Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

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Ole Vestergaard Jensen

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Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostTue Aug 22, 2017 9:01 am

Hi Black Magic,

Is there any solution to the massive delay (8 frames!) issue in headphone monitoring? All of our photographers (mostly VJ's) are complaining about this all the time and we really need a solution to this bug.

Can you tell me if its something that you are working on in a new firmware update or is it something that can't be fixed in a firmware update?
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Denny Smith

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 3:36 am

First of all, this is a user forum, not the BM Supoort site. Next, audio,delay as measured on the Ursa Mini/Pro is about 3 frames. This is caused by the fact that you are monitoring the audio signal after it has been processed and merged/sync'd to the video (think gap difference between record and playback heads on a audio tape deck, same issue, slight delay on the recorded signal vice the imputed signal.

The only way to monitor audio without delay, is to monitor the audio pre-processing, which is a switchable option on most ENG cameras. However on the Ursa Mini and Pro, you only get processed audio monitoring, which is what a sound recordist wants to hear, that is why the Audio guys wear big earphones to block out the on set sound to hear only what is coming from the headphones as it is recorded, to make sure it gets recorded distortion free, etc.

As far as camera operators go, you can learn to adapt to the delay with time, and get the hang of listening to the recorded signal, while following the action. Having the Camera Operator monitor audio is not always,the best option, better to have a dedicated sound guy, on a field mixer, sending final audio mix to the camera, and monitoring the return audio from the camera. That is why camera audio break out cables are used between camer and audio person, include two audio XLR cables and a return 1/8th unbalanced line return, all in one expensive cable. From the mixer, the audio tech. can switch between pre and post processed audio on the filed mixer, which can switch between the audio return from the camera (post/recorded audio) and pre-pricessedmaudio sent to the camera to be sure they match. ;)

Generally, BM does not speculate about possible changes and upgrades to its equipment until,it is ready for release. :mrgreen:
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Tim Schumann

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 4:58 am

Denny Smith wrote:Generally, BM does not speculate about possible changes and upgrades to its equipment until,it is ready for release. :mrgreen:
Cheers


Denny is spot on here...

The audio is locked to the video so what you are viewing is in sync.
We have been looking into latency on the Pro for live event use and we are confident that we can improve on it substantially.
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Stephen Press

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 5:38 am

Tim Schumann wrote:We have been looking into latency on the Pro


... and the Mini???
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rick.lang

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 5:43 am

Looks like the MIni Pro gets priority on firmware updates since it's release. Someday maybe the Mini 4.6K will get an update to bring it on par with the Pro when feasible.


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Ole Vestergaard Jensen

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 7:30 am

I know that picture and audio are in sync when looking into the viewfinder or LCD. But I would much rather have a audio signal in sync with people around me :) This is pretty much standard for all other types of cameras right?
The delay is really distracting when you're working on your own in the field.

We have been looking into latency on the Pro for live event use and we are confident that we can improve on it substantially.


I really happy to hear that :)
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Adam Silver

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 3:53 pm

The Mini Pro uses a different audio processor, I believe, so it may not be possible to make any changes on the Mini. Just a thought.

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rick.lang

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 4:20 pm

Adam, I was feeling so upbeat on this beautiful day in paradise that we call Victoria... until you poured a chilling does of reality on my dreams of a perfect firmware update for my humble URSA Mini 4.6K!

You're probably right, but as Alexander Pope observed, "hope springs eternal."


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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 5:52 pm

Yes, yes it does Rick :!:

Ole, only consumer and most Prosummer cameras monitor audio pre-processed. Pro cameras useually are selectable or are just Post Recorded audio like the BM Mini Pro. In professional recording practice, a camera operator monitors the video, a sound person the audio, and the director gets the works.

All TV Production cameras have some delay, so post audio and in sync video is only monitored in the control room. In the studio pre-processed video only is monitored by the camera operators and floor director, so what they see and hear from the live audio from the taken are in sync. Camera operators are wired to a headset for director instructions in one ear, the live talent audio in the other ear.

Field production cameras are designed for what they are being used for, so you either get pre-processed monitoring at the camera, post in the media center, or for ENG type work, the camera operator is the audio person, so post processed Studio is synced with the EVF, and thismis what the camera operstor looks at and hears. I used special ear buds, that block ambient sound, so I can only hear what is coming from the camera. As a camera operstor, this is what you need to do, so you know what is being recorded.

