by Nic Divischek | 23rd April 2017
Sound Devices have recently announced two new MixPre audio recorders. The MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 are targeted at podcast producers and YouTubers, but with the quality we have come to expect from a world-class company that’s become an industry standard. When it comes to audio recorders, most Field Sound Recordists would swear on Sound Devices. They are robust, reliable and have the inputs and pre-amps to create world-class sound. Now, the company have launched a new product line, the MixPre Series of audio recorders with integrated USB audio interface. The MixPre-3 & MixPre-6 audio recorders with USB audio streaming is “perfect for musicians, podcasters, videographers and YouTubers”. Design and Audio Inputs The MixPre is a lightweight audio recorder made out of die-cast aluminium, and features Sound Device’s newly developed “Kashmir” pre-amps. Simply put, the difference between the two models is the amount of audio inputs. The MixPre-3 features three full-sized balanced XLR mic/line audio inputs, while the MixPre-6 features four balanced XLR/TRS combo jacks to connect microphones or line-level devices. Both have a 3.5mm auxiliary input that can be used for “plug-in power mics, 2-channel line-in audio, camera return, or timecode”. USB for Podcasters With the MixPre line, Sound Devices are targeting the Podcast/YouTube market. You will be able to stream the inputs over a USB connection into a computer for use in a podcast. The mixers will also feature the standard USB A connection, as well as the more future-proof USB C. Perfect camera companion Not only is the MixPre the perfect size to sit on your desk while you are recording a podcast, it is also designed for videographers. It includes features such as HDMI Record triggering, timecode, and a retractable 1/4-inch mounting screw, which allows it to be mounted under a DSLR camera. Power The USB slot also doubles as a powering option from a computer or even a battery-pack. The MixPre Series comes standard with a AA or Li-Ion battery sled. Basic and Advanced Settings If you are not a sound whiz, then Sound Devices may be able to help you out, as both MixPre recorders come with Basic and Advanced modes. The Basic mode simplifies audio recording and allows users to record noise and distortion-free audio right out of the box. The Advanced mode offers access to multi-channel recording and advanced settings, such as “metering, routing, timecode, preamp gain, stereo channel linking, headphone presets and more”. Built-In Bluetooth and the App to Save a Soundie’s Life Here is a feature that will get the attention of soundies out there. The MixPre series come standard with Bluetooth connection. Sound Devices recently developed an app called Wingman, which connects your iOS device to the MixPre via Bluetooth, allowing you to not only adjust the recording controls, but also rename files, and enter and edit metadata. Features in a Nutshell Ultra-compact and durable – the MixPre Series will fit any production environment. The MixPre’s small stature allows you to wear it, or drop it into your pocket or a tech bag. Constructed with a die-cast aluminum chassis, the MixPre Series is both lightweight and incredibly robust. Responsive, capacitive touch screen – it offers incredibly simple and intuitive operation, and a bright, IPS technology, sunlight-readable color LCD for the ultimate in convenient navigation. Full-featured mixer – equipped with ergonomic gain control knobs for fast and accurate mixing. Other key features include pan and soloing plus easy-to-see ring LED metering per channel. Also includes a 3.5mm jack for headphone monitoring with user-programmable presets from a custom-designed powerful, wide-bandwidth headphone amp. Built-in Bluetooth Smart® technology – allows for easy connection, control and metering via iOS devices from the Sound Devices free Wingman app. Intuitive operation – with user-friendly navigation featuring Basic and Advanced modes. Basic mode allows users to record noise and distortion-free audio right out of the box – intended for stereo recording applications. The Advanced mode offers more experienced audio users access to multi-channel recording and advanced settings such as ISO metering, routing, timecode, mic pre gain, stereo and Mid/Side channel linking, headphone presets and more. Perfect camera companion – offering HDMI Record triggering, timecode, and retractable 1/4-inch-20-thread mounting screw. Flexible powering – for the ultimate in portability and convenience, the MixPre’s can be powered from AA batteries, Li-Ion batteries, a laptop’s USB-C or USB-A connectors, or AC wall outlet. Availability The MixPre Series is available for pre-order now, with the MixPre-3 going for $649 and the MixPre-6 for $899. The MixPre line from Sound Devices is anticipated to ship by 5th May 2017.Read more
by Olaf von Voss | 21st June 2016
