A Monkey's Revenge - My Blog

Aladdin's cave

A few people have enquired if I've dropped off my perch as there has been a lull in my blogging this summer. Usual problem I'm afraid-lots of commercial work and news jobs which I couldn't blog about until they were published.... by which time I'd kind of lost interest in writing about them ;-)

This last week's job in Devon was one such assignment. While I cannot talk about it, I can mention the equipment I used, provided for me by those nice people at Barcroft Media. I picked the gear up in London before driving down to Devon and the place was an Aladdin's cave of video equipment. I wish I could have spent longer inspecting all the goodies available at the warehouse. From the outside it was an unassuming place behind metal shutters but once inside I was like a kid in a sweetie shop.
The Lite Panel micro is a great little cool running led video light. The light it gives off is a bit harsh and to be honest I couldn't see much difference when there was enough ambient light. Where it came into it's own was in a very dark room- without it forget about filming! It's a very light little unit and powered by four AA batteries. I'd imagine several of these or a bigger panel would make for fairly decent lighting which wouldn't make the cameraman or subject get overheated-only snag being the units are pretty expensive to buy!

Now for the star of the show-the Beachtek DXA-SLR XLR adapter. It's a tough little box with built in preamps which screws into the tripod hole of
your DSLR. The unit plugs into the 3.5 mic outlet on the camera and converts it into two XLR sockets for sound attachments, in my case Sennheiser radio mics and a Sennheiser boom unit. The beauty of this setup is instant sound metering and most important of all-headphone monitoring of the sound. Both these items seem to be left out of video enabled DSLR's at the moment and until the manufacturers realise the importance of both in videography, the Beachtek box steps up to the mark. It does exactly what it says on the tin and the auto gain control disable switch is very useful. Disadvantages? Well, only two I found apart from the £300 cost of course. It makes the camera higher on a tripod or for shooting low on the ground-not a major problem though. Also the thumbscrew to attach it to the camera did need constant tightening on the one I used, but to be fair it was on and off the tripod quite a bit and in a roughty-toughty outdoors environment. Overall, an excellent piece of equipment which turns your DSLR into a camera capable of producing much better sound quality.

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