Category

Video

Rebel T2i: My Audio Setup

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It’s been about a month and a half since I got my Canon T2i. About two weeks after getting it, I took off to Ethiopia to do some filming. In the short time between getting the camera and leaving for Ethiopia I had to scramble to put together an audio solution for the camera that I thought was acceptable (one of my initial tests).

It took quite a bit of time reading reviews, testing solutions, and looking at my budget before I decided what route to take. Take a look.
Rebel T2i Audio Gear

Microphone: Rode NTG-2

I mentioned this mic before in my audio tests, but the reason that I went with the Røde NTG-2 is because it was sub-$300 and battery or phantom powered. The battery part is important if you aren’t using a recording device that supports phantom power.

When there wasn’t critical dialogue or great sound, I would just plug the mic directly into the camera with an XLR to 1/8″ (with a line-in-transformer). This provided decent enough audio if I wasn’t being picky (and I wanted to try to pull some of the extra noise out in post).

Audio Capture: Zoom H4n

For capturing the audio, I decided to go with the Zoom H4n. You can find a ton of reviews online and quite a few endorsements from professionals (like Philip Bloom). I was impressed with the features that came with the $300 price tag. The unit provides phantom power, 96Khz 24-bit recording, SD card memory, and rather easy to use controls.

I found the unit really easy to use. For the most part, I’ve been using it as part of a one-man documentary-style setting. I have a little case that holds the recorder that I can attach to my belt and plug in the shotgun mic, which is mounted to the camera using the hotshoe shockmount. The audio that is recorded on the camera is used as reference material for syncing up the audio later. I found it to be an easy setup to use to get pretty darn good audio.

Samples

Okay, so I don’t have time to find samples right now, but I’ll include them later. I promise.

Audio Testing with the T2i

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With any new setup, it’s important to test it’s capabilities and limitations. Over the past couple weeks I’ve started testing the Rebel T2i to see what I can do with it. Today’s test has is about some basic audio.

The Canon T2i comes with an internal mic like all the other Canon video DSLRs. It’s pretty crappy. If you handle the camera at all, the internal mic picks it up. It’s really of little use except for home movies.

With my setup, I didn’t want to record the audio on a separate unit and spend tons of time syncing audio in post. To get better audio, I purchased a Røde NTG-2 shotgun mic with a shockmount that can be mounted to the camera’s hot shoe. The reason I went with the NTG-2 was because of two factors: cost + battery-powered. I wanted something that I didn’t need to use phantom power with. I also got an XLR to mini cable so I could plug it directly into the camera with no XLR adapter box.

In the video below, you’ll see what the audio was like with the Røde NTG-2 and with the camera’s internal mic. Two things to note before watching. First, yes… I forgot to white balance. Second, the first clip is with the NTG-2 plugged directly into the camera; the second clip is the same as the first, but cleaned up in post; the third clip is the camera’s internal microphone.

Conclusions

I the amount of noise from the mic into the camera is pretty bad. And I don’t want to take the time in post to clean it up, while losing overall sound quality because of it. However, it is still a better solution than the internal mic because it is directional and you get a cleaner audio of your subject.

If I can manage before I head out on a trip to Ethiopia where I’m going to be filming, I’ll try to get ahold of one of the Beachtek XLR adapters. I’ve read a bit about them and they help reduce the noise quite a bit.

UPDATE: I ended up getting a Zoom H4n digital recorder instead of the Beachtek adapter.

Rebel T2i PLUS 365 Failure

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Ok, so my 365 Project of creating/designing something everyday has crashed and burned miserably. You’re not surprised? How was I to know that my wife would become pregnant and that would throw a wrench in my plans? Oh well.

The good news is that I am feeling like I have a few things to start sharing again. I recently become the owner of a Canon Rebel T2i that shoots some amazing HD footage. This little camera is becoming my object of learning as of recent. Especially because I am going to be using it to shoot a week and a half worth of documentary-style footage with it in only a couple weeks.

Here is my first little project with it as I was starting to get the hang of the camera.

There will be more of video related content coming soon. I promise.

Making Promo Videos For Church

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In my job, I’m responsible for creating promotional videos for youth events. On top of my other responsibilities, I rarely have time to put the hours upon hours into writing, shooting, editing, or creating motion graphic that the promos require. Good video = tons of time. And I refuse to create a crappy promo video. Those crappy videos often do more to hurt promotions than help. With that said, videos rarely were made for our promotions.

One great solution for the time-drain is to use pre-made templates.

Best Friends: An Online Series

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Ok. I know. It’s not your average online series trying to make money. But I think it’s hilarious. Best Friends is a series by a couple of my friends: David Green & Max Monty. The current season is being shot in HD on a Canon 5D Mark II.

Learning After Effects

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Always looking for something new and exciting to learn and dabble gets dangerous. Spreading myself between so many things keeps me from mastering most of the things I set out to learn. I learn enough to have an understanding of the topic and then float on to the next thing. Well, motion graphics—specifically, After Effects—has been my latest thing.

Adobe After Effects is a monster of a program. It’s been called “Photoshop with a timeline.” So, think of how complex Photoshop is and how many different tools and functions that are built in then multiply that by ten. That’s how I would describe it.

After Effects (AE) is the sort of program that you need some sort of direction and help to start learning. AETuts is just the sort of tool you need to start taming the AE beast. It has various sorts of tutorials from a three part Beginners Guide to an animated homage to Bruce Lee to breath-taking cinematic sequences. However, for the beginner, I’d suggest skipping the breath-taking stuff and jump into the beginner’s guide. It’s there for a reason.

After I went through the beginner’s guide, I decided I needed a project to work on. I’m the sort of person who needs to be doing it and fiddling to learn. I decided the best way to do it was purchase a project file from Video Hive and start tinkering around and see how other people put together projects.

To see the two projects I played with, you can go to UNVEILED | Opener and The Bridge Overnighter on Vimeo.