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  1. Member
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    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post here,and i had no idea where else to put this question.
    I have a question,but i cant find the answer for myself when i go over the internet,hopefully you can help me.
    I have panasonci hdc sd 700 videocamera for an while now and it is perfect for me,but no i want to look for an external microphone which can help me in getting beter sounds then the standard microphone is giving.
    I want to use it for cathing the sounds on vacations that i make hanging half out of a window of a (race)car or from a driving steam train.
    (no kidding on the last bit)
    What i want is catch the sounds of th other race cars and the sounds that a steamtrain creates driving through the mountains in germany and else where.
    Now that is a problem because al sorts of sound are recorded,but not that what i would like to hear as if i where next to the subject.
    (now you hear mostly sounds in the direct surroundings of the camera,and that is not what i would like to hear)
    Who can help me out with finding a few good micrphones to choose from and that are not to expensive ?
    Thanks in advance for the help and info.
    (hopefully this is in understandable english,i'm from the netherlands and my english is a bit rusty )
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  2. Member
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    No one has a clue ?
    Or did i do something wrong ?
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  3. Member
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    ANY microphone on a camera is going to give you the sound right next to where it is. Your issue is microphone placement, not microphone type.

    It sounds like you may want to consider a completely separate audio recorder.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Brand_Zoom&ci=14934&N=3992462091+4291170979+4291104436
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  4. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Sorry, thought I had got around to posting on this one already...

    smrpix is correct, placement is of primary importance here. Quality is always important, of course.

    In your situation, your largest hurdle to getting good sound is WIND noise. You need to decide where you can place a mike to get the LOUDEST, CLEANEST and most VIBRANT/ARTICULATE of sounds that you want to get - irrespective of where the camera is placed. Then you need to protect it from the Wind, should that still be a factor. Placing a mike on the leeward side of a barrier will be less noisy, but some noise would still remain and with a more strident character (because of the venturi effect). Similar things that go on with an airplane wing. Now, you have to remove direct wind noise, by using a foam, or better yet FUR covering. This is also what's known as a muff or "dead cat". Fur has the wonderful feature of using diffraction and micro-sized passive resistance to lessen the turbulence surrounding the mike. Then, you want to (probably) use a mike with a directional pickup pattern (aka sensitive to certain directions more than other directions), and point it in that direction. In terms of directionality, you can go from one extreme (Omni-directional, or ALL directions) to Sub-cardioid, to Semi-cardioid, to Cardioid (aka "unidirectional"), to Super-cardioid, to Bi-directional (aka "figure 8") to Hyper-cardioid to "Shotgun" (or Line Gradient). Each change to the pattern from Omni will color the sound, but it is usually worth it. Shotgun is the most directional (not counting parabolic enhancement) and the most "colored".

    Those portable double-system separate audio recorders, paired with a well-placed (and VERY stable mounted), muffed shotgun condenser mike, could VASTLY improve your captured sound quality.

    Big question now is: how much do you want to spend to get that?

    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 17th May 2014 at 00:01.
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  5. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    corny is right the only thing that will work is detached mics. buy some zoom h4n's or similar and attach to rear bumpers or other out of the wind places. mix in their audio while editing.
    --
    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  6. Member
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    Thnaks for the reactions so far.

    @ smrpix:
    I have been reading in articles online,and i now know that that is partially true.
    Yes mics will record sounds from near it's position,but i understand that a shotgun mic will filter that away and pick up the most sounds from where you point it.

    @Cornucopia
    Wind will indeed always be a factor,that can mess up a recording.
    With a deadcat that will indeed be forced out for as far as possible,i have made such a device myself on my panasonic hdc sd 700 camera,and that those a great job.
    I think i will need to get a shotgun microphone with a deadcat,the question remains wich brand is good or which specific microphones are good and not to expensive ?
    Portable recording devices can be "hunted" down later.
    Th bigest issue for this moment is to make sure that hanging out of a moving steamtrain where i film the train and locomotive and the landscape,that the sound will improve a lot when i zoom on the locomotive that is working.