You need to learn how to shoot in a professional workflow, if you are using Pro gear like the UM Pro, which is not a Prosummer camera. If hearing the ambient sound is disruptive to you, get some sound canceling headphones to block out the ambient sound. Eventually you will learn to block it out, and learn to concentrate on the feedback (audio/video monitoring) the camera is giving you. :mrgreen:
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Adam Silver

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 7:19 pm

Sorry Rick! lol Anyway, as some of you may remember, I came from a Canon 5D Mark III, and the audio delay really bothered me. Now I'm used to it, so it doesn't bother me.

I still want BM to improve the audio I'm hearing through the headphones. I have it turned down to 9%. I'm using a Sennheiser MKE 600. The actual recorded sound is really awesome, but monitoring it in the headphones sounds horrible because I can hear a lot of sound as if it's recording an omnidirectional mic as opposed to a shotgun mic.

Adam
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Denny Smith

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 2:17 am

Yes, the audio monitor amp is not very good, unfortunately. This makes checking the audio a little tricky. If you have a Video Assist or SmallHD monitor, you can get a better audio signal (imbedded audio on the SDI signal).
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Adam Silver

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 5:33 am

Denny Smith wrote:Yes, the audio monitor amp is not very good, unfortunately. This makes checking the audio a little tricky. If you have a Video Assist or SmallHD monitor, you can get a better audio signal (imbedded audio on the SDI signal).


Hi Denny,

If I'm still recording audio into the Mini Pro, could I just monitor the audio on the Video Assist 4K? That's the video assist I have. I really only use as a monitor if I'm not looking through the EVF.

Adam
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rick.lang

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Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 5:36 am

Adam, perhaps in the documentation that came with the camera, you may find the coverage of the mic. You may find that some frequencies are captured as you expect from a shotgun, but other frequencies are picking up sound from the sides. I have that happen when I use the MKH416--very good picking up sound from a distance as you would expect, but also good picking up some conversations off to the side.


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Last edited by rick.lang on Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Denny Smith

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 5:44 am

Adam, yes, that is the point I was trying to make. You can monitor video and audio on a VA 4K while recording on the Ursa Mini, and by-pass the noisy monitor amp on the UM. The VA has a headphone output jack on the side, 1/8-inch stereo.
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Adam Silver

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 4:57 am

Thanks Rick and Denny! :)

Adam
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Tim Schumann

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Oct 12, 2017 1:13 am

Tim Schumann wrote:
Denny Smith wrote:Generally, BM does not speculate about possible changes and upgrades to its equipment until,it is ready for release. :mrgreen:
Cheers
Denny is spot on here...

The audio is locked to the video so what you are viewing is in sync.

We have been looking into latency on the Pro for live event use and we are confident that we can improve on it substantially.
Camera 4.5 has been released today and is available on our website. It has substantial improvements in it for latency. Picture is still locked to audio but you will notice there is now less than a frame of latency on your monitoring.

We will look at whether we can add this improvement for the Mini now too although we still need to work out whether it is possible.
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James Alexander Barnett

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Oct 12, 2017 5:40 am

Tim Schumann wrote:
Tim Schumann wrote:
Denny Smith wrote:Generally, BM does not speculate about possible changes and upgrades to its equipment until,it is ready for release. :mrgreen:
Cheers
Denny is spot on here...

The audio is locked to the video so what you are viewing is in sync.

We have been looking into latency on the Pro for live event use and we are confident that we can improve on it substantially.
Camera 4.5 has been released today and is available on our website. It has substantial improvements in it for latency. Picture is still locked to audio but you will notice there is now less than a frame of latency on your monitoring.

We will look at whether we can add this improvement for the Mini now too although we still need to work out whether it is possible.


Please, please, please look into this for the UM 4.6k, I ordered mine the week it started shipping only to wait 9months for it to arrive, then 6months after having the camera you release the pro which would of been much more suited to my needs.

I’m happy with the camera but to see all of the updates to the UMP and the SSD recorder it hurts a bit to be honest.
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Tim Schumann

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Oct 12, 2017 7:22 pm

Hearing you loud and clear James.
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James Alexander Barnett

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Oct 13, 2017 6:30 am

Tim Schumann wrote:Hearing you loud and clear James.


Thank you Tim. :D
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rick.lang

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostTue Oct 17, 2017 1:31 pm

That’s encouraging. Looking forward to firmware release 4.6 on the URSA Mini 4.6K camera! Serendipity.


