Nikon D7000 Audio Kit

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With Singular Software finally announcing the Mac version of Dual Eyes (a stand alone program that makes it easy to sync video with separately recorded audio), the last barrier for getting great audio to complement your DSLR video is gone.

(Of course, if you use any of the professional NLE’s like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, you’ve had the company’s Plural Eyes plug-in for ages. But it was not available for us beginners in iMovie and Premiere Elements and so we had to wait for the stand alone version).

I’ve also more or less finalized my own audio kit, one that I take with me whenever I need to gather audio, either for an audio slide show, or for a video gig. This kit does not represent the be-all and end-all of audio equipment….I’m not using any XLR based gear and serious audio guys will tell you that you need XLR gear to get the best quality.

I have no doubt that they are right. But here’s my deal: I have to work alone, and my stuff needs to be small, portable, and still do the job well enough. I need professional sounding audio, but the difference in what this gear can get and what the “pro” stuff will get is all but undetectable to my ear. So let’s call this a kit for guerilla soundgathering, something for the one-man band types.

So here’s the latest gear in my audio bag (which is tiny).

538924.jpgOlympus LS 10 recorder  If it were available when I was buying, I’d have gotten the LS-11, which has a bigger memory and some nice software features, but the LS 10 is fine.

534023.jpgSennheiser MKE 400 mini shotgun–I’ve got the deadcat windmuff for it too. It’s still the smallest shotgun for DSLR and does a great job.

574785.jpgKoss PortaPro Stereo Headphones–They’re not closed cell, but they’re packable and do a good job.

126229.jpgCool-Lux MD 300 Light and Sound Bracket–A Y-bracket that provides two cold shoe mounts, one for your mic, one for the recorder, or you can skip one of those an add a small Litepanel.

254828.jpgHot shoe to 1/4″ 20 adapter–This allows you to mount the Olympus onto the the Cool-Lux.

mt830_sp.jpgAudio Technica MT 830-SP subminiature High-Gain Lav Mic (with 20 foot extension cord)–If my interview subject is stationary, I prefer to hardwire this mic to the Olympus. It’s no hardship to hide the wire, and the sound is rich and impervious to radio interference.

553684.jpgSony UWP-V1 Wireless Lav Mic Package A great wireless package, and half the price of a similar Sennheiser setup. I worked with two pro documentary videographers on two continents who swore by the Sony and that was good enough for me.

Dead Cat Windmuff for Olympus

Gorilla Pod tripod used as mic stand

That rounds it out. The audio kit fits nicely in my camera bag and allows me to cover just about any audio situation. 

 

 

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23 Comments

  1. Mario Moschel January 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Thank you for sharing, Bob. Nice kit. I use the Olympus LS-5, the Sennheiser mic too for slideshows based on pictures. And for playing a little with video, I also grabbed a D7000 – besides it’s great skin tones and high resolution.

    I didn’t tried video and I am not in the video market yet, but I will try it out.

    In what kind of situations do you use or need wireless audio?

    Mario

    • Bob Krist January 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

      Mario: If I am tracking my subject moving around his or her environment, then the wireless is a good choice to get good audio from a moving target. I have to admit, though, that I prefer a hardwire connection. I am so old fashioned that way.

  2. Mario Moschel January 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    That makes you so lovable, Bob. But really, you’re not old fashioned. You are trying new things like slideshows, learning new techniques, new softwares and are constantly changing. This is the opposite of old fashioned, I guess :-)

    Mario

  3. David Kinsella February 17, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    Thanks for the list of audio equipment for the D7000. I bought it all.
    One BIG problem. when you plug in your extern mic. on the Olympus it cuts out the stereo sound, so only one channel.
    Wish I knew this before spending all that money on the Olympus. I thought I would get 3 channels.
    My bad research that turned out to be expensive, so change your picture and plug your sennheiser into the camera, then at least we can use the radio mic input on the Olympus, that still cuts out the stereo.
    Should have bought the Zoom H4n with the 4 channels
    One question what is the best contrast, sharpness etc settings on the D7000 for the movie function ?

    • Bob Krist February 17, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

      David: Not sure I’m following you. I get sound in both channels when running the Sennheiser into the Olympus….and what do you mean by 3 channels? I’m not sure I understand what problem you’re having. Are you using a mono extension cord, maybe?

