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5 Mics into a DSLR?
Paul W Gillespie, Photographer
Annapolis | MD | USA | Posted: 5:20 PM on 08.13.13
->> I have to video a group of 5 people in a panel type discussion. They will be seated in chairs and not at a table. I am shooting with a Nikon D7000. I have a Sennheiser MKE 400, but don't think on camera sound is the way to go. I have been approved to buy 5 of these Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone I am not sure how to get them into the camera though. I have also been given some funds, not too much though, another $50-100 to buy some kind of mixer.

Is this the way to go? Any mixer recommendations? Ideas?

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Will Powers, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 5:51 PM on 08.13.13
->> Paul,
You need an audio mixer board. Depending on your mics, (they are possibly XLR out). If the mixing board takes xlr in, then you may have to have XLR cables. Then out of the audio board you go to the input (mic jack) on the camera. Sooooo it is lts of cables and a sound board.
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Paul W Gillespie, Photographer
Annapolis | MD | USA | Posted: 6:09 PM on 08.13.13
->> Thanks Will. These will be mini jack lav mics. I may get a mixer that takes a 1/4 phone? and use an adapter. Part of my problem is if I get a 4 channel mono mixer, I will be one jack short. I saw an 8 channel mono/4 channel stereo mixer that was in my price range, but I am not sure if all 8 channels come out of the same one channel that would go into my camera, if that makes sense.
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Matthew Jonas, Photo Editor, Photographer
Longmont | CO | USA | Posted: 6:54 PM on 08.13.13
->> Paul, I think you will need to find a mixer with 5 mic level inputs. Correct me if I am wrong but I don't believe it is possible to plug a mic level signal into a line level input on a mixer and get decent sound. Anyone back me up on that? It's been a long time since I had a sound engineering class.
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Peter Huoppi, Photographer
New London | CT | USA | Posted: 6:59 PM on 08.13.13
->> If the mixer has two main outputs, you will want a Y-adapter cable from those outs to your camera. What's the mixer you're looking at?
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Kurt Rivers, Photographer
Ormond Beach | FL | USA | Posted: 7:14 PM on 08.13.13
->> The big problem here is that you have 5 3.5mm mic level sources and you need mic level inputs that can be mixed down to a stereo (or mono) mix to plug in to the dslr.

Mic inputs are almost always balanced xlr and these lav mics are unbalanced dual mono 3.5mm.

This post says that this mic might work with a 3.5mm to xlr adapter because the picture on Amazon looks like a TS plug.

Even then, getting the adapters and cables could take your whole budget. Plus you will have a lot of connections that can bring problems up real quick. 3.5mm connection on a person is just asking to get pulled unless you tape them all.

I suggest a couple shotgun mics and a two channel mixer/recorder if you can't get lav mics with xlr outputs.
Handheld mics and a mixer could work too if the people could hold them.

If they are all sitting somewhat close in a quiet area a Tascam DR-40 using the internal mics might be all you need.

Now... if these mics had more gain then -54 db a line level mixer would work but I really don't think it will. If I had one around I would try it though.
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Will Powers, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 7:31 PM on 08.13.13
->> Condenser mics require their own power. The line in may be the mini jack but the mixer will be key. You could plug the condenser mics into an XLR converter and use

Behringer 1002B 10 Input 2 Bus Portable PA Mixers

BTW I have one for sale. I'll put a pic up in my member area.
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Jim Karczewski, Photographer, Assistant
Hammond | IN | USA | Posted: 8:08 PM on 08.13.13
->> Maybe use a rental house for the mixer? Tell them what you are wanting to do and rent, buy the next time you have to do something like this?
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Steve Ueckert, Photographer
Houston | TX | | Posted: 8:31 PM on 08.13.13
->> A skilled assistant with a quality shotgun.

Reaction time and aim are everything.

Put the shotgun mic into one channel and feed an omni (wide field) mic into the other for ambient.

If you have access to a BeachTek (audio amp with discrete channel levels and headphone monitor), that will be a plus for balancing the channels.
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Paul W Gillespie, Photographer
Annapolis | MD | USA | Posted: 11:39 PM on 08.13.13
->> I also own a Zoom H2 recorder which I might be able to put in the middle of the group and use that as either the mic or to record the whole thing. Then I would have a problem syncing it up later. Most of the mixers I was looking at seemed to be Line Level and not Mic Level and I am learning there is a difference.

Some of the mixers I was checking out
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Guy Rhodes, Photographer
East Chicago | IN | USA | Posted: 4:06 AM on 08.14.13
->> You're on the right track with the lav / mixer suggestions you have received.

I can't imagine trying to make a poor boom operator cover a panel of five people having a discussion (probably quickly speaking in turn, or even interrupting each other) with a single shotgun mic. This isn't an option, and especially not for your MKE400.

As Jim suggested, your best bet might be to find a sound recordist with gear and just rent their services for your shoot. They'll have everything you need for good sound, and provide you with an output from their mixer and / or files to sync with the camera later in post.

The AT mics you linked to would be great on their own right into the camera, but in a situation where you need to run many of them into a professional mixer, the adapters you'd need to get from 1/8th inch to XLR are going to cost as much as each mic, so something to think about.

As an alternate to hiring a sound recordist, are there any local live theaters / venues where you can shoot your panel discussion? Many venues have multiple wireless lavs already routed into a mixer that can have an output sent to your camera. Something to think about...
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AJ Mast, Photographer, Photo Editor
Indianapolis | IN | USA | Posted: 7:26 AM on 08.14.13
->> You can also pretty easily rent a sound board. Music stores and or AV rental houses. They aren't much. If this is not something you are doing every day that is probably the way to go.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 10:50 AM on 08.14.13
->> Looking at those lavs and mixers it would seem that you're going to shoot yourself in the foot trying to save money.

Depending on what your budget is like you should see if you can find a local sound mixer with a good five channel mixer (Sound Device 552 anyone?) and five lavs.

A good boom operator might be able to handle it depending on how the panel is laid out.

Maybe there's a local film student that can use his or her college's gear.

Don't cheap out on the sound.
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Thread Title: 5 Mics into a DSLR?
Thread Started By: Paul W Gillespie
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