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Ole Vestergaard Jensen

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostWed Oct 18, 2017 9:47 am

Tim Schumann wrote:
Tim Schumann wrote:
Denny Smith wrote:Generally, BM does not speculate about possible changes and upgrades to its equipment until,it is ready for release. :mrgreen:
Cheers
Denny is spot on here...

The audio is locked to the video so what you are viewing is in sync.

We have been looking into latency on the Pro for live event use and we are confident that we can improve on it substantially.
Camera 4.5 has been released today and is available on our website. It has substantial improvements in it for latency. Picture is still locked to audio but you will notice there is now less than a frame of latency on your monitoring.

We will look at whether we can add this improvement for the Mini now too although we still need to work out whether it is possible.



THANK YOU!!! We have updated our 3 Mini Pro cameras today and the latency is almost gone.
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rick.lang

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostWed Oct 18, 2017 7:56 pm




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TristanC

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostMon Dec 17, 2018 5:40 am

I just received my Ursa Mini Pro and noticed the audio delay immediately. I got excited when I realized I wasn't on the most recent firmware, which is 6.0, so I was hoping it would be fixed. But alas it is not. It may be less than it used to be, but it is not normal as some have suggested. I have never ever noticed a delay like this on any of the other cameras I have used (Sony FS7, Sony FS5 ii, Canon C300, Canon C200, Canon C100 ii, JVC HM700/750) - or audio recorders for that matter.

What are the chances this will get fixed...again?
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostMon Dec 17, 2018 6:53 pm

If you are referring to the audio delay in the earphone monitor out, this is not a firmware issue, but more of how the hardware is configured. You have two ways of monitoring audio that is being recorded, monitor the sourcface as the siginal is received by the camera (post monitoring, which is what most recorders, and ENG cameras have thismoption as well) or monitor the audio signal after it has been recorded, which is what BM cameras do, so you hear a slight delay.

If you look at the audio guys on sett monitoring the audio, they are wearing big muff style headphones to cancel out location sound, so they only hear the audio that is being recorded (post), somthey do not hear a delay, on,y the actual recorded sound. To ensure what yiu are recording is actually recorded, you need to monitor the audio after it has been recorded, for best results.

You have two choices, use an external mic mixer like the Sound Devices MixPre D, which gives you the option of monitoring source (no delay) or post from the camera. The other option is to wear noise canceling headphones so you in,y hear the camera audio feed, eliminating the echo from the delay, by blocking out the source sound around you.
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostWed Dec 19, 2018 2:55 pm

Denny Smith wrote:If you are referring to the audio delay in the earphone monitor out, this is not a firmware issue, but more of how the hardware is configured. You have two ways of monitoring audio that is being recorded, monitor the sourcface as the siginal is received by the camera (post monitoring, which is what most recorders, and ENG cameras have thismoption as well) or monitor the audio signal after it has been recorded, which is what BM cameras do, so you hear a slight delay.

If you look at the audio guys on sett monitoring the audio, they are wearing big muff style headphones to cancel out location sound, so they only hear the audio that is being recorded (post), somthey do not hear a delay, on,y the actual recorded sound. To ensure what yiu are recording is actually recorded, you need to monitor the audio after it has been recorded, for best results.

You have two choices, use an external mic mixer like the Sound Devices MixPre D, which gives you the option of monitoring source (no delay) or post from the camera. The other option is to wear noise canceling headphones so you in,y hear the camera audio feed, eliminating the echo from the delay, by blocking out the source sound around you.
Cheers



I understand what's happening here, I guess I was hoping there was a secret switch to go between pre-and post processing (I assume this is a hardware issue and can't be added via firmware update?). I use over the ear headphones (ATH M50x and Sony 7506), but the delay is still very apparent. My hope was to be able to do some one-man-band type gigs with this camera, which I can still manage, but the delay makes me think twice about it. Any situation where I'm trying to run camera and monitor audio that is going straight to camera seems like it could be headache.

Lots of people seem to be making excuses for BM for choosing to do it this way, but no other camera I have used has done it this way. Is this perhaps some sort of "cinema" camera quirk? Do Red and Alexa give you post-processed headphone monitoring? What would be the reason to prefer post-processed audio monitoring in exchange for a delay that makes it hard to listen to for extended periods of time?
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostWed Dec 19, 2018 5:53 pm

Not sure about Red or Arri Cameras, as they are normally used with external recorders, that also do post audio monitoring (useually switchable). But the BM cameras do not have a Pre/Post audio monitor option.
Monitoring post gives you the actual recorded quality of the audio and best representation of what the Aduio is going to sound like, if the monitor circuit is clean.

