Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

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Mattias Burling

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Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Dec 27, 2013 9:34 pm

In the third part of my review for beginners or people who wants to shoot with a low budget I talk about audio and show my solution.
Last edited by Mattias Burling on Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good In Camera Audio with Level

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 2:35 am

The only real problem with the Zoom's Meters is that it's not really representing the sound being recorded into the camera. The meters on the zoom could show good levels, but the levels in the camera could be either too low or too high, and you wouldn't know till post or playback. You might be able to use the internal audio jack in the camera to listen for it being too loud or too low, but that's as much as you can do, until BM Design adds meters.

You also can only see the levels if you're positioning the camera/zoom below you to see. So if your camera is on a tripod and is headleveled, then you can only see meters if you copied the audio in the zoom and played it back, or took it off, set the levels during a rehearsal, then setup and shoot. Or you have something like a Juicelink that shows you meter lights. It's one of the reasons why I might be buying a Zoom H6 one day, since they made the levels more viewable from the back, and slanted.

A workaround would be to record the audio in the zoom, while using the cable to input audio into the camera as a backup. That way, unless there's peaking, even if the levels are too low in the camera, the zoom records louder audio, which can be used instead of the audio the made it in internally. And if you forgot to hit the record button on the zoom, as long as it was on standby mode, it still sent audio into the camera to be used as backup.
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balazer

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good In Camera Audio with Level

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 3:56 am

Chris Chiasson wrote:The only real problem with the Zoom's Meters is that it's not really representing the sound being recorded into the camera. The meters on the zoom could show good levels, but the levels in the camera could be either too low or too high, and you wouldn't know till post or playback.
With the Zoom H1's output level set to 100 and connected to the BMPCC with the input set to 'line' and 100, the Zoom clips before the BMPCC does. (in other words, the BMPCC will not clip when set up this way, and the Zoom's clipping indicator can be relied upon to the extent that it works)
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good In Camera Audio with Level

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 7:55 am

Chris Chiasson wrote: The meters on the zoom could show good levels, but the levels in the camera could be either too low or too high, and you wouldn't know till post or playback.


Dont think so, like the other guy said the Zoom clips first so if the Zooms levels are good, your good.
You can get perfectly good sound with the cameras input as low as 50%. Thats the setting in the first part (zoom 70% Camera 50%).
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DeanSherwood

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 9:56 am

Good work Mattias, looks like an option for sure. Does the sound record into the H1 as well as the camera, or just the camera?
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 10:49 am

DeanSherwood wrote:Good work Mattias, looks like an option for sure. Does the sound record into the H1 as well as the camera, or just the camera?


Thanks,
Thats another sweet feature, if you want to, just push record on the Zoom and you have a backup or if you need to take the mic off and do a stand up/interview or just get the mic closer ine general :)
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DeanSherwood

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 11:11 am

Thanks,
Thats another sweet feature, if you want to, just push record on the Zoom and you have a backup or if you need to take the mic off and do a stand up/interview or just get the mic closer ine general :)


Awesome, I have a Roland R-26, awesome bit of kit, might try it though it is probably too big for the BMPCC, it could be my option for interviews with more than one person where I LAV them up.
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 11:25 am

DeanSherwood wrote:
Thanks,
Thats another sweet feature, if you want to, just push record on the Zoom and you have a backup or if you need to take the mic off and do a stand up/interview or just get the mic closer ine general :)


Awesome, I have a Roland R-26, awesome bit of kit, might try it though it is probably too big for the BMPCC, it could be my option for interviews with more than one person where I LAV them up.


The more options the better :)
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good In Camera Audio with Level

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 6:31 pm

balazer wrote:
Chris Chiasson wrote:The only real problem with the Zoom's Meters is that it's not really representing the sound being recorded into the camera. The meters on the zoom could show good levels, but the levels in the camera could be either too low or too high, and you wouldn't know till post or playback.
With the Zoom H1's output level set to 100 and connected to the BMPCC with the input set to 'line' and 100, the Zoom clips before the BMPCC does. (in other words, the BMPCC will not clip when set up this way, and the Zoom's clipping indicator can be relied upon to the extent that it works)


True the Zoom peaks first, and if the peaking happens on the zoom, the peaking is recorded into the Pocket despite being set low. However, what I'm saying is the if the audio is too high in the BBPCC, it's going to get distorted. I did the recommendation with a Zoom H4n set to 70, and the BBPCC set to 50, and on the zoom it never peaks, and stayed below -12, and yet on the pocket, I got distorted audio. Which I can hear in the camera, and even in the playback.
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good In Camera Audio with Level

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 6:45 pm

Chris Chiasson wrote:
balazer wrote:
Chris Chiasson wrote:The only real problem with the Zoom's Meters is that it's not really representing the sound being recorded into the camera. The meters on the zoom could show good levels, but the levels in the camera could be either too low or too high, and you wouldn't know till post or playback.
With the Zoom H1's output level set to 100 and connected to the BMPCC with the input set to 'line' and 100, the Zoom clips before the BMPCC does. (in other words, the BMPCC will not clip when set up this way, and the Zoom's clipping indicator can be relied upon to the extent that it works)


True the Zoom peaks first, and if the peaking happens on the zoom, the peaking is recorded into the Pocket despite being set low. However, what I'm saying is the if the audio is too high in the BBPCC, it's going to get distorted. I did the recommendation with a Zoom H4n set to 70, and the BBPCC set to 50, and on the zoom it never peaks, and stayed below -12, and yet on the pocket, I got distorted audio.


