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A company local to me just took an F8 out on a real broadcast doc after falling for the hype. 

An XLR got stuck in one of the inputs after a few days and could not be removed without damaging the unit. 

The F8 could not keep sync and would drift up to 3/4 seconds in 3 hours after the cams and F8 were jammed from a tentacle. I know there is a setting on the F8 that is more accurate but even the fanboys cant fool themselves that is 'pro' level performance. 

The lack of camera return caused issues as there are scenes where the camera feed died so there was no ref or scratch mix on the cams. With no prospect of a quick TC sync the reference audio could have been synced in pluraleyes but alas since there is no sound or the cam mic is far away from the action on a multicam shoot the poor offline guys have to go through each sound file and try and match it with a camera shot with 3 cams. 

Mixing was abandoned and iso tracks relied upon. 

I m sure the F8 has its place though

 

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Fred: On a FB group page for mixers, one of the members said that he had been working with Zoom for months, giving them feedback on what pros are looking for.  Let's hope you are right and the manage

You sure it was the recorder and not the battery? I used the f8 a couple of years ago without problems in worse conditions.

Once we (I) realized the problem, everything was changed, even units on the shelf, theory be Damned. Units that come in for repair are also updated. This is a mandatory, no charge, no time limit updat

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A company local to me just took an F8 out on a real broadcast doc after falling for the hype. 

An XLR got stuck in one of the inputs after a few days and could not be removed without damaging the unit. 

The F8 could not keep sync and would drift up to 3/4 seconds in 3 hours after the cams and F8 were jammed from a tentacle. I know there is a setting on the F8 that is more accurate but even the fanboys cant fool themselves that is 'pro' level performance. 

The lack of camera return caused issues as there are scenes where the camera feed died so there was no ref or scratch mix on the cams. With no prospect of a quick TC sync the reference audio could have been synced in pluraleyes but alas since there is no sound or the cam mic is far away from the action on a multicam shoot the poor offline guys have to go through each sound file and try and match it with a camera shot with 3 cams. 

Mixing was abandoned and iso tracks relied upon. 

I m sure the F8 has its place though

 

Sounds like you didn't do a proper workflow test beforehand, to be honest, although I know of course, that it isn't always possible.

The accuracy of the TC clock is not unknown and the issue can be resolved by following the Tentacle guys' own advice (not specifically related to the F8): put one Tentacle on the camera and one on the recorder.

Being annoyed by its lack of a camera return is, ... annoying. It's not a mixer and never claimed to have a return. 788T doesn't have a return, either, for example.

I'm not a fan of the F8 at all, but the critique should be fair and reasonable

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Yeah i didn t do a workflow test as I did not do the job. A local prod company did.

The drift issue is not widely known hence people post on the various forums when it catches them out. The f8 is marketed on Zooms website under the banner 'THE FACTS' about the units Time code with pinpoint accuracy.  Its for 'Serious Filmmakers' as well.  With its many TC modes its easy if one is unfamiliar with the unit to pick the wrong one. And even with the right one and a power down it seems to be hit and miss. 

Under THE FACTS it also says

 

The F8 supports all standard dropframe and non-drop formats, and can jam sync to time code being provided by external devices.

 

No mention of any issues then.

The zoom now has an update so gain pots can be used as faders and its widely adevertised showing the accompanying app for ' live mixing'. It also says on its website it is a mixer???

To quote zoom

 

Onboard mixer
The F8's onboard mixer enables flexible signal routing from all inputs to all outputs, either pre- or post-fader, with user-adjustable level, pan, and input/output delay. 

The website also mentions terms like 'serious professionals'. 

I agree critique should be fair and reasonable. 

 

 

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I'm shooting a doc right now with a f8 from the production company. When I continuously jam both the cameras and the f8 with Tentaclesync it stays perfectly in sync. On one occasion there was an extra camera and I put the TS from my bag to one of them and my F8 stayed in sync, till you power it down. There is no internal battery to keep the tc going so that's why. I'm talking about 2 days of 12 hours total, I kept the zoom on for 3/4 hours and rejamed after power down/ up.

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Yeah i ve seen similar tests before. All that it proves is that it works great on the shelf. Not exactly a real world use test.

Lets see someone post a video where its a real world use in a bag, changing enviroments , temps, humidities then lets see.....

