DSLRs allow for amazing picture quality (when handled right and paired with good glass…. I don’t mean to say it’s easy). I don’t think DSLRs are the be all and end all, but my 550D does a great job, on certain jobs.

It’s pretty well reported that most DSLRs fall down in a few areas. Clip Length, Sound, Video Output etc. Personally I believe there is no right or perfect camera. Just the best for the job. When you are using a DSLR, you can improve things, with extra tools, like Magic Lantern, rigs, EVFs, Sound Recorders.

This post was prompted by an improvement to my choice in Sound Recorder, Tascam’s DR-100. It’s a smashing bit of kit, made even more smashing: Cinescopophilia

I don’t treat the DR-100 as a sound recorder. I treat it like a back up device. It’s primary task is as a Pre-Amp, used in a similar fashion to JuicedLink’s boxes of tricks. On my rig (Jag35) I mount my DR-100, and connect up whatever microphones/inputs I want for the job – could be a wireless lapel mic receiver, could be a shotgun mic, could be a reporter vocal mic, could be a combination. What I then do is take the Line-Out (minijack) from the DR-100 and connect it to the Mic Input on my 550D. I use magic lantern to set that up as a stereo line level input, and tweak the gain so that the VUs on the 550D match those on the DR-100 (or sometimes a bit less). I also disable AGC.

This means, my 550D gets a nice, clean, noise free signal from the Tascam. It’s not *quite* perfect, but it’s damn close. Most of the time I just use this when editing, which means no Pluraleyes, no syncing at all – it’s as if it was shot with a ‘proper’ camera would you believe! Then, should I get it wrong, say it’s peaked out or distorted, I have the WAV file recorded by the Tascam as a lovely backup – and because they’re the same mics, it’s usually a doddle to sync it up. Lovely.

It also, by the way, gives me a headphone socket on the DR-100, which I use to monitor the sound whilst recording.

Now – I do have a gripe with the DR-100 – which is possibly fixed in the MKII. I often don’t have enough gain. With the pre-amp set to ‘High’ and gain maxed out to 10, my NTG-2 mic will still come in a bit quiet. Usable, but quiet. Hey, like I said at the start – nothing’s perfect – but for me, the DR-100 is the best solution for DSLR Sound.

I hope this was helpful to someone – if you have any questions on my setup, just drop me an email!