    This question is hard to formulate for me:
    Big question now is: how much do you want to spend to get that?

    Reason for that is some people here buy and sell in pounds others in dollars,and i live in an country where they have euro's.
    So trying to explain what is the limit is going to be a tricky one i think
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  7. Member
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    Originally Posted by juniorfotograaf View Post
    i understand that a shotgun mic will filter that away and pick up the most sounds from where you point it.
    It will pick up everything in the direction you point it, near or far. It will reduce sounds coming from the side. Be aware that shotgun mics are extremely sensitive to wind and handling noise. Not saying it's the wrong choice, just don't expect miracles.


    Originally Posted by juniorfotograaf View Post
    Th bigest issue for this moment is to make sure that hanging out of a moving steamtrain where i film the train and locomotive and the landscape,that the sound will improve a lot when i zoom on the locomotive that is working.
    In this situation I would do anything I could to get a portable recorder with omni-directional mics close to the locomotive and mix it in later. Hanging out a window, the mic built into the camera may well be as good as anything else.
    Last edited by smrpix; 17th May 2014 at 07:30.
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  8. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    It all depends on just WHAT you are trying to capture, and you still haven't specified this. Please, go into DETAIL about which SOUNDS you want to capture. There could easily be other patterns that are more appropriate for your needs. It could be that your current placement IS optimal. Or you might need contact mikes, or a lav, or a binaural head, or...(the possibilities are nearly endless).

    It is fairly trivial to use a Pound<->Euro<->Dollar converter, so it really would help if you spelled out just what your budget for this is. Less than $100? Less than $400? Less than $1000? More?

    @smrpix, I would say all "bad" mikes are much more sensitive to wind & handling, and I would agree that good shotgun mikes are more sensitive in their pointed direction, but a sturdily MOUNTED mike, as I suggested earlier, in the lee with a shockmount, blimp & full dead cat, is NOT going to be that sensitive to wind or handling (because at that point, there won't be any "handling" and the wind will have been greatly reduced). Yes, one should not expect miracles, nonetheless.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  9. Member
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    I would agree that good shotgun mikes are more sensitive in their pointed direction, but a sturdily MOUNTED mike, as I suggested earlier, in the lee with a shockmount, blimp & full dead cat, is NOT going to be that sensitive to wind or handling (because at that point, there won't be any "handling" and the wind will have been greatly reduced).
    Scott
    Totally concur Scott. But as I read it, OP seems determined to keep his mic on the camera while hanging out the window of a moving train.

    (BTW Thanks. Your comment was the first time the term "leeward" really clicked -- and I read a number of the Master and Commander books back in the day.)
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  10. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    It's fun when one can overlap one of their hobby interests (sailing) with their vocation (media), even if it's just nomenclature.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  11. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    if you insist on cam mounted then the rode mics would be my starting point. good performance not too expensive. anything cheaper is not going to improve your audio much.
    Last edited by aedipuss; 18th May 2014 at 11:32.
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    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  12. Member
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    It all depends on just WHAT you are trying to capture, and you still haven't specified this. Please, go into DETAIL about which SOUNDS you want to capture.
    Scott
    I have explained that more then one time.
    Take a working steamloco with a train hanging on it,that steamer has to work(sometimes hard) to get through the mountains,the harder that thing has to work the harder the sounds that it makes with his exhaust and all other stuff.
    Now i here only a bit of sound sometimes when i am lucky.
    What i want is more of that sound when i film that steamer hanging out of that train.
    There is no option to hang somthing on the loco or near it,because the loco is off limits and so is the first car hanging on the loco,that one is for personell of the train and other staff.
    That is why i thought that a shotgun mic with a deadcat,would be my best solution since i have no other options left.
    For the people that are asking for a budget for this shotgun mic,i would go no further then 150-200 euro's.
    It is a hobby and the times that i will use the extra mic are not too much,so it is a thing of,when i use it the sound must be as good as the picture and it will not be for 24-7 use as a pro to make money with it.
    Hope this makes things a bit more clear.
    And maybe you have a suggestion for a shotgun mic that is any good in that price range.
    Thanks in advance for your help
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  13. Member
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    Originally Posted by juniorfotograaf View Post
    i thought that a shotgun mic with a deadcat,would be my best solution since i have no other options left.
    For the people that are asking for a budget for this shotgun mic,i would go no further then 150-200 euro's.
    I agree with aedipuss you should look into the excellent rode line. http://www.rodemic.com/ But at the risk of sounding repetitive, your issue is placement.
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  14. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Well, you DID and you DIDN'T specify previously. You have now done better, but still not specific as I would like. For example: is it the "chuff, chuff" of the steam? or the metal clanking of the wheels & linkage? or the rumble of the boiler? or the clacking of the tracks going by? Those all have to do with placement. And those all refer to the SOUNDS.

