FetHead Phantom: Louder, Cleaner Audio for Condenser Microphones

Many consumer grade recorders like the Zoom H4n and even many cinema cameras have XLR microphone inputs that don’t provide enough amplification or gain. The result is that recordings can come out much quieter than you’d like. Sometimes it is also due to weak output levels from consumer grade microphones. Then in post production, you might boost the level only to find that there’s a bunch of hiss or self-noise.

The FetHead Phantom from Triton Audio solves this problem for condenser microphones like shotgun or boom microphones.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

Triton Audio FetHead Phantom In-line Microphone Pre-amplifier - for condenser microphones like shotgun or boom mics. Bonus - can also work with dynamic mics B&H (US) Amazon (EUR)

Triton Audio FetHead In-line Microphone Pre-amplifier - for dynamic microphones B&H (US) Amazon (US & EUR)

Deity S-Mic 2 Shotgun Microphone: Coming Soon

DPA 4017b Professional Shotgun Microphone

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro cinema camera

Panasonic GH5 - My favorite small camera for video

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MZA 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: Zoom F8/F8n Setting Gain Trim

In this week’s session, we share an excerpt from the upcoming online course, “Getting the Most From Your Zoom F8/F8n Recorder.” In this particular segment, we cover how to set the gain trim, the various track knob modes, and demonstrate how to optimize your gain in relation to the limiters. Lots of fun!

Gear and links discussed/used to record this episode: 

Zoom F8n Audio Field Recorder (2018)

Zoom F8 Audio Field Recorder (2015):

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Outro music licensed from Artlist: Keep an Eye by Back to Dream. Artlist provides high quality music tracks for your film and video projects. You can receive two months off an Artlist account by using our link.

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!

Deity S-Mic 2 Shotgun Microphone: Initial Impressions

At NAB 2018, Deity Microphones announced their S-Mic 2, an affordable shotgun microphone targeted at independent filmmakers with some important improvements over the original Aputure Deity Shotgun Microphone. Deity refined the voicing on the S-Mic 2 for a fuller, more balanced sound. They also coated the circuit board to reduce the microphone’s self noise. Let’s take a closer look and a listen, and even compare it to the RODE NTG-4+, a similarly priced shotgun microphone, as well as a pro-level shotgun mic, the DPA 4017b.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

Deity S-Mic 2 Shotgun Microphone - Coming Soon, ships July 2018

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Aputure COB 120d - This is the light I used as a key in the talking head clips

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - Used to soften the key light

Panasonic GH5 - My favorite small camera for video

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - Elegance in Entropy - Copyright 2017 by The Vacationist, 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: Q&A - Timecode Generators, Sennheiser vs. RODE Wireless, and More

In this week’s sound for video session, we answer your questions!

00:20 Can I use the timecode generator in my recorder and then just buy generators for each camera (GH5 and GoPro)?
02:13 What is the difference between the Zoom F8n and Sound Devices MixPre-10T?
04:26 Can I use a Tentacle Sync connected to my computer with Screenflow?
05:43 Sennheiser G3/G4 vs RODELink for long interviews (4-8 hours)?
06:38 Connect audio recorder to an ATOMOS video recorder?
08:19 How do I power all of this stuff for 8 hours since I will not always have AC power?
10:20 Small Traveling light recommendation? (Aputure F7)
11:38 How do you transport your camera/audio recorder when flying?
13:44 Sennheiser 416 or RODE VideoMic Pro+ & Ursa Mini Pro?
17:09 How do you control the order that effects/plugins are applied in a DAW?
21:26 Is there such a thing as an acceptable amount of timecode drift?

Previous episodes referenced - Sound Devices MixPre Re-mix Demo:

ZOOM F8n First Impressions:

Sound Devices MixPre-10T Review:

Previous Sound for Video Session where we covered batteries:

Sound Bag Tour:

Please consider my sound for film classes available over at http://school.learnlightandsound.com

Gear and links discussed/used to record this episode: 

Dummy Battery adapter for Panasonic GH cameras (D-Tap to GH camera) - power your Panasonic GH camera for hours with a cine style batter like the JuiceBox below.

JuiceBox V-Mount Battery - cine battery that can also power your recorder
 
Zacuto Zwiss Plate V2 to attach the cine battery to your camera rig (requires rods)

V-Mount Battery Plate to hold the battery to the cheese plate

Aputure COB120D LED Light

Sennheiser MKH-416 Shotgun Microphone

RODE VideoMic Pro+ - Camera shoe mount shotgun microphone

Sound Devices MixPre-3 Audio recorder/mixer

Sound Devices MixPre-6 Audio recorder/mixer

Sound Devices MixPre-10T Audio recorder/mixer with timecode generator

D-Tap to Hirose Adapter Cable - to use a cine battery with your Zoom F4, F8, F8n or Sound Devices MixPre-10T

Electrovoice RE20 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone - used to record this session

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer - Used this as the preamp for the microphone and then fed the audio to the camera in this episode

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Outro music licensed from Artlist: Sunday by Young Pixies - Amazing Journey. Artlist provides high quality music tracks for your film and video projects. You can receive two months off an Artlist account by using our link.

