Okay so a big issue with the 5D is getting good audio.  It’s generally agreed that using some sort of external recording device is the best way to manage the workflow, but that leaves you with the mess of having to sync up all the sound in post.  On bigger shoots, where dual system is the norm, that’s not a big deal; and the onboard recorded audio is just used as a reference track anyway.  But what if you need a quick turnaround or a client is asking to not have to sync all the sound in post?

For the most part, even with firmware 2.0.4 you can easily get a good audio recording using the dual system technique but if you try to send any sort of signal back into the 5D mark II it is still blowing out, and the auto function doesn’t seem to be that great at stopping peaking either.  I recently went out on a Doc gig where the producers didn’t want to sync up the audio in post and therefore needed good sound sent right into the 5D.  That’s all good and fine, but I also wanted to figure out a way where I could record both good sound on the Zoom H4n and the 5D at the same time.   So here’s the solution I came up with:

You need to set the 5D to manual Audio control and then turn it down all the way.  Then move the clicker one notch to the right.

Set it one notch away from being all the way to the right

Set it there, and then back out of the menu.

Next you need to turn on your H4n and set the Vol, the button on the left side to ’55.’

Set the 'volume' button on the left side to 55

Once you’ve set the volume button to 55, don’t touch it.  This is the sweet spot you want the Zoom to be set at where you will be able to both monitor the audio on your Headphones effectively and also get a good signal that wont peak to your 5D.

Once that’s set, you can set up the rig however you like.  I have a 1/8th inch splitter coming out of my Zoom with one  jack going to my headphones and one going to my 5D.

I plug my headphones into one jack and the 5D into the other.

Then I can plug whatever sort of mic setup I want to use, Shotgun, Lav, etc. into the zoom.

****IMPORTANT: Now to adjust the level of the mic, only use the ‘Rec Level” buttons on the right of the Zoom H4n.  You should have enough room at these settings to get a good recording using the Rec Level buttons.

You’ll notice that at these settings when the audio is hitting -6db on the Zoom it is also hitting -6db on the 5D.  So if you have a peak on either, just watch the zoom monitor to find out.  Now, by only adjusting the rec level on the right side of the zoom (kinda using the zoom as a poor mans mixer) you will have clean audio to both the 5D recording and the Zoom’s internal recording.

I hope this helps, let me know if I didn’t explain something well enough or you have any questions.

-John

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