With all due respect. But isnt that just an error on your part?
If you have a preamp not just the zoom any preamp and it clips of cource it clips in the recording. But thats your job, make sure it doesnt clip, isnt it?
You set the levels so that cliping zoom is bellow cliping in the Camera. Then use the levels and stay under.
Im mean thats why everyone screams for audiometers, so they can stay under them? :)

Thats why I use the zoom h1, my tascam dr100mkii is to hot. Even tough the h4n has weak amps they are probably a bit strong for the bmpcc.
Have you set the camera to mic-level?
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good In Camera Audio with Level

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 6:59 pm

Mattias Burling wrote:
With all due respect. But isnt that just an error on your part?
If you have a preamp not just the zoom any preamp and it clips of cource it clips in the recording. But thats your job, make sure it doesnt clip, isnt it?
You set the levels so that cliping zoom is bellow cliping in the Camera. Then use the levels and stay under.
Im mean thats why everyone screams for audiometers, so they can stay under them? :)

Thats why I use the zoom h1, my tascam dr100mkii is to hot. Even tough the h4n has weak amps they are probably a bit strong for the bmpcc.
Have you set the camera to mic-level?


There is no preamp. It's just the zoom h4n straight to the Pocket. Nothing in between.

I also didn't get any distortion when I set the audio in the camera to 30, and the zoom to 45. Mainly playing by ear by listening to the camera's audio as I lowered it.

The point I'm trying to make is that the zoom levels aren't going to be too helpful when it comes to the quality recorded in the pocket. You can be not peaking at all with the zoom, but still getting distortion in the camera.
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good In Camera Audio with Level

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 7:36 pm

Chris Chiasson wrote:
Mattias Burling wrote:
With all due respect. But isnt that just an error on your part?
If you have a preamp not just the zoom any preamp and it clips of cource it clips in the recording. But thats your job, make sure it doesnt clip, isnt it?
You set the levels so that cliping zoom is bellow cliping in the Camera. Then use the levels and stay under.
Im mean thats why everyone screams for audiometers, so they can stay under them? :)

Thats why I use the zoom h1, my tascam dr100mkii is to hot. Even tough the h4n has weak amps they are probably a bit strong for the bmpcc.
Have you set the camera to mic-level?


There is no preamp. It's just the zoom h4n straight to the Pocket. Nothing in between.

I also didn't get any distortion when I set the audio in the camera to 30, and the zoom to 45. Mainly playing by ear by listening to the camera's audio as I lowered it.

The point I'm trying to make is that the zoom levels aren't going to be too helpful when it comes to the quality recorded in the pocket. You can be not peaking at all with the zoom, but still getting distortion in the camera.


There is a preamp in the zoom, thats why we use it instead of a mic straight into the camera.

Im sorry but your point is wrong. If you set the levels so that the Camera is NOT peaking while the Zooms levels ARE peaking you can use the zooms levels and know that you are NOT peaking. Its the same with any preamp you calibrate it so that the levels are your referense.

I really think your gonna get it if you thought about it for a wile :)
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 7:48 pm

I repeat, I did this test myself. I was not peaking on the Zoom. I was getting distortion on the Pocket. And there is no Pre-amp in the Zoom H4n. You can use the Zoom "as" a Pre-Amp for an external mic that's attached to the Zoom, and then going into the camera, but that's not what I did. I recorded using the Zoom's Mic. Unless by Pre-Amp, you're just meaning using the Zoom's levels to boost the audio, and just confusing me.
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metamind

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 8:20 pm

Maybe one of the Beachtek devices would be for you. Depending on the model, the price is similar to a prosumer external recorder like the Zoom H4 / H6 - but you can record directly into the camera keeping control over certain parameters while getting very good quailty pre-amps.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Nt ... av-Search=

Here somebody tested different setups:

Even without levels (Rode Videomic Pro), the difference to internal sound recording (the mere absence of the clicking / camera processing sound) is striking :-)
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 8:29 pm

Chris Chiasson wrote:I repeat, I did this test myself. I was not peaking on the Zoom. I was getting distortion on the Pocket. .


Repeat, you are doing it wrong. You are saying it your self. Set it so that 100% on the Zoom is NOT giving you distortion. Then and only then can you use the zooms levels as reference. You have just described to me how you litterly have not done this.