 

 

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5 hours ago, GlennP said:

Yeah i ve seen similar tests before. All that it proves is that it works great on the shelf. Not exactly a real world use test.

Lets see someone post a video where its a real world use in a bag, changing enviroments , temps, humidities then lets see.....

 

 

What are you talking about? There is plenty of real world usage out of this. Including myself. Search Facebook for some groups. Don't have some pics myself but plenty of them there.

since beginning of this year I do a documentary shooting with one of them, as stated above. When starting in February it was freezing cold here in Istanbul, and a couple of weeks ago it was quite exotic on the island of Malta when shooting with it. I guess I shot about 30 days so far with it on this project. It's not mine, it's the production company's so it gets a lot of "abuse" since it's not owned by a individual if you catch my trill. All working flawlessly, post not complaining about timecode or sound quality and personally I am very fond of the device, finally a good solid low budget solution with TC, metadata pfl etc. sometimes it felt a bit crazy to gear all up with a dozen of lectrosonics, sd 668, and the likes and the DOP shows up with a 4000 dollar dslr kit... With a zoom f8 as centerpiece you got a decent low budget kit with very little compromise, if at all.

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Didn't Gotham test the F8 against the 788t in a freezer? As for the loss of Timecode on power down, the battery tray would work wonders as the backup power while changing out NP-1's. This is still a portable field recorder after all. Power redundancy is a must for mission critical work. Then again spending an extra $2229 on a 633 seems to help people feel better.

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2 hours ago, greyfoxx said:

Didn't Gotham test the F8 against the 788t in a freezer?

Yes, but both units were powered on throughout. The Zoom F8's timecode seems to slip only when powered off. Otherwise pretty solid based on user feedback.

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Yeah i didn t do a workflow test as I did not do the job. A local prod company did.

The drift issue is not widely known hence people post on the various forums when it catches them out. The f8 is marketed on Zooms website under the banner 'THE FACTS' about the units Time code with pinpoint accuracy.  Its for 'Serious Filmmakers' as well.  With its many TC modes its easy if one is unfamiliar with the unit to pick the wrong one. And even with the right one and a power down it seems to be hit and miss. 

Under THE FACTS it also says

 

The F8 supports all standard dropframe and non-drop formats, and can jam sync to time code being provided by external devices.

 

No mention of any issues then.

The zoom now has an update so gain pots can be used as faders and its widely adevertised showing the accompanying app for ' live mixing'. It also says on its website it is a mixer???

To quote zoom

 

Onboard mixer
The F8's onboard mixer enables flexible signal routing from all inputs to all outputs, either pre- or post-fader, with user-adjustable level, pan, and input/output delay. 

The website also mentions terms like 'serious professionals'. 

I agree critique should be fair and reasonable. 

 

 

I didn't say that these things, such as the aforementioned issue was known to Zoom, but it is to some people.

The F8 may have a mixer built in, but that doesn't make it a mixer. There is no mention of a return path, so it's unreasobable to complain about the lack of one.

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Constantin, Totally accept that I can't grumble about the return. No return path fair point. Its a feature that would be good to see. F8 mkii???

Hi Vincent,

I thought I read that you locked the cam and the f8 with 2 tentacles. So constantly jamming. Correct me if i m wrong on that. But wouldn t that just prove the tentacle is doing a great job not the f8 if tc is solid and no issues were presented in post. 

The production I mentioned runs 4 cams plus 3 gopros and a ronin. They did in the past jam 3 cams to the 633. The cams/633 were powered down on changing location. No issues. 

If they had to permanently jam the 4 cams and f8 thats 5 lockits or tentacles. So the 633 doesn t look that expensive in comparision anymore if that is required. Plus the 633 has analogue limiters , powersafe, 3 nice faders and camera return. 

 

The video tests showed the f8 in a constant enviroment , the ones i ve seen anyway. Am I not correct?? It doesn t appear to test Tcxo. The txco is supposed to correct for changing ambient temps to maintain a stable ref oscillator. If the temperature is constant then it s not being tested surely??? Maybe someone with deeper knowledge will enlighten me on that point. 

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8 minutes ago, GlennP said:

The production I mentioned runs 4 cams plus 3 gopros and a ronin. They did in the past jam 3 cams to the 633. The cams/633 were powered down on changing location. No issues. 

