Sony ECM-674 Shotgun Microphone: Compared to RODE NTG2 & Deity S-Mic 2

Microphones in the $250 to $350 range are at a sweet spot between performance, sound quality, durability, and reasonable price. In this episode we take a closer look at the Sony ECM-674 shotgun microphone and compare it with the RODE NTG-2 and Deity S-Mic 2. All three of these microphones are shotgun style boom microphones with XLR balanced outputs. Let’s see how they compare.

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses at https://school.learnlightandsound.com including processing dialogue audio, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used in this video:

Sony ECM-674 Shotgun Microphone

RODE NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone - our review can be found here:

Deity S-Mic 2 Shotgun Microphone - our review can be found here:

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - I used this to record most of the product shots

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro - Used to shoot the talking head shots

Aputure COB120dmkII - Key light in the talking head clips

Aputure Light Dome II - Newer version of the big soft box with faster setup and gel holder

Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30 - RGB 1x1 panel light for Lighting Bridget

Came TV RGB Ringlight - Used to light the product shots on white background, review coming soon

Panasonic 12-35mm F/2.8 OIS Lens - Used on the BMD Pocket Cine Camera 4K

Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Lens - Used on the BMD Pocket Cine Camera 4K

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Deity D3 Pro Shotgun Microphone

At NAB 2018, Deity Microphones made their debut and announced several new microphones for video and filmmakers. The D3 Pro is their new camera-top shotgun microphone but it has some features which make it stand out from many of the others on the market. First, it can automatically detect which type of 3.5mm input your recording device is using and adapts to work perfectly with that camera, phone, or audio recorder. And, with the D3 Pro Location kit, you can adapt the 3.5mm output to work with XLR based cameras and audio recorders.

Check for compatibility with your camera or phone.

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses including processing dialogue audio, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used in this video:

Deity V-Mic D3 Pro - Standard, camera-top kit

Deity V-Mic D3 Pro - Location kit which adds pistol grip shock mount and 3.5mm to XLR adapter

MiniRig 2 Bluetooth Speaker - used for the off-axis rejection test. I use this because it is small enough to move easily around the mic and at the same time, is able to produce bass down to about 50hz which is critical for the test.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - I used this to record most of the product shots

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro - Use to shoot the talking head shots

Aputure COB120dmkII - Key light in the talking head clips

Aputure Light Dome II - Newer version of the big soft box with faster setup and gel holder

Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30 - RGB 1x1 panel light for Lighting Bridget

Moza Air 2 Gimbal - shown in the gimbal product shot - review coming soon

Came TV RGB Ringlight - Used to light the product shots on white background, review coming soon

Panasonic GH5 - Used in product shots and to record the audio in the silhouette sample clips

Panasonic 12-35mm F/2.8 Lens - Used on the GH5 and the BMD Pocket Cine Camera 4K

Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Lens - Used on the BMD Pocket Cine Camera 4K

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Sound for Video Session: Recording Audio in a Tesla Model 3

In this session, I'm looking for a way to record decent dialogue audio in a moving car, specifically the Tesla Model 3. In this test, we put the following to the test:

CEntrance Mixerface R4R Audio recorder/USB audio interface

RODELink Filmmaker Kit

JK MicJ Headset Microphone

If you wanted to skip the Wireless kit and connect the microphone directly into the Mixerface R4R recorder, use the RODE VXLR+ adapter.

Tesla - If you plan to buy a new car, Tesla makes some really nice options. Using my link, you'll get a little extra, i.e., free supercharging for 6 months.

