The microphones built into portable digital recorders typically sound pretty good, and if you use a recorder to capture the sound for a DSLR video shoot, you may be tempted to mount the recorder directly on top of your camera and use it as an on-camera mic. But here’s the problem…
Plugging the headphone output of the recorder into the mic input on the camera won’t sound good. The mic input on a DSLR needs a mic-level audio signal, and the headphone output on the portable digital recorder is line-level. Mic-level signals are very low, and line-level signals are very loud. If you just used a normal 1/8″ to 1/8″ mini-plug cable to connect the two, you’re likely going to get a nasty sounding distorted recording. What you need is an 1/8″ to 1/8″ cable with a built-in -25dB attenuator. And wouldn’t you know it… such a thing exists. Continue reading Using a Zoom H4n as an On-Camera DSLR Mic
Here’s the situation: you or someone you know is a photography geek, it’s the holiday season, and the person in question needs a gift. What do you do? Do you buy them that full-frame DSLR they’ve been dreaming about all year? Hell no! I decided to make this list of five affordable gifts for photographers to help you out. It’s all stuff you can afford and crap that they will love. Continue reading Gifts for Photonerds (Photo Dork Edition)
It’s going to happen to you in the next few days and weeks. Your friends and family will unexpectedly corner you and ask you what gifts you want for the holidays. Despite the fact that you spend much of the year dreaming about buying production equipment, you will draw completely blank. Your loved ones will rightfully be annoyed when you answer “I don’t know,” because they know you dream about gear all day. Their problem is that they don’t know the first thing about gear you desire. It’s all a bunch of gobble-dee-gook to them. You’ve got to be prepared for this question, otherwise you’ll end up with a pair of cassette tape cufflinks this year. Continue reading Gifts for Sound Freaks (Audio Nerd Edition)
If you’ve been reading my blog, you may have me pegged as an Apple fanboy. Sure, I own an iPhone, three Mac computers, and I even have the new Apple TV (a review is on the way). But I can assure you, even though I poo-pooed Windows 7 in my HP Envy review, I am not a blind Apple fanatic.
You’ve heard it before from others, but I’ll say it again: I just appreciate well-made products that make me feel like they’re worth the money I paid for them. So far I’ve had pretty good luck with Apple. Well, until recently.
For the past week and a half my six month old MacBook Pro has been malfunctioning. Here are the symptoms: If there are empty fields on a screen (such as Google’s search field) it will suddenly start filling them up with square box characters. Out of nowhere it starts making “bomping” noises. Bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp bomp. It’s annoying. Worst of all, sometimes drop down menus become unusable. Continue reading It Just Doesn’t Work
When I was making the Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010, I had a lot of trouble properly lighting my on-camera talent. Even though I own three Arri 650plus lights, it was still really difficult to keep light on the presenter’s face, as she stepped forward and backward across the room, testing the range of each microphone. The whole time I was setting up I was thinking… Man, if I only had one more little light to stick somewhere…
I’ve spent much of the past year writing posts for the B&H’s Insights blog, and as much as I love the written word, I’m just as smitten with visual end of the spectrum.
Writing for a such a well known company certainly has its challenges. You don’t want to sound boring, but at the same time you need to respect the conservative angle required to run a successful business. So, when I felt something that I couldn’t accurately or appropriately express in words, I often tried to communicate it with the thumbnails of my blog posts. Continue reading My Name is Sam, and I Love Thumbnails
When I think about backing up my work, I’m always reminded of a Navy Seals saying:
“One is none and two is one.”
Ain’t that the truth? If you only have one microphone in the field and it breaks, then you have none. If you brought two, then you have one. Deep down inside, I think we all need to think like the Navy Seals, no matter how dainty our work can be.
This is the question that every gear-obsessed dork must ask themselves. There are a few things that the MKE 400 does really well, but it isn’t the silver bullet to all of your audio-for-video needs. Silver bullets do not exist. Don’t let the marketing behind watered-down domestic beer fool you. Continue reading More thoughts on the Sennheiser MKE 400
Step 1) Pull your hair out and jump out the window
Step 2) Wait until December
I’ve been paying close attention to the HD video-enabled DSLR market for the past couple of years. I need to buy a new video camera, and these photo/video hybrids appeal to me more than traditional camcorders. However, after all of the time I’ve spent scrutinizing my options, I’ve decided that pulling the trigger before December is a really bad idea. Continue reading How to Choose an HD Video-Enabled DSLR in 2010
I tested out seven different microphones on a Nikon D300s shooting 720p 24p HD video. I pitted consumer microphones with mini-plug connectors against professional location microphones going through a juicedLink DT454 adapter. These are the microphones involved in the test: