Ok so the title is a bit of a nerd/ tech joke about the Red One that relates to a hilarious video on you tube called Sound Mixer Hell. All joking aside the Red does have on going issues which I will address here and if there is any thing new in the world on this please let me know.
Here we go….
First what is said on the RED ONE forum on audio:
as of 2010
Sound Problem on Red One
Can Someone Help me ? I have a Sennheiser MKH416 P48 Boom Mic and i cant be able to make the sound work on the Red Camera, I have all the Cables and adapters from Red, but i cant make the Phantom Power Enabled in the Sound Menu, because i believe that this microphone needs Phantom power to Work, So can Someone help me make this Microphone works on the Red One Camera ?
Another with reply…
Join Date: Jan 2007
| Mixing line level and mic level inputs on the camera – any issues
Let me preface this by saying I’m not reporting any kind or problem or have heard of any issues – just checking ahead before we begin some more complex 4 channel recording situations than our past Red audio work.
For instance, for an upcoming shoot I’ll have 2 mics going through the mixer and out line level into the camera, but I also want to use 2 backup mics just going directly into the camera at mic level to keep everything as discreet channels without bringing in a second field mixer. We are normally just recording 2 line or 2 mic level inputs on any given shoot, so I just want to know if there is anything I should be looking out for.
I don’t expect any issues, but I thought I’d check.
| 07-11-2010, 11:21 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Chatsworthless, CA
I wouldn’t do that. Use a 4-channel mixer so that the mixer handles everything. Keep it simple.
Why use backup mikes at all? Seriously, just get it right the first time, and it’ll be fine. We don’t use “backup mikes” on separate sound recorders, beyond having a lav on most speaking actors and a boom. Having the luxury of multitrack is a good reason for using a separate sound recorder. Even better, get an experienced sound person who can contribute to the success of your project.
As the old saying goes: “when it sounds good, the picture looks better.”
www.cinesound.tv | location sound / post-production consultant
Now as a mixer we want to be known as “the Good Mixer”. Not “the Bad Sound guy whose gear doesn’t work” guy. So when we look at the RED we sometimes don’t have the time or knowledge to find out various things about the camera that the operator may or may not know. Example: What REVISION are the Audio boards? The Rev 1 boards were …not good …and the Rev 2 boards are better but still not great because now that will depend on cabling and adapters. And since I don’t want to stress out about what may or may not be right on the camera since it is not my gear, I simply take the stance that it is better to rely on a known quantity (and quality), rather than spend the time (sometimes not insignificant) to determine the condition of the camera (what upgrades,what cables are going to be provided, and what firmware version is installed).
Now there is also the occasional firmware issue that raises its ugly head in sound recording / playback on the RED plus the meters are less than what is desired as they are not labeled well at all. Now if I take a guess and put tone up I can get a reasonable gain setting out of the unit and even get good audio. And if that is the only way then I will grit my teeth and “HOPE” for the best and this is very stressful. Now here is the other rub. The RED by default is designed for pretty pictures and audio is somewhere down the line. So my little Recorder, which cost me about $5K (with all accessories), is going to not only sound better than the RED, but will have better control and better monitoring of the audio path than the RED and if it comes time to CRUNCH the audio at the top of its scale, the RED will fail much quicker.
Next known issue is time code. Not remembering firmware revisions, time code at one point in the game took up to 15 minutes before it showed up in the camera after jamming. Lately jamming has been much better as long as the power doesn’t go out on the camera OR the camera doesn’t have a RED moment then the time code will last as long as the batteries/power will. Otherwise you have to rejam every time. So if you are in a rush to get a shot then this can be problematic. Especially if you have a lot of accessories on the camera and getting at the time code Lemo jack is a pain. It is not like a slate where you can Jam it and leave it – it is like a baby that needs constant attention.
Now this mistrust is from personal experience I can’t speak for the general consensus of the professional sound community. Very few people will record directly. I have done it once successfully now- out of 30 some odd RED show.
To put it in perspective :
If you were in the camera department, would you use a camera that had 80% of the resolution, significantly reduced dynamic range, and had a spotty history, even if the issues have supposedly been worked out?
Didn’t think so. You would go with the solution that you have been using with a proven performance and wouldn’t take a chance on your name – cause NO ONE WILL BLAME THE CAMERA and EVERYONE WILL REMEMBER YOUR NAME and not in a good way.
If someone asks me if professional results can be had with the RED, I will say “yes, absolutely”. I just don’t happen to trust it when I am using it for audio. The potential for quality is always higher with dedicated sound gear, and more importantly, sound crew.
Last but not least, is the relative knowledge and flexibility of the Mixer. If they even want to bother with the whole mess and have more knowledge on camera sound and the quirks of time code on the camera than most of the camera crew.