OK, after having seen the incredible timelapse masterpiece covered in this post, one could think everything is said and done regarding timelapsing. Nobody needs to do it ever again. But wait, there is hope for the rest of us. Elysia Visuals have just introduced a neat little timelapse controller, the Ramper Pro 3. Evolution of the Ramper Pro The original Ramper Pro by Elysia Visuals, a company from the Netherlands, has been in the the hands of many timelapse shooters around the world for a couple of years now. The developers clearly believed it was time for an upgrade, so here comes the brand new version 3 of the Ramper Pro timelapse machine. This new version makes it even easier to capture the so called holy grail of timelapsing, the transition from day to night or vice versa. In order to achieve this trick, the Ramper Pro 3 device takes full control over the connected camera (or even 2 cameras at the same time), including an advanced light sensor for necessary measurements. the internal processing of the Ramper Pro 3. (credit: ElysiaVisuals) For each picture captured by the camera the Ramper Pro 3 will kick off an analysis process including the brightness of the given frame as well as a readout from the light sensor in order to adjust the settings for the next frame. XMP files are generated automatically, so all the de-flicker information is right there when you import your image sequence into your RAW processing software of choice, such as Adobe Lightroom. After having made all the necessary (and artistic) adjustments, you’re all set for exporting the image sequence in order to render the final clip. The software has been streamlined as well. The Ramper Pro 3 will now warn you if some default settings are being altered. You can rest assured that no weird settings stand in between you and that unique sunset timelapse anymore. All in all, the software is now pretty much self-explanatory which is nice as there is nothing more annoying than cryptic menu structures. Here is a quick overview of the functions but please note: this video covers the original version, not the updated Ramper Pro 3: This new version also sports wireless connectivity: both wifi and bluetooth standards are built right in. So you can preview your images in real time on a bigger screen such as a tablet which is very convenient! No need for a wifi dongle anymore. On top of that, the Ramper has the ability to control and even program different motion control systems just by tilting the device itself, just as if it was a joystick. Sounds pretty neat but I haven’t tried that myself, though. Alternatives to the Ramper Pro 3 When it comes to timelapsing I rely on a slightly different setup: LRTimelapse by Gunther Wegner and qDSLRdashboard by Zoltan Hubai. You might need a wifi router with a custom firmware in order to connect older DSLRs which don’t support wifi (watch a detailed tutorial here). This results in pretty much the same holy grail timelapse you would get with the Ramper Pro 3. But personally, I like having the ability to tweak each and every keyframe to my liking with LRTimelapse. I might become convinced by this little device, though, as the Ramper Pro 3 is actually kind of a hardware combination of qDSLRdashboard and LRTimelapse, which is really cool and definitely worth a try! The Ramper Pro 3 is available through the ElysiaVisuals online store and will retail for €434 (plus 21% VAT, €91,14).Read more
by Tim Fok | 27th November 2014
Here’s an interesting tool that some filmmakers struggling with audio may like. Mikme is a wireless recording microphone, offering 24bit 96kHz audio at the touch of one button. Check out their Kickstarter campaign in the video below: Mikme is discreet, small and simple. One top button turns the device one, records audio and plays back your last clip; it is designed to make audio capture incredibly easy. Further more at the base is control for volume, battery indicator, Bluetooth pairing, a 3.5mm output for headphones/camera etc and a USB for charging and data transfer. The integrated iOS app boasts an easy-to-use interface, enabling you to transfer audio via Bluetooth and layer up to 8 tracks per recording. Primarily designed at music artists that want to alleviate the complications of audio capture, however the simplified design could be an attractive form factor for filmmakers whom are less audio savvy. Often with such simple devices, some may question the use in a professional environment. Mikme houses a 1″ condenser microphone, and captures in 24bit 96kHz format. Here’s the further specification: Capsule – 1 inch, gold plated, condenser Polar pattern – Cardiod Audio frequency bandwidth – 20 to 20000 Hz Sensitivity – 18 mV/Pa Signal to noise – 75 dB-A Preattenuation pad – 0 to -30 dB Internal memory – 8 GB Recording time – 180 hours MP4, 16 hours WAV Bit depth – 24 Sampling frequencies – 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 96 kHz Processor – 168 MHz Cortex M4 Rechargeable Li-IO battery – 1000 mAh 7 hours battery-powered operation time 1/4″ threaded based for mounting Backers of the Kickstarter campaign will pay $179 for a Mikme, which is said to be a $120 saving from the predicted retail price. For info on further rewards and project plans check out the Kickstarter page.Read more
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