Tentacle Sync E - Just Announced: Smaller, Bluetooth Enabled Timecode Generator

Last year I decided to simplify the process of shooting dual system sound (sound recorded to a separate audio recorder rather than the camera). The process of clapping at the start of each clip makes it easier to sync the sound and video files together, but it still takes a fair bit of time on bigger projects.

That lead me to talk with the guys at Tentacle Sync while at the NAB show in 2016. I was impressed by what their Tentacle Sync timecode generators could do and they were priced more reasonably than many of their competitors' generators. Here is the original interview we did with them in 2016:

We also ran through an overview of how timecode works and how it simplifies the process of syncing audio to video in this previous Sound for Video Session:

This year at the NAB show, several timecode companies announced new, smaller timecode generators, including Tentacle Sync. Here is an overview of their newest offering, the Tentacle Sync E.

Thanks to Cary Judd for the camera work. Tricky job since we decided to go without a tripod.

Pricing and exact time of availability are still to be determined, but the original Tentacle Sync was the most affordable way to get into timecode generators of which I am aware. Keep an eye on Tentacle Sync for updates on release and pricing.

In the meantime, their original Tentacle Sync does a nice job. And they didn't pay me or give me anything to say that, I'm just speaking from personal experience.

Sound Devices MixPre-3 and MixPre-6: Overview at NAB 2017

Sound Devices just announced a new set of audio recorders/mixers called the MixPre series. In this episode, we stopped by the Sound Devices booth at the 2017 NAB show where Paul Isaacs gave us an overview of the new mixers for filmmaking enthusiasts, podcasters, musicians, and even production mixers.

It was an honor to have Paul run through the features and capabilities of the MixPre as he is the lead designer for Sound Devices.

We have a MixPre pre-order in so that we can review them in the next few weeks. Can't wait to get my hands on them!

Gear used to film this interview:

SoundDevices MixPre-3 Audio Mixer/Recorder

SoundDevices MixPre-6 Audio Mixer/Recorder

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Camera

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens

RODE Reporter Microphone

RODE iXLR Audio Adapter for iPhone

 

Sound for Video Session: Sound to Camera, Matching Mics, Handheld Recorders, Etc.

In this week's Sound for Video Session we addressed several questions submitted by several of you:

- How to send sound to camera?
- How to make recordings with two mics sound the same?
- How to use a handheld recorder when booming a mic?
- Which type of mic to use when recording in very loud environments?
- Is there a single mic that can work in most situations?

Items discussed in this session and where to find them:
3.5mm Attenuation Cable

Sound for Video Session on Sending Audio from Mixer to Camera:

 Zoom F8 Audio Recorder

Sound Devices 633 Audio Mixer & Recorder

Izotope RX6 (Software for matching microphones)

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro (Recorded the talking head portion with this camera)

Furman PL-8C Power Conditioner

Antelope Audio Orion Studio Audio Interface

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!

Panasonic GH5 XLR Microphone Adapter DMW-XLR1 Review

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is an incredibly capable little camera for video and filmmaking. It’s imaging capabilities are impressive given its size and price. But one thing it lacks for producing high quality film is inputs for XLR microphones. This is where the DMW-XLR1 audio microphone adapter comes in. The XLR1 allows you to record one or two XLR based microphones or wireless microphone systems directly to your Panasonic GH5. So you won’t need to sync audio in post like you would with a separate audio recorder and the sound quality is very good with shotgun or other boom microphones. Let’s have a listen!

Gear used to record and featured in this episode:

Panasonic GH5 Camera (talking head shots)

Panasonic DMW-XLR1 Microphone Audio Adapter - All audio in this episode recorded to the GH5 with this adapter

Sanken CSS-50 Stereo Shotgun Microphone - Used to record talking head and voiceover audio for this episode

Blackmagicdesign Ursa Mini Pro Digital Film Camera - all product shots made with this

Audio Technica AT4053b Hyper Cardioid Boom Microphone - my go-to microphone for recording indoor dialogue

RODE NTG4+ Shotgun Microphone

Zoom F8 Audio Recorder

Tascam DR-60DmkII Audio Recorder - Good budget recorder with XLR inputs. The XLR preamps are impressive, the 3.5mm input is not

Sound Devices 633 Audio Mixer/Recorder - with automix

Aputure Light Storm COB120t LED Light - Key light for all the shots in this episode

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - Makes the COB120t key light very soft. Great type of light for talking head/interview

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens - My most versatile lens for the Panasonic GH5

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!

