Thread: Call for better audio recording on newer RED cameras.

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  1. #1 Call for better audio recording on newer RED cameras. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Hastings View Post
    I hear this all the time about RED not needing good on board audio because it is a "cinema" camera but in reality I think the vast majority of RED cameras are not used for a true "cinema" shoot. How many $20 million dollar plus budget movies are shot on Red in a year? I doubt if it is more than a few dozen. Seems like for anything below that level - good, direct on board audio would be useful and for most non-"cinema" shoots it is pretty essential because double system sound is generally more cumbersome and often simply a waste of valuable time synchronizing when it would be so much easier to have sync-sound.

    I recently did a philanthropy project in Puerto Rico where I had to shoot mostly on my BMD Ursa Mini Pro because we were doing a lot of interviews and I simply couldn't trust my Epic-W with the V-lock I/O, due to the issues with the crappy 1/8" consumer connector and the possible "audio pop" issue. I didn't hear it on some of the field recording we did where audio wasn't so critical and I didn't have headphones on but I was spooked because I would see fairly regular spikes in the channel 3 and 4 indicators even though there wasn't anything plugged into them. I really wish RED would put a little more thought and effort into improving audio capability. It can't be that hard or expensive since BMD seems to due an excellent job of it even on their $3500 camera and even most of the $2K prosumer cameras from Sony, Canon, and Panasonic have better audio.

    I hate to say it but it seems like calling it a "cinema" camera has been used too much to justify some longstanding shortcomings. Especially since it seems that the vast majority of RED camera owners are owner/operators that don't use them for major motion pictures. That may have been fine back in 2010/2011 when the Epic was about the only reasonably priced 4K option but these days there are so many good alternatives that have decent XLRs and audio controls.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Timmons View Post
    This deserves its own thread.

    I sincerely hope this post is read, reread, and read again by RED (had to put the homophones to work).
    I've been increasingly concerned with how audio is seemingly becoming less useful on newer RED cameras.
    While the RED ONE had a rough start with audio (remember the original audio board issues?) RED really nipped that problem
    with the free audio board upgrade and it made the camera quite viable for audio field recording.

    I still work on a RED ONE MX and there are many times that I ended up recording audio in camera on both doc and narrative projects
    and the results were always solid. No pops, hums, or buzz. Connections worked, levels usable, and pre amps decent. I also often have all 4 ports in use with 3-4 wireless mics and/or a shotgun mic.

    I wonder about the change from 4 channels of mini XLR to 2 channels 1/8" connectors. Yes the audio module gives 2 Full size XLRs
    but one also gives up 4 separate channels.

    Agreed that a separate audio person is ideal but that is not always available on many lower budget; smaller crew productions which are becoming more common.

    RED please consider more robust audio for your cameras with field recording in mind. It makes life on many productions much easier.

    Brian Timmons
    BRITIM/MEDIA

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Pascale View Post
    And why limit how we use the camera? I got my Epic-W nicely rigged out so I can use it for all types of shoots but the recent audio pop issue bit me on the ass and I have less trust in the camera now. I bought a Panasonic AU-EVA1 and likely will be using this camera more often. Plus it has build in ND. Still love my Epic-W, but damn, a mature product should not be introducing audio problems out of the blue. I am not going to record seperate audio, it's not the way I work.

    The above quotes were taken from the "EVF differences" thread that started to veer into audio problems people are experiencing with RED cameras, particularly newer models.

    This has become an increasing area of concern for users who depend on their REDs for audio field recording and is important enough to have its own thread. My agenda for creating this thread is simple. I would like to see RED make audio stronger (up to 4 distinct channels), bug free, and easier to obtain professional results across all configurations of their camera lines.
    I've always appreciated RED's care for the user base and hope this is on their radar for future development.

    Please discuss.

    Brian Timmons
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Steve Sherrick's Avatar
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    I think it's a very valid request as I see people using REDs in just about every type of production these days and in some cases there either isn't a dedicated sound person or, even if there is having the option to send straight to camera would make sense for some workflows. RED ONE MX is definitely better system for audio. I think the decision was made to keep the newer systems compact, audio had to be pushed to modules for those that need on board. I suppose the question becomes, are the modules working well enough for people. I think this is a good, constructive conversation to have.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Michael Hastings's Avatar
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    Thanks, Brian for addressing this.

    As a manufacturer myself, I'm usually sympathetic to Red's choices as product decisions are often a lot more complex than most customers realize (and customers can be a bit unrealistic at times as well)

    but.....

