The thing about shooting video with HDSLRs is the necessity of using a dual system for audio. I’ve tried several mics that plug-in to the 5D’s mic port and there are many good ones; however, none replace the quality you get from an external recorder and a shotgun mic (my favorite being the Rode NTG-3).
Even if you’re rolling with something small like a Zoom H4n, you need a couple of mounting points for the recorder and mic, which needs to be in a shock mount to avoid noise from camera handling or cords tapping against your gear. Now, that simple little HDSLR run-and-gun kit looks like your TV’s cable box vomited on top of your camera. And, you’d better not forget to hit record twice (camera and H4n) before you call ‘action’ (*raises hand).
The Rode VideoMic Pro is a nice mic; however, it’s simply not a replacement for a dual system setup. For one, you can’t monitor the audio with actual headphones on any HDSLR but the new Nikon D4 (…any day now Canon?). Additionally, the sound quality and isolation is still not the same as using a good external shotgun and recorder.
Rode is teasing a new mic that may knockout the cumbersome bits of dual system, monitoring, and in-camera audio concerns all in one simple setup. The Rode VideoMic HD is “coming soon” according to Rode’s teaser site.
The VideoMic HD sports the following features:
- Integrated digital recorder (microSDHC)
- RF-bias, true condenser shotgun microphone
(based on RØDE NTG3 technology)
- Line and Mic (mixer) inputs (with ‘plug-in’ power)
- High level headphone amplifier for monitoring
- Three-level High Pass Filter (0, 75Hz, 150Hz)
- Integrated Blimp wind protection and shock mounting
- Multi mode outputs
(Dual mono/split 0db and -10db for auto safety/dual mono + 20dB)
- High frequency ‘boost’ switch for increased intelligibility at distance miking
- Utra-lightweight metal casing
- Quick release mounting system
There’s no way to know just how much of NTG-3 tehnology is going to show up inside this new VideoMic HD; however, if it’s anywhere close to the quality and isolation that it delivers, we could be in for a real treat.
The fact that it has a built-in recorder that records to microSDHC cards keeps the run-and-gun HDSLR setup simple and easy to handle. It will pass-through a clean signal to the in-camera audio track and capture up to 24-bit 96kHz .wav files via the internal recorder. If you’re in a situation where you need the video out ASAP or the internal camera audio is otherwise fine, then you can roll with it quickly. If you need something better, you can still drop in your dual-system file from the internal recorder and link them up in post.
Oh, and you can actually monitor the audio with headphones directly from the mic. While this may be of limited use for your HDSLR reference file, you should be able adjust levels for the mic’s internal recorder. How about a wireless remote for levels and other operations during recording, eh Rode?
Of course, there’s no word on pricing yet, or when it will be available. If I were a betting man, I’d say we’re easily in the $500+ range, and I’d think real hard about one up to around $800 (a little more than what a real NTG-3 costs) if the quality is close. For availability, I’d guess around NAB in mid-April.