Author Topic: Audio Recording - which settings to choose with external Mic ?  (Read 85789 times)

david61

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hi again, i ve found quite some functions of ML extremely helpful, as focus peaking, zebras and the blue light on when recording. what i couldn t figure out so far is the right use and adjustments of the audio control. more: it seems to show different meter signs, when  using the external sennheiser microphone 400 instead of the internal mikrophone (the sennheiser shows much lower audio..)

i am not shure, how to adjust the audio control - do i have to adjust the canon audio-meters in manual mode first and then override them with ML? i ve done some test in audio manual mode. first i ve set up an a-tone with a tone generator with the iphone, to have some kind of reference tone, then i did a recording without ML and set the canera internal gain to get to -12db, afterwards i ve used the same tone with ML and the same setting of the canon control. i couldn t get the ML bars into the green, also with the same settings there was much louder sound on the audio track with the internal mic, than with the external sennheiser. will do some more tests, but maybe somebody already knows (haven t found that topic in the forum yet...)

greetings from david and thanx in advance....

Led

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Hi David,
I find the auto internal/ext mic setting easiest, that way when you plug the mic into the camera it will automatically switch to external.
Because the MKE400 is a powered mic you can turn the mic power off (in the ML audio settings page) if you'd like to save a little of your camera's battery, but you do need the power on when using the camera's internal mic. ALSO - make sure you turn the auto gain off using the ML audio menu.


a few things to check for starters on the MKE400 mic - not because I think you're stupid, just as a good checklist. :)

1) There's a battery in the mic with a good amount of charge left in it.

2) You have the power switch set to on. ALSO - there are two settings on the power switch. The setting that will match the internal mic level closest will most likely be with the switch to the far left. If you have the switch in the middle on the setting that has a symbol that looks a bit like a carrot above it (what is that supposed to be anyway?), this will cut out the bass to some extent, which will make the sound seem quieter than the internal mic.

3) VOL setting on the mic. This switch will be closest to the internal mic level when set to far right (the + sign). Switched to the left (- sign) will drop the input sensitivity down, which is great for recording really loud things, but will be lower input level than the internal mic.

A couple of other things to think about - 
- The Sennheiser is a stereo mic (I believe, I don't have one to check) while the internal mic is mono. By the very nature of the way they work, the stereo will be a little quieter than a mono mic going into the same system, so it will need more gain than the internal to get the same record level.

 - Due to a few design reasons, different mics will simply have slightly different output levels and will all need different levels of gain to get to the same level in the camera. Even very similar designed mics using one or two different components can have slightly different output levels.

 - In the case of the MKE400, it also has a different pickup pattern to the camera mic. It is what's called hypercardiod or lobar or supercardiod, which is like an audio version of a telephoto lens - it's strongest sensitivity is straight in front, while sounds that aren't straight in front (called off axis sounds) will be faint. In the case of the internal mic, it is omnidirectional so it picks up sound from everydirection, which can make it sound louder depending on where all the sound is coming from. ie - a sound that is 90 degrees to the left of the camera will sound louder on an omni mic than on a hypercardiod.

- So the simple answer is if you have all the mic switches set right, you need more gain for the MKE400 than the internal mic. You can do this with an external preamp like the juiced link or you can use the camera's gain via the ML audio page. FOr a studio setup I'd think about something like the juiced link as it is a pretty quiet preamp, but for run and gun style shooting where you don't want to carry extra gear, use the camera internal gain in the ML audio page. NOTE - use the analog gain, not the digital. I use this method with a stereo mic I built for my camera that is powered from the camera's internal power and it works great. I might post a thread about it some time.

ALSO - don't equate 'louder' with 'better'. You can comfortable record your audio around -20 on the meter and it will be fine. You can always normalize the level in post. In the recording studio we generally record at around -20 with peaks hitting around -15 to -12.
Hope all that helps rather than confuses, but if it creates any questions just ask.
Cheers.