      Or are you not happy because the Oly has only one input and not two? I’m not sure I’m following what the problem is. Can you explain it again?

    • Mario Moschel February 18, 2011 at 9:04 am #

      You bought it all???

      If I can help you with some issues, let me know, David.

      Mario

      • David Kinsella February 18, 2011 at 9:25 am #

        Hello Mario
        Thanks for the help.
        Can you answer, what are the best settings for D movie, that will be edited and color correction later.
        In set Picture control on the Nikon D7000 Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Hue ?

        Any idea ?

        Actually you can find my trailers on :-
        http://www.vimeo.com/16292456

        I have about 160 million that have watched my films, 4.6 million on youtube and my home page and about 2000 views a day.
        So even if my head is empty, I am doing something right.
        Strange that :)

        Look forward to hear your thoughts

        David

      • David Kinsella February 18, 2011 at 9:26 am #

        Hello Mario
        Thanks for the help.
        Can you answer, what are the best settings for D movie, that will be edited and color correction later.
        In set Picture control on the Nikon D7000 Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Hue ?

        Any idea ?

        Actually you can find my trailers on :-
        http://www.vimeo.com/16292456

        I have about 160 million that have watched my films, 4.6 million on youtube and my home page and about 2000 views a day.
        So even if my head is empty, I am doing something right.
        Strange that :)

        Look forward to hear your thoughts

        David

        • Mario Moschel February 18, 2011 at 10:54 am #

          Hi, David.

          Sorry for my inappropriate words, David. I checked your vimeo-videos and found our that you ARE a master, little jedi :-)

          I use “Vivid”. Generally, the D7000 produces a bit softer pictures and videos than most other Nikon bodies, so I would recommend to set the sharpening to 9. I use contrast, brightness, saturation and hue on “0″, which means neutral.For me, these are the best settings. But it depends on your style, workflow and flavour.

          Mario

          • David Kinsella February 18, 2011 at 11:10 am #

            Dont worry, I had a good laugh, you should read what the chinese media say about me :)
            Thanks for your thoughts.
            9???????? for the contrast, WOW, I have always been told that sharpening, contrast and saturation all need to be reduced so we have more to play with in post ?
            I have all these Nikon prime’s so I got the 7000, and I want a small system, that I can work with alone, it is not perfect, but fits my working style, I do want 25fps and 60fps but I will have to wait.
            I make film for the cinema, the world film festivals, so my films are only supposed to look like “real” film.
            I was at a Phillip Bloom workshop, and he reduced the above values drastically on his Canon’s
            it is really hard to find much info on the perfect settings for D-Movie on the 7000
            I am shooting a Fiction/ animation/ documentary fairytale from Africa in a few weeks. So this will be my first shoot with the D7000 and want the set up to be as perfect as possible for the Post production guys.

            Thanks again for your thoughts and help:)

            David

          • Mario Moschel February 18, 2011 at 11:18 am #

            David, thanks for your kindness.

            Not 9 for contrast!!!! I personally use 9 for sharpening. For contrast, 9 isn’t possible and not recommended :-)

            I don’t know Canon’s parameters, but on D7000, 9 for sharpening is not too much for my flavour. But I am not a great post production guy, by the way …

            Another question: Do you use a rig or a steadycam for filming with DSLR?

            Mario

          • David Kinsella February 18, 2011 at 11:23 am #

            Sorry sharpening,9 ! sounds really harsh for the cinema look ? but I will have a look
            Thanks, if you look at my remark to Bob, you will understand a little more of the look I want from my D 7000.

            I will use this :-
            http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/737980-REG/Manfrotto_561BHDV_1_Fluid_Video_Monopod_W_Head.html

            I also use a slider not the crazy expensive ones but from India $200

            David

  4. David Kinsella February 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    sorry the mail was entered two times.
    sorry

  5. David Kinsella February 17, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    For a quick response. Thank you.
    I have been sitting here reading the manual for the Olympus, I got the new one the LS-11
    As it says, when you use the external microphone socket with an external microphone the stereo inbuilt microphones will not work, it says that you can not have stereo 2 channels and an external microphone working at the same time, so on the LS-11 it is impossible to run 3 channels at the same time.
    What you think ?