Its the same like when you are using just your zoom and no camera, you talk into the mic and lower the input level until your peaks does not distord. You set it up. Now try to set up your zoom with you camera.
If you need to lower it to 2% then so be it.
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 8:45 pm

Mattias Burling wrote:
Chris Chiasson wrote:I repeat, I did this test myself. I was not peaking on the Zoom. I was getting distortion on the Pocket. .


Repeat, you are doing it wrong. You are saying it your self. Set it so that 100% on the Zoom is NOT giving you distortion. Then and only then can you use the zooms levels as reference. You have just described to me how you litterly have not done this.

Its the same like when you are using just your zoom and no camera, you talk into the mic and lower the input level until your peaks does not distord. You set it up. Now try to set up your zoom with you camera.
If you need to lower it to 2% then so be it.


If the levels are set to 100% on the Zoom, there is going to be distortion. Your boosting the background sound to be louder then it needs to be, and any loud sound is going to be distorted.

The cable then takes that distorted sound, and records that into the camera at whatever levels you set it. It's not going to make the levels peaks if you kept them low in the camera, but it records the sounds as whatever is going into that cable. Which is a distorted sound.

Keep in mind, Zooms aren't really best used for recording dialogue from 5 feet away anyways. Distortion is going to happen the louder you go. Especially with my h4n, which is why it's more good with the +20 on the Rode Video Mic Pro then it is using a Shotgun Mic without a boost.
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 8:47 pm

metamind wrote:Maybe one of the Beachtek devices would be for you. Depending on the model, the price is similar to a prosumer external recorder like the Zoom H4 / H6 - but you can record directly into the camera keeping control over certain parameters while getting very good quailty pre-amps.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Nt ... av-Search=

Here somebody tested different setups:

Even without levels (Rode Videomic Pro), the difference to internal sound recording (the mere absence of the clicking / camera processing sound) is striking :-)


That does sound a lot better then what's being done with my H4n and the Rode Video Mic Pro.
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 9:16 pm

Chris Chiasson wrote:
Mattias Burling wrote:
Chris Chiasson wrote:I repeat, I did this test myself. I was not peaking on the Zoom. I was getting distortion on the Pocket. .


Repeat, you are doing it wrong. You are saying it your self. Set it so that 100% on the Zoom is NOT giving you distortion. Then and only then can you use the zooms levels as reference. You have just described to me how you litterly have not done this.

Its the same like when you are using just your zoom and no camera, you talk into the mic and lower the input level until your peaks does not distord. You set it up. Now try to set up your zoom with you camera.
If you need to lower it to 2% then so be it.


If the levels are set to 100% on the Zoom, there is going to be distortion. Your boosting the background sound to be louder then it needs to be, and any loud sound is going to be distorted.

The cable then takes that distorted sound, and records that into the camera at whatever levels you set it. It's not going to make the levels peaks if you kept them low in the camera, but it records the sounds as whatever is going into that cable. Which is a distorted sound.

Keep in mind, Zooms aren't really best used for recording dialogue from 5 feet away anyways. Distortion is going to happen the louder you go. Especially with my h4n, which is why it's more good with the +20 on the Rode Video Mic Pro then it is using a Shotgun Mic without a boost.


You really dont get it. Please try to understand. This is my last atemt to explain.
1. Scream into your Zoom from 1 inch away.
2. Lower the levels until the scream does NOT distort in the Zoom.
3. Connect it to your Camera.
4. Lower the levels in the Camera until it does not distort in Camera.
5. Now you can talk like normal into the Zoom knowing that it will not distort in Camera even if you scream right into it.
6. Fine tune it by repeating all the steps but start by speaking loudly instead of screaming.

Accept from the "screaming from 1 inch away" this is normal fundemental audio setup. Its done everyday in every radio studio I ever worked in, before every interview Ive ever done and so on.
You ask the guy that you are interviewing to talk for a while, you ask them to talk a bit louder to see where their peak is. You set the levels so they peak a bit lower than distortion. Bingo, start recording.

The setup with the zoom is the same. The only diferense is that we make sure that when the the audio is just about to distort in the zoom its a lot further from distortion in the Camera. After that setup it CANT distort in camera as long as it does NOT distort in the zoom.

If you still dont understand I apologise for my lacking in the English language and ability to express myself in writing. I then hope someone els reading can help me explain :)
Last edited by Mattias Burling on Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mac Jaeger

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 10:27 pm

With the Zoom (or any other field recording device used as a preamp) you have to match two settings, that is the input level of the pocket cam and the output level of the Zoom (or whatever). You want to get a high output level from the Zoom, but only as high that the output doesn't distort (usually no problem with the Zoom, 70 to 80 worked well for me using the Zoom H4). The higher you set the output level on the Zoom, the lower you must set the input level on the Pocket. The good thing here: the lower you set the input on the Pocket, the less internal noise will be recorded.

