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Smallest battery powered XLR out preamp available?

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As of right now, I'm syncing all my audio the ARRI Alexa Classic with the time code boxes by Tentacle, which works perfect. 

Just wondering in conjunction with this, I could possibly get a crappy little scratch audio track into camera as I still get this requested by the editor. I've sent wireless audio to camera with a hop before and that works great, but I'm also trying to think of a way to get a tiny little mic on camera, but bring it to line level to that the Alexa can actually record it. 

I have an MM-1 but that's still bigger than I'm hoping to go. If anyone knows of a cheap little preamp, doesn't have to be professional, just something that would work temporarily for a shoot as a simple backup. The mic will be either a simple 3.5mm TRS mic like a Rode Video Mic or a little audio tecnica condenser mic (happy to use either). I already have the 3pin xlr to 5pin splitter cable as well. So I think I'll I'm missing from this equation is a small compact battery powered preamp... if one even exists:)

 

Thanks for any ideas!!

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I thought the Tentacle box had a tiny microphone fitted to provide a scratch track to DSLR camera audio track with timecode going to the other track. I guess you are looking for a box that would allow you to hook up your own microphone of choice?

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Just now, Jeff Wexler said:

I thought the Tentacle box had a tiny microphone fitted to provide a scratch track to DSLR camera audio track with timecode going to the other track.

Oh actually you're right.... I forgot about that. I think it needs to be powered separately though, so maybe all I need is some kind of power supply for it. Gotta figure out what I can use for that. 

Actually I looked in the manual and it says: Using the built in microphone is only possible when working at mic levels with plugin power switched on at camera side.

 

I'm not sure it would work in a situation like this

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I'd probably try a Zoom H1 on top of the camera (60g+batteries) and wire the mini-jack line out to the 5pin XLR - should give you a decent level and you could even do a stereo scratch track that way <g>

smaller/lighter then that might be tricky because I can't imagine any solution without batteries, and the H1is basically just the size of a battery and two mic capsules.

edit: thinking of it, the Lectro PDR with a Lav would be bit smaller and nicer quality, but not lighter and quite a bit more money.

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On 13 Dec 2016 at 1:42 AM, Philip Perkins said:

Mozegear, Mini Papi.  They designed this pretty much withe cams like the Arri Mini in mind.  http://www.mozegear.com/mini-papi

I don't think it's battery powered, or is it?

If you have a free DC out on the Alexa, you can use that, but it's one more cable. And if power cables are no problem, then the the Kortwich VCP-M2 mini might also be a nice option:
http://www.filmtontechnik.de/kortwich-produkte/preamp/#c3159

but if it's simply for scratch and doesn't have to look professional, I would really try the H1

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That's a good deal more expensive than the Moze box will be.  Mozegear is also considering an internal battery version, for stripped down rigs.  The Papi is so small and light that you could mount a mic in a shockmount and just plug the Papi into the back of the mic--no mic cable.

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mikewest   

I would think that a mike on the camera would give a very poor quality guide on the camera.

I use a Lectro UCR100 which is small which can be battery powered or I have made D tap and Hirose 4pin cables

mike

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4 hours ago, mikewest said:

I would think that a mike on the camera would give a very poor quality guide on the camera.

agreed, I though the purpose is only to have a backup safety track for synching when timecode goes wrong, and there a H1 would do the job while being small and light.

in documentary situations, where the on-camera sound could be valuable, a Papi with a Mini Schoeps sounds like a great solution.

If it should be used for anything else then a proper hop is certainly the better option.

chris

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12 hours ago, mikewest said:

I would think that a mike on the camera would give a very poor quality guide on the camera.

I use a Lectro UCR100 which is small which can be battery powered or I have made D tap and Hirose 4pin cables

mike

I agree, but some doco-type director-shooters want a mic on their cameras, esp for situations in which there may not be a soundie present.  I'm thinking of the sort of commercial etc situation where there is an extra camera for the director to do grab stuff with, besides the A and B "crewed" camera.  My local rental house folks have been asked about putting a mic on the Alexa Mini many times, which is part of the reason the discussions with Mozegear re PAPI started. 

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I totally need something like a little line-level out battery powered mic for this purpose as well. One of my major clients shoots multi-camera, often with 6 or more Alexas and wants a Lockit and a 'top mic' only on the cams - no audio hop. Even a Papi-sized box is more than they want if it's an extra thing to mount as well as a mic, but a similar size with a mic built in and a hotshoe/rod clamp fixing would probably be acceptable. Cams are wireless linked to a multi-view recorder which gets the 'real' guide audio. When shooting on Red Epics they use little electrets mounted in minijacks. Amiras use short Rode shotguns. There's absolutely no intention of the camera mic audio being used downstream, it's just a sync backup really.

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The problem is usually size and weight.  This may actually be a "perceived" problem instead of a "real" problem in a practical sense, but they get to make the call.  For handheld being as small and light as possible is really important to them, for Steadicam slightly less so, but so is the ability to cable the thing down to the sled or wherever the operator wants it.  Maybe Tentacle could make a combo mic+pre+TC box the size of the current Tentacle dingus--that would be very popular.  These folks often want audio on the cams so they can view dailies with some kind of sound w/o having to sync to hero audio first.

 

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:

A wireless scratch or hop would be a sync backup. And it's probably still a pretty small setup

true that. but I can understand that on a 6 camera setup, a producer prefers an on-camera mic because the risk of the hop failing somewhere seems higher then the on-camera mic failing.

what I sometimes do as a backup is to record the Audio-TC from a seperate TC box on top of synching camera TC - overkill in most cases but gives peace of mind. 

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true that. but I can understand that on a 6 camera setup, a producer prefers an on-camera mic because the risk of the hop failing somewhere seems higher then the on-camera mic failing.

Then there's still TC as backup.

It's true, if they want it, they should get it. But I'd try to convince them of a better solution. Sometimes it helps to show the camera crew the gear you want to put on their camera.

Something like this might be suitable. Powering should be easy enough, you could probably build something yourself. And look, it's got the limiter built right in

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/82-20780

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The majority of the cams are Steadycams or on some sort of shoulder rig and the camera ops whine enough about the Lockits. They seem to accept a mic as a 'normal' part of the camera, even if a 416 in a foam windsock is a similar weight to a Comtek or the IEM packs I use as hops.

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The majority of the cams are Steadycams or on some sort of shoulder rig and the camera ops whine enough about the Lockits. They seem to accept a mic as a 'normal' part of the camera, even if a 416 in a foam windsock is a similar weight to a Comtek or the IEM packs I use as hops.

I agree about the whining, but in my experience they'll never accept a mic with softie and a preamp of some sort PLUS TC. Never ever. On doc shoots they might be more accommodating, but I have found that they'll happily accept a Sennheiser EK100 plus Tentacle. Even an actual Lockit will cause a raised eyebrow "what, you don't have a Tentacle?".

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On ‎12‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 4:42 PM, Philip Perkins said:

Mozegear, Mini Papi.  They designed this pretty much withe cams like the Arri Mini in mind.  http://www.mozegear.com/mini-papi

I have been testing the mini-papi for a month "i have no preamps on my OneUnit Nomod" and it is a fantastic piece of gear. sounds great...

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I haven't had as much pushback if it is clear that the request to add whatever it is to the camera comes from production.  There are so many ways to skin the sync/TC/cam audio cat anymore that it seems like I need to have a lot of different solutions available.  I try to get with the AC before the job and ask what they want/will tolerate in regards to what production has asked me for.  And there will still be days where the answer will be "nothing--go away". 

 

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