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.