Noise created by the image stabilizing motor on a camera lens is nothing new. I’ve encountered this issue before with DSLR cameras when the mic is too close to the lens, but never on video cameras.
- World Vision TV spots in Bujumbura Burundi
- Canon C100 video camera
- Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 lens
- Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 lens
- Shure VP83 LensHopper
- Sanken CS1e
On this particular shooting day Scot decided to take the handle off the Canon C100. Like many documentary camera operators, he prefers to knock down the camera to it’s smallest lightest size for ease of operation. Since we often video children in developing countries, we’ve learned that the smaller the camera, the less intimidated the children get when Scot gets up-close. So no big matt boxes, fancy rigs or large microphones attached to the camera or hanging over their heads. On these shoots, less production gack produces more natural images.
So to record sound on the camera, I attached a Shure VP83 LensHopper DSLR type camera mic to the C100’s hot-shoe and used the 1/8-inch mini to connect to the camera. I set up the audio, and we were good to go. What I overlooked was the position the smaller more compact VP83 DSLR type mic was in, in relation to the lens – on the C100 its quite close. As it turned out, too close!
By taking the handle off the camera and using a DSLR type mic (the type of mic you have to use when you remove the handle), you end up with the mic right on top of the camera’s lens. This setup did do a beautiful job of capturing the ambience I wanted, but even a better job of recording the sound of the lens’s image stabilizing motor – this contaminated all the b-reel sound recorded on the C100 the entire day.
That night we looked at our limited options to solve the issue, we were in the middle of nowhere. Our choices were to either shoot with all image stabilizing turned off, put the handle back on the camera and connect a larger condenser type camera mic, or continue shooting the same way and repair and rebuild the unusable audio in post.
The decision was made to put the handle back on the camera, but turning off all stabilizing was a viable option. Luckily I had brought and was testing out a Sanken CS1e microphone to determine if it could be used as a camera-mounted mic. It’s a high-end big price tag mic that could potentially improve my on-camera ambience recordings. So on went the handle and the rest is sound perfection.
When I get back home, I’m going to look for some type of extender to move a DSLR type mic higher and further forward so Scot can shoot without the C100’s handle if he chooses.
If anyone has run into this problem and knows of a solution, please share. It’ll save me the hassle of tracking something down and then testing it out!