    Have you ASKED if you can attach a recorder/mike on the Loco? With the right persuasion (gentlemanly request + MONEY + credits), lots of things that are supposed to be "off-limits" aren't.

    But, ok, let's assume you cannot go further forward than Car#2. A shotgun (preferably one attached to a parabolic reflector, but with your budget you cannot afford THAT) would likely be your best bet. I'd go with a Rode NTG-2 or Sennheiser MKE-600, or Rode "VideoMic" or a Sennheiser MKE-400 (last 2 are specific to On-camera placement, though).

    Another cool option, but one I'm guessing is out of your price range, would be a wind-protected (muffed) Binaural dummy head mike set. It would give you the full surround sensation of being there, plus the ability to sonically ZERO-IN and pick out specific sounds from the cacophony of the recorded mix, just like your own ears are able to do (aka the "c*o*c*k*tail party effect"). If you use speakers to playback instead of headphones, you'd need to do a binaural-to-stereo conversion, but IIRC there are free apps that one can DL to do this

    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 18th May 2014 at 23:04. Reason: To bypass the stupid Google censorship
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  15. Member
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    [QUOTE=smrpix;2322228]
    Originally Posted by juniorfotograaf View Post
    i thought that a shotgun mic with a deadcat,would be my best solution since i have no other options left.
    I agree with aedipuss you should look into the excellent rode line. http://www.rodemic.com/ But at the risk of sounding repetitive, your issue is placement.
    I will look into that,but asking before checking the side,can they deliver also in the netherlands(if yes how much ill shipping cost ?),or is there a shop avalable that i can visit ?


    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Well, you DID and you DIDN'T specify previously. You have now done better, but still not specific as I would like. For example: is it the "chuff, chuff" of the steam?
    Scott
    The left over piece of text is what i want to hear more.
    So the sounds a steam loco makes on the outside,hissing and puffing,in short the external sounds that it makes when it needs to work hard.
    Boiler sounds and other things you can hear when you stand next to it,and they can be recorded with the on board mic perfectly.

    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Have you ASKED if you can attach a recorder/mike on the Loco? With the right persuasion (gentlemanly request + MONEY + credits), lots of things that are supposed to be "off-limits" aren't.
    Scott
    Off course i asked,otherwise i wouldn't be looking for another way

    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    I'd go with a Rode NTG-2 or Sennheiser MKE-600, or Rode "VideoMic" or a Sennheiser MKE-400 (last 2 are specific to On-camera placement, though).
    Scott
    Thanks for those suggestions,i will look in to those coming days,to see what is what.

    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Another cool option, but one I'm guessing is out of your price range, would be a wind-protected (muffed) Binaural dummy head mike set. It would give you the full surround sensation of being there, plus the ability to sonically ZERO-IN and pick out specific sounds from the cacophony of the recorded mix, just like your own ears are able to do (aka the "****tail party effect"). If you use speakers to playback instead of headphones, you'd need to do a binaural-to-stereo conversion, but IIRC there are free apps that one can DL to do this