But in many BM cameras, there is a lot of background hiss in the monitor circuit if you crank it up, so this limits its usefulness. I agree it would be just good to be able to monitor pre audio just to make sure everything is working, instead of post audio, which has limited value with poor monitor amps.
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Dec 20, 2018 1:04 am

High-end cameras which are used in the film industry are normally not used to record final sound, maybe just a guide track. They normally have a sound person with a dedicated recorder and sync everything by TC.
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Dec 20, 2018 5:45 am

Exactly the point I was trying to make. Cinema productions use high end separate audio recording, even back in the film days. Digital cinema cameras record a scratch track, synced with TC to the audio recorders. Recording yiur final audio with video, in Camera is more of a Video camera feature, going back to consumer cameras, and TV ENG cameras, that did not have time for anything else.
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Dec 20, 2018 4:55 pm

Denny Smith wrote:Exactly the point I was trying to make. Cinema productions use high end separate audio recording, even back in the film days. Digital cinema cameras record a scratch track, synced with TC to the audio recorders. Recording yiur final audio with video, in Camera is more of a Video camera feature, going back to consumer cameras, and TV ENG cameras, that did not have time for anything else.
Cheers


Yeah, I understand dual system sound. I'm just saying I can't see any benefit to monitoring on-camera audio post-processing and there is a huge negative. If you're shooting dual system, then the "good" audio will be on the 633 or something, in which case, knowing exactly what you're getting audio-wise is not the operators job. If they're using the headphone out, it would be to monitor basic audio. So not having a delay would be preferable.

If you're not shooting dual system sound, and recording straight to camera, you'll want to definitely be monitoring audio the entire time, in which case a delay will be undesirable. If anything's clipping you'll be able to hear it pre-processing and/or see it on the audio meters.

It is not typical, and I have read discussions that it is in fact undesirable to use noise-canceling headphones to monitor the environment you are recording. They are good for blocking out the environment when playing back music or something else, but can cancel sounds that you want to be able to hear when monitoring audio during recording. Closed-back over-the-ear headphones are typical, and they can block some of the outside environment, but not enough to eliminate the echo effect the delay causes.

Anyway, it's just a strange/bad choice that Blackmagic made doing it this way, but it sounds like a choice that owners just have to live with. I'd be curious to know if they addressed this for the Ursa Broadcast camera targeted for ENG use.
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Dec 20, 2018 6:01 pm

While not optimal, you can take the program SDI out and feed a small monitor like a SmallHD Ficus SDZi or a 502, and Monitor the audio from the monitor, that way you are seeing and hearing a sync audio signal. I have not tried this, not sure if the echo is still there.

I normally use a MixPreD and monitor audio from the mixer. Using line in on the Broadcast camera, sets the camera audio to unity, so the mixer will display any clipping. If the signal is clean in the mixer, and the camera is not adding gain (other than the preset Unity +4dB, both signals should match and you can do a quick comparison check with a sound check first. The Broadcast camera does not have a audio source selection either, and will check to see if it has the audio delay in the monitor out.

Previously when cameras were hard wired snake cables to the audio mixer/recorder setup, the camera’s audio out is sent back to the mixer, somthe Audio tech, can compare the incoming feed to what the camera is recording. But this, as you pointed out, is not practical for a one man shoot.

Often, I use a mic boom operator, who has the boom mic and mixer, and feed him the return audio via the MixPreD, so he/she can monitor the audio during the shoot, and know the boom mic is aimed correctly. A two person shoot is ideal, so the camera operator can concentrate on the video part, and the mic/audio person the audio recording, be it in camera or to a separate recorder/mixer. You can find the old ENG audio snakes at a good deal, and the cable gives you two mic/line XLR inputs and the return audio on a 1/8 (3.5mm) stereo connector, so you only have one cable connecting the camera and audio.
See: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... Cable.html
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostThu Dec 20, 2018 7:55 pm

OK, I just re-checked the Ursa Boradcast audio in a quiet environment (most of my previous shoots were in rather noisy situationswith the mixer, so not a good test). The monitor amp is very clean, slight high end hiss when turned up (amp noise) bit st normal monitoring levels, very useable.

