Nipper Clipper Video Diary – Baby Show Olympia

We shot and edited another little film for Stylfile this week. This time it was a short video diary about their attendance at the Baby Show, Olympia, and the first-time public exhibition of their innovative Nipper Clipper baby and toddler nail clippers and associated Timmy Tickle Baby distraction app.

Nipper Clipper Video Diary
Filming the video diary at the Baby Show

The video diary was presented by 2011 BBC Apprentice winner, Tom Pellereau – inventor of the Nipper Clipper (and other amazing nail care products) and business partner of Lord Sugar. I think the video speaks for itself as to why it was commissioned…

What’s the point of a Video Diary?

Producing a video diary is a simple, fun and cost effective way of letting customers know what you are doing. Apart from giving you another platform for promoting your product and brand, these films work especially well with social networking platforms and blogs. It’s also incredibly easy to share them through your website and deliver to an audience whether they are mobile, desk-bound or through home-based viewing devices and smart TVs.

We’re very proud of just how cost effective we can be when commissioned to produce a video diary – especially when there’s the potential for multiple films or an ongoing series. If you think your business or organisation might be able to benefit from this type of video marketing then please do give us a call. We love a creative challenge!!!

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Event Documentary

Documentary on the Same-Sex Dance Festival

Why make a documentary?

This was the second time Video Artisan has been commissioned by dance shoe manufacturer, Supadance, to make a film about this same-sex dance competition held in Blackpool. Last year’s film was a relatively straight-forward record of the event. It was well received, and has had thousands of plays online, but it did nothing to explain what same-sex dancing is all about or who it is aimed at. We were therefore really looking forward to making a more in-depth documentary and help tell the world why same-sex dance deserves much wider recognition.

Lady's Same-Sex dance
Lady’s Same-Sex dance

Before I move on to the making of the documentary itself, I have to admit that even after filming last year’s event I wasn’t totally convinced of the argument for same-sex dancing. I’m not the only one to feel this way though. We have made several films for Supadance about their shoes as well as other short films about mainstream dance events which they sponsor. During the making of these films it’s become obvious that certain sectors of the mainstream dance community would rather not see same-sex dancing at all – and would certainly be opposed to seeing it integrated into mainstream competitions.

Hopefully this new documentary will help change some of these opinions. It has certainly changed my point of view and made me appreciate the subtle but important differences of same-sex dance.

Like any documentary you’ve got to tell a story and at least present one side of an argument. This documentary is certainly presenting the argument from the same-sex dancer’s side but, in all honesty, I don’t believe there is a logical argument for continuing to exclude same-sex dance from mainstream dance competitions.

Whilst Supadance sponsored the production of this documentary I was very much under the guidance of the event organisers, Bradley and Soren Stauffer-Kruse (AKA The Sugar Dandies). You might be familiar with these guys from their appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. Prior to the event I got Bradley and Soren to list out the questions they get asked most often about same-sex dancing in general and the festival itself. This was like gold dust and gave me the main thread of the story and formed the basis for all the interviews we carried out over the two days.

Getting the answers to these questions then became the main focus of our documentary filming. To ensure we had all the points covered our first day of filming started with Bradley and Soren giving their answers to these questions. This day was actually just a practice day for the competitors so there wasn’t much real action taking place on the dance floor but it did give us a relevant background for their interview where dancers can be seen on the floor behind them.

The second day we set about gathering general scenes from the dance festival itself, but at the same time we worked out with Bradley and Soren which competitors would be good subjects for interviews. These were all recorded later on in the afternoon whilst the competition was still running which often meant grabbing couples as they left the dance floor. You will normally experience some resistance from people in these situations but thankfully the same-sex dance community all seem to be anything but camera shy. Still, part of the skill of the documentary maker is getting your subjects to relax in front of camera and I hope the film shows them as being that way. We certainly ended up with more content than we could fit in the film.