    David :)

    • David Kinsella February 17, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

      Just thinking.
      So you need to run the Olympus as a mono single channel and then the Sennheiser as another mono single channel, so you can run both the Olympus and the Sennheiser as 2 channels. so this means we have to drop the stereo function on the Olympus when we add an external mic. ?

      David

    • Bob Krist February 17, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

      David: Ah okay, I understand now. It’s pretty much a given with every audio recorder I’ve worked with that once you plug in an external mic, you’ve shut down the onboard mics.

      Now, that may be different with the Zoom H4n, I don’t know. It’s a biggish unit and it’s XLR based and I’m trying to avoid that. Plus I had a highly unsatisfactory experience with the Zoom H2, and that kind of cured me of Zoom products (but that unit had 4, count ‘em 4, onboard mics and the minute you plugged in an external, the onboards were mute.

      But it sounds as if your disappointment may be more from a case of slightly unrealistic expectations than any shortcoming of the gear.

      Really, when you start talking about inputting more than one mic source, you’re talking mixers. There are some very basic mixers out there that will take two mic sources and boil them down into one output. Try looking at Juiced Link, Beachtek, or some of the items offered by Studio 1 Productions (google them).

      I’m sorry if you feel that I’ve mislead you in any way. if you feel stuck with that LS-11, and you can’t get rid of it to buy whatever you want to replace it, please contact me again and I’ll do what I can to help.

  6. David Kinsella February 18, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Good morning Bob
    Thanks for all your thoughts.
    I will keep what I have, I just wish the little recorder had 3 channels, the third for a radio mic.
    Yes I want 4 channels, 2 radio mics and the stereo built in. But not now.
    I shoot feature length docs.
    Here is a link to my Ballet film that was used as the research background for “Black Swan” http://www.vimeo.com/16291682
    I work mostly on my own with interaction with 2 characters so having 2 radio mics on the moving subjects is perfect on a handheld rig.
    I have a cinema release project with the makers of Avatar that starts in November, so I will need the double radio mic system, hopefully not so bulky.

    My other question was if you know
    What is the best adjustment for the contrast, sharpness etc, as I shoot movies, I want some extra color correction in post.
    I know with the Canon, the contrast and sharpness is normally turned down very low.
    Any thoughts ?
    Back to my expensive toys.

    Thanks again Bob

    Enclosed a picture from my latest project from South Sudan

  7. David Kinsella February 18, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    Hello Bob
    Here is exactly what I need to know, if you can help :-

    Can you answer, what are the best settings for D movie, that will be edited and color correction later. I want to get as much as I can out of this file.
    In set Picture control on the Nikon D7000 Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Hue ?

    As I said I read on the Canon, the values were always reduced drastically.

    david :)

    • David Kinsella February 18, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      Hello again Bob.
      I forgot to say. I shoot for the “art” cinema, film festivals on the big cinema screen, not TV and want the 35 mm look, soft etc, I make my films very “art” style and try to give a unreal film look, if this helps with the correct settings for the D7000.
      My Post guys want as much as possible out of this “not very good format”

      David

      • Bob Krist February 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

        Hi David: I see you and Mario have been having a good exchange while I’ve been sleeping! As far as your audio goes, to run two wireless mics into the recorder, you’re going to need to get a mixer, even a simple one like those from Studio 1 Productions, or VideoUniversity.com.. Even the Zoom H4n, according to my research, will only allow you to mix the input from one external mic with the onboard mics.

        As for the settings, I’ve just been leaving them on Standard. I’ve read the same arguments about getting a softer (contrast and sharpness wise) picture in the field because your post guys can work with it easier.

        David, I’m not an expert in post production so I can’t advise you on this. There is a wealth of info out there on the Canon end, but Nikon film makers are still a rare breed.
        I will try to find out from some folks at Nikon what they recommend and get back to you.

  8. alexandra April 10, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    maybe this isn’t a very smart question…but does the nikon d7000 have an output jack for headphones? can’t find anywhere correct specs.
    thank you!

    • Bob Krist April 10, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

      It’s a very smart question. Alas, the D7000 does not have a headphone out jack. Unless you record to a separate recorder or use a mixer like the Beachtek or Juiced Link, there is no way to monitor audio with headphones on the D7000.

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