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!

Adobe Audition Analysis Tools

Adobe Audition is an incredibly powerful, rich tool for editing and mixing your sound for film and video projects. Sometimes something doesn’t sound as great as you’d like but you can’t quite put your finger on it. That’s where the analysis tools in Audition can help. Here we quickly show the amplitude statistics, frequency analysis, spectral frequency display, phase analysis, and spectral pitch views. Let us know if you’d like to learn more about one of these.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

Sennheiser MKH8050 Boom Microphone - this is the microphone I used

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Aputure COB 120t - This is the light I used as a key in the talking head clips

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - Used to soften the key light

Lupo DayLED Fresnel Light with Barn Doors - Used for the “rim/hair” light

Blackmagic design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - used for the talking headt shots in this video

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount) - Used this lens on the Ursa Mini Pro

Panasonic GH5 - My most versatile small camera for video

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA 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: ZOOM vs Sound Devices, Timecode Generators, Essential Gear & More

In this week’s sound for video session, we answer your questions!

00:40 Zoom F8 or Sound Devices MixPre-10T if I also record music?

03:29 Zoom F8n vs Sound Devices MixPre & getting location sound jobs

08:54 Choosing Timecode Generators: NanoLockit, Tentacle Sync E, Timecode Systems

13:12 Wired Lavalier recommendation (Audio Technica AT899)

14:01 Batteries for powering recorders with hirose power inputs

16:15 Recording audience at live performance

18:10 Essential gear for location sound

Previous episodes referenced - Sound Bag Tour:

Recording live performance sound with Mike Stranks:

Ambient Sound NanoLockit:

Tentacle Sync E:

Timecode Systems Overview:

Sound Blanekts:

Gear and links discussed/used to record this episode: 

Audio Technica AT899 Wired Lavalier microphone

JuiceBox V-Mount Battery & Charger

D-Tap to Hirose Adapter Cable

Electrovoice RE20 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone - used to record this session

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro Camera - Used for the talking head clips

AJA U-Tap SDI - Turns any camera with an SDI output into a webcam. Used to record the talking head clip

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer - Used this as the preamp for the microphone and then fed the audio to the camera in this episode

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Outro music licensed from Artlist: Sunday by Young Rich Pixies - Amazing Journey. Artlist provides high quality music tracks for your film and video projects. You can receive two months off an Artlist account by using our link.

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: Fairlight Audio First Impressions

In this week’s Sound for Video Session, we take a first look at DaVinci Resolve 15 Beta’s Fairlight audio panel. This is a full-fledged digital audio workstation (DAW) within a comprehensive video editing, compositing, grading, and finishing application. We aren’t going to dig into all the details, but try to answer the question about whether one can now switch to DaVinci Resolve for audio mixing? The answer is different for everyone, but I hope you find this helpful in making the decision for yourself.

**Update: Several astute viewers have pointed out that you can set the loudness target (LUFS) in the settings. That's great news! It still is not an offline process - still need to play through the entire piece - but it is a step in the right direction.

Gear and links discussed/used to record this episode: 

DaVinci Resolve with Fairlight Audio (beta or production and free or Studio versions)

Electrovoice RE20 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone

Allen & Heath SQ5 Digital Mixer/Audio Interface - This is my first time using this to record a Sound for Video Session. Seems like it worked nicely.

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd

Outro music licensed from Artlist: Keep an Eye by Back to Dream. Artlist provides high quality music tracks for your film and video projects. You can receive two months off an Artlist account by using our link.

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!

5.7" Flippable HDMI Monitor: AndyCine A6 Review

When shooting video, I find it much easier to compose great shots, hit focus, and correctly expose when I have a monitor a little larger than most cameras with some tools to help. The AndyCine 5.7” monitor is a budget monitor with a unique cold/hotshoe mount which allows you to flip it to the front of the camera when shooting selfie/vlog style. What’s more, is that it can also power several Panasonic and Sony mirrorless cameras with an add-on dummy battery so you can use larger capacity Sony NP-F style batteries for longer battery life.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

AndyCine A6 5.7” Flippable HDMI Monitor

Amazon US Amazon UK  Amazon DE Amazon FR  Amazon IT Amazon ES  Amazon CA

AndyCine Dummy Battery for Panasonic GH Series Cameras

AndyCine Dummy Battery for Sony a6xxx Series Cameras

AndyCine Dummy Battery for Sony a7III, a7RIII, and A9 Series Cameras

AndyCine Dummy Battery for Canon DSLR 5D, 6D, 7D, and 80D Series Cameras

Sony NP-F Style Batteries to power the A6 and your camera

NP-F Battery Charger

Sennheiser MKH8050 Boom Microphone - this is the microphone I used

Aputure COB 120t - This is the light I used as a key in the talking head clips

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - Used to soften the key light

Lupo DayLED Fresnel Light with Barn Doors - Used for the “rim/hair” light

Blackmagic design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - used for some of the product shots

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount)

Panasonic GH5 - Used for some of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA 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 Audio Recorder: Initial Impressions

At the National Association of Broadcasters meeting earlier this year, Zoom announced their update to the F8 audio field recorder - the F8n. The focus of this update was to address many of the things that users complained about on the original - hybrid limiters that were ok, but not perfect, line inputs only on 1/4”, mediocre headphone amp, and consumer line level output among others. I had a chance to work with the F8n for a few hours. Let’s see how they did addressing these items. From my point of view, it looks like the F8n is a very nice step up from the original F8.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

Zoom F8n Audio Field Recorder

Zoom F4 Audio Field Recorder (similar but with 4 microphone inputs, monochrome screen, no app control)

Zoom F-Control surface with linear faders - my favorite way to mix when working from a table or cart.