If they had to permanently jam the 4 cams and f8 thats 5 lockits or tentacles. So the 633 doesn t look that expensive in comparision anymore if that is required. Plus the 633 has analogue limiters , powersafe, 3 nice faders and camera return. 

agreed, the 633 would most likely have been the better tool for this particular job - the question is why didn't the production company rent one? (with 4-5 camera operators, saving 40GBP per day rental on a sound recorder certainly can't be the reason)

that said, if i were to plan a shoot with 4 cameras (and a ronin), i would definitely re-jam after every power-down/location change (even with a 633). and if this wasn't possible, i'd get 5 tentacles for sure (that's another whooping 30GBP per day in rental cost which possibly saves several days of manual synching)

chris

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80 days shooting over the series and another 21 days overseas.

They bought the f8 as the PM had been convinced that the f8 was as good as the 633 mainly by the hype. They actually thought they would save money. The guy that used it had no chance to familiarise himself with the f8. Those that often buy the kit in the production depts i ve worked in dont use that kit or even  have a grasp of what we do out in the field. 

I agree that jamming after power down or battery changes is the way to go. Totally. I ve been fed tc by wireless cinstantly as well though this dropped out occasionally and the batteries died in the rx so the cam was free running.   On the prods i worked on we literally chased people. So not possible to jam at convenient times. We were changing batteries and cards as we ran. 

 

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7 minutes ago, GlennP said:

80 days shooting over the series and another 21 days overseas.

100 days of production with 4 cameras and they tried to save 2000USD on one of the most vital parts of their gear and did no proper test?

sorry to say this, but in a way they deserve the mess they got now. 
chris

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4 hours ago, chrismedr said:

100 days of production with 4 cameras and they tried to save 2000USD on one of the most vital parts of their gear and did no proper test?

sorry to say this, but in a way they deserve the mess they got now. 
chris

Too true chris. Total false ecomony. Couldn t agree more. 

 

I feel for the guy doing the soundie job on it. I really do. He was put in an impossible situation with the wrong kit provided to him at the last minute. 

 But I feel more for my friends who work in post at that Co. trying to put this together. What a nightmare. The 80 days shows went fine. 633/maxx good workflow. Its the 21 days where they tried to cut corners that are the problem. Not a good time to do it when you are thousands of miles away from help with no phone or net. No one around to ask advice. 

I passed on some info about the various tc modes and power down on the f8 before they flew but they said they had read the manual and had tentacles, all would be fine. I guess they didnt use the same workflow that Vincent R and others use. You live and learn but try not to die on the job eh. I also have no idea what DIT was doing  because these issues could have been spotted earlier. The cards were DIT'd everyday. If the kit and workflow was new then I would guess you would check at DIT footage ok sync ok ..... But then again perhaps not...but strange since DIT had an edit platform on the mbp to check. 

I cant quite believe they didn t do a workflow test but that is what happened and they are paying the price now in mucho dinero $$$$

The 633/maxx is pretty good for that show. Small enough to run around and change locations but with enough inputs/outputs and solid performance. 

Maybe not the f8 fault. They definately needed a field mixer/recorder not a field recorder. They needed a decent mix on 1/2 for the offline to log and rough cut the hours of footage and then isos much later for the post sound and re-recording. The logger and editor currently has no mix just isos. 

Strange the descisions people make. 

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ok, i get you now. your original post sounded a bit like a rant ("..XLR got stuck, TC doesn't hold, no return.." etc), and while I'm sure the F8 is not perfect it felt a bit unjust. If you need a mixer/recorder, take a mixer recorder. if you need rugged, pay for rugged. if you need accurate TC, get the right gear and follow workflow standards.

but yeah, tough job for the post team - hope they get paid well.
chris

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Hi Glenn, to alaborate more about my workflow; yes we sync the cameras continually with tc because they are C300s, thus useless regarding stand alone TC. The moments I had to sacrifice the tentacle sync I have constantly attached to the f8 for an extra camera I had no problems whatsoever with tc, as long as the f8 stays on (it will run for more than a day on a np1 by the way). This is in line with other users, and zoom is aware of this flaw and are acknowledging it, no way to correct this with firmware because it is of the lack of an internal battery to keep the tc.

