Basic Video & Audio equipment needed for an office! What other accessories would an office need along with a Canon 7D and a Zoom H2 portable audio recorder?
May 25, 2010 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Basic Video & Audio equipment needed for an office! What other accessories would an office need along with a Canon 7D and a Zoom H2 portable audio recorder?


My office really likes the Canon 7D quality and they recently purchased the camera. However, now they want some additional equipment so they can conduct in-office interviews. We decided on a Zoom H2 portable recorder for audio but we are unsure what else we may need.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Our budget is $6000
posted by bostonhill to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm assuming you're talking sit-down interviews.

Personally, I'd step up to a recorder with XLR inputs, like a Zoom H4n, Tascam DR100, or Fostex FR2-LE. Then you can pick up a couple decent wired lavalier mics - perhaps Tram TR50s.
You'll need some way to sync the external sound to the picture once you get everything into your editing software. That can be as simple as clapping your hands together on-camera, using a proper slate, or sticking a basic mic (Rode videomic or similar) on the SLR lining up the waveforms.

ALWAYS monitor what you're recording with good headphones. Sony MDR-7506 and Sennheiser HD280 are as close as you'll come to an industry standard in sound for picture, and they're widely available for about $100.

Having a recorder with XLR inputs gives you a lot more flexibility to add mics and mixers and such if you need to at a later date. If you're shooting more than just sit-down interviews, you'll need to build a bit more of a kit, with shotgun and hypercardioid mics, a boom, and wind / shock protection.

Check out sites like DVxUser and DV Info, there's a wealth of information at both.
posted by jjb at 10:20 AM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: I regularly use a 5d and H4N for professional video work (watch the season finale of House if you have any doubts left about the viability of DSLRs for storytelling), and I would recommend moving up to the H4N if at all possible.
Depending on how you plan to edit: I use Final Cut Pro, but Premiere CS5 really became a contender in the low cost editing suite. Either way, the plugin called Pluraleyes for $150 is miraculous. It syncs numerous audio and video sources automatically. I use it to sync my 5D to the H4N, as well as sync a four camera shoot of live music performances.

I'll post some more when I'm off my phone, but let me know if you have any questions or specific requirements.
posted by shinynewnick at 11:18 AM on May 25, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the help!
posted by bostonhill at 1:04 PM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: Just a few things I've learned using DSLRs and external audio in my experience:

1. Don't bother trying to link up the external audio to the camera during recording. There are boxes that will do this (push quality audio into the camera), but I prefer the flexibility of keeping them separate. You also have ways to mount a recorder on camera, which is not immediately a bad thing but ties you down in external connections. Great if you need everything tied together on the go, but it sounds like you'll be doing most of the work around the office.

2. The internal mics on the H4N are adequate, but I don't use them for interview audio if I can possibly avoid it with lapel mics or an overhead (or underhead, out of shot) boom.

3. On the 7D, budget enough for quality memory cards, at least one more than you think you need. I had two SanDisk Extreme III cards that would give me dropped frame problems (not a buffer warning, which is the norm for slow cards), and a Kingston 266x ultimate 16 GB that has worked very well. Look on the sites linked by jjb for information, as card usability can change with new manufacturing methods. Personally I like getting two 8 GB cards (30 min each) rather than a 16 GB card. Get an extra battery, and not a knockoff. Don't skimp on that.

4. A eyepiece for the back of the 7D is helpful. I use the 2.0 Hoodman, they have an updated version now. I would recommend an eyepiece for focus, and a small external HD monitor if you can afford it. There are some cheap Ikan 5.6" HDMI monitors that will work, though not comparable to something like a Marshall HD monitor.

5. Lighting. This is exactly what will make your video look good. No matter the camera, lighting correctly makes the shot. The Lowel kits start around $1000 and great, but you can get by with cheaper fixtures. A kit I had early on from ImageWest was of decent quality for the price. Learn how to set the lights up, buy a DVD tutorial on lighting and get some tips.

6. Check up on the new CS5 Premiere capabilities of editing 5D/7D footage natively, which is quite impressive. Hopefully Final Cut Pro will step up on that, but no telling when or if that will happen. Right now I have to run the footage through a conversion process, which doesn't take long but is an extra step.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask any questions you might have.
posted by shinynewnick at 2:56 PM on May 25, 2010

On preview, the Marshall HD monitor model I linked to doesn't support HDMI input. This one does.
posted by shinynewnick at 2:57 PM on May 25, 2010

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