I have recently been working on the idea of merging high quality audio and video (admitted, not a particular new idea! :) ) I think the audio quality of many nature and wildlife TV series lacks quality. Even in very high profile HD shows you often find gross examples of simple and artificial sound overlays completely out of context with the excellent picture quality. Improving the audio quality would add an extra dimension the these shows. Cinema movies, on the other hand, do have very high audio quality. Here, the lack is rather the authenticity…
This post describes the testing of a new recording setup which combines the camera with my full audio nature recording setup on the same tripod. This allows capturing of the sound exactly in the direction of the view of the video. I think it can be useful for certain recordings and has potential of producing a interesting 3D nature experience, e.g. when listening the to sound track in headphones while watching the video on a large screen.
I need more practice (and exercise!) to produce really good results, however here is a try-out video footage with the setup, on a gray summer day with light rain, (in Youtube quality):
More pictures and details of the setup below:
The recording head, (which is a Jecklin disk-like setup, Ø=25cm, dist 20 cm with theQTC-40′s + pressure equalizers), is simply mounted right above the camera. Luckily the camera is completely silent as long as auto-focus and vibration reduction are turned off. The wind protection, one layer nylon stocking material, works very well with these small diaphragm omni microphones. In order to prevent the setup becoming too top heavy, extra weight has been added to the legs of the tripod. There is a balance point right at the grip, making it possible to hold it with right hand while focusing and other with left hand. (More details of the setup in the gallery below)
The setup is not particularly user friendly yet! So many details to remember during setting up and while shooting. I definitely need to improve and make it simpler in the future. Also, all the gear, including the recording shoulder bag, is getting really heavy to carry. It will take a lot of practice to get the really good recordings. The only good thing that video stability seems to be improved from the higher mass.
One can easily argue that this setup is more complicated than it needs to be. I think comparable sound and video quality can be achieved with more compact handy recorders attached to a video recording system. Though, a steady cam stabilizer for the video will be a big advantage.