Men's same-sex dance
Men’s same-sex dance

The general shots of dancing were simply b-roll images to help tell the stories told within the interviews. We didn’t therefore film any dance in its entirety but were instead looking for fleeting moments within the dances that would look good on film and covered all the dance-types, costumes and characters taking part in the competition.

The final filming sequence was carried out at around 11pm once the competition was over and most of the contestants had left (a long day after a 9am start). This was with Bradley and Soren in all their finery doing a very professional job of opening and closing the documentary. It’s just so nice to work with people who shine on camera.

Documentary tools

All filming was carried out by two videographers (Martin Baker and myself) using two DSLRs – namely a Canon 5D MkII and a 550D. All the interviews were filmed on the 5D using a Canon 24-105mm f.4 lens. For much of the day Martin was using the 550D with a vintage Fujinon 55mm f1.8 lens to gather the shallow depth of field shots. There’s also one or two shots in there where the 550D was mounted on my iFootage Mini Crane and using a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 super wide zoom – plus there’s also a slide using the Varavon Slidecam 900. Lighting was provided by two Lishuai LED lighting panels.

Shooting the same-sex event documentary
Shooting the same-sex

The majority of interview sound was recorded in-camera via the Tascam DR-60D recorder/mixer using a Sony ECM674 directional mic on phantom power. This was the first real field test for the Tascam and I have to say it was fantastic. There was however two interviews where we used our Sony tie-clip mic connected directly to the camera – namely the interview with Supadance Chairman, Barry Free and the vox-pop with Strictly Come Dancing’s Erin Boag. These came out OK – but I think you can tell the difference.

The editing took three days to complete and was all carried out on our Edius 6.5 edit suite. The only exception to this was the opening graphics and caption lower 3rds which were all created in PhotoShop and then imported into Edius as separate layers and animated.

Music is always a challenge with Supadance films as you have to avoid tracks which are obviously either ballroom or Latin. It simply doesn’t look right if there’s Latin music over the top of a couple ballroom dancing. It might not get spotted by the uninitiated but for anyone involved in the world of dance it’s going to look very odd indeed. Thankfully AKM Music came to my rescue again with the track ‘Celebration’ from the album AK157 ‘Positivity’.

Making a documentary go viral

There’s a lot of talk about videos going viral and how best to achieve it. The fact is that “viral” is a relative term and a documentary on what is a special interest subject is unlikely to ever reach the heady heights of films about cats and dogs doing funny things. Going viral is therefore really about getting your content shared by as many people within the target audience as possible. It’s never a one-man job and has to be a collaborative effort by all those with a vested interest in the film.

As the producer I’ve obviously got an interest in spreading the documentary about as much as I can and have tweeted, added to Facebook, blogged about it, added to my YouTube and Vimeo channels and took various Instagram pictures during the event and after. Bradley and Soren have since shared the video in various ways throughout the same-sex dance community whilst Supadance will be using the film as part of the media library on their website and will also be screening it at mainstream dance events they are involved in. It’s very early days as I write this blog but the documentary was watched over 700 times in the first day of going live. In my mind that’s gone viral!

Commissioning a documentary

Whether you are into same-sex dance or not doesn’t really matter, the point is that any organisation can commission a documentary that will engage with your target audience and help augment your brand. There must of course be a reason or aim of the video in commercial terms (this one was, “Buy more Supadance shoes”), but the art is making something that your audience will want to watch and share with others with a similar interest.

If you think you have a story to tell contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll go through the process and costs of getting your documentary out there.

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Are you after an easy voiceover recording solution?

Vocal Booth Pro 2
For all you voiceover recording peeps!

I’ve just added the following video review of the Vocal Booth Pro 2 & SL300 Mic bundle to my Kev’s Shed collection. If you’re not familiar with this voiceover recording solution then it’s time you were. If you’ve just got to have one after watching the video see the details at the foot of this post on a very special, one off, deal.

Who will love this voiceover recording solution?

The booth will appeal to a very wide spectrum of user. The video review was obviously produced from a videographer’s perspective but these are ideal for anyone needing a vocal artist or voiceover recording solution. It’s therefore going to appeal to musicians, bloggers, edit houses and pod casters – as well as those who need to record good quality telephone-on-hold messages and recorded public announcements.

Special Kev’s Shed price!

The guys at EditorsKeys funded this production and have offered a 10% discount to Kev’s Shed viewers.  Simply email me directly and I will pass your details on to them so you receive the special price – kevin@video-artisan.com.

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Producing a video review

Video review title
Tips on shooting a video review

I’ve just uploaded the latest instalment from Kev’s Shed which is a video review of the Tascam DR-60D audio recorder/mixer. Having already blogged about the product I was so impressed that it inspired me to turn the camera on myself and produce a video review telling you why I think Tascam have a smashing bit of kit on their hands. If you’ve got about 12 minutes to spare, and want to know how this little beauty is going to make your DSLR shooting life better, whiz down to the bottom of this blog and enjoy.

So what goes into making a video review like this?

The making of a video review

First of all, whoever is going to present the video review must have a good understand the key features of the product. Having already swatted up on the DR-60D whilst producing the written review I pretty much knew what I wanted to say about it on video. Whilst you wouldn’t always be supporting a video review with a written piece you must allow time as a producer/presenter to gather the facts and form opinions. There’s no point in just reading out the sales brochure.

Believe it or not, I did my entire presentation in one take. This is true, but not without stumbles, passages of pure nonsense, plenty of “erms” and a couple of coughing fits. All these breaks are skilfully plastered with b-roll footage – well maybe not all the “erms”! The idea is to get it all in the can in one go but at the same time understand where the editor can cut and repair. You need to think how you can link from one feature to the next and, if you can’t, make sure your viewer knows you are moving on to something else, “Another great feature I like….”

This video review was filmed in my edit suite, which is a room measuring about 3m x 4m. That’s enough space for my camera set up (see Tech Bits below) and for me to present to camera seated about 2m from the lens. It is a little too small for a standing presentation but I have another room to do these in with a greenscreen backdrop for keying.

Presenting a video review
Presenting a video review

There would have been room in my edit suite for a camera operator but in this instance I wanted to create the entire film single-handed. I had a volunteer to sit in shot whilst I checked focus but after that I managed everything on my own. The framing choice was intentionally off to the left slightly as I knew I’d also want to introduce a few captions in places where I thought the viewer would like more detail.

I then set about cutting this take into a logical story but not worrying at this stage about continuity between the shots as I would be covering these with b-roll footage of the DR-60D. This sometimes meant cutting words from one section into another, changing the order of some sections completely and cutting out about 70% of the “erms”. I had to leave at least some “erms” in as that’s what I’m like in real life!

With the narrative in place I was now at a stage of knowing exactly what I needed b-roll wise to cover the cracks and help tell the story. This consisted of a range of action shots demonstrating features that I was talking about, general pack shots and macro shots of switches etc. Again these were all shot single-handed in the edit suite plus one outdoor shot in the garden of me and the unit in action (this time using a tree as my focus marker).

Me shooting me
Me shooting me

That was day one over. With everything in the can I spent the following day adding b-roll and refining the main take to make sure the video review was telling the story that I wanted it to tell. Allowing for a bit of research time, encoding and uploading to Vimeo and YouTube, the entire film took two days or about 20-man hours to produce. I also put together a short teaser trailer too which only took a couple of hours on top of this.

Financing a video review

Whilst Proactive had supported me to write the original written piece (thanks again Neil – and buy your DR-60D here) I self-funded the production of the video review. I am genuinely impressed with the DR-60D but it’s obviously not my only motivation for making the video. I hope there are other manufacturers and distributors out there who would also like me to do something similar about their products – but obviously on a commercial basis. At least I can now show them something.

