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.

RØDELink Performer Wireless Handheld Microphone Kit

Sometimes I shoot live events. In my case that is mostly corporate conference meetings. In these cases, sometimes a wireless lavalier is the best option but in others, we don’t have time to get the lavalier microphone in place and a handheld wireless mic is a better option. RODE has just introduced their new RODELink wireless handheld microphone kit which fits this niche for me quite nicely. In this overview I cover my initial impressions as well as the features of the kit. In short: RODE has added an affordable, high quality option to their RODELink wireless system!

Thanks to RODE for providing the Performer kit for this review. They have not paid me beyond providing the mic and all of the opinions shared here are my own.

The RODELink Performer kit is slated to start shipping in mid October 2017.

Links to Gear Discussed and used to shoot this review:

RODELink Performer Handheld Wireless Microphone Kit

RODELink Filmmaker Wireless Lavalier Kit

My review of the RØDELink Filmmaker kit: 

RODELink Newsshooter Wireless Reporter’s Microphone Kit

Aputure COB120t (used to light light me in the talking head shots)

FalconEyes CLL-1600TDX (used as the background light in the talking head portions of this video. This thing is HUGE)

FalconEyes RX-18TD (used as a rim light bounced off of foam core in the talking head portions of this video)

Aputure COB120d (used to light the product shots)

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd

Voice Technologies VT500 Lavalier Microphone: Pro Quality Lav

We’ve had several requests to spend some time looking at pro-level lavalier microphones. In this episode we take a quick look at and listen to the omni-directional VT500 lavalier from Voice Technologies, a Swiss microphone company. For reference, we also have some sound clips from the Sanken COS-11D lavalier, one of the very common lavalier mics used by pro location mixers for film and video. And we include samples with male and female voice.

I was really impressed with the VT500 with it’s unusual front facing capsule and found it’s audio quality to be very good and its form factor easy to hide. The foam windscreen is thoughtfully designed with hard plastic backing to prevent noise from rubbing against clothing, and the RF shielding worked nicely to avoid those annoying interference issues. There’s also a waterproof model for those recording more exciting pieces in or near water.

You can find our previous review of the Countryman B6 lavalier microphone here:

Links to Gear Discussed and Used to Record This Session:

Voice Technologies VT500 Omni-directional Lavalier Microphone

Voice Technologies VT500 O Eco (same microphone without the waterproof case or extended accessories and lower price)

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro - for talking head shots. quite a lot of moire with this particular shirt

RODELink Wireless Lavalier Filmmaker Kit

Sennheiser EW 112p G3 Wireless Lavalier Kit (516-558 MHz)

Panasonic GH5 Camera - for product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd

Sound Devices MixPre-6 Audio Field Recorder Review

Sound Devices has disrupted the sound recording game for enthusiast and semi-pro filmmakers with their new MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 recorders. I pre-ordered the MixPre-6 and have been working with it for about 5 weeks now. This is my in-depth review after having used it on several jobs and projects.

The MixPre-6 or MixPre-3 are also potentially a very good fit for mobile musicians, podcasters, YouTube creators and videographers. Simple workflow if you want that, But many of the advanced features if you prefer that as well.

Supported Cameras (for HDMI timecode and start/stop triggering)

Powering Options for the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6

Approved Media Cards (this list is actually for the 6xx series mixers/recorders, but I've had good luck with the SD cards listed here) I use this SD card.

Links to Gear Discussed and Used to Record This Session:

Sound Devices MixPre-6

Sound Devices MixPre-3

Anker USB Power Bank with USB-C Output (recommended)

Sound Devices 633 Pro-level Audio Recorder

DPA 4017B Shotgun Microphone - All of the audio in this episode was recorded with this microphone

Sound devices 8 AA Battery Sled

Sound Devices NP-F Battery Sled (to use Sony L-mount batteries)

Panasonic GH5 Camera

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd

Panasonic GH5: My Thoughts After One Month

The Panasonic GH5 has gotten a lot of attention among enthusiast filmmakers in the last couple of months. After three years of heavy use, it was time for me to replace my GH4. I’ve been shooting with the GH5 now for about a month and these are my thoughts on who this camera is for, and who it may not suit as well.

Gear used to record this episode:

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Camera

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens (1st generation)

Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Lens (talking head shots)

Panasonic V-Log Upgrade Code


Panasonic DMW-XLR1 Audio Adapter (So that you can use XLR microphones with GH5)

Kyno (Transcoding and Pre-edit App)

Atomos Shogun Inferno 4K HDMI/SDI Monitor & Recorder

Aputure Tri-8C LED Panel Light (Used as fill light on outdoor talking head shots, and back light for blue backgrounds) Review coming soon…

Aputure COB 120T LED Light (Key light on most of the product shots)

DPA 4017B Shotgun Microphone (all of the dialogue audio except Kyno demo, recorded with this mic)

Sound Devices 633 Audio Mixer/Recorder

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd

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.