    Scott
    And with the above part you have lost me.
    I'm guessing i am to much of a newby to get a part of the above.
    The part that i think i understand is that the thing you are naming is a device that is connected on the camera ?
    And that is capable of letting you hear the recorded sounds in surround sound ?
    The last line of your text is totaly beyond me,and i dont know exactly what is what
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  16. Member
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    Originally Posted by juniorfotograaf View Post
    I will look into that,but asking before checking the side,can they deliver also in the netherlands(if yes how much ill shipping cost ?),or is there a shop avalable that i can visit ?
    Click "where to buy" on the upper right hand corner of their site.
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  17. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    @juniorfotograaf,

    Both of those companies mentioned have distribution in Europe as well as the US. Don't know about local Brick-n-mortar shops near you, but I don't doubt that there ought to be a number of places you could order those from (after having read the reviews, & decided).

    Boiler sounds do change when the engine is working harder. The chuff, chuff of the steam would be best gotten from overhead & behind (because of prevailing wind). You might still be able, from further behind, to get a decent sound of that by raising the shotgun on a boom pole above and pointing it at the smokestack. Similarly, you should be fairly easily be able to get rail clacking by hanging the mike outside and down low: close to, but not touching the ground - say 1/2 meter out from the car (at it's furthest) and 1/2 meter above ground, pointed inward toward the wheels & track. Again, a shotgun on a boom pole would be invaluable here. The true clean sound of the engine's wheels & linkage/arms could only be gotten by getting much nearer, though. You can always get inter-car linkage rattle, which should add to the wheel & rail clacking to get a better impression. What you have to do is think like a radio person or foley effects artist and CLOSE YOUR EYES and just listen for the kinds of sounds you want and break them down into manageable (and MIXABLE & LOOPABLE) elements. This can help guide you as to where the optimal positioning should be.

    You say, "of course I asked...", but you would be surprised at the HUGE number of people who have come to this site needing help that fail to have done just that until it was pointed out to them. Sorry, I had to ask.

    Binaural sound is the audio analogy to stereoscopic3D video. Using a system of microphones planted in/on a "dummy" head in the position where ears normally would be, and then reproducing the sound with headphones, one is given the distinct "you are there" impression, complete with 360 spherical surround environment placement awareness - using just the 2 speaker sources and your 2 ears. However, since many consumers use standard stereo speakers, instead of headphones, for playback, the signal must be modified to accommodate the inter-aural crosstalk (which occurs with speaker listening but does NOT occur with headphone listening). An unmodified signal does not convey a convincing, or even balanced & appropriate panorama.

    I have been a fervent advocate of binaural recording for decades (and even created an app for generating a binaural equivalent using standard multitrack recording back in the late '80s/ early '90s). However, I doubt if you have the money, energy or patience to devote to using that method, as cool as it is, so I probably shouldn't have put it out there as a teaser like I did. It is not really best for casual use.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  18. good references here... thanks
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  19. Member
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    I have a short clip from a recent trip that i made with a steamtrain in germany.
    What you see is german 01 serie's loco that is going harder and harder.
    I was quite surprised that the souds came out like they did on this occassion,so that is why i put it on youtube,that is how i like it
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aoc3M2BqcGk

    I'm going to look into those links you presented,and see what is what
    Thanks for the help so far.
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  20. Member
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    Originally Posted by juniorfotograaf View Post
    I was quite surprised that the souds came out like they did on this occassion,so that is why i put it on youtube,that is how i like it
    Please clarify, surprised good or surprised disappointed?
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    I have lookt at the microphones in the links provided.
    Excep for the rode site.
    But i am just wondering why a Rode NTG-2 and why not a NTG-1.
    I have to go do other stuff so i am wondering what is the difference between those 2,except the price off course
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  22. Member
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    Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    Originally Posted by juniorfotograaf View Post
    I was quite surprised that the souds came out like they did on this occassion,so that is why i put it on youtube,that is how i like it
    Please clarify, surprised good or surprised disappointed?
    For a standard mic on the videocamera i was surprised in a good way that i had a piece of film with sounds that come very near what i heard myzelf.
    Now i want more of that and if possible with even better sound
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    Originally Posted by juniorfotograaf View Post