Applying my normal rate card to this job I would do something similar for around the £1,000 mark. On less complicated products I could see me turning the whole thing round in a single day – and maybe even get more than one product done in this time. That’s a fair price in my mind but happy to talk “bulk” with anyone : )

Technical Bits of the video review

Presenting a video review
The subject of the review

I filmed all content using my trusty old Canon 550D running ML (Magic Lantern). I could have used my 5Dmkii but wanted to show this being used on screen with the DR-60D as that’ll be my normal combination. It was mounted on my Sachtler Ace whilst the DR-60D rig was mounted on my Vinten Vision 3 (note the nice smooth rotation shot).

Lens wise I opted to use my vintage Fujinon 55mm f1.8 lens. On a 550D, with its cropped sensor, this gives an effective focal length of 83mm. I wanted to use this lens as its fast and I like its look. I wanted to create a fair bit of separation between me and the edit suite itself but at the same time didn’t want to struggle keeping myself in focus with having too shallower depth of field. I was therefore running the lens at f.4 and the camera set to 320 iso using ML’s controls. For the extreme close-up shots I used my cheap-as-chips eBay macro tube.

Canon 550D
Video review shot with Canon 550D

The only lighting was provided by my two Lishuai LED lighting panels (also available from Proactive). I’ve got a blackout screen on the edit suite window so could eliminate any natural light falling on the set and also turned off all house lighting. The LEDs were set to 3200k and placed just out of shot left and right and faded to give a little shaping to my already perfectly shaped body. I used my edit suite programme monitor as a practical back light source by getting a bright picture up on my Edius timeline.

Audio, and here’s the irony, was not recorded through the DR-60D as I wanted to have it in hand during my presentation. I didn’t have another one to use on the shoot so had to resort to attaching my Sony radio mic directly into the 550D and tweaking the levels within ML. Whilst I am used to working this way I have to say it only just emphasised just how much easier the DR-60D is going to make my audio recording in the future.

The cut and shut was done on Edius 6.5. I hope you enjoy the film and, if you’re in the market for a video review yourself, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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DR-60D review – the definitive DSLR audio recording solution

DR-60D Review
DR-60D Review

Special note…
Watch the video review embedded at the foot of this article!

Tascam DR-60D review

In a world where technology changes at an ever increasing rate it is refreshing to discover something that’s “definitive” in its field of application. The good old Shure SM-58 vocal microphone is a classic example – and it’s pretty much the same today as it was in 1966 when it was first produced. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Tascam have achieved this with the DR-60D audio recording solution.

Though aimed primarily at solving the audio issues facing DSLR users, what they’ve actually created with the DR-60D is professional audio recording solution that takes DSLR sound recording to a completely new level. Actually, it achieves a lot more than this and will provide anyone who is serious about audio with a neat and well-featured four-track field recorder/mixer – regardless of what you are shooting with or if you’re not shooting pictures at all.

Well thought out

I spotted the announcement by Proactive on the availability of the DR-60D and from the blurb I could tell that Tascam had thought through this product really well. With a street price that’s a shade under £300 including VAT the unit addresses all of the limitations of DSLR audio as well as providing the user with a range of additional features which should pretty much eradicate poor or missing audio. It’s everything I wanted it to be – and more.

I’m proof of the fact that you don’t have to be a mastermind to use it either. Even though we must all refer to them at some stage – I hate instruction manuals! But with a modicum of familiarity with professional audio connections and controls you’ll be making your first recording with the DR-60D almost as soon as you’ve taken it out of the box. If you are a total pro-audio newbie then reading the Quick Start Guide (a massive 4-page tome – with big pictures) will have you tweaking the levels and laying down tracks in minutes. Ease of use is another characteristic of an iconic product for which Tascam deserve a massive pat on the back.

DR-60D front
DR-60D – on the face of it

Whilst you could simply describe the unit as being box-shaped that would do an injustice to the amount of design and engineering that must have gone into it. The conclusion, I suspect, was that the design guys realised that box-shaped is best when it comes to fitting in with the various cameras, rigs, mounts and shooting conditions of a DSLR videographer – so why complicate it? Every side of the box is employed without waste – with the separated controls, inputs and outputs together in groups positioned where they should be. For me the form factor is totally in-tune with the form factor of DSLRs.

