My La Tercera gear is a Canon Rebel 2ti with a kit lens (28-70 f3.5-5.6) with one battery and a 4gb normal speed memory card. I purchased for myself an 8gb 30mb/s card, because the video needs memory and quick memory at that. I have access to a Sony HDR-SR7 avchd (a camera available in 2007-2008).
I also have access to great Sony lav mics and not so great for what I do omnidirectional mikes, courtesy of La Tercera’s video department, 3tv. Too, from time to time, I provide my Rode mic, the one that mounts to the hot shoe discussed in an earlier post.
I’ve been experimenting with different gear set-ups and recording systems. With the barest of materials, I’ve done some day projects in the past couple of weeks.
Overtime, one finds that batteries hold less and less charge. A reason for this is that the battery has a kind of a charge memory, and if one charges it when it is not completely empty or very, very empty, over time the battery will hold less and less charge (Battery technology is way better, and most people say there’s no memory, the problem is that the battery capacity diminishes over time). I’m trying to avoid this, so I run my batteries down to their barest. My battery has a great deal of life. I’m able to go out shooting 3 or 4 times, taking video, with a single charge but that last shoot runs a risk.
Iphone Voice Memo Audio: Miley’s fanatics
My last shoot of four on the charge that fed all of the videos in this post was the fans of Miley Cyrus waiting outside of her hotel for the tiniest glimpse of their idol. About 8 broll video clips and 2 short interviews into the shoot, my battery started flashing. I turned off the the video (live view devours battery) and went to pure stills. I used my Iphone for recording audio interviews for the first time ever. The crispness and clarity of the audio is outstanding. NOTE: Iphone explorer is a great tool that allows you to navigate and extract –among other things- voice memos or photos from your Iphone in a computer where your phone is not synced, allowing you to override this problem.
The challenges to this method were twofold. First, I had difficulty of transferring the clips to my computer. My iphone is not synced to my work computer because my music is on my home computer. I didn’t know what syncing it at that point would do to the day’s recordings, so I had to, instead, email the clips to myself. Although, advised by Nacho, I started this process while still in the field, the transferring of clips took forever over 3g and I was limited to an audio length of 2 minutes, which meant I needed to cut many before sending. Messy. I had a mass of 2 minute clips, many of which were repeats because it took so long for the clips to send, I would resend them thinking I hadn’t sent them.
This contributed to the second problem, sorting out who said what, because I did not have a visual of each subject speaking. In the future, if would be wise to snap a photo of each interviewee with iphone, to have an image with an iphone time linked or write down a frame number with the name.
In camera Canon Rebel Mic: Student protesters
This project documents a student march in pursuit of greater resources for public universities and better scholarships, we have an example of straight, off the camera audio. I put the camera as close as I could to the people I was interviewing. When background noise was subtle, the results were great. When there was a heap of noise, I worked to make the source of the noise clear (protestors).
You’ll notice that the background noise increases through the video as the excitement of the protest grows. I think it works, and it was more comfortable than fumbling with the rode mic doing interviews with the camera bobbling and me trying to make eye contact and encourage responses.
Sony Lav Mic’s on Sony HDR-SR7: Law for seatbelts on intercity buses
In this project/story about a change to the law requiring intercity bus passengers to wear seatbelts or face fines, I brought both cameras, a tripod and used the sony lavs to record sound. As with every city’s bus station I’ve ever visited, the bus station in Santiago is on the dodgier side and I had to be cautious. I kept the lav in my pocket, set the camera on a tripod next to me and sent only the microphone to the user. Bus stations can be very noisy. Certainly there is background noise, but I am not unhappy with the outcome.
Shotgun Rode mic on Canon Rebel: Problems with Santiago bus service
The final day project example I have is a video about problems with bus service in Santiago (the group of bus service providers known as Transantiago.) Here I did the Rode mic juggling, trying to get the mic as close to the mouth as possible while holding the camera, or alternately, with the microphone mounted on the hot shoe.
Neither holding the Rode in hand or mounting it gave outstanding results when the unavoidable street noise was present (I was conducting interviews at bus stops). I find the example of the student protests with the in-camera mic preferable. There, I was working next to one of the largest traffic circles in Santiago (Plaza Italia) and it sounds better than the more minor streets where I spoke to bus users. This is probably because I am able to hold the camera closer than I am the mic while also holding the camera, but the clarity stands.
NOTE from Nacho
Since this post I’ve been working with a couple of Newspapers on implementing a workflow for quick coverage on the field.
The most successful has been by using Evernote. It’s a simple app, available for Iphone, Android, Blackberry, Mac and PC. Evernote allows you to take notes, audio and photos and sync them online with the tap of a button. Just have your reporters in the field share a folder with you and then make them write, take photos or audio with it, hit sync and it’ll magically be in your desktop, thus allowing the editor to combine all the elements into a story.
The limit on the files is 25mb I think, much better than native Iphone recorder. Best of all, the content lives in the cloud and any desktop where that folder has been shared.