    For a standard mic on the videocamera i was surprised in a good way that i had a piece of film with sounds that come very near what i heard myzelf.
    Now i want more of that and if possible with even better sound
    If you set your record levels manually and use a windscreen on your camera mic it will improve a lot. I don't want to discourage you from getting another microphone, but you should try maximizing what you already have.
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    You dont discourage me.
    Because i have this piece of film from a one day trip.
    (where there is a lack of a personal car in between the loco and the rest of the train)
    I now want more of it,and since the external shotgun mic is looking to be a better alternative to get to that point of having more good film and sounds,i want to expand my possibilitys of getting to that
    So there fore i started this thread and am asking arround on what is the best way to do that.
    If i can get lucky with something home made ,and get film and sounds like this sometimes,then a external microphone(shotgun) should give me even more of those amazing pieces of film.
    (At least i hope so )
    But i am just wondering why a Rode NTG-2 and why not a NTG-1,can you help me answer this question ?
    Because i dont see so much difference that makes the gap in prices valid.
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  25. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Note that with the "non-camera-mounted" mikes, both of those mentioned are professional, XLR connections with a need for battery or phantom powering. Your Panasonic camera has neither the right connection for those, nor enough power to supply those mikes, so you would need a converter box that handles 2x XLR-to-Stereo MiniPhone plug (aka 1/8" or 3.5mm). Beachtek makes a really handly & economical one that also allows for amplification/sensitivity adjustment to get the optimum level (might even have a handly fallback limiter, too).

    The "on-camera" mikes mentioned are built with connection to your type of camera in mind, so they already have either internal battery power or they can use the "plugin power" supply feature of your camera to power them, and they already come with the right connector type. However, the reason they are not preferrable overall is because:
    1. They use more video-oriented, consumer/prosumer-specification electronics and so are NOT as sensitive nor as noise-free nor as evenly responsive as their professional-audio older brothers
    2. They are meant to be used ON-Camera, and are hampered by they same placement issues as your own internal mikes

    Note that they ARE likely better than your own internal mikes. They certainly are more directional.

    My listen to that footage tells me that YES, you have AGC turned on, and would be better served if you turned it off. Also, you DO have wind noise problems and a muff/deadcat would quite help you. The version I heard on youtube has quite a bit of compression artifacts/smearing also, but that could be due to Youtube's compression settings & the download link. You must remember, the sounds you would be capturing in your situation would include lots of wind, lots of rumble, chuff, cyclical/rhythmical pumping, lots of clacks. These are all things that have qualities in common with standard white noise. And we all know white noise is the hardest for a compression algorithm to work with (being random by nature). Even the highest lossy-compressed bitrates don't handle it well. So, recording things like this need uncompressed LPCM audio throughout the workflow, all the way to the upload stage, or you will have MULTIPLE generations of compression artifacts to deal with.

    Was the footage BAD? No, about what I expected, maybe slightly better.
    Could it be better still? Yes, definitely. Both audio & video

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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    @ Cornucopia,

    So if if want to be relative easy with using a "external mic then is should choose between Rode "VideoMic"
    http://tweakers.net/pricewatch/287808/rode-videomic-pro.html
    Or a Sennheiser MKE-400
    http://tweakers.net/pricewatch/287318/sennheiser-mke-400.html

    Ok, iw will try to find a site where i can compare them,and see which one could be better for me.
    The price is not the issue between those 2,the first is 159 euro and the sennheiser is 169,so that is no a big gap.
    Now is saw you using the term AGC,what is that ?
    Because when i look in the camera menu then i only see AGS and nothing else that looks like that.
    What you saw on youtube,was with the standard mic and a self made sort of flat square peace of "cloth" /deadcat like material placed above the mic and attached with sticky tape.
    (dont know the correct englisch/american word for that stuff that sticks on both sides )
    Also another newbie question comes from me by asking what you mean with this:
    recording things like this need uncompressed LPCM audio throughout the workflow, all the way to the upload stage, or you will have MULTIPLE generations of compression artifacts to deal with.
    And what can i do about that with even a external mic and pinnacle studio 17 on my pc ?
    I'm no pro,and defenitly dont know how to read this or what to do with it
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  27. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    AGC = Automatic Gain Control

    When turned on, it continuously adjusts the sensitivity of the microphone to ride the loud/quiet volume dynamics changes to provide (hopefully) a more even level overall.

