformer plugged into my Panasonic GH3:



The echoing "room noise" heard from the consumer SMX10 is similar to what I hear in your video. In my view, the best, and least expensive way to overcome this challenge is with a high quality pro mic like the Audio Technica 897.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Firstly, thank you Sir for the kind words -- I'm glad you enjoyed the video!

You're absolutely right about the syncing being a hassle, I really was dreading having to do that with the H4N. You have me sold on the AT897, I will place my order this evening! Your video was extremely helpful in making that decision, the clarity is great even on the AT835b.

  1. You mentioned that you purchased a Windscreen & Mic Muff, but I'm having difficulty differentiating between the two. Are they used in combination, and only for outdoor shots? The windscreen I probably wouldn't need unless it's an outdoor shoot, but is the Muff an indoor accessory?
  2. I don't have a permanent sound guy, so I prefer to use a Boom/Stand. Do you still recommend I purchase a Shock Mount even for Start/Stop shooting on a Stand?
  3. Would I need anything other than the Mic+ XLR + Impedance matching cable (or RiggyMicro, I'll look into that) for it to be operational?
  4. I saw some videos in which people connected a Shotgun Microphone through a H4N. They also used a lapel mic in combination with H4N and Shotgun. Should I just steer clear of this?
  5. Lastly, you mentioned that the problem was with the distance, so I will have to put the Shotgun Mic 18" - 24" from my mouth. Would something closer cause clipping or other distortion? (I will do testing myself, but I just want to know if it's recommended that the mic be kept a certain distance away).

I'm a newbie, so I was completely lost before reading your detailed post. Thank you for taking the time out to provide such thorough insight. Your post was very helpful.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Bump. Anyone else with enough knowledge to answer the questions from my post above? Your time is much appreciated!
post #7 of 10
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you - I will take your questions one at a time:
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvTipsTV View Post

[*] You mentioned that you purchased a Windscreen & Mic Muff, but I'm having difficulty differentiating between the two. Are they used in combination, and only for outdoor shots? The windscreen I probably wouldn't need unless it's an outdoor shoot, but is the Muff an indoor accessory?

I purchased the MM-21 muff for my AT835b, which may or may not fit the AT897. I recommended the SG-1 foam windscreen for the AT897, which you should have on the mic pretty much at all times. I also recommended the mic muff that fits over the foam windscreen for outdoor use. If you don't plan to use the mic outdoors, you don't need the mic muff.

Please see this video to hear why you should never go outdoors without a mic muff:




Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvTipsTV View Post

[*] I don't have a permanent sound guy, so I prefer to use a Boom/Stand. Do you still recommend I purchase a Shock Mount even for Start/Stop shooting on a Stand?

Yes - even with a heavy duty stand and boom like the On Stage SB9600, you will be amazed at how vibration or footsteps in the room can translate into noise on your soundtrack. I would get the shock mount.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvTipsTV View Post

[*] Would I need anything other than the Mic+ XLR + Impedance matching cable (or RiggyMicro, I'll look into that) for it to be operational?

Just a battery smile.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvTipsTV View Post

[*] I saw some videos in which people connected a Shotgun Microphone through a H4N. They also used a lapel mic in combination with H4N and Shotgun. Should I just steer clear of this?

In my view, simplicity is essential for self-shooters. I have tried the external recorder/multiple mic routine and gave it up. It takes too much time, there are too many switches, batteries and connections involved, and it is a nightmare in post. But your mileage may vary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvTipsTV View Post

[*] Lastly, you mentioned that the problem was with the distance, so I will have to put the Shotgun Mic 18" - 24" from my mouth. Would something closer cause clipping or other distortion? (I will do testing myself, but I just want to know if it's recommended that the mic be kept a certain distance away).

Close miking can highlight snapping and popping from the air pressure leaving the talent's mouth. You can also get unpleasant "moist" sounds from the mouth (e.g., inadvertent lip smacking). Not to say you would have that problem, but it can happen.

Again, hope that's helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
Edited by brunerww - 9/5/13 at 7:01pm
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Your response and time are GREATLY appreciated. I just placed an order for everything that you recommended + a heavy duty Shotgun Boom Stand. I am indebted to you, seriously. I will link your blog in the first video that I shoot from the new equipment, you're awesome Bill.

Now I'll go and learn on how to better equalize the audio from the video, cheers!
post #9 of 10
Mic close with the H4N or the shot gun to reduce echo.

The H4N up close is better:

you should try and record stereo 90deg x-y cardiod where ever possible. Using 90 deg xy, then use ADOBE AUDITION to adjust the strength of the center channel (the voice) vs the unwanted ambient sounds.

@ a kids birthday, the reflected sounds drowned out grandma talking to little Johnny. Luckily, I recorded as 90deg x-y, then dropped the ambient reflected sounds by 20dB with Audition. Johnny and Grans voice suddenly just popped right out of the mix, nice and clear.
Then used the 'broadcast' limiter and compressor preset in Audition and the audio was good to go. I could not have fixed this if I had recorded mono.

I always try to record 90deg x-y stereo for that reason.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Good advice Sir, I'll give Audition a go as soon as the equipment arrives!
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