Copyright 2018, Curtis Judd

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Upcoming Reviews After a Short Break

After five years of producing a new video nearly every week, I need a short break just to catch up on a ton of things that have been neglected and recharge a bit. We've got a bunch of interesting reviews coming up after the break:

Sony ECM-674 Shotgun Microphone

Centrance MixerFace R4 - 4 channel XLR/3.5mm TRS Mixer/USB Audio Interface. Great for mobile recording

JK Mic-J Headset Microphone

Moza Air II - Coming soon

Scotty Makes Stuff Glider Pro 3 Duo - 4th Axis Stabilizer for motorized gimbals (like the Zhiyun Crane 2)

Aputure Light Dome II - Softbox for the Aputure COB series of lights or any light with a Bowens mount

Aputure Light Dome Mini II - Smaller softbox for the Aputure COB series of lights or any light with a Bowens mount

Portkeys HS7T On Camera Monitor - HD high brightness screen with HDMI and SDI inputs. Can read 4K signal via HDMI - Coming soon

Accusonus ERA D

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Dialogue Editing for Film Demo

Editing the dialogue sound for your film and video projects can seem a little daunting, especially when you have two or more actors, each with a wireless lavalier microphone plus a boom microphone. How do you edit all those tracks? Do you just keep the boom and lavalier mics? Won’t it sound richer if you do keep them all?

It turns out that it generally will sound quite a bit worse if you keep them all and the main reason for using both lavalier microphones and a boom microphone is to give yourself options to use the best sounding mic in for each dialogue line.

In this demo, we show the basics on how to start a dialogue edit using Adobe audition. In this demo, we exported the edit of the film from Final Cut Pro X.

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses at my school including processing dialogue audio, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used to record the film and this video:

XToCC - app to convert XML from Final Cut Pro to XML that Adobe Audition can use:

Electrovoice RE20 - The mic I used to record my voiceover for this tutorial

Universal Audio Apollo X6 - Microphone preamp and Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface used to record my voiceover for this tutorial.

Aputure COB120dmkII - Key light for lighting Amanda

Aputure Light Dome II - Newer version of the big soft box with faster setup and gel holder

Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30 - RGB 1x1 panel light for Lighting Bridget

Audio Ltd A10 Wireless Microphone System - Used for Bridget and Amandas lavalier microphones

Countryman B6 Lavalier Microphone - Bridget’s lavalier mic

DPA 4160 Lavalier Microphone - Amanda’s lavalier mic

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer - Field recorder used to record the film sound

Sennheiser MKH 8050 - This is the boom mic used to record the film

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Auto Mix Discussion

Last week I had an interesting conversation with my new friend Allan Tépper about mixers and recorders under $1000 USD with an auto mix feature. Allen is a contributing author at ProVideoCoalition and also hosts Beyond Podcasting. You can listen to our conversation over at ProVideoCoalition.com.

For those not familiar with auto mixing, this feature is very helpful in situations where you're recording two or more people, each with their own microphone, for interviews, panel discussions, or podcasts. In such situations, it is common for one person's speech to bleed over into the other peoples' mics, at least a little bit. Also, the mics that are not currently in use will often pick up reverberation in the room as sound bounces off the walls. Auto mix helps solve this problem by fading back the microphones not currently in use and then quickly fading them back up when that person begins to speak.

bitLighter 2 Review: Flashlight/Torch for Video and Photo

How can you make higher contrast, more dramatic lighting for your video and photo projects? Hard light! In this episode, we demonstrate a few different dramatic lighting setups with the bitLighter 2, a very small, hard light designed for video and photography. It is super portable and renders colors well.

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses at the Learn Light and Sound school including processing dialogue audio, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used in this video:

bitLighter 2 - LED Flashlight/Torch for Video and Photography

Aputure COB120t - Key light for the talking head portions of this video

Aputure Light Dome II - Newer version of the big soft box with faster setup and gel holder

Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30 - RGBW 1x1 panel light for the funky background colors

LED GO E268C Bi-color Edge-lit LED Pad - super thin and light, making it a great soft light source for tight spaces

Vistek Canada (also ship to USA)

Holdan UK

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sennheiser MKH 8050 - This is the boom mic used to record this episode

Panasonic GH5 Camera - Used for all of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Zoom F8n Review

The Zoom F8n is the latest F-series audio recorders from Zoom aimed at filmmakers. The F8n is an evolutionary upgrade from the original F8 with some useful hardware and software upgrades including advanced hybrid limiters, AutoMix, simultaneous recording to a computer as an audio interface and internally to the F8n, timecode generator that keeps time while the recorder is powered off for up to 2 hours, mic/line selectable inputs, pro line-level balanced outputs, and many more features that pros demand. And this is available at a groundbreaking price that makes it accessible to many independent filmmakers - $1000 USD at the time of this review. Let’s run through a few of the highlights in this video.

If you’d like to learn how to get the most out of the Zoom F8 or F8n, please consider my course over at our school.

Links to gear used in this video:

Zoom F8n Audio Field Recorder

Orca OR-28 Sound Bag - I have the slightly larger OR-30. Great, sturdy bag. The OR-28 was made specifically for recorders the size of the F8/F8n

TA3F to XLRM Adapter - to adapt the outputs from mini to standard XLR. This allows you to run sound to pro-level cameras, wireless headsets for directors, producers, or script supervisors, or any other audio device with balanced XLR inputs.

JuiceBox V-mount Battery - 95 Watt Hour

Aputure COB120t - Key light for the talking head portions of this video

Aputure Light Dome II - Newer version of the big soft box with faster setup and gel holder

Lupo Superpanel Full Color 30 - RGBW 1x1 panel light for the funky background colors

LED GO E268C Bi-color Edge-lit LED Pad - super thin and light, making it a great soft light source for tight spaces

Vistek Canada (also ship to USA)

Holdan UK

Sennheiser MKH 8050 - This is the boom mic used to record this episode

Panasonic GH5 Camera - Used for all of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Aputure COB120dII: LED Light for Video and Photo

For a couple of years now, the Aputure C120d and C120t have been my main lights for almost all of my video jobs. They’ve been super reliable and I love their flexibility to work as hard or soft light sources. The updated C120dII takes some very nice steps forward in terms of build quality, output, and overall usefulness. Let’s take a closer look now that I’ve had a copy for about 3 or 4 months.

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses at my school including processing dialogue audio, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F8 and F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Links to gear used in this video:

Aputure COB120d II LED Light

Aputure COB120d - Original version, $100 cheaper. My take is that the mark 2 version is worth the additional $100. But if you’re on a tight budget, the original has been great for me for a couple of years.

Aputure Light Dome II - Newer version of the big soft box with faster setup and gel holder

Aputure Light Dome - Deep, big softbox for incredibly beautiful, soft light (original version)

Aputure Fresnel Lens - Original focusing fresnel lens to push a strong shaft of light. Great for effects. I’d wait for the new version coming soon if you don’t need it right away

Aputure Barn Doors - Great for cutting hard lines in your light. I love using this for product shots to add a bit of mystery to the feel.

Sekonic C-700U Spectrometer - This is what we used to measure the light output and color quality

Sennheiser MKH 8050 - This is the boom mic used to record this episode

Panasonic GH5 Camera - Used for all of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

RODE VideoMic Me-L Review: Better iPhone Audio

If you shoot video with your iPhone or iPad and are looking to improve the quality of your audio, the RODE VideoMic Me-L might be the solution for you. This little mic attaches to your phone via the lightning port and with its 1/2 inch capsule and directional pickup pattern, it helps focus the sound and reduce the noise you capture. Here we take a closer look at how it works in the difficult situations we often find ourselves such as windy outdoors, crowded, noisy spaces, and even in relatively quiet household rooms.

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses at my school including one that focuses on processing dialogue audio!

Links to gear some of the gear we used here:

RODE VideoMic Me-L for iPhone and iPad

Panasonic GH5s Camera - my favorite small camera for video, used for a couple of the b-roll shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Music Copyright 2018 by Cary Judd. Used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!