You are here

Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby notuno » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:00 pm

Hi everybody. I shoot a lot of videos of my daughter or myself playing violin or guitar. So far my setup was to record video with a Panasonic Lumix GX85 (that has no mic input) and audio in stereo with a Zoom H4n pro in standalone mode, using the internal mics of the Zoom. I then sync video and audio with iMovie (occasionally I first process the audio, essentially adding reverb, in Audacity).

I can now pick up another camera (Panasonic Lumix G6) for a steal. This has mic input and I'm wondering if I can obtain equal or better audio from a mic connected to the camera, bypassing the Zoom. The advantage is that I would have video and audio already in sync, at least for quick videos. What mic would you recommend for this use, below 200 Euros?
notuno
Poster
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:28 pm

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:03 pm

Might be worth looking at the Rode Videomic range. I doubt it will be better* than the Zoom, but it could be a lot more convenient and that's worth a lot sometimes.

* I've used the Zoom a lot for video work but we only just bought a videomic before lock down and I never got chance to play around with it. :(
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11256
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby Tim Gillett » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:03 pm

I have similar Lumix cameras. You may need to get into the camera's menu and adjust the record level for best results.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2212
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby notuno » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:35 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:I have similar Lumix cameras. You may need to get into the camera's menu and adjust the record level for best results.

The Zoom has also a stereo jack output. Does it make sense to sent this output to the camera?

Unrelated question (I may have asked this already in another post but I don't remember): I sometimes record into Audacity using the Zoom as audio interface, with its own internal mics. Do you think the sound quality will be worse than recording onboard the Zoom, and if so why? I know I could make some tests...
notuno
Poster
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:28 pm

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:32 pm

notuno wrote:The Zoom has also a stereo jack output. Does it make sense to sent this output to the camera?
The advantage of this is you're getting your audio sync'd directly with your video. The disadvantage is you're going through the D/A and headphone amp on the zoom, then into the mic-pre in the camera and the A/D again. The conversion process probably won't make much difference but the general in and out can. I've found it's no problem for basic voice work but for anything serious I'd just keep the files separate and sync afterwards.

notuno wrote:Unrelated question (I may have asked this already in another post but I don't remember): I sometimes record into Audacity using the Zoom as audio interface, with its own internal mics. Do you think the sound quality will be worse than recording onboard the Zoom, and if so why? I know I could make some tests...
Nope, the sound quality will be same if you record to Audacity or if you record to the SD card.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11256
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:08 pm

I'm guessing you are recording in an untreated domestic environment? If so the freedom to position the mic for best balance of direct and reflected sound (often by reducing the reflected sound to an absolute minimum) is well worth the loss of convenience that an 'on the camera' mic like the Rode Videomics affords. For recording music, with to without video, the priority IMHO should be to achieve the best possible audio recording, an on the camera mic is rarely going to provide that.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13348
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby notuno » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:07 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I'm guessing you are recording in an untreated domestic environment? If so the freedom to position the mic for best balance of direct and reflected sound (often by reducing the reflected sound to an absolute minimum) is well worth the loss of convenience that an 'on the camera' mic like the Rode Videomics affords. For recording music, with to without video, the priority IMHO should be to achieve the best possible audio recording, an on the camera mic is rarely going to provide that.

Yes, it's mostly untreated rooms, mostly at home and sometimes in other venues. At home I would probably use a mic stand and put the camera on a tripod, for optimal placement as you say and because I don't want the mic to pick up the camera sound. I'd put the mic at less than 1m from the player, and the camera a bit further away (that's what I do with my current setting), so with a mic cable of about 1 - 1.5m I'd be fine. Would this work? If so which mic would you recommend?

Outside the home I would do the same, if possible. I see two cases in which this would not be possible: 1) the camera needs to be far (if the player is on a stage and I can't get close), then if possible I'd put the Zoom close to the stage; 2) for quick shots or if I don't have the mic stand, I can mount the Zoom (or the mic) on the camera.
notuno
Poster
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:28 pm

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:33 pm

My feeling is that you would be better getting one or two decent mics for the Zoom, Line Audio seem to get a lot of love in here, the quality and versatility will probably be better than you could possibly get with direct to the camera mics. It's not for nothing that 90% of pro cameramen work with a sound guy and a separate recorder/mixer.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13348
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby CS70 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:38 pm

notuno wrote:I can now pick up another camera (Panasonic Lumix G6) for a steal. This has mic input and I'm wondering if I can obtain equal or better audio from a mic connected to the camera, bypassing the Zoom. The advantage is that I would have video and audio already in sync, at least for quick videos. What mic would you recommend for this use, below 200 Euros?

It's a good idea - I've used the G6 in anger a lot in its time, and the preamp and the A/D converter are perfectly ok.

As usual, the room and the player position and the mic position in it are far more critical than preamp and conversion.

The only issue is that the plug is 2.5mm, which isn't standard at all. You need to find a converter plug from 3.5mm to 2.5mm, and if you find a 90 degree one it's even better (but not mandatory).