Michael Zöller

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Led, thanks for the tips and detailed info! Do you also use external recorders like the Zoom or Tascam gear with XLR inputs? I'm still trying to figure out the best way to get decent audio and there seem to be a lot of options.
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Led

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Hi Michael, we use a few different solutions depending on the setup. We have a zoom H4 and a fostex field recorder which is no longer made, we also gave a portable dat recorder with timecode but that's gets the least use nowdays.
I really like the zoom, the only pita is that it really eats batteries if you are using mics that need 48 volt phantom power, which most of ours do. If we need longer battery time the field recorder and dat both have NiMH battery packs which run longer. You can always carry extra batteries for the zoom, but it gets a bit noisy as the batteries run down when you are using phantom power, so you need to keep an ear on it.
If your using battery powered mics the zoom is handy, or the other good option is the juiced link preamp, both of these you can just plug into the camera and save having to sync audio later.

My main thing is music recording, so I'm generally using large diaphragm condenser mics and because it's a music performance it's often considered acceptable to have the mics in shot so I'm usually using whatever mic pattern works best for the sound. With presenter/interview type stuff that's a no go, so Sennheiser 416's are the mic of choice (but a lot of other shotgun mics work just as well)set just out of shot and making sure there is no shadow visible, or if using lav mics I really like Sanken Cos-11's.

In a studio or inside location I'll use separate mic pres and record to a Macbook Pro with a guide track also being recorded to the camera. For that sort of setup I use an RME interface for up to 10 tracks and over that I have a Solid State Logic converter that takes up to 48 inputs.
I record into Cubase, but a lot of people use Protools as well. Cubase is just easy for me as it's what I use in my studio so I know it well.
In the past I've been the music recording engineer for live filmings of bands that have been multitrack audio along with multicam shooting and we have used a digital slate to send timecode to all the cams and the multitrack recorder but nowdays it seems pretty easy to sync sound just using the guide off the camera and a slate clap. It's not the mega pro way to do it, but whatever works for your budget hey..

For what you want, if you are not needing more than two mono tracks or one stereo at a time I'd just look at something like the zoom. As far as mics if it's for dialogue I still lean towards mics like the 416 that are 48V powered rather than battery powered electret mics. They just sound better. Electrets are fine for atmos recordings and buzz tracks etc. If you need more tracks you could buy a mid priced firewire or thunderbolt interface and plug the mics into that into that, but obviously won't work of batteries on a mountain side somewhere.

Also, if I had to make one suggestion as someone who's had to work with a lot of recorded sound from shoots - the biggest problem we always come up against is waaaay too much room sound on the dialogue. Put carpets down out of shot, hang blankets up over light stands out of shot (but don't set them on fire accidentally) anything that fills up the empty space off camera will deaden the recorded dialogue down and help it sound better. This is where lav mics are great, but they aren't always possible.





david61

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hi led, that was precise!! thanx a lot... yeah, i ve firgurerd that out somehow too yesterday nite, but i always ask first and then try to find out later (my fault) :-))

i will also check the sound, when using the juiced link pre-amp, i ve got the small model, without the xlr inputs, which comes quite handy on the rig. this can take some days, but i will let you and michael know, what turned out of the test. when it comes to filming with the dslr, i m a newcomer, so i still have to try and figure out my favourite combination of picture and sound devices. when filming i much prfer the black and white monitor with zebra and peaking, it makes focusing absolutely fast and precise even with open apertures.


again, led, thanx, i will print out your tips and stick them on the computer, greetings from david

Francis

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Great info here, thanks for sharing Led!

Sticky-ing.

Michael Zöller

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Indeed, thanks for the detailed answer, Led.

I have recently bought a Tascam DR-40 but I'm not too happy about its preams. Seem pretty noisy to me, especially with dynamic mics. I guess that with high-output condensers this won't be too much of a problem, though. Are you happy with the noise level of the Zoom? Maybe I just expect too much from these field recorders, in the home studio I'm used to RME gear, too. :)

You have mentioned the 416 as your shotgun of choice. I'm in the market for a decent shotgun mic, but I was wondering if you can also recommend something in the lower price range? I have heard good things about the Sennheiser ME-64 for example. Also, how do you attach those to your Rig/Camera? I feel one needs to decouple them physically, or otherwise pulling focus or even touching the camera would ruin the recording? Or are the shotguns better in that respect? Finally, I guess I would need something to keep wind in check, too?

