BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

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tilllt

BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 11:19 am

On a BMPCC Facebook Group some users did audio tests with the BMPCC, using external input. There seems to be something wrong with the sensitivity of the bmpcc's input: If you connect devices that are supposed to output a line-level signal (and set the input level to LINE), the signal is unusable - you have to set sensitivity to MIC and Input Level to Maximum to register a barely acceptable audio level.

Similar results for Sennheiser ew100 G3 Receiver and Soundman OKM A3 Output.

Is this broken hardware or can this be resolved by a firmware update?
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Eugene Carter

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 3:48 pm

Get in line – we've been waiting over a year for updates to the original BMCC.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 5:26 pm

Who knows. It is same issue for BMCC. Black Magic Design refuses to say. Black Magic Design defenders say we complainers about shortcomings need to "shut up" because we bought a cinema camera and we shouldn't expect decent sound recording-- this in face of advertising that states otherwise.
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Dustin Boswell

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 5:37 pm

ChrisBarcellos wrote:Who knows. It is same issue for BMCC. Black Magic Design refuses to say. Black Magic Design defenders say we complainers about shortcomings need to "shut up" because we bought a cinema camera and we shouldn't expect decent sound recording-- this in face of advertising that states otherwise.


You bought a camera not a field recorder. The in-camera audio from pretty much any camera in this price range is complete crap - it's just a fact of life unfortunately.

To the original poster, quality of the pre-amps in the cameras are pretty weak - the codec is good though.

My advice is that you invest in a decent audio recorder & just go dual system.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 5:53 pm

zombies8mypi: This is a real names forum. Please add your real name to your sig. Thanks!

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 6:29 pm

zombies8mypi wrote:
ChrisBarcellos wrote:Who knows. It is same issue for BMCC. Black Magic Design refuses to say. Black Magic Design defenders say we complainers about shortcomings need to "shut up" because we bought a cinema camera and we shouldn't expect decent sound recording-- this in face of advertising that states otherwise.


You bought a camera not a field recorder. The in-camera audio from pretty much any camera in this price range is complete crap - it's just a fact of life unfortunately.


Just curious, which other camcorders in this price range have you used? I hear this remark a lot, but it just hasn't been my experience. With the exception of the decade+ Sony PD150 and maybe Panasonic's slightly noisier than expected HVX 200 (which granted, was a bit more expensive), I just haven't been getting this crappy audio that folks are talking about. Bear in mind that I'm not talking about BMD cameras specifically, nor am I comparing high end audio recorders to any camcorder... but I just don't hear that big of a difference between my Tascam DR-60D and an AF100. What am I missing?

Shawn
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 6:32 pm

Yeah, I get sick of hearing this. Somehow I think I have a right to expect audio recording that is at the very least as good as my phone or my GH2.

It isn't.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 6:52 pm

Shawn Miller wrote:
zombies8mypi wrote:
ChrisBarcellos wrote:Who knows. It is same issue for BMCC. Black Magic Design refuses to say. Black Magic Design defenders say we complainers about shortcomings need to "shut up" because we bought a cinema camera and we shouldn't expect decent sound recording-- this in face of advertising that states otherwise.


You bought a camera not a field recorder. The in-camera audio from pretty much any camera in this price range is complete crap - it's just a fact of life unfortunately.


Just curious, which other camcorders in this price range have you used? I hear this remark a lot, but it just hasn't been my experience. With the exception of the decade+ Sony PD150 and maybe Panasonic's slightly noisier than expected HVX 200 (which granted, was a bit more expensive), I just haven't been getting this crappy audio that folks are talking about. Bear in mind that I'm not talking about BMD cameras specifically, nor am I comparing high end audio recorders to any camcorder... but I just don't hear that big of a difference between my Tascam DR-60D and an AF100. What am I missing?

Shawn


You're still talking about video cameras. Everyone focuses on the price point for their comparison. If you really just want to compare features at $2-3K, why would you even consider a BMCC? Obviously those camcorders have many more features offered at the same price.

BMCC is a cinema camera. Not a camcorder. Not an ENG camera. It doesn't autofocus. It doesn't have built in lights, IR sensors, handles, removable batteries, on screen tutorials, built in NDs, built in stereo mics, shoulder pads, night vision and so on.

It's a Cinema Camera. It's designed to create cinematic images. This single feature, just a few short years ago, was restricted to a handful of cameras that cost 10s of thousands of dollars. BM has made that tool affordable. It's not perfect. It needs some updates and fixes, but it's never been a video camera.

Just because it costs the same as video cameras, doesn't mean it is one.

If all that stuff is important to you, then obviously you should be buying a video camera.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 7:16 pm

Shawn Miller wrote:
zombies8mypi wrote:
ChrisBarcellos wrote:Who knows. It is same issue for BMCC. Black Magic Design refuses to say. Black Magic Design defenders say we complainers about shortcomings need to "shut up" because we bought a cinema camera and we shouldn't expect decent sound recording-- this in face of advertising that states otherwise.


