Gifts for Sound Freaks (Audio Nerd Edition)

Cassette Tape CufflinksIt’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)

It Just Doesn’t Work

Yucky Snow LeopardIf 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

Thoughts on the Z96 On-Camera (and Off-Camera) LED Light

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 decided to buy an on-camera light. This, of course, meant that I spent several hours, days, even weeks researching the best option (for the least amount of money). Picking an on-camera light wasn’t as simple as I had hoped, but I eventually zeroed in on the Z96. Continue reading Thoughts on the Z96 On-Camera (and Off-Camera) LED Light

My Name is Sam, and I Love Thumbnails

Schoeps CMIT Rocket

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.

Technical Pro Speakers

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

Staying Alive & Choosing an External Drive

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.

So the next time you’re shooting a cupcake baking competition, you’ll have to look past all of that fluffy icing and the colorful jimmies, and think like a soldier. Your mission is to bring the proper tools and to get the job done. One is none, two is one. Continue reading Staying Alive & Choosing an External Drive

More thoughts on the Sennheiser MKE 400

Which is more valuable:

  1. The Sennheiser MKE 400 mini-shotgun mic
  2. $200 in your pocket?

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

How to Choose an HD Video-Enabled DSLR in 2010

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

The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 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:

Continue reading The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010

Setting Up an Audio Technica Pro-24CM with a Windtech MM1 on an HD DSLR

The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010 post is almost here! In the meantime, here’s a video about setting up the Audio Technica Pro-24Cm stereo microphone on an HD DSLR, using the WindTech MM1 softie:

I wrote about using the Pro-24Cm with the Windtech MM1 extensively in my blog post at B&H Insights entitled Why and When to Use a Stereo Microphone on a Camera. Some people who read that article and went out and bought the Pro-24CM and the Windtech MM1 complained that the windscreen didn’t fit on the microphone very well. So I made this video to show you how easy it is to use these two products together.

Keep an eye out for The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010 post! It should be going online any day now. You’re going to get to hear the Pro24-Cm in action along side several other consumer and professional microphones. Check back often, or better yet, subscribe to my RSS feed.

Setting Up a Rode Stereo VideoMic on an HD DSLR

The following video is the first in a series of videos leading up to The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010. What the heck is that, you ask? Well, I wanted to test out all of the most popular on-camera microphones that are used with DSLR cameras, so I could hear them and decide which one I liked best. I wanted to hear how good they sounded compared to a DSLR with a juicedLink adapter and a professional mic. Welp, that’s exactly what I did! I documented the whole thing so I could share my findings with you.

In this first video, I open up a new Rode Stereo VideoMic. I explain all of the switches on the mic itself, and explain when you should use the Rode Stereo VideoMic — and when it would be better to use the shotgun-style Rode VideoMic. Check it out:

If you have any questions about this mic, I encourage you to post it in the comments section below.

Stay tuned for more posts like this, and then the big momma of them all…. THE GREAT ON-CAMERA MIC SHOOTOUT 2010! It. Will. Blow. Your. Mind.