Sound Devices MixPre-3 and MixPre-6: A New Standard for Sub $1000 Mixers/Recorders

Sound Devices have just announced a new series of audio recorders/computer interface for filmmaking enthusiasts, podcasters, and YouTubers called the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6. I didn't see this coming and - WOW - on paper they look impressive. They're shaking up the category that has been owned by Zoom for the last couple of years with their F8 and F4 recorders.

What makes the MixPre's unique?

  • New Kashmir preamplifier design by Sound Devices - Class A preamps with discrete components rather than off-the-shelf integrated circuit preamps
  • Analogue limiters
  • Analogue to Digital Converter - new 32-bit design
  • Touchscreen LCD Screen
  • USB audio interface for computers - Via USB-A and C
  • Basic and Advanced menu modes
  • Stream audio to computer and record to SD card simultaneously
  • Large, ergonomic potentiometers (knobs)
  • Several powering options including AA, USB, and Sony NP-F style batteries
  • Bluetooth app for iPhone/iPad to control the MixPre wirelessly
  • 1/4"-20 tap and screw to mount the recorder under your camera

Fortunately, I have an appointment to meet with the guys at Sound Devices next week at NAB so I'm planning to get a good look at the MixPre's and will have more info for you soon.

Oh, and pricing: The MixPre-3 is priced at $650 USD, the MixPre-6 at $900 USD.

Did Sound devices just kill their 6xx and 7xx series mixers and recorders with these new devices? No, not even close for a lot of reasons we can cover another time. But this is a great option for those who cannot spend $3300 for a high quality mixer/recorder and an audio interface to boot!

My friend Jonathan Morrison, for whom I've done a little bit of audio post work, was lucky enough to get an early look at the MixPre. He's coming from the perspective of a YouTuber and does a nice job outlining the benefits from a mobile creator point of view.

Izotope RX Advanced Special Pricing

RX advanced has become the core audio processing tool in combination with Audition for my projects. If you were considering investing in it, and it is not cheap, now may be a good time. You can buy RX 5 Advanced today and when RX 6 is released later this month, you get it as well. The pricing over at Sweetwater today is $299 which is far less than usual.

Upcoming Reviews: Panasonic GH5 XLR Audio Adapter, Sanken CSS-50 Stereo Shotgun Microphone, RODE iXLR & Reporter

We've got some new gear in for testing and review. First on the list is the new Panasonic DMW-XLR1 audio adapter for the new GH5. This allows you to record two XLR microphones to your GH5. Panasonic seem to have taken the feedback they received on the interface for the GH4. Evidently the feature people most wanted was the XLR inputs and they were very turned off by the fact that the GH4's interface needed to be powered either by an AC adapter or a big 14V battery like a Sony V-Lock. This time, the interface connects to the top of the camera via its hotshoe and is powered by the camera. That's good and bad. I cannot keep my GH5 in its Varavon Zeus Uni cage when I need to use this. But it is also good as it is a much more compact and lightweight solution than the previous GH4 interface. We'll put it to the test to see how it sounds...

B&H was kind enough to send over a Sanken CSS-50 stereo shotgun microphone for testing. Sanken is a rather interesting company and their tagline is "World's most innovative microphone company." It has three different modes: Mono, stereo, and wide stereo. So far I'm impressed and expect to hear this one along with my test results and impressions soon as well.

This year at the National Association of Broadcaster's show I'm planning to do some interviews with manufacturers at various booths on the floor but wanted to keep the recording rig very light. So, our plan A is to use my iPhone 7+, RODE iXLR microphone adapter, and the RODE Reporter microphone. This will be the ideal solution because post/editing will be pretty straightforward with no need to sync. But I need to do a little more testing to be sure everything works as planned. And I'm not sure how well the iPhone will do in the NAB lighting. So our backup plan is to use the GH5, either with the Panasonic audio adapter, or record audio separately with the RODE iXLR and Reporter. I'll be interested to see if we can pull this off with plan A.

Sound for Video Session: AES3 Digital, Ursa Mini Pro, EV RE50L, RODE Reporter and iXLR

In this week's Sound for Video Session we take a quick look at sending digital audio to camera using AES3 and also a couple of reporter's microphones.

Links:
Wikipedia article on AES3 Digital Audio

Sanken CSS-50 Short Shotgun Stereo Microphone - the episode was recorded with this microphone. This one is really nice but in reverberant spaces like this little room, it has a tough go with phase issues and comb filtering. Can't wait to test it outdoors.

RODE Reporter Microphone - Getting ready for interviews on the show floor at National Association of Broadcasters again this year. Will be giving this a try. Last year we used the Sennheiser MD46 which worked pretty well but still suffered from some handling noise. Hoping this might solve that problem.

Electrovoice RE50L Dynamic Reporter's Microphone - And this is the other reporter's mic we'll by trying at NAB. Both this and the RODE are dynamic microphones with omni-directional pickup patterns. While I get why they are dynamic (helps reduce pickup of ambient noise in the background), I was surprised to learn that they have omni-directional pickup patterns. I would have expected cardioid to help focus the mic and avoid noise. Instead, the design seems to rely on the dynamic capsule to manage noise and keeps the pickup pattern open so that the reporter doesn't have to move the mic as much. Looking forward to seeing how well they work on a noisy show floor.

RODE iXLR Microphone Interface for iOS Recording - This is what I plan to use to record the sound for the interviews at NAB this year. Not sure the cable is long enough to use the phone as the camera, but we're going to give it a shot and see what happens.

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro (Recorded the talking head portion with this camera) - My new main camera. One of my favorite features is that it takes AES3 digital audio from a mixer or microphone which can send digital audio. That means that the camera doesn't do the typically mediocre job of recording sound, now it can take top-notch sound from a pro-grade mixer or mic and just record the digital bits along with the video clips. Now we get the best of both worlds - amazing visuals from the camera and top-notch audio quality from my Sound Devices 633 all in a single file ready for edit.

Sound Devices 633 Audio Mixer & Recorder - just tested the AES3 output for the first time this week and WOW! This solves another big problem. Now I get audio perfectly synced to video with my Ursa Mini Pro. Yay for more efficient workflows!

Copyright 2017 by 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!

Mixing Sound for 2 People While Recording

Last week we covered microphone placement for situations where you’re recording 2 or more people at the same time. Placing the microphones strategically can help to reduce two issues: Microphone bleed and phase issues (comb filtering). In this episode we talk about how mixing the sound of two or more people can further reduce these two issues and result in a cleaner recording with less reverberation and noise.

In an upcoming episode we’ll also talk about mixing in post production in Adobe Audition. 

Gear used to record and featured in this episode:

Blackmagicdesign Ursa Mini Pro Digital Film Camera (talking head shots)

Panasonic GH5 4K Camera (for product shots and B roll)

DPA 4017B Shotgun Microphone (Interviewer)

Audio Technica AT4053b Hyper Cardioid Boom Microphone (Interview-ee)

Zoom F4 Audio Recorder

Zoom F-Control FRC-8 (mixing control surface for Zoom F4 and F8)

Sound Devices 633 Mixer/Recorder (with automix)

Sanken CSS-50 Stereo Shotgun Microphone (Talking head shots)

Aputure Light Storm COB120t LED Light (Key Light)

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box (for COB120t key light)

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens

Copyright 2017 by 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!

Sound for Video Session: Shotgun Mics, Wind Covers, Mixers, DAW Apps, Loudness

In this week's Sound for Video Session we run through several questions:

- Why is my shotgun mic picking up everything in the room?
- Why do I get clicks and noise with my wireless microphones?
- Should I use a blimp cover on my shotgun microphone indoors?
- Which DAW audio editing app should I use if I don’t want a subscription?
- How do I send sound from a mixing board to my camera?
- Which loudness standard do I use when loudness normalizing my audio?
- Which shotgun microphone and wind cover should I choose?

Links:

Broadcast Loudness Standards (tc electronic)

For internet delivery, Paul Figgiani recommends -16 LUFS for stereo, -19 LUFS for mono audio

Audio Editing Apps (DAWs)

- Logic Pro X
- Reaper
- Studio One
- Avid ProTools

Attenuation Cable to connect mixer output to camera (Panasonic GH4). You will also need a 1/4" to 3.5mm cable

Electrovoice RE50L Dynamic Microphone (Voiceover for this session was recorded with this)

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro (Recorded the talking head portion with this camera)

Copyright 2017 by 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!