Blackmagic Cine + Rode VideoMic Pro
The Rode VideoMic Pro is a handy external mic solution for the Blackmagic Cinema camera.
I am not thrilled with the internal mic on the Blackmagic Cinema camera as it’s located right above the fan, and not surprisingly, you can hear the fan in every recording. So I was keen to find an external mic solution. While I might use dual sound for shooting any speaking parts, I still need something better than the internal mic for shots with environmental sound. The internal mic is not good enough for anything more than reference audio for syncing picture to sound.
The first external mic I tried was a Sennheiser radio mic, EW 100 G2. After first confirming that the BMC camera wants a *mono* 1/4 inch adaptor - not stereo - it seemed the G2s don’t put out a strong enough signal to work, despite the suggestion they output line level signals. To be honest, I’m not sure what the problem is with the radio mics, as they work fine plugged into a Canon 550D (T2i). If anyone has them working, I’d like to know what’s required.
In contrast, the Rode VideoMic Pro is a mic designed for the task. With the mic set to output +20, the audio levels on the BMC are set to 5%. I concluded this from shooting and then checking the files. I can see many situations where I will need to set them to 1%, but even recording quiet conversation, 5% was plenty. The BMC camera doesn’t have audio meters yet, so the levels are set and left alone. This is not ideal, but all I’m trying to do is improve the camera sound for general, environmental shots.
UPDATE: The wireless mics work fine. More importantly, in the new version of firmware, the audio processing has been changed. Rather than setting the BMC to 5%, it seems they should now be set at 80%. Still no meters.
The camera seems to have a hard limiter which will protect recordings from clipping, but at the cost of dynamic range, so it makes sense to keep the levels generally low, perhaps peaking at -18, which will often include occasional spikes up to -6.
The VideoMic Pro is mounted to the camera with a cold shoe mount. I had one lying around that was drilled and tapped so it was simply a matter of turning a 1/4”- 20 bolt through the shoe and into the camera mount.