By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
One of the cool things about YouTube is that you can find all kinds of filmmakers testing out their gear to see what combinations will work best for their projects. And one such test that came out this week is from a DSLR filmmaker who got a surprising result when testing in-camera audio to an external recording option. But the key is what microphone you use.
The test comes from DSLR filmmaker Dave Dugdale, who’s YouTube channel is called Learning DSLR Video. Dave has been featured a few times on doddle because he’s always asking himself what equipment and combinations work best for your project? And this time is no different as Dave was testing out some of Adobe Audition’s new analytical tools for improving your audio, and he discovered some very interesting results. Essentially, what Dave did was connect a Rode VideoMic Pro to his Canon 5D Mk. III to record some audio in camera. Then, he took a Tascam DR60D 4 Channel Linear PCM recorder and hooked the mic into that to record a separate audio channel.
Dave noted that the Rode Video Mic has two different gain settings, which he set for =20dB to get the hottest signal he could. Then he noted that the Tascam had two separate settings as well – low and high. He also set his 5D Mk. III as one click above, to get a “line level,” input that he could bring up in post. He then recorded with both configurations to measure the noise level. He recorded several tests using “pink” noise and the noise floor. The 5D Mk. III got a -51 noise floor, which was about equal to the $200 Tascam recorder. Then, he altered the camera and the mic, buy bringing the audio 1/3 of the way up – or 26 steps, and then setting the mic to zero dB. The result on that case is an obvious audible hiss. But the noise level is between -43 and -45.
Digging into the audio analytics of Adobe Audition, Dave noted that overall, the 5D Mk. III performed equal or better in terms of noise than recording to an external recorder with a pre-amp. “So, in terms of noise, they’re pretty much the same, and the data from Audition seems to support that,” says Dugdale. “So why would you ever record for speech to (an external recorder) when you can go straight to the camera and get the same results?” Good question.
The point that Dave wanted to make is that in terms of managing assets while recording speech, can add far more time with a separate recorder that has to import and sync the assets during post. And when you’re shooting on a shoestring, with a one man crew, the importance of streamlining your workflow makes the choice and easy one. But it all comes down to having a good mic, and setting it right.