Audio gear recommendations for camcorder

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    • #41866


      I’m new to the forums but have been reading from these forums for the last six months or so. I wanted to get some advice on buying audio equipment for interviews for a research documentary. I will be alone and don’t have another person for sound, I’m a student so I’m on a limited budget. I am an absolute beginner and don’t know if I will do any video after this apart from family video’s.

      I have a Canon Vixia HF S21 and am looking for a reasonably priced solution for audio. I plan to do seated indoor interviews and also recording of some conferences (speakers), and also urban scenes (art galleries, possibly some music performances) as representations of urban cultural life. The group of people I will be interviewing are not keen on video recording so I have a need to have a small setup. I plan on using my table top tripod and I don’t really want to use wireless lav in case of drop out/cell phone interferance etc.

      For audio I only have one mic input 3.5mm. From loads of research here’s what I’ve come up with my budget is 300 to 500 (after already having bought the camera, tripods, light, lenses, etc):

      1) Audio technica ATR3350 wired lav with a mono to stereo adapter. Will this be adequate to hook up to the interviewee? Do I need to be heard asking the questions?

      2) In order to have a backup and have audio of my interview questions I also have a Olympus DS-2200 (a bit outdated) digital recorder that I plan to place between myself and the interviewer. I have CS4 with soundbooth so think I should be able to tweak the audio where needed.

      Should I buy the Zoom H1 for audio recording instead of the Olympus as I will also have a number of interviews that I will digitally record and not video record.

      3) I’m also considering a Sennheiser MKE400, or the more budget conscious Audio Technica Pro 24cm. I am also half considering the Rode Videomic although it is quite large and not sure if this would make interviewee’s uncomfortable (who already dislike being on camera) it’s also very big to mount, although it could be set up as a mic and I could forgo using the wired lav although I’d still like a backup digital recording. Has anyone used a rode mic in this way? Was it intrusive or okay?

      Will this be sufficient? I don’t really have the budget for the full Beachtek adapter and expensive lavs and additional mics etc. Looking for some suggestions for budget conscious audio solution. I’ve been researching and researching and just seem to be coming up with more questions and doubts.



    • #176916

      crae10, as far asinterviewing someone while sitting down at a table (‘table top tripod’), my suggestion would be to have your questions written down and follow your script whileinterviewing, allow interviewee to answer uninterupted. Set up your camcorder focused on your subject with alavalier on your subject hard wired to your camcorder (for best sound). After the interview is completed dismiss the subject and reverse the camcorder to focus on yourself. Hard-wired lavalier on you and record your questions, also record yourself nodding your head or other types of reactions. All this will be joined together in post. You mentioned a wired microphone with a mono to stereo adapter, is this permanently attached? Adding an adapter might add the possibility of unwanted noise. You can copy the audio from one track to the other in post to fill theboth tracks. You mentioned the Zoom H1, I own the Zoom H2 and find it very useful with it’s two front facing microphones and two rear facing ones.This could be useful recording both sides of a standupinterview.I also have used a Radio Shack lavalier microphone (model 33-3013), inexpensive and pretty good results. Hopefully this helps you interviewing as a one-man-band.

    • #176917

      vid-e-o-man, Thank you for the reply this has really helped me think through the interview portion of the video. I’ve been reading more about this stereo and mono recording since I previously read that because the lav mic was mono that it needed the stereo to mono adapter as the camera records in stereo. This is exactly what I mean about having more questions all the time. So basically I don’t need to worry and I can just plug in the mono mic and copy it to fill the other track in post? I read that as a beginner it’s better to go mono as you really need to know what you’re doing for stereo (this makes sense to me) since I’m also alone.

      In terms of a versatile alternate mic for conferences to record speakers and also to record music at events I’m still thinking about the Sennheiser MKE 400 but now I’m also considering the new Rode Video Mic Pro, still thinking about the Rode VideoMic, and also the Audio-technica Pro-24cm. My camera may not always be close (under 10 feet) to the speakers so I’ll either use my digital recorder near the speakers, maybe hook into a soundboard if there is one. I’m still thinking about the Zoom H1. Trying to figure out how to cover off both speakers and music.

      If you have any thoughts on this please let me know, or if anyone else has a few cents to add I’d be more than happy to take them!!

    • #176918

      Crae10 when you record your audio it may show up in Soundbooth as stereo with only one channel populated with sound; you will need to export the audio as mono then save the mono file into stereo. It seems like a pain in the butt but works. I usually only record one channel of audio and save it as stereo and it comes out great.

    • #176919


      I recently picked up an H1 to get sync audio with my ‘happy snaps’ I use for crash cams. For $99 it’s a pretty good recorder. Though not gassed up like the H2 or H4n, it’s simple to use and gets great audio. Now, on the ‘eh’ end the H1 is not a sturdy piece of gear and it is sen-si-tive to every little thing if you leave it in auto mode (which is atrocious BTW.)

      Once you put it in manual levels it’s a night and day difference (for the better) when it comes to recording. It will still be sensitive, but not as bad. You’ll have to get a windscreen for it and that’s non-negotiable.

      Also it uses micro SD cards so make sure you put one in that has high capacity so you don’t have to take it out in an uncontrolled environment. Those cards are tiny and all it would take is one gust of wind…. You will also need some kind of shoe mount and bracket or other kind of mounting device because it’s too sensitive to hand hold.

      There are a number of other devices, but the H1 is what I have direct experience with. Good luck in your hunt!

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