To find the optimum input level on the Pocket, i suggest the following procedure:
1. record white noise on the zoom at maximum levels, just before clipping
2. decide on what output level you want to use, e.g. set it to 70 on the zoom
3. play the recorded noise from the zoom and record it in the pocket at different input levels
4. examine the recorded clips and find the one where the white noise has the highest level before clipping
5. write down the input level that clip from step 4 was recorded at, and write down the zooms output level as well
6. if you want, repeat steps 2 to 5 with a different output level on the zoom, again write down the matching levels on both devices.

If you set the level combination obtained by this procedure, you can use the zooms audio meters and will a) get the best signal-to-noise-ration possible with this combination of devices, and b) be sure your recordings won't clip (as long as they don't clip on the zoom...).

Two more tipps:

When using a mono mic, record it to both stereo tracks and set the second track to a lower level; that way if your first track clips you will most likely have a decent signal on the second track you can use instead.

And if you use a Zoom device, take some time to experiment with its inbuilt limiters, if you know how to use them they can often save your - ehm - rear in interview situations.
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Dec 28, 2013 11:20 pm

Geoff Baxter wrote:
metamind wrote:Maybe one of the Beachtek devices would be for you. Depending on the model, the price is similar to a prosumer external recorder like the Zoom H4 / H6 - but you can record directly into the camera keeping control over certain parameters while getting very good quailty pre-amps.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Nt ... av-Search=

Here somebody tested different setups:

Even without levels (Rode Videomic Pro), the difference to internal sound recording (the mere absence of the clicking / camera processing sound) is striking :-)


I considered the Beachtek devices, but in the end, for not much more, I bought a Tascam DR60D. The advantage that the Tascam and the Zoom devices have over Beachtek is that they are also recorders, whereas the Beachtek is simply a pre-amplifier. Having a recorder on-board means you have two chances of recording the audio properly, and in the case of the Tascam, three. The Tascam has a dual record function that records a second track at a lower level for safety.


Thanks Geoff ! I didn t even know that a device with such a nice form factor existed. And they do have a lot of positive feedback.
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostWed Jan 01, 2014 1:51 am

Mattias Burling wrote:
You really dont get it. Please try to understand. This is my last atemt to explain.
1. Scream into your Zoom from 1 inch away.
2. Lower the levels until the scream does NOT distort in the Zoom.
3. Connect it to your Camera.
4. Lower the levels in the Camera until it does not distort in Camera.
5. Now you can talk like normal into the Zoom knowing that it will not distort in Camera even if you scream right into it.
6. Fine tune it by repeating all the steps but start by speaking loudly instead of screaming.

Accept from the "screaming from 1 inch away" this is normal fundemental audio setup. Its done everyday in every radio studio I ever worked in, before every interview Ive ever done and so on.
You ask the guy that you are interviewing to talk for a while, you ask them to talk a bit louder to see where their peak is. You set the levels so they peak a bit lower than distortion. Bingo, start recording.

The setup with the zoom is the same. The only diferense is that we make sure that when the the audio is just about to distort in the zoom its a lot further from distortion in the Camera. After that setup it CANT distort in camera as long as it does NOT distort in the zoom.

If you still dont understand I apologise for my lacking in the English language and ability to express myself in writing. I then hope someone els reading can help me explain :)


That's pretty much what I've been doing. Sorry if I confused you. I do think the Zoom is a good method for audio just like with my T3i. I just wanted to point out for those that want to use the Zoom to still play by ear and not just by the levels. You need to do both.
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostWed Jan 01, 2014 3:26 pm

Just a thought: even if recording dual system, it's a good thing to have useable audio on the pocket cam recording. I've shot an interview a few days ago on a rather crowded street, recording audio seperately, both talent and guest wearing lav mics. I had a really hard time sync'ing video and audio later, because the pocket cam picked up every odd noise, but just not the dialoge... sometimes i really had to guess, and more than once got it wrong in the first place.
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostWed Jan 01, 2014 3:29 pm

Geoff Baxter wrote:It is my opinion, and you may disagree (feel free) that the Pocket is not a device designed for recording audio. If it was it would have more audio functions and at the very least, a method to monitor and meter the levels. Ever since it came out, people on this forum have been asking for meters to be included in future firmware updates, but even if they are, how do you control them during a session?

As the camera operator, you have plenty to do with maintaining focus, exposure and framing when shooting with this camera. Audio meters would absolutely have to be overlayed over the image so you can watch them while doing everything else. But this means you have to additionally take on the role of sound recordist as well. And in order to control the audio levels recorded to the camera, you have to have some form of control to adjust, and there are no useful controls on the Pocket to allow this adjustment.

The answer has always been to have a sound recordist on the shoot to control location audio and to ensure there is a good recording, and the arrival of the Pocket on the scene has not changed that one little bit. It seems to me, observing these discussions, that this is being forgotten by many. I am not suggesting that every shoot must have a sound recordist present, as it would be beyond the budget of many people here, including myself.

But all sorts of schemes are being promoted to solve the problem of getting sound into the Pocket in a reliable way, yet I am yet to be convinced there is a reliable way to do it. If good quality audio is important to you, then my view is you should arrange to record it on a recorder device that is designed for the job.

If you have a Zoom combination recorder/microphone system, then record on that and just feed a guide track into the Pocket, but treat the recording on the Zoom as your primary source. If you have a more sophisticated recorder, such as the Roland or Tascam devices, use those to record and feed the guide track to the Pocket. I have both a Zoom and the Tascam DR-60D recorder, and my primary device will be the Tascam, because it has features not found on the Zoom products.

If it is cumbersome to arrange a connection between your recorder and the Pocket, then try leaving it out of the equation. Use the in-built microphones on the Pocket and wind up the sensitivity, you most likely will get enough level to enable you to sync them in post, especially if you use a product like PluralEyes.

A further point is that by taking a feed out of the Zoom, Tascam or Roland, you may very well be taking a feed that has been sampled, digitised and then decoded again, and not a pristine audio feed at all, as many recorders use this technique on their monitoring output.

Those people who favour using external pre-amplifiers, such as the BeachTek are losing out on the most important part of the chain in my opinion, the recorder. They are pinning their faith in the Pocket to do the job of sound recording correctly, and there is ample evidence to say this is not a good idea.

Geoff


I dont disagree with you in any way, but for me everything you say is killed by one fact. Sometimes or even very often I am alone. No recordist, cant watch the screen, cant point the mic, cant pull focus etc.
As former TV journalist thats how Ive always worked. My job is to focus my atention on the person Im filming and the story.
Therefore this is a good way of getting regular on camera b-roll sound. And since the zoom sits on the camera any way, why not both feed it in and record to the Zooms SD at the same time?
The main audio is still recorded separatly on in my case a Tascam, but why would you throw away another option?
Sometimes a separate recorder or even external mic all together is out of the question and you need to record with your smartphone, for me it doesnt matter. I want to solve my task and always have multiple plans on doing things. A good producer is imo creative through the whole chain of producion including the gear. As we say in the army "supplied gear is always enough gear" (somewhat translated :) )

I think my main point is, we all work in different ways. Some use lavs and others shootguns. Some use rigs and others (like me) would never dream of it.

Any who, thanks or the input. Always healthy to share and trade opinions :)
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otaku-house

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostWed Jan 01, 2014 6:22 pm

Just wanted to say thank you to Mattias, I found your video and explanations on this issue here to be of purposeful value. I would've assumed that I would need better than a Zoom H1, but it's great paired with this camera.

In fact, I can even imagine situations in which I throw the Zoom H1 in a corner of a room and sync it up in post.

The one thing we can at least all agree on is that the BMPCC absolutely needs supplemental sound if it's to be used other than a guide track.

Likewise, good luck getting the budget for a sound recordist. I think it's a tremendously vital part of a film crew, but...

I saw Chris Marker & Pierre Lhomme's 1968 documentary Le Joli Mai earlier this year with Lhomme in attendance, one of the first handheld run and gun documentaries shot in the streets. This was due to the introduction of the Eclair NPR blimped 16mm cameras.

And Lhomme was empahtically clear that the real transformative element of this landmark documentary was being able to record sync sound with that style of shooting. All of his camera operating, he said, was prioritized to sound. He said it was the first film he shot (and dude's a goddamn legend) where he learned to really listen.

But... If anything, producers and clients have come to assume that one person can do it all, in our age of too much reliance on tech and not technique.
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostWed Jan 01, 2014 11:11 pm

Geoff Baxter wrote:
Mattias Burling wrote:I dont disagree with you in any way, but for me everything you say is killed by one fact. Sometimes or even very often I am alone. No recordist, cant watch the screen, cant point the mic, cant pull focus etc.
As former TV journalist thats how Ive always worked. My job is to focus my atention on the person Im filming and the story.
Therefore this is a good way of getting regular on camera b-roll sound. And since the zoom sits on the camera any way, why not both feed it in and record to the Zooms SD at the same time?
The main audio is still recorded separatly on in my case a Tascam, but why would you throw away another option?
Sometimes a separate recorder or even external mic all together is out of the question and you need to record with your smartphone, for me it doesnt matter. I want to solve my task and always have multiple plans on doing things. A good producer is imo creative through the whole chain of producion including the gear. As we say in the army "supplied gear is always enough gear" (somewhat translated :) )

I think my main point is, we all work in different ways. Some use lavs and others shootguns. Some use rigs and others (like me) would never dream of it.

Any who, thanks or the input. Always healthy to share and trade opinions :)


I think you should consider my points in light of my statement: "If good quality audio is important to you, then my view is you should arrange to record it on a recorder device that is designed for the job."

I am not saying I would use a recordist, but the next best thing for a one-man operation is to have a device recording the sound that is designed for that job, and that is not the camera.


