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What's one of the best parts about being a video professional? All the cool gear! In this weekly series, Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman team up to discuss the latest and greatest equipment for video production and post. They talk about the newest cameras, like the Blackmagic 4K, pocket cinema cameras, and GoPros; accessories and adapters that will make your shoots run smoother; and the great tech being invented every day. And because they keep both cost and quality in mind, you'll never have to worry about blowing your budget or compromising production value. Come back every Friday for a new tip.
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So Rich we've taken a look at quite a few sort of alternatives to Zoom H4n and including a additional you know, digital auto recorder. We've taken a look at some attachments that we can make to a phone. But there is one thing that has been traditionally used in, sort of, field auto recording, and that is the field mixer. Now the field mixer of course, can be worn by the audio person, you've often seen that. Somebody wearing a belt pack around their waist and they have all sorts of wires going in and out. >> Right. >> But you know, and that, that works. But there are also situations where you want, sort of, a more traditional type field mixer.
Kind of like you'd see in Edit Suite or something like that, and this is a really cool one that we've got right here. This is fro the guys at Behringer. And this is actually a digital audio mixer, in the sense that it connects to something digitally via USB, and tell us a little bit about it. >> It's pretty simple. The idea here is that you're probably bring in a laptop on location anyways, or access to a computer,. >> Right. >> Why not use that computer as the hard drive recorder? An all this does is, is it pulls power from the USB port on the computer and it powers a small mixer.
And this small mixer has several inputs. We can take an XLR input, plug that in, and actually provide power to a microphone. You see there that it's sending it through. And then next to it you have two more RCA jacks. So you could decide to use four RCA inputs or use the one XLR, and then also had one set of RCA >> So two, two total inputs? >> Two total inputs. Works fine. They both have controls here for gain and you can actually adjust the volume there. >> They've got little EQ sliders there as well. >> Yeah. Yep. Right down here. Pretty simple there. So we can dial that in.
We can adjust some of the, the panning, the balance, the lows and the highs. Pretty easy. And then you, of course, have an actual gain knob, and you can actually monitor the audio right here at the device. >> Which is important, because you know, when it comes to monitoring you're going to want to monitor, ideally, in the every part of the chain. At the source, at the mixer, at the computer. Now Rich, you've gone ahead and plugged this in and I have the USB connection over here to my computer. >> Yeah. >> And I've actually just launched a Adobe Audition, it's just my sort of tool of choice for recording audio. But any you know, audio apps should be able to address this USB device.
>> It's a, it uses the native, standard USB protocol. So as long as you're system recognizes that and it will usually just work with plug and play. Otherwise, your Windows machine may say, oh I need to download a driver or your mac may. But usually it works using the scanner I never had to put a driver in. Rob just plugged it in. Yeah I did. So here on my Mac using Audition. I'm here on a track and I'm simply going to arm that track to go to record. I'm not going to record yet. But as you can see from my bouncing audio meters and my loud boomy voice it is definitely picking me up there. >> I'm holding the mic and it's still picking him up over there, but it's fine.
And so if he hits record. >> Yep. So I'm going to go ahead and hit record here and let Rich talk for a sec. >> So the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane. There we go. Very insightful, Rich. Very poetic. I'll take my track out of record there. And let's go ahead and play this back. >> So the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. >> Sounds pretty good. >> Yeah. High quality audio. It transferred it through. And this just gives you that flexibility. If you need a backup recorder on set or you need to quickly record an interview. And maybe it's just an audio interview.
I often just keep this in my laptop bag. And it's not very heavy, it's pretty light, bus powered, no power supply. >> You know what I really like about this approach? Is that it's kind of like onset digital color correction. Right? In a sense that an on set color is kind of doing things, tweaking the look, making sure that the lights work and all that kind of stuff. This allows you to, and say, in an interview, to really quickly go back and go, no, no, no, we need to say that again because I was just listening to it and it was screwed up. It gives you instant access to the audio. You could cut together segments to see if they're working you know, during you know, some downtime or, you know, a reset or something like that.
Now just keep in mind that one sort of peril about this is that computers you know, do get lost, they do get bumped, that kind of stuff. So. When you do record your audio to your computer, unlike backing up a memory card. >> Yeah. >> You need to back this audio up somewhere as well. >> One other work flow you might want to consider with this, and maybe you've already got an onset audio work flow, but you need to do transcripts. Well, you can take an output from the existing work flow onset and then patch that into the computer, quickly capture the audio during the shoot, rip of an MP3 and send it.
It works great. Or maybe it's just a back up recorder. In any case, a simple device, about 150 bucks. I've seen them priced even cheaper. >> Yep. >> You can turn your computer into a pro audio device and allow you to get some real world inputs so you can capture right there in the field. Well Rob, we looked a lot of different methods. >> Yeah we did. >> And I think the takeaway here is that the Zoom H4n and that traditional use of the external digital audio recorder is perfectly valid. >> Absolutely. >> But, technology's gotten better and maybe it's time to change. >> Yeah, a lot of options.
And it's really going to depend on your workflow. There's no right or wrong when it comes to sort of how your audio work flows and plays. But just consider some of these options. One of the options that I really like is sort of the old iPhone and using a recorder that way. I do also really like sort of the portable field mixer. We took a look at the TASCAM unit which is kind of, you know, in all intents and purposes just a different form factor of the H4n, but provides sort of a different set of ergonomics there. And then also don't forget that your camera these days, lot more capable in terms of what can be attached to it and how the software is treating incoming audio.
So, H4n, still a fantastic tool to use, but keep in mind, there are a lot of other options out there. >> Well, for Video Gear Weekly, my name's Rich Harrington. >> And I'm Robbie Carman.
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