Sunday, July 26, 2009

DSLR Video and Sync Sound

One of the dilemmas associated with shooting DSLR video has to do with the discrepancy between optimum picture and optimum sound. Of the the three DSLRs on the market today that can produce video, two deliver 1080p HD, the Canon D5 Mark II and the Panasonic GH1. The Nikon D90 produces a very good quality HD image on a large chip as well (larger than the Panasonic's, smaller than the Canon's), but at 720p.

As far as an image that most closely approximates something shot with a film camera, all three cameras, because of the size of their chips, accomplish this extremely well, but not equally. The quality of their image, due to the size of their chips and quality of their lenses, I would rank like this, in descending order: Canon, Nikon, Panasonic.

So as picture quality goes, Canon is best, Panasonic is third (still a very good image). But of the three cameras, only one is rigged at the factory for adequate sound recording and that is the Panasonic (in stereo, no less). The sound recording capabilities of the Canon and Nikon are notoriously bad. So a filmmaker who desires to shoot sync sound with the Canon or Nikon would be wise to consider recording it on a separate system such as the Zoom H4n. Even someone shooting with the well-reviewed sound system built into the Panasonic might be concerned with space on the camera’s storage media card, and a separate recording device could also be a solution for that problem.

None of the articles I’ve written on DSLR video allowed space for discussion of recording sync sound, so I’d like to list some of the sites I found while researching these articles and one I just came across on Sunday:

Zacuto offers excellent tutorial videos on filmmaking in general. Here is an exceptional one on sound:

Singular Software has developed a product to sync sound from separate and multiple sources at their Web site here.

And finally, Phil Bloom’s generosity with what he learns on the job as a cinematographer is inexhaustible. Here is a step by step tutorial on how he uses Plural Eyes.

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