Btw I found this post pretty interesting: http://pandauprojects.com/resources/recording-broadcast-quality-audio-on-the-canon-5d-mark-ii-dslr-camera/
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budafilms

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Hi Lanterns! Can you explain me how to connect the H4N mic to a Canon? It is possible?

Malcolm Debono

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Hi Lanterns! Can you explain me how to connect the H4N mic to a Canon? It is possible?

Of course it is! You just need a 3.5mm male-to-male (i.e. plug on both sides) audio cable. Connect one side to the headphones port of the H4N and the other side to the mic input of the camera. From the ML audio menu, set the source to External Stereo. Make sure that the H4N's source is set to Mic, and that it's either on standby (press rec. button once) or recording (press rec. button twice). Other than that, you just need to adjust the levels accordingly by changing the mic input and headphone level on the H4N, as well as the analogue gain from ML.
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budafilms

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Amazing explanation! You have to put a magic Lantern university! Thanks ;D

1%

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Quote
the biggest problem we always come up against is waaaay too much room sound on the dialogue.

They probably have mics turned up really hot and are too far away.

Quote
I feel one needs to decouple them physically, or otherwise pulling focus or even touching the camera would ruin the recording?

Always need a boom. Puts the mic closer to the subject, keeps it away from button presses, moving crew etc.
 
That guy in the article came to the same conclusion I did. The pre-amp can't boost the signal without creating noise. If it doesn't have to, it sounds fine. So you don't need an external recorder, you need something to amplify the mics and feed a good signal to the camera.

fascina

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I'm looking for an answer which david61 also asked in his first post: Do the manual audio settings of the canon classic menu have any effect on the Magic Lantern settings?

I hope somebody can please answer that question.

I have a Canon 5d Mark II. If I change the audio gain in the traditional Canon settings, will it override or influence the ML audio settings in any way? Or does ML deactivate the traditional Canon audio settings?

Does it make a difference if I choose in the traditional audio Canon menu "automatic" or "manual" or will it be overrided anyway?

I'm asking because if I change ISO, aperture, shutter or picture style in the traditional camera settings, they immediately change the ML settings an vise versa.

scrax

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For 600D ML audio override works even if audio is off in canon menu.
For other camera canon menu need to be set to manual and then ML will override canon settings.
This is different from other function where it changes both in canon settings and in ML settings because canon don't have input selections, analog/digital gain control and so on...
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ToastyKen

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For other camera canon menu need to be set to manual and then ML will override canon settings.
This is different from other function where it changes both in canon settings and in ML settings because canon don't have input selections, analog/digital gain control and so on...


So to clarify, on the 5D Mk II:

1) If I sent Canon's Sound Rec to Manual, the gain in the Canon settings will be ignored, and only the ML settings will be respected (be it manual gain or ML AGC on)? Is that correct?

2) If I set Canon's Sound Rec to Auto, that completely overrides all the ML settings and uses Canon's AGC? Is that correct?

3) Also, is there a difference betwen Canon Sound Rec Auto (AGC on) and Canon Sound Rec Manual, but ML's AGC on? That is, do they use different algorithms, or are they identical?

I want to use manual gain sometimes, and AGC sometimes (can still be useful for less controlled documentary settings), and I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing.

Thanks.

a1ex

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On 5D2, ML always overrides Canon settings, it doesn't matter what you choose in Canon menu.

Turning on AGC from ML is not the same thing. AGC operates only on the digital gain path, so it's completely pointless (don't enable it in the camera, instead apply it in post).

ToastyKen

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Oh hm. Is the Canon AGC analog or digital? If analog, we'd actually be losing some functionality with ML, no?

a1ex

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It's digital; the analog gain is fixed at some value, don't remember which one.

ToastyKen

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Oh I see. Got it. Thanks! :)

But yeah, it might be nice if the in-menu help was a bit more clear about the fact that this setting completely overrides the Canon one.

Xyenz Fyxion

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Hi, all. I had an issue with recording from two Audio Technica wired lav mics into a splitter.