Chiefly made from durable rigid plastic it weighs in at just over half a kilo. The touch and feel of the unit gives you the impression that it’s a tough little nut – and it has to be. Whilst the immediate urge is to mount the unit betwixt camera and tripod (or crane or slider…) like me you’ll soon be exploring the other mounting solutions as well as using the unit completely detached from the camera as an auxiliary sound recording device. The strap attachment bars are in fact bumper bars too and will give some protection to the control face of the DR-60D whilst in use and transit.

DR-60D sides
The many sides to the DR-60D

It’s hard to list the features of the DR-60D in any logical order because they’ll be valued differently by different users, but here are the things that have impressed me and how I see the unit improving my DSLR audio workflow.

1 – DSLR Integration

My current workflow is to attach my mics (radio or otherwise) directly to my 5DMkii via the mic input. I’m running ML (Magic Lantern) on the camera so I can turn off AGC and adjust the overall analogue level as well as digitally adjusting the L/R channels independently within ML. Whilst this is great, with ML giving me a visual indication of levels, getting the levels perfect can be a little hit and miss. I do use the ML headphone output facility but the signal is pretty thin without another in-line headphone booster and therefore far from perfect for setting up levels and monitoring.

On a straightforward single-handed shoot that’s pretty much what I’ve to rely on. There are of course situations where I prefer to have the comfort of a sound recordist creating an auxiliary recording on a separate device. When someone is purely thinking about sound it should result in a better soundtrack and at the same time give me more time to think about the pictures. I don’t see those situations changing much other than the device the sound recordist uses will be a DR-60D (mine or theirs).

Where the unit will really come into its own for me is on my single-handed shoots – giving me two XLR/TRS inputs (balanced analogue XLR/ ¼” Jack combo sockets) to connect powered mics, phantom-powered mics (+24V/+48V) or line-level feeds. In addition I have a stereo 3.5 mini jack input to which a stereo mic can be added – either self-powered or one which requires powering through the device (menu-selectable).

DSLR integration with the DR-60D
DSLR integration with the DR-60D

This obviously gives me a lot more options sound-wise and means I have the best possible control over each of those sound sources and can record them on the DR-60D’s SD/SDHC media drive in either WAV or BWF (Broadcast WAV Format) at up to 96kHz/24-bit. As the unit employs Tascam’s HDDA microphone pre-amps and clean D/A converters this will result in a very high quality recording.

I could stop there, of course, simply using the DR-60D as an auxiliary recording device and then syncing up this with the pictures in post. I’ve done that a few times and whilst it’s manageable it does give me an additional post job which I’d rather do without. However, the full benefit comes when you join the DR-60D and DSLR together through the ‘Camera in’ and ‘Camera out’ mini-jack connections.

The Camera Out connector feeds the DSLR’s external mic input with the mixed signal. The output level of this signal is adjustable so you can match it to the input of your camera. For me this means using one of the ML modifications which enables me to first switch off the camera’s AGC, switch the input to ‘external stereo’ and set the input gains (both analogue and digital) down to zero. I can then set about adjusting the levels of my mic and line inputs, reach a decent mixed level to ensure no peaking, and then finally adjust the Camera Out level until my ML meters are matching the levels on the DR-60D.

The ‘Camera In’ connector takes the headphone out signal from the camera and feeds it back into the DR-60D. The Monitor control on the face of the unit enables you analyse every step of the signal as it passes through the chain by assigning it to the DR-60D’s headphone output. In four channel recording mode you can monitor any of the four input channels separately, Ch.1/2 or Ch.3/4 pairs of channels, your Mix or the Camera In. As the 5DMkii has no headphone socket I use ML to switch the TSSR jack AV out over to a headphone level output – and I give it the maximum 6dB gain in order to feed something reasonable back to the DR-60D. I also have to use a special converter cable to change the 4-pole TRRS mini jack to a standard 3-pole TRS mini jack in order to make the connection back to the DR-60D. If your DSLR has a standard headphone socket you’ll not have to worry about this.

