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Dialogue recording with the Canon EOS Rebel T2i/550D

KolaKrauze
Contributor

(This is quite a long question -- I am a beginner and will really appreciate anyone who takes the time to help me, and I would be very happy to reward anyone who gives me a solution to my problem!)

 

I regularly film simple interviews but I have a big problem with my sound. I want to have as good sound from the person I am filming but as little as possible of everything else (e.g. passing traffic, fridge noises, general "room buzz"). I recently spent almost $100 on an external Røde mic which Røde specifically recommend for the Canon EOS, and this did not help. (I have tried a Lav mic too -- to no avail.) One sound expert I briefly came into contact with suggested that my camera is set to be very sensitive and that I should change its sound settings. I have read through the book "Canon EOS Rebel T2i/550D for Dummies" but it barely covers sound at all.

 

I have recorded three very brief videos to illustrate my problem -- I have had to password-protect them but the password is: bjorn

 

In each case I am about 30 inches from the lens/mic and talking at my normal volume. The other person in the room is standing about 10 feet away to the left and talking very quietly. What I am trying to achieve is that my voice should be clear, there should be as little background noise as possible, and someone standing 10 feet away should be barely audible, if at all.

 

Without the Røde, i.e. simply my camera: https://vimeo.com/236214454

With a Røde and its setting "80Hz" which Røde claim reduces background noisehttps://vimeo.com/236216387
 
(I cannot hear any significant difference between the three.)
 
Really, I will be very grateful for any help I can get.
7 REPLIES 7

The T2i manual (p.125) says that "The sound recording level will be adjusted automatically." Could that be your problem?

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Thanks for replying. I just checked p. 134 of the manual too -- the manual barely mentions sound... Do you mean I should switch sound recording off in the menu before using an external mic? I will test that -- I got a refund for the mic 😉 so I will have to wait a bit before I test this...

Alright, so I went into a shop, borrowed an external Røde mic (again, specifically recommended for the Canon), switched off sound recording. Alas, no joy, with sound recording off the external mic doesn't work either. Any other ideas? The solution can't be taping over the camera's built-in mic can it? That just feels very primitive...

 

Only now does it occur to me -- is the problem AGC (Automatic Gain Control)? Is there any way to disable my camera's AGC without using all the bizarre and complicated hacks from 6+ years ago that I can find on YouTube?

Don't take this as gospel, because I don't use my cameras for video. But my guess is that the sentence I quoted earlier means that AGC is simply a fact of life on a T2i. The T2i was an excellent camera for its time. (I'm somewhat familiar with it, because my wife has one and used it as her primary camera until fairly recently.) But it's quite a bit behind today's technology. I'd bet that AGC is optional on at least today's higher-end DSLRs, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if it isn't on a T2i.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

I suggest an external zoom recorder and syncing the sound in post. Use a clapboard or something to synchronise.

Mr_Fusion
Enthusiast

The thing to remember is all Canon Rebels and other still cameras are still cameras first with the  option for video.

 

If the T2i can be controlled directly from a computer through EOS Utility, then I would run the camera and audio through the computer. That way you can edit both video and audio later.  You might also want to use a sound board and two mics with mufflers.

 

Good luck.

"AGC is simply a fact of life on a T2i. The T2i was an excellent camera for its time. (I'm somewhat familiar with it, because my wife has one and used it as her primary camera until fairly recently.) But it's quite a bit behind today's technology. I'd bet that AGC is optional on at least today's higher-end DSLRs, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if it isn't on a T2i."

 

Unfortunately this seems to be the case -- it's the AGC that's ruining my sound, and it's not possible to disable it without 3rd party firmware that I am not sure I want to risk (and no, taping over the in-built mic doesn't work).

 

But thank you all for all your answers.

 

My next step is to try an external mic with a +20dB level boost... all of this is still cheaper than buying a new camera.

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