You bought a camera not a field recorder. The in-camera audio from pretty much any camera in this price range is complete crap - it's just a fact of life unfortunately.


Just curious, which other camcorders in this price range have you used? I hear this remark a lot, but it just hasn't been my experience. With the exception of the decade+ Sony PD150 and maybe Panasonic's slightly noisier than expected HVX 200 (which granted, was a bit more expensive), I just haven't been getting this crappy audio that folks are talking about. Bear in mind that I'm not talking about BMD cameras specifically, nor am I comparing high end audio recorders to any camcorder... but I just don't hear that big of a difference between my Tascam DR-60D and an AF100. What am I missing?

Shawn


The difference comes out when you bring your sound into a much louder/stronger system (on headphones or cheaper speakers most in-camera audio sounds the same as nicely recorded high-end sound due to the fact that it's in stereo without any of the low-end sounds). The RED-One's in camera audio even has a bit of noise that you can't really perceive through headphones, but is very apparent in a Cinema sound environment (5.1 Surround). If you record silently you'll hear quite a bit of white noise rather than the actual tone of the room generally (aka. "room tone").

As well, much like RAW video - higher quality sound gives you more room in Post Production if your audio is higher quality than what you are delivering.

It's kinda like listening to MP3's, they sound ok over $20 headphones, but if you play them over concert speakers compared to an uncompressed .WAV file or even Vinyl it's night and day.

I've used the Canon T3i, 5dIII, 7d, EX1 (stock, as well as one with the PS-Techniks conversion), the Panasonic AGV series (bit oldschool), the Sony Betacam (I want to say it was as DVW 709 - was a long time ago) - as well as a few Consumer (cheapy) Camcorders. Those are the ones I can think of in the sub-$4000 market. It's been a while since I personally don't use Camcorders for most of my applications. A Magic Lantern Canon or a RED are the closest comparisons I have personally used to the Blackmagic Cameras.

A few of them have their own integrated microphone which can get the job done, but tend to be very noisy. The DSLR's tend to hiss quite a bit, hence why the DSLR film making world is used to running Dual System.

:shock:
Last edited by Dustin Boswell on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 7:19 pm

Shawn Miller wrote:Just curious, which other camcorders in this price range have you used? I hear this remark a lot, but it just hasn't been my experience. With the exception of the decade+ Sony PD150 and maybe Panasonic's slightly noisier than expected HVX 200 (which granted, was a bit more expensive), I just haven't been getting this crappy audio that folks are talking about. Bear in mind that I'm not talking about BMD cameras specifically, nor am I comparing high end audio recorders to any camcorder... but I just don't hear that big of a difference between my Tascam DR-60D and an AF100. What am I missing?

Shawn


Thank you, I thought I was the only person who owned cameras that recorded good audio in camera. I've never at all in 15 years of shooting had a problem with recording audio in camera and never needed any external recorders until I owned the Blackmagic cameras. We've shot all Panasonic so far, so maybe that's it? But yeah, reading these forums one would think that the only way to record good audio is to do it separately from the camera.

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 7:28 pm

sean mclennan wrote: You're still talking about video cameras. Everyone focuses on the price point for their comparison. If you really just want to compare features at $2-3K, why would you even consider a BMCC? Obviously those camcorders have many more features offered at the same price.

BMCC is a cinema camera. Not a camcorder. Not an ENG camera. It doesn't autofocus. It doesn't have built in lights, IR sensors, handles, removable batteries, on screen tutorials, built in NDs, built in stereo mics, shoulder pads, night vision and so on.

It's a Cinema Camera. It's designed to create cinematic images. This single feature, just a few short years ago, was restricted to a handful of cameras that cost 10s of thousands of dollars. BM has made that tool affordable. It's not perfect. It needs some updates and fixes, but it's never been a video camera.

Just because it costs the same as video cameras, doesn't mean it is one.

If all that stuff is important to you, then obviously you should be buying a video camera.


Well sir, it seems that BMD once had a different view of their product than you. Care to explain why they would say this on the product page:

"Say goodbye to annoying custom cables you can never find when on a location shoot because Blackmagic Cinema Camera uses only standard connections! You get jack mic/line audio inputs for recording the highest quality uncompressed audio..."

And say this again in the product specs:

"2 x 1/4” jacks for professional balanced analog audio, switchable between mic and line levels."

???

It's not like we're asking them to recall the cameras and add in XLR jacks or anything, just fix the problems with the audio to the point where you can record decent audio without HAVING to fix it in post. Also, audio meters should be a given, especially when you make the claims BMD made regarding the audio capabilities of theses cameras.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 7:35 pm

g14matthew wrote:Thank you, I thought I was the only person who owned cameras that recorded good audio in camera. I've never at all in 15 years of shooting had a problem with recording audio in camera and never needed any external recorders until I owned the Blackmagic cameras. We've shot all Panasonic so far, so maybe that's it? But yeah, reading these forums one would think that the only way to record good audio is to do it separately from the camera.