If you want to use an external studio mic which requires phantom power, there is an external adaptor, but it's quite expensive (unless you find a bargain in the used market, as I did).

An alternative is to use an external phantom power source, or chose a mic that can be run from a battery (like the Røde NT3 for example). You find inline phantom power supplies from companies like JTS which work fine and don't cost a lot.

Not sure how the audio tracks come out that way (as I got the adapter), it may be that the mono recording will appear in only one of the stereo tracks - no big deal in that case to make a single mono track in post. Obviously you can also pick up a stereo mic which will produce a stereo output - some vintage Japanese ones can be real nice if you get your hands on one.

Alternatively, a mic that can work in omni mode can give a more natural sound but not sure how many budget ones exist.

Of course you have to budget in a mic stand, cable and a clip/shockmount for the mic, but these usually can be found cheaply especially if you browse the used market.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6066
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby notuno » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:08 am

Sam Spoons wrote:My feeling is that you would be better getting one or two decent mics for the Zoom, Line Audio seem to get a lot of love in here, the quality and versatility will probably be better than you could possibly get with direct to the camera mics. It's not for nothing that 90% of pro cameramen work with a sound guy and a separate recorder/mixer.

Eventually, I may have to go the way you say for the videos that I put on youtube. I'm holding off for that, as it adds another layer of complexity. For example, is it better to use one mic or two as a stereo pair?

Right now I'm thinking of a rig for quick videos, for the convenience of not having to sync. Maybe I can buy a mic now with both uses in mind?
notuno
Poster
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:28 pm

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby notuno » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:12 am

CS70 wrote:
It's a good idea - I've used the G6 in anger a lot in its time, and the preamp and the A/D converter are perfectly ok.

As usual, the room and the player position and the mic position in it are far more critical than preamp and conversion.

The only issue is that the plug is 2.5mm, which isn't standard at all. You need to find a converter plug from 3.5mm to 2.5mm, and if you find a 90 degree one it's even better (but not mandatory).

If you want to use an external studio mic which requires phantom power, there is an external adaptor, but it's quite expensive (unless you find a bargain in the used market, as I did).

An alternative is to use an external phantom power source, or chose a mic that can be run from a battery (like the Røde NT3 for example). You find inline phantom power supplies from companies like JTS which work fine and don't cost a lot.

Not sure how the audio tracks come out that way (as I got the adapter), it may be that the mono recording will appear in only one of the stereo tracks - no big deal in that case to make a single mono track in post. Obviously you can also pick up a stereo mic which will produce a stereo output - some vintage Japanese ones can be real nice if you get your hands on one.

Alternatively, a mic that can work in omni mode can give a more natural sound but not sure how many budget ones exist.

Of course you have to budget in a mic stand, cable and a clip/shockmount for the mic, but these usually can be found cheaply especially if you browse the used market.

Thanks. Pardon my ignorance, what is the difference between an "external adaptor" for phantom power and an "external phantom power source"? Do you know any models of either that I can look up?
notuno
Poster
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:28 pm

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby CS70 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:43 am

The “adapter” is a Panasonic product that mounts on the top of the camera and allows you to connect an XLR mic directly. See https://static.bhphoto.com/images/image ... 304877.jpg

An external phantom power source is often a box with XLR cable in/cable out., but there are inline supplies that look like this and are a little less cumbersome when you are shooting video with small, light cameras as the MFTs...

Edit: or ar least I think I remembered seeing some but a quick search doesn’t bring up many, so maybe you have to go for a little more cumbersome box ( but still cheaper than the Panasonic adapter)
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6066
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:25 am

CS70 wrote:The “adapter” is a Panasonic product that mounts on the top of the camera and allows you to connect an XLR mic directly. See https://static.bhphoto.com/images/image ... 304877.jpg ...

This appears to only work with the GH5.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2212
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby CS70 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:31 am

Tim Gillett wrote:
CS70 wrote:The “adapter” is a Panasonic product that mounts on the top of the camera and allows you to connect an XLR mic directly. See https://static.bhphoto.com/images/image ... 304877.jpg ...

This appears to only work with the GH5.

Thank you. I may well be confusing it, it’s been a long time since the G6.

Then phantom power box it is, with 3.5mm/2.5 mm stereo adapter.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6066
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Which mic for recording violin straight into camera?

Postby notuno » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:55 pm

CS70 wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:
CS70 wrote:The “adapter” is a Panasonic product that mounts on the top of the camera and allows you to connect an XLR mic directly. See https://static.bhphoto.com/images/image ... 304877.jpg ...

This appears to only work with the GH5.

Thank you. I may well be confusing it, it’s been a long time since the G6.

Then phantom power box it is, with 3.5mm/2.5 mm stereo adapter.

Thank you both. Are you referring to a battery powered box? I found the "Saramonic Smartrig" 2-channel box for example that has two XLR inputs and a 3.5mm output.

Or are you referring to boxes powered by the camera itself, or in some other way?

Another problem is where do I attach the box, to the mic stand? To the tripod?

Sorry for the naive questions.
notuno
Poster
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:28 pm

Next