I know, and as I said both in the video and in my posts. I record to a Tascam dr100mkii field recorder. But why wouldnt I also use the camera when its there anyway, recording sound. Why wouldnt you try to make it usable incase your recorder breakes or gets stolen or what ever? I dont se the point in limiting your options when you never know what situation you will end up in.

And for most people watching the video its about money, what better sub 70 dollar audiorecorer with line in and built in mics are there? The bmpcc is a entery level cinema camera and I think its good to show that you can use it without expensive gear. Imo all you need is 1 lens, 1 sd, 1 zoom h1 and you are good to go.
Last edited by Mattias Burling on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostWed Jan 01, 2014 11:16 pm

Geoff Baxter wrote:Sorry Matthias, I edited my post while you where replying.

He he me to :) im not even a good speller in swedish and always have to edit my post, hens my tv/radio career instead of wrighting :)
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostWed Jan 01, 2014 11:39 pm

I agree that an Audio/Boom guy is the better route then whatever mic that's setup on the camera. Mainly because the audio is actually going to be given proper focus, and the mic is going to be closer to your subjects. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have an audio solution on the camera regardless as B Audio.

I worked on a 45 minute short where I was the editor, and the audio was recorded by a recordist. For 1 scene, I was given the footage, but the audio for that scene was missing from the rest of the files I got from the recordist. And he never found them. And since the camera man didn't have a backup mic on his camera, I couldn't use his audio (the internal mic was filled with camera motor and fan noises). Thus, we had to dub that scene, or else we'd have to reshoot it.

This is why, even when having someone record using the Zoom and a Shotgun Mic, I have a Rode Vidoemic Pro on my camera to record B audio with my footage. So if something like that happens again, there's still audio I can work with.

And as Mattias said, sometimes you're on your own. Your client doesn't want to hire a second guy. Or you can't afford a second guy for your own personal project. Thus, you need to have your own audio solution, even if it's better if someone else did it.
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Peter J. DeCrescenzo

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 1:35 am

Geoff Baxter wrote:... my point is that I would never, ever use the feed recorded on the camera unless it was a dire emergency. This is why I would never bother going to any great lengths to record on the camera, and I would never use just a pre-amp to feed the camera ….


You're of course welcome to your opinion & preference, but the BMPCC pocket cam's built-in audio recording quality -- when used with a good external preamp, quality mic, and proper mic placement -- is fine for many professional productions.

It's not perfect, and isn't good enough for some pro productions, but in many cases it can be perfectly adequate for pro shoots. Frank Glencairn and others have demonstrated this.

I agree that relying on external recording devices and a sound operator typically deliver better results, and add production & post-production costs. However, for many pro shoots, a solo cam operator must handle both picture & sound, and with a proper kit & skill can do so with the BMPCC.

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 10:58 am

I second this, with proper add-ons and some care the in-camera audio can be used for professional projects. Since the word "pro" is so overused theses days, I'd relate it to the field of use the BMPCC will be found in.

A project that will consider external audio plus the necessary crew and post-production mandatory will probably use an Alexa, RED or Sony and reach for a BMPCC only as a crash-cam or B-Cam for special situations.
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 2:29 pm

Uli Plank wrote:I second this, with proper add-ons and some care the in-camera audio can be used for professional projects. Since the word "pro" is so overused theses days, I'd relate it to the field of use the BMPCC will be found in.

A project that will consider external audio plus the necessary crew and post-production mandatory will probably use an Alexa, RED or Sony and reach for a BMPCC only as a crash-cam or B-Cam for special situations.


Exactly. As much as major professionals might like the BMPCC's picture, they're not going to use it, because they can afford better. From RED to film itself. You're never going to see the BMPCC used as an A camera in a major or small production because it's not needed.

The BMPCC is for the indie filmmaker that wants a chance at making a theater picture for a small price, or make local commercials. And he's/she's going to need other solutions besides a great picture. Like Audio, Storage, and Power. No professional is bragging about how awesome the battery life is for the BBCM (as a matter of fact, it sucks), yet we're making solutions for it, instead of just giving up, and saying "just shoot indoors with it plugged in the way it's meant for."
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 3:35 pm

Geoff Baxter wrote:I have both a Zoom and the Tascam DR-60D recorder, and my primary device will be the Tascam, because it has features not found on the Zoom products.

Geoff, could you please elaborate on this? I'm currently deciding between a DR-60D and a H6, curious what you found?

If you can get the levels up high enough, e.g. Gaining up a wireless mic kit, the internal recording is fine, but you do hit a wall. A proper amp would work fine but if you can get a recorder for similar money and have a separate track why not?
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 10:34 pm

Peter J. DeCrescenzo wrote:
Geoff Baxter wrote:... my point is that I would never, ever use the feed recorded on the camera unless it was a dire emergency. This is why I would never bother going to any great lengths to record on the camera, and I would never use just a pre-amp to feed the camera ….


You're of course welcome to your opinion & preference, but the BMPCC pocket cam's built-in audio recording quality -- when used with a good external preamp, quality mic, and proper mic placement -- is fine for many professional productions.