Matthew


It's a different Production Model. The ENG or Broadcast based camera's behave differently in that they are designed to be more contained in recording sound (you may have a sound guy a cameraman and a reporter) under realistic & natural lighting.

The Production model of Film making since the introduction of sound & music in film is that it is to be recorded separately and synchronized with the film later (or recorded to a strip on the side of the Film Print - Hence the "Sound Track").

The Blackmagic Camera's were designed specifically as a professional replacement for the DSLR Film Making Market - hence why they tend to share similar lens mounts & form factor size, but come out of the box with the manual adjustments necessary for Film Production.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 7:41 pm

Eugene C. wrote:
sean mclennan wrote: You're still talking about video cameras. Everyone focuses on the price point for their comparison. If you really just want to compare features at $2-3K, why would you even consider a BMCC? Obviously those camcorders have many more features offered at the same price.

BMCC is a cinema camera. Not a camcorder. Not an ENG camera. It doesn't autofocus. It doesn't have built in lights, IR sensors, handles, removable batteries, on screen tutorials, built in NDs, built in stereo mics, shoulder pads, night vision and so on.

It's a Cinema Camera. It's designed to create cinematic images. This single feature, just a few short years ago, was restricted to a handful of cameras that cost 10s of thousands of dollars. BM has made that tool affordable. It's not perfect. It needs some updates and fixes, but it's never been a video camera.

Just because it costs the same as video cameras, doesn't mean it is one.

If all that stuff is important to you, then obviously you should be buying a video camera.


Well sir, it seems that BMD once had a different view of their product than you. Care to explain why they would say this on the product page:

"Say goodbye to annoying custom cables you can never find when on a location shoot because Blackmagic Cinema Camera uses only standard connections! You get jack mic/line audio inputs for recording the highest quality uncompressed audio..."

And say this again in the product specs:

"2 x 1/4” jacks for professional balanced analog audio, switchable between mic and line levels."

???

It's not like we're asking them to recall the cameras and add in XLR jacks or anything, just fix the problems with the audio to the point where you can record decent audio without HAVING to fix it in post. Also, audio meters should be a given, especially when you make the claims BMD made regarding the audio capabilities of theses cameras.


On Location purely means that you are not on a Set (for example, if you're shooting in the desert - you are actually out in the desert instead of being on a set that is made to look like the desert).

It does Record in an Uncompressed .WAV format, Just the hardware isn't really that great.

It's the same reason why cheap consumer camcorders say they record high quality HD 1080P. It may be the same resolution but it's nowhere near the level of detail and quality of a better camera.

I'm not it doesn't have room for improvement, but I'm saying that the best solution (and a generally better practise) is to record externally and only have in-camera audio as a backup in case something goes horribly wrong.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 8:22 pm

sean mclennan wrote:You're still talking about video cameras. Everyone focuses on the price point for their comparison. If you really just want to compare features at $2-3K, why would you even consider a BMCC? Obviously those camcorders have many more features offered at the same price.


With respect Sean, I was directly addressing a specific comment from zombies8mypi (Zombie, dude, you have to change your screen name, or I'm just gonna start calling you Zombie for short :-)):

zombies8mypi wrote:The in-camera audio from pretty much any camera in this price range is complete crap - it's just a fact of life unfortunately.


Do you think my questions and comments radically stray from Zombie's point above? I disagree with him, what's you're opinion, do you think all video cameras in the price range of the BMD cameras perform noticeably worse (audio wise) than a Zoom Hn4 or a Tascam DR-60D?

sean mclennan wrote:BMCC is a cinema camera. Not a camcorder. Not an ENG camera. It doesn't autofocus. It doesn't have built in lights, IR sensors, handles, removable batteries, on screen tutorials, built in NDs, built in stereo mics, shoulder pads, night vision and so on.


I understand what you're saying, Sean... I just don't see the point of your comments. I didn't say or imply that the BMD cameras should have any of these things. Again, I'm just pointing out that there are video cameras in the $2-3k range that record audio as good or better than some of the low budget audio recorders. If you disagree, fine... present your case. But reflexively describing what a cinema camera is or isn't, doesn't seem to advance the conversation at all. So, I throw the question back at you... what's your experience with cameras in this price range, are they really that much worse than low budget audio recorders in your opinion? Share an example or two. :-)

sean mclennan wrote:It's a Cinema Camera. It's designed to create cinematic images. This single feature, just a few short years ago, was restricted to a handful of cameras that cost 10s of thousands of dollars. BM has made that tool affordable. It's not perfect. It needs some updates and fixes, but it's never been a video camera.


For the sake of argument, can we assume that this isn't news to most of us? Otherwise, It comes off a bit condescending when you keep telling us what a cine camera is, what they're for and that they used to cost a lot more... many of us already know, thanks. :-)

sean mclennan wrote:If all that stuff is important to you, then obviously you should be buying a video camera.


What have I said that leads you to believe that I wanted "all that stuff" in the BMD cameras? Further, if you could infer anything from my comments... it's probably that I already have a video camera, or two. :-)

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 8:43 pm

zombies8mypi wrote:The Production model of Film making since the introduction of sound & music in film is that it is to be recorded separately and synchronized with the film later (or recorded to a strip on the side of the Film Print - Hence the "Sound Track").

The Blackmagic Camera's were designed specifically as a professional replacement for the DSLR Film Making Market - hence why they tend to share similar lens mounts & form factor size, but come out of the box with the manual adjustments necessary for Film Production.



Yeah, I completely get what you're saying, but I think folks understand there's not just one Production model for any kind of filmmaking anymore. It's okay not to have a separate sound person, to record audio in camera and expect it to be good audio and be a professional. It's okay to shoot dual system and be a professional, then spend the extra time in post syncing sound if that's your thing and you can make that work. That's how digital has leveled the playing field. There's no one constant way anymore.

With that in mind, and with cameras like the HVX, the AF100, and…whatever Sony or JVC cameras are comparable to those - It's also okay to expect the camera to perform in a way that's consistent with the general idea of "professional quality" audio and it's okay to keep on the manufacturer in a respectful way to fulfill what is a product shortcoming. If a client wasn't happy with a piece of work that you did, something that you set an expectation for and didn't deliver in the strongest way possible, I'm assuming you'd try to make it right and communicate with them throughout the process that you were trying to make it right. Again, approached respectfully, I don't think there's any harm in a client or customer expecting to be kept up to date.

All that being said, I love all three of my Blackmagic cameras and I use them for everything that my HPX300 and 500s, my Varicam, my HVX200, and my AF100 used to do. ENG, run and gun, talking heads, cinema shooting, we make it work. I wouldn't have bought all of them otherwise. As a client, or customer, or whatever you want to call me, I certainly wouldn't mind improvements on the things that could be improved upon and in camera audio definitely falls into that category.

Matthew

tilllt

Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 8:51 pm

Wow, I wasn't expecting that there is so much anger about audio issues and the bm cameras. Before I had a $700 canon hv20 before and audio quality was much better than the bmpcc so I agree with people that its not a cost factor to implement decent audio.

But that's not what I was asking about in the first place. I am not saying the audio quality is bad: I simply don't know, because the input sensitivity of the bmpcc is so low that you have to crank up the input volume so much that any preamp would not be at an optimal setting - there will be noise if you have to do that. What I was asking about if this is a software issue or a hardware issue. If a input a regular line level to the bmpcc, set sensitivity to LINE and leave the levels to a at a "normal" setting there is almost nothing coming in.

So this is not something that I would consider good or bad - this is something I have to consider "broken" or not "broken". If I had the time I could do a setup using a calibrated signal (which I don't have right now) but I think the discussion is beyond good or bad, there are some kind of rules how a line or a mic signal of a certain amplitude should register and I think the bmpcc is not doing this.

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 8:58 pm

Anyone suggesting that the BMCC's poor audio performance is either acceptable, or it's by design as this is a cinema camera, is just completely wrong.

The converters and pre-amps are simply just not up to scratch, or possibly it's the software control functions, of both. In any event if is simply wrong. Even the cheapest camera in the world that has an audio in facility, records at least good sound. I have used many cameras from very cheap to very expensive, that have audio inputs. They all have good audio, and depending on the camera the inputs are designed for either balanced, unbalanced, -10, +4, phono, jack, xlr, phantom etc. And as long as you supply the right signal that matches the electronic characteristics of the input, no matter what it is, then everything is fine.

Further more. As long as you are recording at the right bit depth and sample frequency and at uncompressed. You will find that there is no need for an external audio recorder, as far as actual sound quality is concerned. Outside of the BM's, you really can't go wrong with the inputs of any recording device. Even a phone or small cheap solid state recording devices, have at least good quality inputs.

Anyone who accepts that a professional balanced input is only for guides, is simply wrong. The really amazing thing here, is just how bad BM's converters and pre-amps are. In this day and age with even mega cheap mass produced recording devices, it is almost impossible to find anything that uses an audio chipset that doesn't give at least good quality.

This poor audio performance is not by design "because it's a Cinema camera", which by the way is a very poor understanding of the situation. To say that this camera is not for ENG etc, due to lack of built in features such as ND etc. I can accept. But to use this analogy to explain away the audio issue, is again down to poor understanding. The camera has an audio input feature, which is described as a professional balanced/unbalanced input, this means it does proper audio recording.

Any poor audio performance is simply down to a problem with the BM cameras. Just look at all the other problems across the entire camera range, and look at what the original Cinema Camera's owners have had to put up with since day one. These are manufacturer problems, and not some new way of film making.

BM on the face of it, cram some very impressive tech into small prices, this can not be argued. But no customer should have to put with deal breaking issues, such as those found across the BM range. Come on, they even knowingly released the 4k with same sensor black hold issue that has and still plagues the other cameras. Is this really a company that respects those who buy their products?