This workflow should result in a good quality synchronised recording being made in the DSLR and we could leave it like that – using the DR-60D purely as an in-line mixer. This will overcome most of the shortcomings of the DSLR but there are further benefits of recording on the unit and camera simultaneously apart from the comfort of knowing that you have a high quality back-up audio track on SD card.

Mixing and Monitoring with the DR-60D
Mixing and Monitoring with the DR-60D

Safety First

Tascam have built in some really useful tools to reduce the risk of poor or no sound recording at all. Firstly, there are five different recording modes – Mono, Stereo, Dual-Mono, Dual-Stereo and 4-Channel. In either of the two ‘Dual’ modes the unit will record two files simultaneously. The first files will be at your main mix level whilst the second will be recorded at a lower level anywhere between 0dB and -12bB (menu selectable). As we all know, badly overloaded digital audio is impossible to correct, so this feature could well save the day for you. The default setting is -6dB which is fine for general use but it’s great to be able to vary this if you are filming in an environment where there’s the potential for the audio to raise suddenly. When in Dual mode the meter shows you the levels of both recordings – which is really handy.

The only drawback of the Dual settings is that you’ll be limited to using only two of the input sources (just one in the Dual-Mono mode). This can be set to either Ch.1/2 or Ch.3/4 so you’ll be back down to two mics/sources or just the stereo mini jack input to Ch.3/4. In Dual-Mono mode you can record any one of the four channels separately.

There are other features that will help you avoid missing a sound too. The full process of recording requires two presses of the record button. The first instigates the stand-by mode during which a constant buffer is being stored internally. It is not until you give a second press of the record button that the unit stars to record to the SD card. In Prerecord Mode, when you hit the record button, it actually saves the 2-seconds prior to final button press giving you a safety margin when something that needs to be recorded happens unexpectedly.

In Auto Recording Mode the unit is triggered into recording at the presence of pre-set audio levels being detected in the mixer (-6dB, -12dB, -24dB or -48dB). As well as varying the amount of time after the signal has faded that the recording is stopped, you can also set a base input level at which the recording is to be stopped too (-6dB, -12dB, -24dB or -48dB).

Once you are happy with all your input levels and adjustments – and set the unit into record mode (or not if you wish) you can engage the Hold switch. This recessed sliding switch locks out all of the controls and maintains the unit in its present state to prevent accidental operation.

Re-sync Solution

Going forward I will be recording to both camera and DR-60D. I’m sure most of the time I’ll be using the synchronised sound recorded in camera, but I’m also sure that I’ll be reaching for the recording on the DR-60D’s SD card to solve a problem or take advantage of the superior recording quality. There are two features to that will subsequently help me to quickly re-sync the unit’s recordings with those made in the camera – Slate and Auto Tone.

The Slate button applies a tone to the recording at any point during the recording process. This tone is also sent as part of the signal being fed to the camera making it dead easy to line up the tone marks of both recordings on my editing timeline. This feature is really neat for me as a fair part of my work is recording interviews where we pretty much let the camera run. Being able to mark the audio each time a new question is asked, or at the end of a good answer, will speed up my timeline scrubbing quite considerably. If you’re worried about inadvertent Slates button presses you can disabled the button altogether in menu.

DR-60D Slate function
DR-60D Slate function for re-syncing audio

The Auto-tone feature will apply the same tone automatically at either the head of the recording or both head and tail. This will be handy on shorter takes enabling even speedier alignment with the camera’s soundtrack once on the editing timeline.

Chosen workflow

I really like the idea of the Dual recording mode for the safety net it provides, but I could also use the 4-track mode and then reduce the level being fed from Camera Out to my camera to avoid peaking issues. This way I would have the safety net of dual-level recording whilst still being able to input to all four channels.

