Tascam was kind enough to send us their new creation, the DR-10SG. It is a combination of a standalone mountable mini audio recorder, as well as a directional shotgun microphone that you can connect to your DSLR mic jack. This new device is aimed towards “on the go shooters” who seek a better audio quality than the one their build-in camera microphone offers. As we all know, some of the latest cameras from respected manufacturers do not offer a way to monitor sound. Maybe the biggest selling point for this device is the ability to monitor audio levels when connected to cameras without a headphone jack, with the Sony a6300 being a good example. In order to do that, you will need the Tascam DR-10SG and a mini jack 3.5mm splitter. One thing to consider: if you are looking for greater flexibility in regards to connecting professional microphones and wireless audio receiver to your camera or a recorder, then you might want to look at Tascam’s other offering, the DR-10X, a micro audio XLR recorder device that, at least on paper, looks as a perfect flexible mini recorder. Back to the Tascam DR-10SG. Here are its main specifications at a glance: Recording Media: microSD card (64 MB to 2 GB), microSDHC card (4 GB to 32 GB) Recording Format: 16/24-bit @ 44.1/48 kHz Mic Polarity: Super cardioid Analog Outputs: Camera Out/Phones: 1/8″ (3.5 mm) stereo mini-jack (dual-mono signal) USB micro-B Power: 1 x AAA battery USB bus power Power Consumption: 0.75 W (maximum) Battery Operating Time: (48 kHz/24-bit, Limiter/ Dual Rec: Off, File type: Mono), Lithium 15:00 hours, NiMH Battery 7:30 hours, Alkaline 8:30 hours. Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.1 x 6.6 x 2.8″ (53 x 168 x 70.3 mm) Weight 3.9 oz (110 g) including batteries Pros: The DR-10SG is very lightweight and will sit comfortably on your camera hot shoe. The audio quality is sufficient for a run & gun shooting style and features adjustable EQ. One triple-A battery will last for a good few hours and the device can also be powered externally via a USB connector. You can record dual audio tracks in 2 different recording levels. I suggest not to fiddle with levels while shooting as the buttons are tiny… So what needs improvement? The device feels plasticky. I hope it can survive the daily filming routine. What is really missing out of the box is an additional proper wind shield cover. The one provided is not enough. Normal iPhone earbuds won’t work for monitoring. I guess it is an impedance thing… You can’t start recording while browsing the menu. You need to exit the menu first, and then start recording. Conclusion: Personally, I wish that the mic polarity would have been even narrower. In addition, although the microphone itself has a nice suspension, it will easily pick up handling noise when operating the camera, so either place your camera on a rig or touch it gently while shooting. Also, don’t expect the Tascam DR-10SG to replace your soundman or dedicated audio system. On the other hand, when running & gunning, this additional device will certainly produce better audio results from your built-in camera microphone. Furthermore, the built-in mini recorder will yield better audio recordings in comparison to the many of the DSLR/mirrorless cameras out there.Read more
Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! It’s always great to sit and talk with friends from the industry and chat about what’s on our minds regarding production workflows and issues. On this 16th episode of ON THE COUCH, I sat down with Jem Schofield from theC47.com, who is well known for his education and workshop classes in the filmmaking field. Apart from being an educator, Jem is also a producer and much of our talk focused on getting better audio for production – something that is constantly neglected by owner/operators who need to do their own audio. We touched on the fact that a lot of shooters who started with DSLRs were able to deliver great video all of a sudden because of the technical capabilities – while at the same time the level of audio got worse overall because people used the terrible built-in microphones with their low-quality preamps to record location audio. Jem emphasized the importance of understanding the differences between microphone pickup patterns when deciding on a microphone for your production. Many just go with one shotgun microphone for all their purposes, but there is no “one size fits all”. Like us, Jem loves to work with our sponsor Røde’s microphones as they provide some of the best value for money in the industry. My go-to boom microphone for my own smaller productions is the Røde NTG3, a shotgun microphone with a very narrow supercardioid pickup pattern. Jem argues it’s great for exterior recording but he prefers the NT55 inside rooms because it has a broader pickup (ideal when 2 persons are talking to each other) and it doesn’t have the “pickup tail” that the NTG3 has. While being super narrow with its pickup, the pickup tail also makes the NTG3 more susceptible for picking up sounds from behind the microphone (e.g. ceiling fans, air conditioning, …), handling noise and sound reflections – and that’s exactly where the NT55 shines. The new Røde SmartLav+ combined with the Røde Rec app for iOS was another product combo that Jem mentioned – a super easy and super inexpensive way of always carrying a very usable lavelier microphone with you as it records straight into your phone using the app – not a bad value for money considering the SmartLav+ is around $75 and their app another $5 (definitely much cheaper than dedicated sound recorders that are often left in the studio exactly when you need them for an occasional sound bite shot on a small camera or DSLR). We also talked about other subjects including camera stabilization and the discussion MoVi vs. Steadicam and how irrelevant it is considering the fact that both tools have their advantages and disadvantages (and the fact that Tabb Firchau from Freefly and Garrett Brown, the inventor of the Steadicam, are giving workshops together). Before we wrapped the show up, we discussed the fact that like me, Jem quite likes Final Cut Pro X and thinks he is able to work faster with it than with any other NLE. We also touched on the up- and downsides of Premiere and Avid. Lastly, Jem Schofield mentioned that he is going to do another extensive filmmaking workshop in Scotland for a week starting July 27th, 2014. This “Filmmaker’s Intensive” will deal with the science and art of telling stories and people will learn all about lighting, shooting and also getting the right audio for their productions. Head over to their website here to check it out: http://www.thefilmmakersintensive.com To watch all ON THE COUCH episodes so far, click here.Read more
by Jared Abrams | 23rd July 2010
Here is a quick take on the Sennheiser MKE 400 mini shotgun microphone. It is a great tool for HDSLR work. We beat the crap out of ours and it always performs. The only downside is no real indication of battery life. There is a small blip when it is turned on but then it goes away. We have to turn it on and off throughout the day to make sure the battery is still good. It is one of the smaller on-camera microphones on the market for HDSLR work. I highly recommend using some kind of separate sound recording device like the Zoom H4 when sound is critical. However, this little shotgun mic will work well in a pinch. The Sennheiser MKE 400 retails for just under $200 US.Read more
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