If you are forewarned about the BM issues, having been here to the forum or through some pre-purchase research, and are still prepared to buy and use a BM camera. Then fill your boots and work to the camera's advantages. But, if on the other hand, you come to all this blind and just accept the face value if BM's marketing and promotion of the cameras. Then BM should make if real easy to refund people who are not happy with the obvious problems.

Or better still. Don't take something to market until it works.

I have worked in both audio and film for about thirty years. In all that time I have never seen any other product range coming to market in the same way as BM products. By that I mean, a product that has such a fundamental issue to its core operation, that it negates the most fundamental and basic function of the product.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 9:20 pm

zombies8mypi wrote:The difference comes out when you bring your sound into a much louder/stronger system (on headphones or cheaper speakers most in-camera audio sounds the same as nicely recorded high-end sound due to the fact that it's in stereo without any of the low-end sounds).


I always monitor audio in post on studio monitors, in relatively controlled rooms. The two environments I work in mostly use KRK v4s and v8s, the room with the v8s is a surround room with a 12 inch sub. I shoot a fair amount, but I'm mostly a 'post guy'. :-) FWIW, I used to be a post production sound editor... so I do have some standards when it comes to audio. :-)


zombies8mypi wrote:The RED-One's in camera audio even has a bit of noise that you can't really perceive through headphones, but is very apparent in a Cinema sound environment (5.1 Surround). If you record silently you'll hear quite a bit of white noise rather than the actual tone of the room generally (aka. "room tone"), especially if you are using undirectional mics.


I've received Red footage with embedded audio before... truth be told, it wasn't that bad. Not like the old PD-150 days. Not sure I understand the rest of your comments though.. how is a unidrectional microphone noisier than an omni (assuming that's the comparison). Omnis tend to pick up more noise by design (all other specs being equal).

zombies8mypi wrote:As well, much like RAW video - higher quality sound gives you more room in Post Production if your audio is higher quality than what you are delivering.


Are you talking about bit depth and sample rate? If so, I agree... if you're talking about something with high dynamic range, and something that will go through MANY iterations of a mix... like music. Assuming a good, clean signal, dialog doesn't usually require a LOT of massaging, not like music or SFX. So, having extra headroom is nice, but I wouldn't call it a necessity.

zombies8mypi wrote:It's kinda like listening to MP3's, they sound ok over $20 headphones, but if you play them over concert speakers compared to an uncompressed .WAV file or even Vinyl it's night and day.


Not exactly (if you're talking about sample rate and bit depth, please correct me if you're not)... you can't hear the difference between 16/48 and 24/96 recordings... assuming noise, dynamics and everything else are equal. :-)

zombies8mypi wrote:I've used the Canon T3i, 5dIII, 7d, EX1 (stock, as well as one with the PS-Techniks conversion), the Panasonic AGV series (bit oldschool), the Sony Betacam (I want to say it was as DVW 709 - was a long time ago) - as well as a few Consumer (cheapy) Camcorders. Those are the ones I can think of in the sub-$4000 market. It's been a while since I personally don't use Camcorders for most of my applications. A Magic Lantern Canon or a RED are the closest comparisons I have personally used to the Blackmagic Cameras.


Now we're getting somewhere! :-) I'm not familiar with Panasonic's AGV line... can you recall the model number? I can see why you have such a low opinion of in camera audio! With the exception of Sony's 709 and the Red cameras, you're right. DSLRs and REALLY cheap camcorders don't sound very good. When I think of inexpensive camcorders with decent audio, I think of devices like Panasonic's AG-HMC40 or Sony's NX70U.

zombies8mypi wrote:A few of them have their own integrated microphone which can get the job done, but tend to be very noisy. The DSLR's tend to hiss quite a bit, hence why the DSLR film making world is used to running Dual System.

:shock:


Oh, I agree. I think the audio capabilities of DSLRs is quite humble, to be kind. If I used them, I would record dual system exclusively too. OTOH, I get footage from a wide variety of vendors from all over the world, and I can say without question that footage from cameras like The Sony FS100/700, the EX1 etc, sounds just as good as the audio I've gotten from the Zoom and other audio devices. I can also compare the audio I get from my own HPX500, HVX200 and AF100 to the Zoom or Tascam recorders... seriously, there isn't that big of a difference. :-)

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostThu Mar 20, 2014 10:39 pm

Shawn Miller wrote:
sean mclennan wrote:You're still talking about video cameras. Everyone focuses on the price point for their comparison. If you really just want to compare features at $2-3K, why would you even consider a BMCC? Obviously those camcorders have many more features offered at the same price.


With respect Sean, I was directly addressing a specific comment from zombies8mypi (Zombie, dude, you have to change your screen name, or I'm just gonna start calling you Zombie for short :-)):

zombies8mypi wrote:The in-camera audio from pretty much any camera in this price range is complete crap - it's just a fact of life unfortunately.


Do you think my questions and comments radically stray from Zombie's point above? I disagree with him, what's you're opinion, do you think all video cameras in the price range of the BMD cameras perform noticeably worse (audio wise) than a Zoom Hn4 or a Tascam DR-60D?

sean mclennan wrote:BMCC is a cinema camera. Not a camcorder. Not an ENG camera. It doesn't autofocus. It doesn't have built in lights, IR sensors, handles, removable batteries, on screen tutorials, built in NDs, built in stereo mics, shoulder pads, night vision and so on.