I use ML on a Canon T2i/550D. Whether I selected Int./Ext. or only External as my recording source, the audio was recorded in Mono, as opposed to (the the desired result of) Stereo. Can anyone help me achieve Stereo recording?
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Datadogie

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Lots of people get confused and use a headphone splitter in reverse. This does not work as it sends stereo to both (female) jacks. You need something like this             http://compare.ebay.co.uk/like/200856752644?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&cbt=y    as it splits the left and right to separate jacks.
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Lumiére

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Hi everyone,
Some more audio issues here. I usually record sound on an external device. Now tried to record directly into the 60D with a wired lav mike (Audio Technica 3350) , did every adjustment according to the book but there is still a big background hiss beyond acceptable level. I use the same mike with Tascam and Sound Devices recorders , its cristal clear. ML supposed to reduce the hiss considerably to my knowledge but I am quite surprised. I do not expect the sound to be as clear as on the above mentioned recording devices however I was not expecting it to be that poor eighter. Any thoughts on this I will be appreciated.
Also there is a huge internet discussions on Tascam DR-40 recorder. It has good sides and a lot of problems too. I have been using it for sometime now and technically quite got into it. If anyone having questions on that recorder please post your questions here, I'll try to help you out as much as I can.
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rawfa

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Hi guys,

     This is a VERY informative thread and I´ve already learned a lot, but I still have some doubts.
      I´ve been doing some sound tests for a project I have coming up and I keep finding the sound too be too  low. I have very little experience with sound but let me explain how I´m setting things up:
      The audio-technica lavalier with the phantom power adapter goes into the Zoom H4N and then the split cable (attenuator + monitor cable) goes into the MarkIIs´ mic input. I´ve set the mic level on the Zoom to 100, I´ve upped the compressor and the and the low cut filters to diminish the possibility of picking up unwanted sounds (it´s an indoors shot but I have sound coming from a kids´ playground), then on the MarkII I´ve upped the gain on ML a little. When I´ve listened to the sound on my computer it was pretty clean but it was very very low. I have to confess that this was the first sound test I did with ML so I was not sure about where the soundmeter bar should be (I was GUESSING that when it changed color it meant it was peaking).
      Anyway, any thoughts and/or suggestions are welcome.

thanks in advance.

Lumiére

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Re: Audio Recording - which settings to choose with external Mic ?
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2013, 10:52:55 PM »
Hi rawfa,
Sound is always a problem with DSLRs. Its got nothing to do with ML. Its all about your mikes output signal. Audio Technica lav mike I have (3350) has a very low output level, no good for anything unless you use a preamp which is not a handy thing to work with. Neighther digital recorders nor DSLRs have good enough built-in preamps. So all you need to do is look for a mike with strong output level or use expensive Sennheiser or Sony etc wireless lav systems. Youtube has a variety of mike comparison videos, check them up. Mike level 100 on H4N is way too high and there must be a lot of internal hiss when you up the volume. Unfortunately audio people do not build easy affordable mikes with acceptable sound quality. Good mikes are too expensive others piece of junk. Why they make mikes with unusable output levels is ununderstandable. Check the video below.  Good luck.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJgXsDyjG3c
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rawfa

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Re: Audio Recording - which settings to choose with external Mic ?
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2013, 11:33:44 PM »
The weird thing is that I´ve tried this before with the NEX7 and the sound was loud and clear. Exactly where does the ML soundmeter bar has to be for the sound to be so that I know the input level is acceptable? I will also do some tests without the comp and low cut.

creativeblends

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Re: Audio Recording - which settings to choose with external Mic ?
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2013, 05:37:48 PM »
As stated on these other thread I opened: http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=5186.0 I have serious problems to use ML when I need audio recording. I simply can't make use of it, messed up an important work for a client and now had to uninstall it completely.

I understand that ML overrides the manual adjustments of the Canon Audio settings. But where do I adjust the audio levels in the ML menu (independently of the use of external mic, pre-amp or internal mic,... there should be an exactly same menu settings as in the canon menu, shouldn't it)? I simply do not find it...