Recorders: Starting an Intense Doc about a Concert Photographer

Discussion in 'Movi Technical' started by John Woody, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. John Woody

    John Woody Member

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    Hello Movi Shooters: I need help, and above all... a sense of collaborative assistance! I know there's a long thread on sound recording... but I'm getting lost in it with all the information. So here it goes...
    For years I have really enjoyed working back and front stage, pit shooting at music concerts. Many of my photog friends are an eclectic group of creative image makers at numerous concerts I attend. It's more of hobby for me and in some cases my images are used by promoters and trade press. I have always been intrigued by the intensity of capturing that one great shot of a musician and sharing if not for a split second... the greatness of live music. Long story short (I hope!)...
    I'm embracing a year journey following one of the best concert photogs. A great image maker and a great soul always there sharing and helping others get their shots. I will be with this person at over 8 major blues, jazz, rock, bluegrass, and country concerts including the New Orleans Jazz Festival. On the road, in cheap hotels, bedding at friends houses, eating, partying, and back processing his captures. I will be interviewing other photogs, great musicians, promoters, and concert attendees. I will be the only crew member... planning, shooting, and editing (just the way I like it).
    The kicker.. for many reason, too long to cover, I will shoot the entire piece using my Movi and an iPhone X
    (possibly the Max).
    Been looking at external sound recorders... don't want to spend an inordinate amount of my retirement funds. I have already some very decent wireless mic systems, light kits, and other support equipment. So... want to chime in and help me with what you think I should use for sound recording? Shooting in a concert pit the concert is one thing... but concentrating on how a photographer does it in the pit is another! Thanks for any suggestions.

    John M. Woody
    Apple Distinguished Educator
    https://vimeo.com/channels/iedithd/179049011
     

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  2. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    You might find it helpful to have a look at Jacob Bricca's new book - Documentary Editing: Principles & Practice - and work backwards to your gear needs: https://www.amazon.com/Documentary-...0761&s=Kindle+Store&sr=1-1-catcorr&ref=sr_1_1

    Sven Pape (This Guy Edits) has just uploaded an interview with the editor of the film The Square which is also pretty interesting, particularly on organisational and selection issues. The Square was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary, and won three Emmys, including for Editing:

     
    #2 Rorick Edge, Sep 11, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  3. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    John, as a matter of curiosity, what are you going to do about copyright in the music that you'll wind up recording? If it's going to be a "bootleg" video, do you know what the chances are of a copyright takedown if you upload the finished documentary to YouTube or Vimeo?
     
    #3 Rorick Edge, Sep 11, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  4. John Woody

    John Woody Member

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    I don’t produce bootleg videos. If I don’t get rights... I don’t use that shot. The actual concert footage is secondary to the storyline. My subject matter knows the musicians. Clearance is critical. I work closely with bands and their agents. It’s at the top of my pre-planning list.
    John
     
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  5. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    I think that the main choices for an external recorder are a Zoom F series or a Sound Devices MixPre, specific model depending on how many inputs you want. If you want something rugged, you can't beat a standard Sound Devices field recorder, but these are very expensive even used.

    You might also have a look at the Lectrosonics Portable Digital Recorder. Lectrosonics has just released a two input version alongside the single input version that I have. These will power a lavalier, but need a small phantom power box for condensers. Tascam also makes recorders that fit in a pocket, but I haven't used them.

    DPA's d:vice is less expensive and even more portable than the Lectrosonics, has two inputs and will drive condensers, but it only works with DPA microphones. It records to an iPhone via the Lightning port, either the phone that you are filming with or a spare. I think that the d:vice could be used to do most if not all of this project. However, DPA microphones, especially the condensers, are expensive.

    I'd be looking for a way to record timecode to your iPhone camera. If there's a way to do this, I'd seriously consider an external sound recorder that has timecode capability. However, note that even if this can be done, the phone will pair only with one Bluetooth device at a time. This means either the Movi app or the timecode generator, but not both at once. Anyway, I'd give Trew, Gotham or Location Sound a call to see if they know how to do it. I'd also call TentacleSync, which has been working on iPhone timecode, directly. Sennheiser's new Memory Mic/Recorder can be used to sync time of day (not crystal) timecode to a phone without Bluetooth, but your subject will look like he's wearing a pager on his collar. Also, the Memory Mic's sound is OK, but nothing to write home about.

    Personally, I would do the sound recording wired. I think that wireless in these circumstances is just looking for headaches.

    I would also work on the premise that there will be a lot of sound replacement. For example, important sounds, such as a shutter going off, are likely to get lost in the ambience. One of the first things that I'd do is record, in a very quiet room, every sound that your photographer subject's gear makes. And during the project, I'd be getting lots of room tone ("atmos" for any U.K. readers of this).

    Finally, and realising that you've made up your mind, I want to say that I would not make this film with an iPhone. For me, a phone has too many limitations, and there are lots of reasonably inexpensive alternatives that will do a better job with less frustration.
     
    #5 Rorick Edge, Sep 11, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
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  6. John Woody

    John Woody Member

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    Thanks Rorick.
    JW
     
  7. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Hi John,

    Having canvassed some options above, and recognising that you don't want to break the bank, I think that I would go with the Sound Devices MixPre 3 (three mike inputs) or, if you really need four mike inputs, the MixPre 6. I had a chance to compare these to the Zoom F4 recently. The Sound Devices recorders are built better, the limiter is significantly better (which I think is important given the nature of your project; see the 28:54 mark of the video below), the controls are backlit (helpful if you are working in low light conditions), and I was struck by how much more compact the MixPre 3 is than the Zoom F4. Also, while I have never dealt with Zoom, I know from experience that Sound Devices support is excellent. For you, it's also relatively local, Sound Devices being headquartered in Wisconsin. One thing I'd mention... If you power one of these Sound Devices recorders with AA batteries (there are a few power options), you have got to use rechargeable AAs to get good recording time from a charge. For whatever reason, standard AAs drain much faster.