I understand what you're saying, Sean... I just don't see the point of your comments. I didn't say or imply that the BMD cameras should have any of these things. Again, I'm just pointing out that there are video cameras in the $2-3k range that record audio as good or better than some of the low budget audio recorders. If you disagree, fine... present your case. But reflexively describing what a cinema camera is or isn't, doesn't seem to advance the conversation at all. So, I throw the question back at you... what's your experience with cameras in this price range, are they really that much worse than low budget audio recorders in your opinion? Share an example or two. :-)

sean mclennan wrote:It's a Cinema Camera. It's designed to create cinematic images. This single feature, just a few short years ago, was restricted to a handful of cameras that cost 10s of thousands of dollars. BM has made that tool affordable. It's not perfect. It needs some updates and fixes, but it's never been a video camera.


For the sake of argument, can we assume that this isn't news to most of us? Otherwise, It comes off a bit condescending when you keep telling us what a cine camera is, what they're for and that they used to cost a lot more... many of us already know, thanks. :-)

sean mclennan wrote:If all that stuff is important to you, then obviously you should be buying a video camera.


What have I said that leads you to believe that I wanted "all that stuff" in the BMD cameras? Further, if you could infer anything from my comments... it's probably that I already have a video camera, or two. :-)

Shawn


My post was, only in part, directed to you.

You refer to not getting this crappy audio that people are talking about (with these other cameras). Are you experiencing this on a BM camera yourself? I mean, do you have personal experience with this issue on a BM camera?

Marketing materials aside, because come on...show me any company that has ever said their features weren't "industry leading/standard/class" etc, audio is NOT the priority with a cinema camera. Which I reiterated, not for your education Shawn, but for some others in this post.

The screams of injustice, in the vast majority, continuously draw comparisons to video cameras. Which is why I went on my little rant. I wouldn't trade all of those features and conveniences for the video image these cameras produce. It's not a relative comparison, regardless of price.

The Panasonics, Sonys and Canons have better audio. Congratulations. They've been making video cameras for more than 20 years, I would hope they have all the bugs sorted out. They do have ALL the bugs sorted out right?

BMCC 2.5 is the first camera BM has ever made. While unfortunate, it's entirely possible they ended up with a substandard audio component in the mix. The fact that the issue appears to be resolved on the 4K would certainly support that hypothesis. If so, there's no much that can be done now. There is only so much you can do in software.

You say you don't hear the difference between your Tascam DR-60D (which btw, how the hell are you doing living recording with that? ie: stepped level adj) and the AF100. I don't hear much difference between my BMCC and my Marantz PMD661 either.

I think a lot of people bought a promise, not a camera. The let down that their purchase didn't turn them into instant heroes has led them to BM's door with pitchforks and torches.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 12:17 am

sean mclennan wrote:My post was, only in part, directed to you.

You refer to not getting this crappy audio that people are talking about (with these other cameras). Are you experiencing this on a BM camera yourself? I mean, do you have personal experience with this issue on a BM camera?


Ah I see, I admit that I thought you were wagging your finger at me, sorry for the misunderstanding. :-)

Yes, I'm experiencing some of the same issues (DC offset), but I can still get a decent recording using a portable mixer, I'm starting to think that it's down to poor circuit design. That said, no, I don't expect this camera to sound like some of the better video cameras, but I do expect it to sound better than a DSLR.

sean mclennan wrote:Marketing materials aside, because come on...show me any company that has ever said their features weren't "industry leading/standard/class" etc, audio is NOT the priority with a cinema camera. Which I reiterated, not for your education Shawn, but for some others in this post.


Reminds me of something a friend of mine said a long time ago. "There are lies, there are damned lies and there are statistics... but if you really want to see the cursed hand of Satan himself on the mortal world, read a spec written by Marketing." He was a technical writer, BTW... so point taken.

sean mclennan wrote:The screams of injustice, in the vast majority, continuously draw comparisons to video cameras. Which is why I went on my little rant. I wouldn't trade all of those features and conveniences for the video image these cameras produce. It's not a relative comparison, regardless of price.


I think that's fair. But I also think there's a range from incoherent screaming to reasonable critique. It seems like everyone who wants some sort of resolution to the audio issues get's lumped into one group (the uniformed crybabies, if you will)... so, while I don't expect the BMD cameras to sound like a Nagara LB, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask BMD to fix the audio issue they do have. I realize that they're working on firmware fixes, but I also sympathize with folks who would appreciate a better communications strategy from BMD... I just want audio meters, regardless of how good or bad these cameras sound. If it can't be done, that's okay too. :-)

sean mclennan wrote:The Panasonics, Sonys and Canons have better audio. Congratulations. They've been making video cameras for more than 20 years, I would hope they have all the bugs sorted out. They do have ALL the bugs sorted out right?


