7.17.2017

An Audio and Video Sample from Sunday's Interview Sessions. How does it sound? How does it look?



So often reviewers will write about products without having any real skin in the game. They use the  cameras to shoot "real world tests" which generally involve pointing the handheld camera at a cute person across a table from them in a murky coffee shop, shooting with no thought for the lighting, and then posting the brutally compressed results as "samples." Occasionally they'll present the raw version of the file to allow readers to download and play on their own.

I sometimes do something similar in that I spend a lot of time walking around downtown Austin taking snapshots and then using them to illustrate what I write about here. But generally I try my best to present work we've actually done for clients to showcase the performance of certain pieces of gear. It's better to do it this way you, as a reviewer, are trying to use the equipment exactly as you would use it for a paying job, because.... you are using it for a paying job. Or a real and ongoing personal project.

I've recently been writing a lot about the Panasonic fz2500 camera and how much I like shooting it as a production video camera. I've done a few projects with it that I've posted here including my Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill  video. In this article I'm posting a small clip from a new series of interviews that Ben and I shot last Sunday. There will be a series of five interviews and my edits will become social media content to help sell the play. The material will also be repurposed for television commercials and public service announcements. In other words, real "real world stuff. "

 While the clip above has been compressed by Vimeo.com this too is part of the "real world" scenario. This is how clients will use it. We'll test and tweak and load and re-load until we find the best exposure for the compression....after making all the edits.

What I am attempting to show here is the quality of video I am getting from the Panasonic running into an external digital recorder. We filmed in 1080p, 10 bit, 4:2:2 and brought the files from the recorder into the Final Cut Pro X timeline. The compression makes the video just a bit darker than our reference monitor and just a bit more yellow...we hope to compensate for this in our finals.

Of special interest to Ben and me is the quality of the audio. You have to understand that we were filming this in a room with metal walls on one side (which you can see in the video) and a full wall of glass windows with no window treatments on the opposite side. I'm using one Samson C02 microphone on a boom about two and a half feet above my subject's head. There are industrial bar refrigerators operating in the background that could not be turned off. In spite of any of these obstacles it's my opinion that the audio is very good; very listenable.

I've tweaked the video slightly. I dropped the saturation a bit and pulled 2 small points of green out of the mid-range area. Nothing else has been done to it.

The audio is absolutely straight out of the camera. No E.Q. No sweetening. Not even a touch of level control or loudness normalization. The thing that impresses me is that this is audio from the shooting camera, our microphone runs into the pre-amplifier and then into the microphone jack and is finally written to the SSD in the Atomos recorder. The sound is not from an external audio recorder.

The combination of the different microphone, the introduction of the Saramonic SmartRig+ preamplifier to our tools, and a better understanding of audio level settings seems to be delivering very clear and detailed sound with no hiss or noise (other than room noise...).  It's performance that I am happy to be able to achieve with such an inexpensive camera combined with an even more inexpensive microphone.  Curious to know if you are seeing and hearing what I am here.

At any rate, this is authentically a "Kirk Tuck" real world sample ---- from the world of commercial content creation.

8 comments:

Frank Grygier said...

Very nice. I am impressed with the audio from those mics and the video you are getting from the FZ2500 and Atomos. Great work!

Anonymous said...


I thing the sound is very clear and easy to understand as he talks at the right speed and is engaging. the painting on the back wall

the line of it clashes with his head at times, and the far table near the exit creates a strong visual oblong that my eye catches.

and the handle rail being black also attacks my eye out of the scene. Having said that that is my own personal shape recognition

that may not be at all important to other people.

Colin

Wally said...

The audio for voice sounds great. I hear some rumble in the background. Could this be the AC in the room or traffic noise? I am not certain if the hard walls were "echoing" the sound too.

Russ Goddard said...

I'm hearing a constant low-level background noise or hiss (I'm not usually sensitive to this). Don't know whether the "noise" is electronic or environmental.

Love the content!

Rene said...

Kirk,

Both audio and video quality are just great. I think you've solved the audio problems you mentioned in earlier blogs. This clip is better than most of the videos from photo sites that i look at.

Michael Matthews said...

Excellent. Crisp in the upper register with natural bass support. I'll flag the CO2 as a definite buy -- if I ever get around to actually doing any video. All exhale; no breath need be held.

joel_richards said...

There is definitely some background noise above the "white noise" threshold that my brain tunes out. However, for an untreated space it sounds very, very good. Sure, it sounds very "live" but in a way that (IMO) places the audio rather than distracts from the content. I'm listening on a Duet USB & DT-880PRO headphones (and my real job is recording and producing spoken word).

The video is nice enough but it has an off putting quality to it. Oversharpened and a bit grainy? The audio and the talent's presence carries it for me.

TMJ said...

I have listened to the clip twice, through Sennheiser HD650s via a Lynx Hilo.

Overall, the timbre of the voice is good and the room acoustic is OK, but on the border of having too much reverberation and colouration. The tapping on a metal/hard surface desktop was slightly distracting.

The CO2 microphone might benefit from a better shockmout, what are you using? I use a Rycote shockmount for almost everything nowadays.

Overall, I am impressed for such an inexpensive mic.