Rained out of camp on Mt Wittenburg in Pt Reyes National Seashore this afternoon, but had a lot of fun… used the MSR E-wing tarp instead of a tent, and a Vargo Titanium Decagon stove to burn alcohol. Nice hike with views of Drake’s Bay to the west. The reconstituted beef stroganoff was good.
We camped initially at 4000′ in Ancient Bristlecone Campground (jct of 168 and 395) and 2 Belgian tourists had an auto accident directly in front of the site that evening. We attempted to help them on this very windy night, including trying to set up their huge dome tent which blew down… we were fine in my MSR E-Wing tarp.
Yesterday, we got into our second camp at 11,600′ near Paiute Lake in the Sierra. It snowed almost all day and night. We returned to the car at mid-day today, enjoyed Bishop, CA and returned to the LA area this evening.
Canon 5DIII, 70D cameras with Zoom H6 DAR and backup Tascam DR-60D (need 3 XLR inputs if possible, for 2 wired lav mics and a boomed shotgun).
The Manfrotto 2 camera rail makes it easy to shoot with both cameras from nearly the same vantage point on one tripod. Be sure to crank the mounts so they don’t rotate!!
I could also attach other items to the rig with Mafer clamps, for example, instead of using an articulated arm to mount the digital audio recorder.
This setup allows use of 4×4″ Tiffen ND filters, I have a 3-stop and a 4-stop which fit into the matte box for preserving wide lens apertures. That way, shallow DOF is covered for EFP and occasional ENG applications.Of course, all the other benefits of the matte box apply such as making lens changes fast and easy, and virtually eliminating flare.
The configuration is compact, secure, and very adjustable along the medium-length carbon fiber rails. Critical focus in bright light is achieved with the Hoodman Custom Finder.
As an option, I can add the Manfrotto DSLR remote controller for rack focus and faster ergonomics in starting and ending clips.
The Benro components are much better suited to this kind of arrangement on a monopod than my RedRock Micro components, especially the baseplate assembly. The RRM lacks screw threads for connection to the QR fo the monopod.
Functionally, it’s a little imbalanced from frontloading and the tilt is not as smooth as the pan, but overall I feel that the versatility of the rig more than compensates for these considerations.
It also travels relatively well, because the matte box can be broken down further for packing.
This is not going to yield the degree of camera movement possible with a shoulder rig, but I find it much better for longer ENG recordings since the monopod, and not my arms, support the system. It’s also easy to combine both, if a multicam shoot is desired.
After a period of use with and without my other DAR (Zoom H4N) employed as a stereo microphone source, I have more comments about the Tascam recorder. The key words I ‘d use to describe my experience with it are EASY and INTUITIVE.
It’s much easier to access the SD media card than with the Zoom model, because of the simple rubber cover which also reveals the AC adapter/USB port.
Ability to easily and rapidly isolate and monitor whichever channel I wish with headphones, or a mix, or CAMERA IN, and to lock the XLR cables to the inputs, are welcome changes from the H4N.
I use the rapid, intuitive ‘delete recording file’ process routinely, and this is much easier to do than with the H4N- yet another example of using dedicated buttons instead of submenus to make the recorder user-friendly. These buttons are very quiet to operate, and I so far don’t see a need for getting its remote control unit.
The DR-60 is very compact, and lighter than the H4N; I can easily carry it all day and it mounts well onto rigs and monopods/tripods with option to mount cameras directly atop it. The bracket for camera attachment is easily removed if the location on a rig suggests it to be necessary.
The real-time Equalizer function is very helpful to preview the treble/bass mix of a track and therefore, evaluate the outputs of various microphones relative to this recorder. It’s a simple matter to avoid proximity effect with shotguns, for example using this method (this is of course not an issue with omnidirectional mics).
I’ve found that the sound quality is very good using the H4N as a stereo mic input into the 3.5mm Ch3/4 input or as an XLR connection. So both recorders can very effectively be used together, even if there are no stand-alone microphones available.
Second, I ‘ll use the H4N for most multitrack recording because of its additional capability in this mode compared to the Tascam.
And it will be used as an audio interface to my Cubase LE6 digital audio workstation on my notebook-a feature not offered by this unit.
This setup works well for daylight-lit ENG; I usually add a Stellar ST-3000 LED light and a 6″ cold shoe rail when artificial light is needed.
This group fits into a Lowe Pro Flipside 400 pack and includes:
Canon5D3 w 24-105 f/4 L
Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic with deadcat and shock mount, headphones
Tascam DR-60D DAR with 2 x 3.5 mm short cables to run to and from the camera
Audio Technica Pro70 wired lav mic w dead’marble’
2 XLR cables, 6′ each
3X 3″ loupe
The Benro S6 video monopod goes into its own case to the site of the events.