God no, they are as flawed as anyone can reasonably expect. In some ways better than BMD, in other ways worse... much worse. But you know... we scream at them too. ;-)

sean mclennan wrote:BMCC 2.5 is the first camera BM has ever made. While unfortunate, it's entirely possible they ended up with a substandard audio component in the mix. The fact that the issue appears to be resolved on the 4K would certainly support that hypothesis. If so, there's no much that can be done now. There is only so much you can do in software.


Sure, would love to hear that from them though. If it can't be done, no worries... but tell us, either way.

sean mclennan wrote:You say you don't hear the difference between your Tascam DR-60D (which btw, how the hell are you doing living recording with that? ie: stepped level adj) and the AF100. I don't hear much difference between my BMCC and my Marantz PMD661 either.


I don't change volume during recording... had that drilled into me by an audio engineer at an early age. It's a case where process protects me from poor gain design (sad huh?). How are you getting audio into the BMCC... some sort of mixer I assume, are you doing dual system at all then?

sean mclennan wrote:I think a lot of people bought a promise, not a camera. The let down that their purchase didn't turn them into instant heroes has led them to BM's door with pitchforks and torches.


I don't disagree, but I also think there's room for reasonable critique. :-)

Shawn
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 5:16 am

Shawn Miller wrote:Yes, I'm experiencing some of the same issues (DC offset)


AFAIK, the BMPCC has never had a Frequency Response or DC Offset issue.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 8:26 am


(all sounds with pocket "100%" Level)

for my Pocket i have a prototype mic. No preamp, no battery, no noise..... ;-)
it works fine... hands free.

Image
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 9:44 am

Do the furry bits muffle the sound?


only from 15Khz. Windscreen can be removed.

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 9:47 am

my pocket has 2.47 Volt PlugIn Power....
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 11:33 am

tilllt wrote:...There seems to be something wrong with the sensitivity of the bmpcc's input: If you connect devices that are supposed to output a line-level signal (and set the input level to LINE), the signal is unusable - you have to set sensitivity to MIC and Input Level to Maximum to register a barely acceptable audio level.



Because nobody seems to have given the obvious answer yet:

There are multiple different line levels. Confusingly alllabeled to be "line level."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_level#Nominal_levels

The BMPCC expects studio-grade +4 dBVline level (1V reference).
What you have been feedint it was probably −10 dBV consumer line level.

You have the same issue using the consumer grade line-out of the Zoom H6 into the pro grade line-in on the BMPCC.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 4:18 pm

MarcusWolschon wrote:
tilllt wrote:...There seems to be something wrong with the sensitivity of the bmpcc's input: If you connect devices that are supposed to output a line-level signal (and set the input level to LINE), the signal is unusable - you have to set sensitivity to MIC and Input Level to Maximum to register a barely acceptable audio level.



Because nobody seems to have given the obvious answer yet:

There are multiple different line levels. Confusingly alllabeled to be "line level."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_level#Nominal_levels

The BMPCC expects studio-grade +4 dBVline level (1V reference).
What you have been feedint it was probably −10 dBV consumer line level.

You have the same issue using the consumer grade line-out of the Zoom H6 into the pro grade line-in on the BMPCC.


Marcus wins the internet today! :idea:
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 4:45 pm

sean mclennan wrote:
MarcusWolschon wrote:
tilllt wrote:...There seems to be something wrong with the sensitivity of the bmpcc's input: If you connect devices that are supposed to output a line-level signal (and set the input level to LINE), the signal is unusable - you have to set sensitivity to MIC and Input Level to Maximum to register a barely acceptable audio level.



Because nobody seems to have given the obvious answer yet:

There are multiple different line levels. Confusingly alllabeled to be "line level."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_level#Nominal_levels

The BMPCC expects studio-grade +4 dBVline level (1V reference).
What you have been feedint it was probably −10 dBV consumer line level.

You have the same issue using the consumer grade line-out of the Zoom H6 into the pro grade line-in on the BMPCC.


Marcus wins the internet today! :idea:


Indeed Marcus does win the internet today. :shock:
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 5:32 pm

Chris Hocking wrote:
Shawn Miller wrote:Yes, I'm experiencing some of the same issues (DC offset)


AFAIK, the BMPCC has never had a Frequency Response or DC Offset issue.


Good to know, as I'm still trying to decide between picking up another BMCC or two BMPCCs... no DC offset issue is another nice point in the Pocket's favor. :-)

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 5:35 pm

ruessel wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ifo54iOwG8
(all sounds with pocket "100%" Level)

for my Pocket i have a prototype mic. No preamp, no battery, no noise..... ;-)
it works fine... hands free.

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Slick!

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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 5:40 pm

MarcusWolschon wrote:
tilllt wrote:...There seems to be something wrong with the sensitivity of the bmpcc's input: If you connect devices that are supposed to output a line-level signal (and set the input level to LINE), the signal is unusable - you have to set sensitivity to MIC and Input Level to Maximum to register a barely acceptable audio level.