For another shooting we did a workflow test with an alexa and the f8, especially for tc (without tc boxes, just the build ins). Yet again, the f8 was completely capable to hold tc, just like the alexa, for about the day we did the test. 

Mixing is shit, unless you like mixing on an iPad/iPhone. My projects with the f8 are one man boom(mix) shoots, so I provide a basic mix for scratch and director. Isos for post. This is actually what I am doing as well when I am working with 688 or 633 for that matter (alone). Can't really mix and boom properly anyways. 

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Hi Vincent,

 

All good info.

Appreciate you posting that. 

Great to hear of your experiences. 

Maybe Zoom will add the clock battery, analogue limiters, fader pots and camera return on the F8 mk2. 😉

How have you found the limiters/headroom on the F8?

We film with people who get very excitable all of a sudden. Audio going from a whisper to a scream. I wonder if you get those situations on your gigs with f8?

I m really not sure what was going on on the shoot I mentioned if the f8 is as solid as is being reported. The offline is reporting 2-3 secs off. Has their guy got it wrong with the tc mode and power off???

 

 

 

 

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I don't use the limiters, they are post input. Headroom is great, no problems. More problems with my transmitters overloading because the doc is about Syrian refugees, lots of screaming Arab all of the sudden :)

dont know what went wrong with your gig, was is it unstable drift or an constant 2/3 seconds offset? When the zoom drifts after power sycle it can go easily to 20/30 seconds.

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30 minutes ago, GlennP said:

Maybe Zoom will add the clock battery, analogue limiters, fader pots and camera return on the F8 mk2. 😉

and why not drop the price a few hundred while they are at it  ; ) 

 

30 minutes ago, GlennP said:

We film with people who get very excitable all of a sudden. Audio going from a whisper to a scream. I wonder if you get those situations on your gigs with f8?

actually this a field where the F8 could have a real strong point:

you could use the backup channel recording feature which uses another preamp to record a second track at lower gain. it's one of the features that makes me want to try one in situations where gain can't be easily adjusted.

anybody has some real world experience with that feature?

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14 minutes ago, chrismedr said:

anybody has some real world experience with that feature?

I tried it and it works but in the end i didn`t use those tracks because even when the peaks in screaming were limited the sound was still ok. I set my limiters to -2dB with fastest attack and release so my guess is that limiters can cut at least 6dB before losing their purpose. 

And one more thing, few days ago i wrote about a F8 unit that died during a shooting. Turned out to be a "flat cable" problem. It was replaced i think and it works again. It is a one in a thousand situation i guess.

 

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7 hours ago, chrismedr said:

actually this a field where the F8 could have a real strong point:

you could use the backup channel recording feature which uses another preamp to record a second track at lower gain. it's one of the features that makes me want to try one in situations where gain can't be easily adjusted.

anybody has some real world experience with that feature?

The safety tracks are set by the mixer so you'll be working two knobs per channel. You decide the gain on the redundant channel. I would like to see a -12db auto setting for this and just disable the gain knob. That way you'd get a backup that will always be -12db of whatever the primary track is set. I only use my F8 as a four channel setup in order to have those safety tracks. I would have no issue in more controlled settings but if its mission critical I wouldn't trust those limiters. Their not bad, just not great. 

 

 

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Wasn t constant drift. Apparently starts out ok then goes to 2-3secs over time but one of the cams was not locked either. I am just wondering if the wrong tc setting had been made on the f8 and it was never actally jamming or was set up in one of the less stable tc modes on the f8?? 

They were new to the tentacle so perhaps not actually using that properly either?? 

They are having a debrief so I m sure someone will be hung out to dry though I suppose those who made the descision to switch to this way of working without doing at test will not be taking on any blame. The damage is done already. 

Personally I think they should have hired an experienced pro with kit. It would have been cheaper , quicker and would have had better sound as they would know their kit inside out. 

Syrian refugees. That sounds like a tough gig for the mind and the soul not just for the equipment.  

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the way you describe this project, to me user error appears much more likely then equipment failure.

and even if it was equipment failure, I'd still call it user error not to do a workflow test and not to spot a 2-3second offset over 21 days (you can call out loud the seconds on the recorder display and every cam operator checks if he sees the same on his camera display/viewer).

hiring a pro? now that's a novel idea too...

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