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Multimedia: Equipment for Sound & Video

I’d like to begin recording sound and perhaps video on my next photographic trip if I can source some lightweight, affordable equipment in time. Can anyone make any recommendations for capturing sound and/or video that won’t break the bank, or my back, bearing in mind that I’ll be carrying cameras too?

A big thank you, Jenny

by Jenny Lynn Walker at 2006-01-14 09:59:19 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Hey Jenny there have already been some strings on this one,a s everyone is getting into the multimedia storytelling gig.  For several years now I have been using a SONY Minidisc recorder, but mine is now a bit outdated.  The threads have more up to date recommendations as to models.  The key in part to getting good sound is the mike you use.  I have what is called a shotgun mike, whcih helps to focus in on your sound.  The mike is an Azden SGM-X and it does the job nicely.

Here are the threads:



by Jon Anderson | 14 Jan 2006 11:01 | Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
I have a Minidisk and a Shure mike which gives nice sound.

It depends on what you need your sound for – if its for web use only, you can use something like the Olympus WS 200 S  with a mike which should be perfect.

Or you can now get mikes and sound pickups which will plug into an iPod – however, i’ve been told they (like the Olympus) ‘compress’ the sound, and the idea is to try and get ‘raw’ sound first which can then be compressed to specifications depending on the use. Kinda like shooting raw then converting to Jpeg…

The Minidisk gives the ‘raw’ sound’ apparently, at reasonable cost, so I plumped for that.

I could be talking complete rubbish on this of course (no change there then, eh?) as I’m currently dipping my toe into the sound thing myself…

by [former member] | 14 Jan 2006 12:01 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Hi there m’ lovelys! Those links and your mic/sound gear advice is much appreciated. I’d be aiming to capture ‘the ambience of place’ (no pretentiousness intended) plus an unfashionable RP English accent for a little commentary… potentially for alternative public broadcasts as well as the web… in addition to sound, any thoughts on gear for super basic video clips?… i wonder what other photogs are using… cheers bros, jenny

by Jenny Lynn Walker | 14 Jan 2006 14:01 (ed. Jan 14 2006) | | Report spam→
I’ve got one of these on my wish list if you haven’t seen it: http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack2496-main.html
It’s relatively small and light a uses a compact flash card. I’ve used Sony Mini-Disc for years but think this will be my next investment. I don’t know much about sound quality but have always heard that a good mic is the crucial element just like good lenses are for our cameras. Look forward to seeing/hearing the work. Best, JLee

by James J. Lee | 14 Jan 2006 17:01 | | Report spam→
Similar to the Microtrack above is the Marantz PMD660 .  I have one of these and it is great for field audio.  What I like about the Marantz over the MicroTrack is that it has some really nice pro features.  Built-in XLR connectors with phantom power, nice audio controls with LED meters, runs on AA batteries (so you don’t get stuck without power if you are away from AC for awhile), and it has simple, lockable controls.  All this and it’s the same price as the MicroTrack.  They also make a portabrace case for the Marantz, which is nice.

by David Harpe | 14 Jan 2006 20:01 | Louisville, United States | | Report spam→
Have a look at the Media Storm site there is some good advice in the submission section.


by Bruce Meyer | 15 Jan 2006 03:01 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
You may want to look on ebay for the marantz PMD660, I just ordered mine for 330E instead of 600 in France. I haven’t received it yet, it takes ages to come from the US to France.. :(

by Fabien Penso | 15 Jan 2006 05:01 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Thank you very much! I’m still thinking about this and thanks for pointing out those earlier threads Jon, there’s a lot of what I was looking for on there. The Media Storm spec and related article that Bruce posted makes good reading, and thank you JLee and David for the tips on the Microtrack and the Marantz, and for the Minidisc option, cheers Sion. Fabien, lucky you for getting yours half price!

I’ve still got to pin down the compatibility and software/editing isues for use with Mac which isn’t totally clear to me, so any Mac users out there, if you’d could share any info., I’d be grateful. Thank you, Jenny

by Jenny Lynn Walker | 16 Jan 2006 07:01 (ed. Jan 16 2006) | | Report spam→
David and Fabien, I have my eye on a PMD660 and am considering a mic to go with it.  What mic are you using, or are you using the built-in mics?

by Jerome Pennington | 06 Feb 2006 10:02 (ed. Feb 6 2006) | | Report spam→
I just ordered a sennheiser K6P with a ME66 on it. Few people told me to get that one, to be able to record from 1 meter away. Ask me within few weeks, I’ll say what I think about it.

by Fabien Penso | 06 Feb 2006 10:02 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Fabien, why did you go with a shotgun mic?  Did you consider an omni-directional handheld mic?  I can’t decide.  I’m thinking an omni mic would be more versatile—for interviews, and for picking up ambient sounds.  However, I would have to hold it close to the speaker’s mouth during an interview.

How do you intend to use your shotgun mic?

by Jerome Pennington | 06 Feb 2006 21:02 | | Report spam→

I got a shotgun mic because I needed to interview someone old which doesn’t want to get interviewed :) I can’t just hold the mic in front of her mouth, and it’ll be much easier to set up the mic 1 meter away on a table, and wait few minutes for her to just forget about it. It’ll be a quiet room so I hope it won’t be a problem.