    I've never really understood the choices on the DSMC2 modules that have audio. Basically we are stuck with the V-lock I/o module with no solid audio input or the Redvolt expander that has XLRs but are glommed onto the Redvolt module which is a big waste of size, weight, and cost if - like most Red owners - one uses V-mount or AB batteries. The V-lock I/O expander would be great if it just had at least one (preferably two) XLR or Mini-XLR connectors. This could be done possibly with just a little wider bulge on the V-lock or possibly making it a little longer with vertical or side oriented XLRs.

    And this should be a RED module - I know there are 3rd party modules closer to what I'm asking but they seem to have some issues as well. To me the V-lock IO style module with XLR/miniXLRs should be the basic unit that makes a full fledged red camera.
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    Senior Member Steve DiMaggio's Avatar
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    are you asking for better audio for dialog? good sources sound good with the vlock, at least for me, lectro, dpa mic

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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Michael Hastings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DiMaggio View Post
    are you asking for better audio for dialog? good sources sound good with the vlock, at least for me, lectro, dpa mic

    steve
    Asking for better audio for everything and solid, professional connections for input.
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Steve DiMaggio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Hastings View Post
    Asking for better audio for everything and solid, professional connections for input.
    trs connections should be fine, I understand xlr being better for pull wires but there shouldn't be really any sonic difference fi the source and cabling is quality, then again I do things much different than most red users. Also my back ground is building and owning recording studios so I can stream line my audio gear. On board mics and fan noise, now thats a different ball of wax lol!

    what's your audio set up? usually a couple of small tweaks can get very good results, feel free to message me directly. if your looking for a locking connection your going to need to look for the xlr modules available or for a fraction of the price rock out a mix pre, which is what I do for crucial audio, 2 lavs and a shotgun

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  7. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DiMaggio View Post
    trs connections should be fine, I understand xlr being better for pull wires but there shouldn't be really any sonic difference fi the source and cabling is quality, then again I do things much different than most red users. Also my back ground is building and owning recording studios so I can stream line my audio gear. On board mics and fan noise, now thats a different ball of wax lol!

    what's your audio set up? usually a couple of small tweaks can get very good results, feel free to message me directly. if your looking for a locking connection your going to need to look for the xlr modules available or for a fraction of the price rock out a mix pre, which is what I do for crucial audio, 2 lavs and a shotgun

    steve
    Michael Hastings you've inspired this thread in your earlier post as these issues have been on my mind for quite while.


    Hey Steve Sherrick and Steve DiMaggio,

    Great to see you both on this thread.

    Steve Sherrick- I consider you to be the master diplomat of REDuser.
    You always have a level head and prudent responses.

    Steve DiMaggio - I know you do a bit of field recording with your very busy wedding filmmaking business.
    Would be curious to see your audio config.

    The biggest issues I see are

    1) the limited audio inputs in the camera - While you can record 4 inputs it seems that 2 are limited to the internal camera mics (scratch track quality) leaving only 2 that can be used to input mic audio. I believe at least 4 distinct audio input tracks (like the RED ONE) is presents a more useful options.

    2) Use of PRO connectors- I think XLR connectors and mini XLR should be the standard. They are properly balanced and have proper physical locking built into the connect to make it solid in the field.

    3) Issues with getting proper mic levels going into the camera and incomplete support for phantom power.
    (according to some user reports)

    4) Clean audio with no digital pops, hiss, or other phenomena that contaminates the signal.
    (according to some user reports)

    I must disclose that my personal camera is a RED ONE MX so I don't have direct experience with some of these issues.
    I would like to upgrade to a newer camera at some point (Gemini looks great) and would be happy to see the audio issues on these newer REDs resolved.
    The RED ONE MX audio has served me well over the years and that camera is almost 10 years old so I know RED can make this happen with the newer gear.

    Brian Timmons
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  8. #8  
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    This is a no-brainer. At the very least there should be some sort of dialogue between RED and their user base concerning these issues.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Aiden K.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Timmons View Post
    4) Clean audio with no digital pops, his, or other phenomena that contaminates the signal.
    (according to some user reports)
    With the introduction to the RED H1 and how Jim talks about his new 3d audio technology built into the phone, it gives me hope that they will implement this or at least better audio recording tech into new version of the flagship cameras.

    I do know that the audio is the ONLY aspect of the MX I have struggled with on a consistent basis. At each production, I just say to myself, "It's going to sound good this time." and every time in post, I just spend a day cleaning it up.
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Joel Arvidsson's Avatar
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    Thanks Brian for starting this thread. I too think that by now it should be a red module for onboard recording of clean audio (great preamp) recording for dmsc2. I wish that audio module would have had been pretty slim audio and had two xlr inputs, a hdmi/hdsdi, and a phones connector. To many in and outputs gives to large module sizes and a high prize.
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