Yes, the monitor out headphones has a slight delay, not the worst I have encountered, but still a noticeable slight delay. The csmer’s built in mics, which I never use, do pickup the camera’s cooling fan noise, useable for a scratch track, but not much else with out removing the fan noise, which can be done in post with several programs.

I used a AKG Broadcast quality interview mic for the test, plugged directly into the camera, and the sound was very clean up to around 70-percent, when a little amp noise could be heard. That said, the AKG using phantom power was very useable at 50 to 60-percent levels, with a nice clean signal, and very useable.
If I needed to boost s mic more than this, I would use my small Mic preamp/mixer, which adds an excellent limiter, to help prevent clipping of loud signals, which is what I use in a typical interview shoot.
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 3:43 am

Denny Smith wrote:While not optimal, you can take the program SDI out and feed a small monitor like a SmallHD Ficus SDZi or a 502, and Monitor the audio from the monitor, that way you are seeing and hearing a sync audio signal. I have not tried this, not sure if the echo is still there.


That’s an interesting idea, but when I just tried it with my 503 ultrabright, I didn’t get any audio out of the 503’s headphone jack for some reason. At first I thought it was because I was using the side SDI on the UMP and that maybe it didn’t send audio because it’s for the viewfinder. So then I disconnected my SSD recorder and tried the main SDI out. Again, I got picture on the 503, but no audio. And the UMP definitely sends audio over the main SDI our because you can record it with the ssd recorder. So I’m not sure what’s going on and if the issue is the SmallHD or the UMP or what.

(Side note, the post from “cinemaduro” above is also me, apparently I have two accounts and safari is set to log into one and chrome logs into the other. Oops)
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 2:06 pm

TristanC wrote:I understand what's happening here, I guess I was hoping there was a secret switch to go between pre-and post processing (I assume this is a hardware issue and can't be added via firmware update?). I use over the ear headphones (ATH M50x and Sony 7506), but the delay is still very apparent. My hope was to be able to do some one-man-band type gigs with this camera, which I can still manage, but the delay makes me think twice about it. Any situation where I'm trying to run camera and monitor audio that is going straight to camera seems like it could be headache.

Lots of people seem to be making excuses for BM for choosing to do it this way, but no other camera I have used has done it this way. Is this perhaps some sort of "cinema" camera quirk? Do Red and Alexa give you post-processed headphone monitoring? What would be the reason to prefer post-processed audio monitoring in exchange for a delay that makes it hard to listen to for extended periods of time?


I am not sure why you are thinking this will give you any problems or headaches during a One-man-band-gig? I do those all the time with my UM46K and have zero troubles.

Also all my Canon cameras like the XF305 have a slight delay on the headphone monitor. It is switchable, but I'd rather listen to the post-processed audio than to the unprocessed without knowing what is getting recorded.
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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 3:33 pm

Robert Niessner wrote:
I am not sure why you are thinking this will give you any problems or headaches during a One-man-band-gig? I do those all the time with my UM46K and have zero troubles.


I don’t know, it’s the first time in 15 years of shooting video that I have encountered a delay like that, which makes me think it’s not common, nor necessary? I never had a problem with cameras that didn’t have a delay over the headphones. Time will tell if I’m worrying too much about it, I guess. It was just really surprising/distracting when I heard it for the first time. But all cameras have their quirks that one has to get used to.
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Robert Niessner

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 5:14 pm

TristanC wrote:I don’t know, it’s the first time in 15 years of shooting video that I have encountered a delay like that, which makes me think it’s not common, nor necessary?

It has always been necessary if you wanted to hear the signal your camera is recording and not the signal incoming to your camera.

TristanC wrote:Time will tell if I’m worrying too much about it, I guess. It was just really surprising/distracting when I heard it for the first time. But all cameras have their quirks that one has to get used to.

I think you'll see that you will get used to it quite fast.
Robert Niessner
LAUFBILDkommission
Graz / Austria
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Denny Smith

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Re: Audio delay issue in Black Magic Mini Pro

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 7:43 pm

Yes, I had to stop and really listen to hear the delay on the Ursa Boradcast, which I think, has the same mic, line, and monitoring amps setup as the UM Pro. Shooting ENG cameras, I got used to the delay there, just takes a little time and practice.
Cheers
Denny Smith
SHA Productions

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