    That said, the Zoom F4 is currently $200 cheaper than the MixPre 3 ($450 at B&H with an instant rebate vs $650) and, if you can make it work with an iPhone, has built-in timecode. It would be a mistake to see this as the beginning of price competition on these products. It's unlikely that Sound Devices will compete with Zoom on price. Indeed, if the MixPre series sells well, Sound Devices may well increase the price, as it did about four years ago with the USBPre 2 computer/audio interface, the price of which went from about $650 to about $850 overnight. I was lucky to purchase mine before the $200 price hike.

    You might find it useful to watch this thorough comparison:



    Good luck with the project.
     
    #7 Rorick Edge, Sep 11, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  8. John Woody

    John Woody Member

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    Great info Rorick. Really appreciate it.Trying to get my first backstage credentials for The Festy... really sweet festival in the mountains/hills of Virginia.
    John
     
  9. John Woody

    John Woody Member

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    Quick Question Rorick... triggering an external audio recorder when shooting with an iPhone X? Any observations?
    John
     
  10. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Hi John,

    Sound Devices has a free app called Wingman that pairs with the MixPre recorders via Bluetooth and can be used, among other purposes, to start and stop recording. Info here: https://www.sounddevices.com/products/recorders/mixpre-6/wingman The Zoom F4 does not have Bluetooth and therefore does not offer this feature.

    Also, the MixPre recorders can easily be carried on your shoulder, around your neck or in a small bag, and in the case of the MixPre 3 on a belt. Obviously, in these cases it's easiest to just press the record/stop buttons. Have a look at this photo of the MixPre 3 front panel:

    MixPre-3(Face)-TurnedOn.jpg

    The posts on the extreme left and right are for a carry strap, which is inserted between the post(s) and the body of the recorder. This is a standard feature of Sound Devices recorders, which I should note Zoom has incorporated in its F-series. I carry a Sound Devices 702T this way regularly, running a strap to one of the two posts. Very handy, and dispenses with the weight and bulk of a bag when I don't need one. I had a local sound house make me a couple of 1.5m/5' microphone XLR cables, which are very handy when I carry the recorder this way, or when I otherwise don't need the more common 3m/10' or 4.5m/15' cables.

    Perhaps worth noting... For monitoring, I used to use Sony's ubiquitous MDR-7506 headphones. Recently, I changed to Sennheiser's HD 25. I like the HD 25s' short 1.2m/4' straight (not coiled) cable and right angle (rather than straight) jack plug. The cable connects to the headphones' right ear cup (usually it's the left). This is very convenient with both the MixPre and Zoom F-series recorders, which have their headphones output jack on the right side panel. I talked about the Sony and Sennheiser headphones in more detail in this thread: https://forum.freeflysystems.com/in...g-headphones-to-record-sound-for-video.12691/
     
    #10 Rorick Edge, Sep 14, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  11. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Hi John,

    Don't know whether you'll see this, but a few days ago I purchased a MixPre myself. I've been thinking about a MixPre or Zoom F-4 for some time, and it came down to the MixPre-6 (four mike inputs) or MixPre-3 (three mike inputs). Having decided that I'm not going to pursue virtual reality 360 video/Ambisonic sound recording, which requires four mike inputs, I settled on the MixPre-3.

    I've had the recorder for a few days now and I have nothing but good things to say about it. It's great as a recorder, as a mixer and as a USB computer/audio interface. Also, I've discovered that the Wingman app is really useful, for data entry and monitoring reasons, even if one is not recording remotely.

    I was able to directly compare the MixPre and the Zoom F-4. I think that the Zoom is a good piece of gear, but the MixPre is built better, it's much more compact, it has important features that the Zoom lacks and I have a high degree of confidence in Sound Devices's commitment to product and customer support. For me, these make up the US$200 price difference.

    This Jonathan Morrison video sums up my view:



    I hope to hear about your project as it progresses.
     
    #11 Rorick Edge, Sep 30, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  12. John Woody

    John Woody Member

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    Thanks Rorick for the info. I’m starting this Friday to shoot for three days my first photographer (really a test shoot) Friend let me use his Tascam D-40 and have had pretty good success. I’ll report how this test shoot worked out. Heres my rig...
     

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  13. Rorick Edge

    Rorick Edge Active Member

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    Cool. Always great to have friends who will lend you gear. If I recall, you have the receiver in the photo set up for a lavalier or a shotgun. Interesting that the Hoodie is stable supporting two devices, the receiver above and the recorder to the side.

    I look forward to learning how it goes.
     
    #13 Rorick Edge, Oct 1, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  14. Jacob Bricca

    Jacob Bricca New Member

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    Thanks for mentioning my book. If you've got any questions about doc editing that I might be able to help with send them my way by replying to this message.

    --Jacob Bricca


     
  15. Ralph Nudo

    Ralph Nudo New Member

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    The Zoom h1n is what I use and it's really been solid. Compact, lightweight, great stereo separation. I get about a half hour of recording time at the highest sampling rate. You can get much more record time with lower settings. I use FCPX for editing, and synching sound and video hasn't been a problem.
     

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