Juicebox V-Mount Cine Battery - good way to power the F8n, F4, F8 all day long

D-tap to 4 pin Hirose Cable - to feed power from cine battery to F8n, F8, F4

Remote Audio BDS V4 Battery Distribution System

Remote Audio Hi-Q Battery (98 watt-hours) - this is a battery that is better suited for use in a sound bag, smaller than most cine batteries but still lots of capacity

Sennheiser MKH8050 Boom Microphone - this is the microphone I used

Schoeps CMC641 - this is the microphone my daughter used

Aputure COB 120t - This is the light I used as a key in the talking head clips

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - Used to soften the key light

Lupo DayLED Fresnel Light with Barn Doors - Used for the “rim/hair” light

Blackmagic design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - used for the talking head clips and some of the product shots

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount)

Panasonic GH5 - Used for some of the product shots, the crispier shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA 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!

Thoughts on DaVinci Resolve and Fairlight (V14 and V15 beta 4)

DaVinci Resolve Screen Shot.png

I want to first say that I'm a fan and supporter of Blackmagic design and their products. I see and appreciate the direction that they're headed. I own several of their products which I purchased with my own money - the Ursa Mini Pro along with the viewfinder and shoulder mount kit, the Ultrastudio Mini Monitor and Mini Recorder. I have the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K on pre-order. I've also been a long-time user of Resolve.

I recently decided to try to use Resolve for my entire post workflow on my YouTube videos. I have attempted to go in with an open mind. For the last three years, I've done most of my video editing in Final Cut Pro X and mixing audio in Adobe Audition and with Izotope RX. There is potential that Resolve could greatly simplify my workflow by obviating the process of moving between applications for different parts of post processing.

Using Resolve V14 and 15 (beta), the potential looks good, but the current experience is still a little rocky.

For example, in version 14.2, I ran into a bunch of issues getting automation to work consistently in the Fairlight panel. I couldn't overwrite existing automation of faders at the start of a timeline (the piece starts with a loud blast of music which should have been faded to sit behind dialogue). 60 minutes of trying to get it to work didn't work out. I may well be missing something, I'm not sure. But for sure, the UI was not working in an intuitive manner for someone who is not a stranger to working with DAWs.

Interestingly, Fairlight works much better in the current beta version of Resolve (V15 beta 4). In fact, automation of faders worked so nicely I started feeling much more confident and started pushing Resolve to do other interesting things. I added a Fusion lower third to one of my videos, then popped over into the Fusion panel to edit some of the parameters for the lower third. Once things were set up, I waited for a bit while Resolve happily started chugging away at rendering the lower third. But then about 60 seconds later, I noticed that the little bar above the clip was still about 30% red and hadn't progressed in a while. When I went to move the mouse, I found the macOS spinning beach ball. After about 10 minutes of beach ball, I force quit and sent a bug report to Blackmagic.

Now I want to say something very clearly; I know I am working with beta software, and I am not complaining that I lost about 30 minutes worth of work. That's the risk one takes using beta software. With my background in software, I also understand and appreciate the idea of iterative development and taking an agile approach to software.

So here's my personal assessment of the situation: It seems to take about two full releases before a new panel in Resolve becomes usable for semi-serious work - a tool that you can generally depend upon. This seems to be the case with Fairlight. Also, with Fusion in it's first iteration as a panel in Resolve, that seems to be the case so far as well - not quite reliable just yet. The editing panel also took about the same amount of time/releases before it became reliable. Color seems rock solid in my experience, and of course, it's been around the longest.

One thing I haven't figure out in Fairlight just yet is the Loudness meters in the meters panel. This isn't showing LUFS or LKFS. It doesn't appear to be RMS levels either. The version 14 manual says this:

Farther to the right of these, a set of Control Room meters show you the monitored output and loudness meters for a precise analysis of your mix’s perceived loudness.

The version 15 beta new features manual doesn't mention loudness at all. I'll need to spend more time here, but for now, Blackmagic Design, may we please have LUFS/LKFS loudness meters, please?

So for me, the upshot appears to be that once 15 is out of beta, I think I can rely on it for editing, coloring, and audio finishing except for loudness normalization. That will require bouncing the mix to a new file, taking that into RX for loudness normalization, and then bouncing that back to a wav file and bringing it back to Resolve.

Looking forward to a bright future with Resolve for post!