The K6P can hold different mic too, so I think I’ll be able to get an omni later if I need it.

I was surprised to see how expensive are the quality mic by the way…

by Fabien Penso | 07 Feb 2006 01:02 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
On the subjects of mics, the Audio Technica AT804 is a good quality affordable interview mic. Where as most interview  mics are long by design this is a bit shorter, so it is easier to carry with all the rest of my kit. Sound quality is great.

Jenny – You might want to check out the audio software Audacity – its freeware and available for a number of operating systems. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

by Martin Shakeshaft | 07 Feb 2006 02:02 (ed. Feb 7 2006) | Back home, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Well, I pulled the trigger and ordered an Azden SGM-1X which has a supercardioid pattern (front sensitivity, and rejects sounds from behind within 150 degrees of center).  I was leaning towards an omni until I learned that not all shotguns are super-directional.  Hopefully this will give me the best of both worlds, including XLR connections from end to end.  I’ll report my findings… after I’ve found them.

by Jerome Pennington | 07 Feb 2006 02:02 | | Report spam→
Hey Jerome,

Sorry I didn’t see this sooner…I’m using the ME66/K6 shotgun primarily.  Depending on the situation, I also use an Electrovoice RE50 and a good ol’ Electrovoice 635A as a backup.  The 635A is the most rugged microphone on the planet, and excellent sound as well.

I also use wireless from time to time.  I have a Sony wireless rig with a diversity receiver and a lavalier/belt pack microphone.  I also have a "cube" transmitter that sticks onto the end of any microphone.  So a good cord-free setup is to put the receiver and the recorder in the backpack and just have the handheld or the shotgun out front with the cube on the end.  The marantz has a nifty little remote control that you can get which has a simple start/stop button and a record light to let you know you’re rolling.  So you can put the recorder and wireless setup in a backpack/fanny pack, clip the remote to your belt, turn the recorder on and use the wireless out front – all that you have exposed is the microphone.  You can run some headphones out of your bag to check audio.  Very nice, low key / high confidence way to do it. 

by David Harpe | 07 Feb 2006 08:02 | Louisville, United States | | Report spam→
That Marantz looks nice……….has anyone found a good price on that? I see around $500. One thing I do remember from my video project is that 1/8th inch jacks suck.

by [former member] | 07 Feb 2006 10:02 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
I found mine on ebay for 330E in the US. I received it and it looks like there is a problem with the batteries connector, need to check that out.

by Fabien Penso | 07 Feb 2006 10:02 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Andy, it’s the latest thing out with little competition, so don’t expect anything much less than $500 for a while.  The XLR inputs sealed the deal for me.

by Jerome Pennington | 07 Feb 2006 12:02 | | Report spam→
Thanks for that link Martin!

by Jenny Lynn Walker | 08 Feb 2006 02:02 | At Home, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Jerome, how good are the onboard mics?

by [former member] | 08 Feb 2006 08:02 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
andy: shitty :) You really don’t want to use it. As soon as you even just move the gear, you can hear noise.

by Fabien Penso | 08 Feb 2006 09:02 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
So with mic its like $800……oh well, not for awhile, for me.

by [former member] | 08 Feb 2006 09:02 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
I’m sure you could find an XLR mic for cheaper, but it’ll be muuuch better than the onboard mics , for sure.

by Fabien Penso | 08 Feb 2006 09:02 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Actually it came out to $688 shipped from B&H.

The gear arrives tomorrow.  I’ll test it very soon and post samples so you can compare.

by Jerome Pennington | 08 Feb 2006 10:02 | | Report spam→

by Jerome Pennington | 09 Feb 2006 11:02 (ed. Feb 9 2006) | | Report spam→
Got the stuff today and did a little mic comparison test. You can download it here: Marantz PMD660 mic test (1.8 MB)

If you care, here is a spectrum analysis of the two tests in Audacity, merged into one WAV file above.  The upper track shows the internal mic, the lower is the Azden shotgun mic.

Fabien was right, of course: the internal mics picked up every little creak made by the case.  They are also positioned on the broad side of the unit and not on an end, designed for laying flat on a surface and picking up the entire room as opposed to directing them towards an individual speaker.

In fact, the PMD660 manual states that the internal mics are preset for "recording a meeting" and not for vocal performance.

by Jerome Pennington | 09 Feb 2006 11:02 (ed. Feb 9 2006) | | Report spam→

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Jenny Lynn Walker, Homo Sapien Jenny Lynn Walker
Homo Sapien
London , United Kingdom
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
James J. Lee, Photojournalist James J. Lee
Myrtle Beach , United States
David Harpe, Photographer David Harpe
Louisville , United States
Bruce Meyer, Photog/teacher Bruce Meyer
Tokyo , Japan
Fabien Penso, Software Architect Fabien Penso
Software Architect
Paris , France
Jerome Pennington, photographer, sushi snob Jerome Pennington
photographer, sushi snob
(pointing & shooting since 1987)
Santa Clarita, Ca , United States
Martin Shakeshaft, Photojournalist Martin Shakeshaft
Barcelona , Spain


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