Archive for December, 2015

The Rode Video Micro ultralight/compact, remote-powered shotgun microphone

Posted in Audio, backpacking, Music, Photojournalism, Reviews, Travel, ultralight techniques, Video on December 18, 2015 by William Hooks

I just received this superlight unit from B&H, at $60 regular price.

It’s powered from the camera or other 3 v supply, and has no internal battery requiring periodic checking and replacement. I use another mic of similar size and weight of Chinese origin (see my equipment list page), which uses an internal CR2 battery; both have their advantages re powering. This microphone really is to be used by direct connection to a camera’s 3.5mm jack.

This type of mic is very useful for a number of situations: vehicle interior audio, backpacking, minimalist travel/photojournalism, creating tutorials at the computer screen by reversing the mic on the camera’s hot shoe for voiceovers… the excellent Rycote windscreen allows realistic use in moderate wind conditions.

It also has a 3/8″ base thread for use with a standard boompole.

Be sure that  NO PHANTOM POWER is applied to this unit!! If employed with a  Zoom H6, using plug-in power = 2.5 v for that particular recorder, be sure to set up for plug-in power before connecting the microphone.  Set the Tascam DR-70 D digital audio recorder to EXT POWER to enable plug-in power.


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My preliminary assessment of sound quality is that I would happily use it with an NTG-4 or  Audio Technica Pro70 wired lav mic. Gain is more than adequate.


The fact that it has no controls whatsoever contributes to a streamlined, simple form factor; when I need to control the width of pickup coverage, I ‘d go to the Shenggu SG-180 shotgun (90-120 degree settings).

The ultralight, stable unspillable Zelph modified StarLyte stove

Posted in Captain's Personal Log on December 12, 2015 by William Hooks

I got this stove for ~$25 US from Illinois small shop supplier, online.

It worked very well today in a windscreen, using a 1 L Halulite GSI tea kettle and less than 1 fl oz of fuel….less than 0.5 oz weight.

I highly recommend it- but be careful loading with fuel from a non-nozzled bottle, and don’t overfill ! Its capacity is 30 ml = 1 fl oz.

Notes: It fits inside of an MSR Titan titanium kettle (as does the Vargo titanium alcohol stove  and the Whit Box stove) with a 4 oz jet-nozzle type fuel bottle , matches and a windscreen. You must supply the windscreen, just as with the other stoves listed. This provides a very compact and ultralight stove  system for 3 season + conditions.

It does not light easily using either a firesteel or a piezo-ignitor, but works very well with matches or a lighter.