5 Shotgun Microphones: Audio Samples and Off-Axis Test

In this episode we listen to five different shotgun microphones and also listen to how each of them sound when off-axis (the person speaking is off to the side of the mic).

Gear used or mentioned in this episode:

Azden SGM250 Shotgun Microphone - Entry level mic with good off-axis rejection. Sounds decent but not particularly warm.

RODE NTG2 Shotgun Microphone - Entry level mic with nice warm sound. Off-axis rejection is not as pronounced as the higher-end mics, but decent.

Aputure Deity Shotgun Microphone - Nice sounding mid-level mic with warm sound. Off-axis rejection is not as extreme as Azden, RODE NTG4+ or DPA 4017B.

RODE NTG4+ Shotgun Microphone - Mid-range mic with decent sound and good off-axis rejection. Not as warm as NTG2 or DPA 4017B

DPA 4017B Shotgun Microphone - Great, warm, but articulate sound with good off-axis rejection and more natural off-axis falloff compared to other mics here.

Sound Devices 633 Audio Mixer/Recorder - My main recorder/mixer. Great sounding, low-noise preamps. Can also be controlled remotely with iPad or iPhone (adding the Wingman USB transmitter)

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd

Which Audio Recorders for Filmmaking do I Use?

We have reviewed several recorders over the last several years at various price points and with different feature sets. While I attempted to be very thorough in those reviews, nothing can replace the experience of working with a recorder over a longer period of time. Now that I have more experience with each of these audio mixers/recorders, let’s talk about what I’ve found since I posted the reviews.

Recorders Covered:

Zoom H1

Tascam DR-05

Tascam DR-60DmkII

Zoom H4n Pro

Zoom H6

Tascam DR-701D

Zoom F4

Zoom F8

Sound Devices 633

Tascam DR-701D Audio Recorder Review

If you like to capture the best sound for your video and film projects and you’re a solo or small crew operation, you might find the Tascam DR-701D to be a nice piece of gear. The recorder has 4 XLR/TRS inputs as well as a 3.5mm stereo mini jack input and can record 4 tracks plus a stereo mix at the same time. The build quality is a very nice step up from Tascam’s previous recorders with its magnesium alloy body. It also has some really useful and unique features like the ability to receive timecode from DSLR and mirrorless cameras via HDMI input and the ability to start recording when you press record on your camera.

We also spend several minutes comparing the DR-701D to the Zoom F8, another recorder targeted at independent and small crew filmmakers. One thing I ran out of time to include in the video is that the Tascam does not appear to have the ability to solo an input/track so that's another consideration if that feature is important to you.

Overall, this is a great little recorder for solo and small crew film and video making crews.

RODELink Wireless Lavalier System Review

It's been a lot of work, but here it is, finally: My review of the RODELink Filmmaker Wireless Kit. What do I think overall? This is a good balance of quality for the price (launched at $399 USD).


  • Digital signal does not drop when working within 50 meters in any of the tests I did, even outdoors and in WiFi heavy offices (because WiFi uses the same frequency in many cases).
  • Battery life - lasted 7 hours and 10 minutes on a set of eneloop AA batteries (and this set is about 3.5 years old and has had a lot of use in photo flash units and audio recorders). This is much better than I expected.
  • Very simple setup
  • Can use up to 8 kits simultaneously
  • Good audio quality
  • No annoying external antennas
  • No latency issues so audio stays perfectly in sync with the video captured by your camera


  • Plastic body and receiver packs (though it is good quality plastic, it is still plastic)
  • Body and receiver packs are a little larger than most others in a similar price range (Perhaps this is the tradeoff for no antennas). Not a problem when mounted on someone's belt behind them but potentially a little more tricky for mounting on brides

One thing that took me a while to figure out is that the mic that comes with the kit sounds a fair bit better when hidden under the shirt of your talent. It seems that it really was made to be hidden vs worn on the outside of clothes. That would explain why they call it a filmmaker kit and not an ENG kit. I just use the RODE Invisilav to make it super simple to mount the mic under the talent's shirt.

Also, it can be used with any mic with a 3.5mm mini stereo jack (TRS) like the RODE VideoMic Pro. So you can even have a wireless shotgun microphone!