My TV station’s GM has us using theses freakin’ Zaxcom self-contained audio recorders. They always record way too low, have to be converted to WAV for use, I’m not thrilled with them. Has anyone used them, and what you think of them. Also, what are others using for professional audio recording if you’re not recording directly to the camera?
We use a few vintage recorders such as a Marantz 2 track (no longer available new) and have also recently added a Tascam 60D mkII audio recorder. The Tascam unit is easy to set up on the fly, has a slate tone, adjustable safety channel and phantom voltage and mounts directly to most of our DSLR rigs and ENG style rigs. Has (2) XLR inputs and a stereo mini jack for CH 3 and 4. Lot's of level, EQ and mix control. Records to SD card. It works well with our K-Tec booms and is pretty light weight. Stereo recordings need to be separated to dual mono using Tascam's free PolyMono convert app. tascam.com/product/dr-60dmkii/
For mic's we primarily use a variety of Sennheiser (evolution wireless) and RODE NTG2 and RODE VideoMic Pro PLUS.
Creating history....one edit at a time !
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Not sure what Zaxcom you have, but we try to avoid using bodypack recorders. They usually can't be monitored, plus managing the data in a bunch of multi-subject interviews is complex. By contrast we use Sennheiser G3 lavs backed up by a boom-operated shotgun, all recorded to a single iXML-tagged polyphonic wav file by a Zoom F8 or Sound Devices MixPre-6. Details below.
The expensive MKH-416 was used by Laura Poitras to shoot the Oscar-winning documentary Citizen Four. However in our testing we can't tell much difference between the MKH-416 and the less-expensive MKE-600.
Or a Sound Devices MixPre-6: www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1357950-R..._mixpre_6_audio.html The Sound Devices recorders have high-speed analog limiters which can avoid clipping without resorting to dual-level recording. Both Sound Devices and Zoom F8 record to polyphonic wav files and tag each channel with iXML. This greatly facilitates handing the data within FCPX.
We have a dedicated field audio technician on each interview team running the F8 and Sound Devices recorders. Usually they are also the boom operator. They wear headphones and constantly monitor all channels for problems. Years ago we recorded to the cameras but it was a big improvement when we started using a dedicated field audio tech and multi-channel recorder. Even for a one-person interview, we try to use both wireless lav and boom-operated shotgun, recorded by the F8 or MixPre-6 and managed by the field audio tech. Audio is important and this prevents lots of problems.
We also have an inexpensive FM transmitter on the output of the F8 or MixPre-6 recorders, and the camera operators and director wear FM receiver ear pieces so they can hear the dialog. Without these, in a high noise field environment we can't hear what's going on. We often shoot interviews with 200mm lenses so as not to be "in the face" of the subject, so we're pretty far back.