It's not perfect, and isn't good enough for some pro productions, but in many cases it can be perfectly adequate for pro shoots. Frank Glencairn and others have demonstrated this.


-



What is the difference between "fine for many professional productions" and "isn't good enough for some pro productions"

There is only one production situation where sound can be sacrificed: ENG.
Everything else should be and it is held at higher standard.
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 10:49 pm

Rado wrote:
Peter J. DeCrescenzo wrote:
Geoff Baxter wrote:... my point is that I would never, ever use the feed recorded on the camera unless it was a dire emergency. This is why I would never bother going to any great lengths to record on the camera, and I would never use just a pre-amp to feed the camera ….


You're of course welcome to your opinion & preference, but the BMPCC pocket cam's built-in audio recording quality -- when used with a good external preamp, quality mic, and proper mic placement -- is fine for many professional productions.

It's not perfect, and isn't good enough for some pro productions, but in many cases it can be perfectly adequate for pro shoots. Frank Glencairn and others have demonstrated this.


-


What is the difference between "fine for many professional productions" and "isn't good enough for some pro productions"

There is only one production situation where sound can be sacrificed: ENG.
Everything else should be and it is held at higher standard.


That depends on the client/producer (whoever is paying for the production). If they want to pay for higher-than average sound quality, then fantastic. By all means, spend money on sound gear & crew (please)!

But on many shoots, including many paying/"pro" gigs, the client/producer doesn't want to pay for it. And that's OK, it's their money.

You're not suggesting we give the client/producer significantly more value than what they actually pay for, are you?

(I wouldn't think that's sustainable.)

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Rado Stefanov

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 11:02 pm

Geoff Baxter wrote:
Uli Plank wrote:I second this, with proper add-ons and some care the in-camera audio can be used for professional projects. Since the word "pro" is so overused theses days, I'd relate it to the field of use the BMPCC will be found in.

A project that will consider external audio plus the necessary crew and post-production mandatory will probably use an Alexa, RED or Sony and reach for a BMPCC only as a crash-cam or B-Cam for special situations.


I am puzzled as to why everyone focusses on the 'extra crew' aspect of what I posted. I want to make it clear I do not use a sound recordist, I cannot afford that luxury. Leave this out of the discussion.

My point is simple, if you want to feed a microphone into the Pocket camera, then some form of pre-amplifier is essential. Mattias (and others) are advocating the use of a low cost Zoom recorder to fill the role of the pre-amplifier, I completely agree. However, I make the point that the Zoom or whatever is the best place to record your audio, not the camera. It takes little extra work in post production to use separate audio.

Sure, you can connect the output of the Zoom into the camera, but regard it as a backup, not the primary source of audio. And there is a very good reason for this, the output of the Zoom is a consumer level -10dBm signal that has gone through a lot of internal processing in the Zoom device before it comes out the Line Output socket, and will not be as good as the signal produced by a good pre-amplifier.

In these devices, the audio is sampled by an A/D converter and passed to the recording circuitry and the replay side takes the digital signal and converts it back to analog audio using D to A circuitry. In almost all cases, this entire processing chain is in circuit when monitoring the incoming audio, and it is going to add degradation to the signal.

The signal recorded on the Zoom itself will be as good as the device itself, but does not undergo all that additional processing. So, if you want the best signal, use the file produced by the Zoom, not the camera.


It is a breath a fresh air to read somebody actually understands the weakest link workflow when it comes to sound and cameras.
One quick note: Audio degradation does not come from converting from analog to digital to analog.
It comes from the quality of the analog front end and sometimes the quality of the ADC and DAC.
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostThu Jan 02, 2014 11:07 pm

[quote="Peter J. DeCrescenzoThat depends on the client/producer (whoever is paying for the production). If they want to pay for higher-than average sound quality, then fantastic. By all means, spend money on sound gear & crew (please)!

But on many shoots, including many paying/"pro" gigs, the client/producer doesn't want to pay for it. And that's OK, it's their money.

You're not suggesting we give the client/producer significantly more value than what they actually pay for, are you?

(I wouldn't think that's sustainable.)

-[/quote]

You get what you pay for. I agree.
so what is your role when they hire you?
Last edited by Rado Stefanov on Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Peter J. DeCrescenzo

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 12:09 am

Rado wrote:You get what you pay for. I agree.
so what is your role when they hire you?


No need to shout. I'm right here. ;-)

As noted on my website (link in my sig), I'm a videographer.

I'm most often hired to operate the camera, light the set, and handle audio recording (usually straight-to-camera). The crew typically consists of myself and 1 or 2 P.A.s, plus a producer and/or director, plus client reps.

Sometimes I work with a sound op who handles audio recording (either in-cam or to an external recorder).

In most cases I don't edit what I shoot.

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 12:26 am

Peter J. DeCrescenzo wrote:
Rado wrote:You get what you pay for. I agree.
so what is your role when they hire you?


No need to shout. I'm right here. ;-)

As noted on my website (link in my sig), I'm a videographer.

I'm most often hired to operate the camera, light the set, and handle audio recording (usually straight-to-camera). The crew typically consists of myself and 1 or 2 P.A.s, plus a producer and/or director, plus client reps.

Sometimes I work with a sound op who handles audio recording (either in-cam or to an external recorder).

In most cases I don't edit what I shoot.

P.S.: This is "real name" forum.

:D you see how shouting makes a difference... even when you type it.
So you work in corporate/event business?
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 12:40 am

Rado wrote:… So you work in corporate/event business?


Yes. And TV & web advertising. Again, as noted on my site.
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 1:13 am

Geoff Baxter wrote:I chose the Tascam, but the specs on the H6 look as good, if not a little better. Where I am, the H6 is a bit more expensive, and that coloured my choice a bit, but you can't go wrong with either. My Zoom is the older H2N, which is a lot less flexible than the Tascam, hence my reason for using the Tascam as my primary recorder. I tend to use the Zoom as a 'place, set and forget' asset.

Thanks for clarifying Geoff. I imagine the Tascam is a big upgrade from a H2N!

The H6 is about the same price here and I think I actually prefer the ergonomics. Will look to mount it on a top handle.
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 5:06 pm

Here is a very quick test I did using the Zoom H4N similar to the video with the smaller Zoom with a few different mics just to see the results. I like being about to record the audio on both as a backkup if one fails for some reason.

Mics tested:
-Sennheiser MHK 418 shotgun at 6ft
-Sennheiser ew 100 G3 wireless lapel
-Sony 44B wired lapel

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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 5:12 pm

Forstm wrote:Here is a very quick test I did using the Zoom H4N similar to the video with the smaller Zoom with a few different mics just to see the results. I like being about to record the audio on both as a backkup if one fails for some reason.

Mics tested:
-Sennheiser MHK 418 shotgun at 6ft
-Sennheiser ew 100 G3 wireless lapel
-Sony 44B wired lapel



Seems to work fine with the zoom as well, thanks for showing your result :)
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otaku-house

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 8:41 pm

Mattias -

Last night friend was recording Zoom H1 handheld while I was shooting BMPCC. Zoom was not connected to the camera, totally separate. 96khz WAV with auto levels / Lo cut on. One single clip created a bizarre digital glitching noise, very high pitched in rapid waves. I thought it was perhaps cellphone interference but tests later couldn't replicate even when using phone next to the Zoom. I tried googling this and couldn't turn up anything. Does this sound familiar at all?

Otherwise the unit did great.
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Rado Stefanov

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 9:06 pm

otaku-house wrote:Mattias -

Last night friend was recording Zoom H1 handheld while I was shooting BMPCC. Zoom was not connected to the camera, totally separate. 96khz WAV with auto levels / Lo cut on. One single clip created a bizarre digital glitching noise, very high pitched in rapid waves. I thought it was perhaps cellphone interference but tests later couldn't replicate even when using phone next to the Zoom. I tried googling this and couldn't turn up anything. Does this sound familiar at all?

Otherwise the unit did great.

No need to record 96khz.
48khz is sufficient.
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Mattias Burling

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostFri Jan 03, 2014 9:12 pm

otaku-house wrote:Mattias -

Last night friend was recording Zoom H1 handheld while I was shooting BMPCC. Zoom was not connected to the camera, totally separate. 96khz WAV with auto levels / Lo cut on. One single clip created a bizarre digital glitching noise, very high pitched in rapid waves. I thought it was perhaps cellphone interference but tests later couldn't replicate even when using phone next to the Zoom. I tried googling this and couldn't turn up anything. Does this sound familiar at all?

Otherwise the unit did great.


I have had issues twice during the 4 years I have had the H1 (its been through hell and back).
One time it came out empty and the other it was just noise like you described. Other than those two times its been great.
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otaku-house

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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Jan 04, 2014 12:43 am

Mattias -

What a way to begin, but yeah, it was just on the one clip. The only thing that was going on was it was snowing with a decent wind, water might've worked it's way in somewhere. Other than that for 70$, what a remarkable device.
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Re: Easy/Cheap way to Record Good BMPCC Audio with Levels

PostSat Jan 04, 2014 1:41 am

A few weeks ago I looked at all of the options and decided on the Zoom H1 as the best bet. The reason I went for the lowest cost digital audio recorder made by Zoom (and cheaper than just about all of the other brands' offerings) is because 1) the reviews of the pricier units revealed deal-breaking flaws that did not justify the higher price 2) I have an audio technica AT825 stereo mic, which sounds amazing, so my priority is the recorder and not the built-in mics.

So far, I've had success carefully tweaking the levels on the Zoom to avoid any clipping, and I would very much recommend the Zoom H1 + BMPCC as a low cost, but effective solution to the audio issue. I also agree that 24bit / 48Khz provides more than enough dynamic range and frequency response for most situations.
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