Thought you might all like to see today's DIY project, which I completed after my new budget priced Røde VideoMic arrived this morning.
The Alpha 77 shoots video with the 16-50mm SSM lens to a better standard than the NEX-5, the autofocus is smooth and silent and very accurate during filming with this lens.
On top of the camera I have an Amaran LED video light, which is incredibly powerful, dimmable, needs fitting with its diffuser for subject comfort, and one of the largest so far of all the small units like this. It takes A100 to A77 type batteries, or can be run from AAs. In the UK they can be bought from Chris Buck at Studio81, [email protected]
, for £75 - I'm not sure if that includes postage, he has a dozen of them he brought in from SE Asia recently.
To the side, attached using an old Minolta camcorder handgrip bracket, is the Røde (you can see I bought it a Dead Cat too for outdoor shooting, in the playback which appears on the monitor). Fantastic news - the terribly hissy, noisy auto gain noise level of the built in mics disappears like magic with the Røde. It has three Gain levels, normal and -10dB or -20dB which are accessed by really hard to see, hard to operate dipswitches inside the battery compartment. It does not use phantom power and requires a 9v battery, which of course give a much cleaner sound than 5v phantom power. It also has a low-cut/high-pass filter if needed (can help with wind noise). I have only walked round the house with it so far but everything points to really good quality sound and no problems with auto gain. The Røde was £69.
To the rear, mounted on a second flat camcorder accessory bar (another Minolta leftover) is a Lilliput 7 inch HD format monitor with a short HD cable which relays the rear screen display even when the rear screen is folded to face the camera. You do not need to switch, the camera can tell a monitor is attached. It has sound through the HDMI, even during filming, but no headphone socket which is a great pity as the camera does not either (Sony's smaller 5" monitor does). These monitors, with the lithion battery you can not see mounted between it and the camera, cost around £150.