    Unfortunately, 99.99% of AGC circuits are not what you would call "smart", so they don't take into account psychoacoustics (and user preference, particularly vocal range), but AGC also often has side-effects: pumping in and out of the background sounds and internal noise.

    So, with a very few exceptions, it is almost always better quality to leave AGC turned OFF. However, if you are not able to devote the time & energy to getting the volume/sensitivity setting correct, you could also end up with a constantly low (and noisy) recording or a constantly high (and distorted) recording. So I understand why newbies & casual users & those who don't care or don't want to have to worry about "another thing to remember" would make use of AGC.

    Since I couldn't find the Menu settings for that cam on any available downloadable manual, I cannot say for sure whether your "AGS" = AGC or not. You could always try it both ways and do a test comparing them.

    IIRC, your cam records in Dolby Digital (aka AC-3), possibly in 5.1 surround. Not sure exactly how it gets that surround if it only has 2 internal mikes (maybe it has 5?). Nonetheless, it seems to record in AC-3. However, AC-3 is compressed. I was suggesting separate audio recording which would be done with the external mike & audio recorder (also known as "double-system" audio). It would record in 2 ch LPCM (uncompressed) WAV files. You would have to sync them up in your editor prior to final export.
    Pinnacle Studio fully accepts these and would retain that level of quality, unless you were to "export to YouTube" or similar. Then, it would likely use a preset that included some form of compressed audio (mp3 or aac/mp4 would be my guess). You could always export not using the "YouTube" preset (assuming there is one) but just create your own preset that consists of LPCM/Uncompressed WAV audio along with corresponding high quality video. This can also be uploaded to YT (assuming it is in an acceptable format for them). They will re-compress it to their standard settings, regardless. But you should know that from the start and avoid too many re-compresses and their concurrent quality losses.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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    Sorry to have left this forum for a long time like this,but there was a short vacation and an family thing to help with,aka a long sickbed for my grandpa and a following funeral :/
    But to get back to this matter i have a copy here from a reaction that cornucopia placed:

    Note that with the "non-camera-mounted" mikes, both of those mentioned are professional, XLR connections with a need for battery or phantom powering. Your Panasonic camera has neither the right connection for those, nor enough power to supply those mikes, so you would need a converter box that handles 2x XLR-to-Stereo MiniPhone plug (aka 1/8" or 3.5mm). Beachtek makes a really handly & economical one that also allows for amplification/sensitivity adjustment to get the optimum level (might even have a handly fallback limiter, too).

    The "on-camera" mikes mentioned are built with connection to your type of camera in mind, so they already have either internal battery power or they can use the "plugin power" supply feature of your camera to power them, and they already come with the right connector type. However, the reason they are not preferrable overall is because:
    1. They use more video-oriented, consumer/prosumer-specification electronics and so are NOT as sensitive nor as noise-free nor as evenly responsive as their professional-audio older brothers
    2. They are meant to be used ON-Camera, and are hampered by they same placement issues as your own internal mikes

    Note that they ARE likely better than your own internal mikes. They certainly are more directional.

    With the above printed in my brain,there is still a issue that i cant get over.
    If i would use a selfpowered mic,like a Rode NTG-2 or Sennheiser MKE-600 then i have the issue where to leave that mic whilst filming.
    Or choose aRode "VideoMic" or a Sennheiser MKE-400 (last 2 are specific to On-camera placement) and there fore have less good sounds as i understand but dont have the issue of finding a pair of extra hands that can hold a external mic with built in battery.
    Is there so much difference in sounds capturing if you take a on board external mic v.s. and self powerde not attached to your camera mic ??
    Sorry for the newbie questions again
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