As for mounting I’ve quickly overcome my initial reservations about attaching the unit under-camera. I thought the combined unit would be simply too tall to be stable on a tripod and too heavy to use handheld or even shoulder-rigged – but it isn’t. The base of the unit has the usual 1/4 “ tripod screw hole and an additional fixed-pin hole which utilised on better tripod head plates and eliminates any side-twist between plate and unit. The top ¼” screw for attaching to the camera doesn’t have this additional pin as most DSLRs do not have a corresponding pin hole – so there is the potential for some twist between the units. However, you can get a fair purchase on the DR-60D’s large tightening wheel to lock the two together.

Using a multi-battery hand grip on your DSLR will take things too far though – and in my case extends the height of the whole assemble by about 5cm. Configured like this it all becomes a bit unstable and unwieldy and certainly not something that I would like to put on a crane or operate handheld for any length of time. Without the battery grip I will have to resort to disconnecting the DR-60D in order to get to the base of the camera in order to change its battery. That’s obviously not a problem when running the camera on mains but that’s a rare occasion for me.

For occasions when I need to keep the battery grip connected I’ll be using the DR-60D mounted separately from the camera. For a tripod or shoulder rig I have a number of magic-arm options for doing this, but I’ve also commissioned Hague Camera Supports to produce a bespoke camera offset plate so that I can mount the DR-60D alongside the camera with battery grip attached. Either way I will try to avoid lengthening the cable run between the two units as stereo mini jacks have a habit of getting knocked out.

Powering & Final Smart Features

Using four standard Alkaline batteries you’ll get around 4.5 hours use. Understandably, this drops quite significantly (2.5 hours) when you are phantom-powering your mic. Using Ni-MH batteries this goes up quite considerably returning about 14.5 hours and 9.5 hours respectively. You can also use the USB input to supply power, either directly from a mains-USB supply or through a lap-top or any other standard USB device.

Phantom Powering the DR-60D
Phantom Powering the DR-60D – Power hungry

There are other features of the DR-60D that I will no doubt come to value over time. The Line Out connector will give me a line-level stereo mini jack output to feed to another device or audio chain to which I can apply further level adjustment and EQ. I can also add limiters (to avoid peaking) and Low Cut Filters (to help remove things like the low level hum of air con units). In a multi-mic set up I can also independently adjust the delay between each channel to remove echoes caused by microphones set different distances from the sound source.

There are some features that I’ll probably not be using immediately but it’s nice to know they are there. For instance, the unit can perform selectable mid-side decoding for use with stereo MS microphone setups. There’s also an optional RC-10 Remote control unit and, though I’ve not got my head around the advantage to me, the Broadcast Wave Format might also prove useful.

DR-60D Review Conclusion

I appreciate there are other solutions and combinations of products out there that will give me everything that the DR-60D gives me. However, they won’t be such a neat, well-put together and adaptable package as the DR-60D. Everything about the unit feels right to me, from the general build quality to the metal toggle line level switches and soft-touch knobs and control buttons (aiding silent operation).

The menus are all logically set out and easy to navigate and, when things get a bit more complex, the instruction manual is nice and easy to follow. The ability to add Slate marks is going to be an absolute godsend to me, as is the user-defined word or date file naming format that will enable me to identify files quickly in post.

I’m now looking forward to putting the DR-60D to use on my next film with a new level of confidence and a whole lot more options in my sound recording. I’m sure it will, in some cases, be the difference between hiring in another hand on a shoot or not so it won’t be long before it’s paid its way. But I’m even more confident that it will save lots of time in post and, on the odd occasion, save my reputation by having a clean and unbroken back-up sound recording to turn to.

A big “Well done” to Tascam for producing the DR-60D. In my mind it’s a definitive product if ever I’ve seen one.

Kevin Cook F.Inst.V. (Hon.)

Notes: More details and specifications on the DR-60D can be found on the Proactive website – www.proav.co.uk/Tascam-DR-60D-Linear-PCM-Recorder-Mixer-For-DSLR/p32972.aspx

Kev’s Shed – A review of the Tascam DR-60D by Video Artisan from Kevin Cook on Vimeo.

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