Canon XL1 audio : LUSENET : Shooting DV Films : One Thread

Will be shooting an independent feature with the Canon XL1. We plan on using a boom microphone for the majority of the shoot. Is it necessary, recommended, etc. to record audio on a separate DAT recorder? Is it convenient to use a boom mic with the XL1? What are the pros and cons of using/not using a separate DAT recorder with the XL1? Any knowledge and suggestions on this topic are greatly appreciated.

-- J. Prohaska (, February 28, 1999


If you do use the XL1 then odds are you'll want to get the MA100 adapter to handle XLR audio in. The MA100 doesn't provide phantom power, so mics will need to have their own power source.

I use a Sennheiser K6/ME66 combination with my XL1 and have been very happy with the results.

-- John Windmueller (, February 28, 1999.

Using a DAT tape while filming with the XL-1 will prove to be a waste of a perfectly good feature on the camera itself. My advice: ditch the DAT (besides, you dont want to have to be worrying about the hassles of sound sync), get an XLR adaptor, and use a mic which doesnt require phantom power. The sound on the XL-1 is incredible (at 16bit) but is completely uneccesary when it comes to sound. Using the 12bit recording option is just fine, plus it gives you all four channels to work with. Plug in your mic, and that's all there is to it, audio and video all in one place (plus it is synced). You'll also be savin' a few bucks ove those expensive DAT recorders and tapes.

-- Chris Penney (, March 05, 1999.

No Chris you are incorrect, A seperate dat will yeild better audio for a feature lenght dv project, regardless of timecode or not for many different reasons. Let's start with control over the audio. It's impossible for the camera operater to do while filmming or had not you noticed? Mikes have a limmited working distance measured in feet. And they need to be on axis to sound right. I'm a production sound mixer with many Independent features to my credit. If you have any questions email me, and stop spreading misinformation around, your knowledge of production sound is uniformed, to say th

-- Noise boy (, March 18, 1999.

Here's how I would set it up. Use the MA100 so you can plus an XLR cable into the camera. Plug the XLR cable from the MA100 into an audio mixer's output connector so that your sound person can operate independently from you camera person. Run XLR cable(s) from the mixer's input connectors to the appropriate microphone(s). This way you can use good microphones, a separate audio mixer and sound person, still record your audio tracks on the DV tape and get synch with your video, and not spend money on a DAT recorder you don't need.

-- Bryan Morris (, March 18, 1999.

If I need the audio on another device for convenience etc. I use a GVc300, full Dat level of audio, but full Timecode and firewire transfer. John Ferrick

-- John Ferrick (, April 20, 1999.

I've recently used radio mikes with a camera mounted receiver (channels 1&2) in combination with a boom plugged into the XLR jacks of the adaptor. Worked very well.

For extreme long lens shots, and situations where radios picked up too much interference, I've had success with the Sony Mini-Disc.

Of course, this ignores timecode concerns. I simply synched on my Non- Linear editor and output my final from that.

I'd like to add that sound is almost more important that picture quality on DV films, and is often slighted. If you can afford going DAT with a great sound crew, do it. If you're going really low budget with student crews.... well, I've seen films killed by unskilled sound people using DAT with boom and mixer. It's a tough job to do well. To my way of thinking, radios into the camera + boom into the XLR adaptor, is the most forgiving and gives the best result (but be sure to rehearse for sound only so your operator can check the levels).

-- Jim Parriott

-- Jim Parriott (, July 08, 1999.

I'm a cameraman and so don't really concern myself with sound but having shot 2 features on an XL1, my opinion is that Canons XLR adapter is a waste of money. All you need is a rca to xlr adapter, and one of those costs a lot less than Canons funky little mess. If possible get a professional sound recordist with their own mixer. Get him to give you tone at -20db. Set the manual audio on the camera to that level and close the door. Let him then give you his mix and put it straight onto tape. For the sake of your nerves you might like to back it up on minidisc but really the 16bit audio on the tape is just great if it's recorded properly. And such tiny tapes! Good luck with your project.

-- Mark Waldron (, December 14, 1999.

as a pro sound engineer, not a video producer who also owns an XL1s, i can tell you there is no advantage to using a DAT or nagra, when recording in the stereo 16bit mode. digital is digital and the quality is the same; there are extremely small differences in the analogue to digital converter that all systems require. (all sound starts off as analog and must be converted to digital) using an external capture source such as a DAT requires your camcorder to be genlocked to the audio recorder which is a hassel, while using the built in recorder in the camera is of course recorded in perfect sync, real time. i have also recorded the XL1s using all 4 tracks which can be mixed down separately, with slightly less quality, but still good results. the built in stereo mic is great for general or ambient sound, (it picks up everything) and produces excellent results when used in conjunction with a dry direct feed from an audio mixer which is captured on tracks 3&4. an example of this is recording a concert using tracks 1&2 for stereo mic (ambient sound) and 3&4 being fed from the house audio system. in a similar fashion you can close mic or boom mic speaker(s) while again using the built in mic for ambient sound. while the built in mic lacks articulation it is excellent for background sound as i simulates the spatial qualities of the human ear.

-- keith (, July 12, 2002.

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