Because nobody seems to have given the obvious answer yet:

There are multiple different line levels. Confusingly all labeled to be "line level."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_level#Nominal_levels

The BMPCC expects studio-grade +4 dBVline level (1V reference).
What you have been feedingit was probably −10 dBV consumer line level.

You have the same issue using the consumer grade line-out of the Zoom H6 into the pro grade line-in on the BMPCC.


Indeed, and has anyone here actually done any tests with meaningful level measuring equipment?

Being curious, I dug out my old Sennheiser UPM550, a decent-spec audio millivoltmeter, in order to do some level checks at various spot frequencies. I measured the levels being sent in to the BMPCC (in dBm), and then checked the resulting ProRes file, as well as externally monitoring the HDMI output via a HDMI scan-converter into a BM TV Studio.

What I discovered was, that with the BMPCC set to Line level and the audio gains at 100%, sending in an analogue level of -20dBm resulted in a digital recording at ~-18dBFS. That's not too bad really, since a broadcast spec audio mixer would normally send out 0dBm to get a -18dBFS recording (in the UK at least), so that implies there's about 20dB of gain in hand when handling (professional) line level signals. And to get a 0dBm input to register around -18dBFS, you have to set the BMPCC input levels at 10%. Whether it will handle peaks of +8dBm and more without clipping (with the gain at 10%), I've not yet tested, but fundamentally it behaves as expected with regard to line level sensitivity in a broadcast product - i.e. it's not lacking in line-level sensitivity.
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostFri Mar 21, 2014 10:05 pm

Does anyone have a good recommendation on what Audio recorder would be sufficient for the BMPCC for a low budget film?

Thanks

tilllt

Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostSun Mar 23, 2014 7:25 pm

so what is a cheap / high quality way (small, preferrably) to convert the -10/+4 db line levels. i found these:

http://ebtechaudio.com/llsdes.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/2 ... tereo.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/8 ... river.html

but i guess this can be done smaller and hopefully battery powered.any suggestions?

tilllt

Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostSun Mar 23, 2014 9:01 pm

tilllt

Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostSun Mar 23, 2014 10:48 pm

Well, i thought the conclusion of the other answers in this thread was, that the BMPCC expects a +4db unbalanced signal... which is pretty uncommon i guess but whatever. at least from the DIY circuitry i found it would be pretty easy to leave out the part of that makes the signal balanced and just amplifies -10 to +4db...
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostMon Mar 24, 2014 11:31 am

maximum levels but only a barely noticable signal...
maybe a microphone that needs phantom power but only a 3.5mm to 2x XLR adapter cable used?
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Re: BMPCC audio circuitry broken or software fault?

PostMon Mar 24, 2014 4:57 pm

tilllt wrote:Well, i thought the conclusion of the other answers in this thread was, that the BMPCC expects a +4db unbalanced signal... which is pretty uncommon i guess but whatever. at least from the DIY circuitry i found it would be pretty easy to leave out the part of that makes the signal balanced and just amplifies -10 to +4db...

You could indeed just leave out part of the circuit, but it's also easy enough to "unbalance" a balanced output in order to feed it into the BMPCC, should you ever need to, although it will need a special cable making up. If it's a fully floating signal you can just short one balanced leg to earth and take the signal feed from the other, and if it's a electronic (transformerless) type then you can usually just use one leg plus the earth. That's for one balanced signal - left or right - so you need to do that for each one before combining them into a stereo mini-jack. Of course you'll lose the noise cancelling properties of a balanced connection, but for very short cable runs it shouldn't make a difference.

As an aside, it's always important to specify decibels with a relation to something (eg. dBu, dBV) if you're talking about absolute levels, as indeed is the case in that emusician article, or else they just refer to a ratio (eg +3dB is double the power). One might think that the difference in going from "-10 to +4db" is 14dB, but it's actually more like 12dB, because the "-10" is -10dBV and the "+4" is +4dBu, and 0dBV is not the same level as 0dBu. Technically I should have specified dBu rather than dBm for my test results earlier in this thread, although the numbers would have been the same.
The other part of the equation is the relationship between reference levels and peak program levels. An output level of +4dBu might equate to zero on a VU meter, but that doesn't necessarily mean that that's the highest level that will be generated by that peice of equipment. Headroom varies, and the operator might choose to overdrive or underdrive it by some dBs either way.

The conclusion I came to was that the BMPCC would probably be able to cope with and create a decent recording with levels around the -10dBV mark, as long as the Line level on the camera is well up (near or at 100%) and - just as importantly - the audio source is actually generating a level of -10dBV, and not simply "being capable of it but not delivering" due to a weak signal further back along the signal path. If that's the case, and the source device isn't actually delivering a proper line level, then some more gain is needed somewhere along the way before the signal gets to the camera. How much gain? Depends on your particular kit and the situation in which it's used. I'd go for something with variable gain (eg 0-30dB for boosting line levels), much like you'd find on a small field mixer, which is personally what I'd always use so I can see (on its meters) what I'm sending.
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