Posts Tagged ‘Sennheiser MKE 400


hdslr documentary zen

Filming with the Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70 2.8L and Sennheiser MKE-400 (with wind-muff) on a Gorillapod Focus with the Ballhead X under the shade of a tree in Bethesda, MD in 100 degree heat and humidity.  Matt is monitoring 4 channel audio recording on the Zoom H4n with a Sennheiser G3 wireless lav pinned to our subject.  My trusty Canon 75-300 f/4-5.6 is standing by on the bench for run and gun.  Everything packs into the backpack near my feet.

Here’s a frame exported with no color correction.  White balanced at 5200K, wide open at 2.8 ISO 100 or something, this is documentary filmmaking at its finest IMHO.  The sensor on the 5D is sensitive enough to get great exposure and shadow detail in a no-light situation so what you see is pretty much what you get.  To me, this is telling the truth not previously attainable at this price point or for this level of production quality; no lights, just a camera and a microphone (or three).  Your audience is experiencing the moment about as close to how it happened as you can get, with video image quality from the Canon glass that we’re previously used to seeing only in glossy magazines.

Here’s a frame from running and gunning with the Canon 75-300 f4-5.6 (had to convert this to a JPG in order to post for some reason so slightly compressed).  Before starting to shoot I try and set my ISO at a good general level, I think I kept it the same all day at around 200.  While I’m running around, adjusting focus and focal length, I’m also adjusting f-stop.  I think this one is somewhere around f8 and I’ve had no problem raising mid-tones in post as needed, really impressed with how the codec holds up in that regards (I know others have different opinions).  I’ve found the trick is to try and expose as close to what you want as possible, realizing there are reasonable limits to what you can stretch out of your image.

I’m using the Videosmith Mightywondercam Classic Shoulderpod for stabilizing the 5D while walking around.  It does a decent enough job, and of course I keep the Sennheiser boom mic for grabbing decent ambient audio.  Eventually I may upgrade but on a budget this thing does the trick.  Doing handheld with a heavier lens like the Canon 24-70 f2.8L can be tiring so a counter balance of some sort may be in my future.

The DNC was kind enough to grant me permission to post this article so a big thank you there.  Hope this helps those of you in the field with understanding my approach to 5dmarkii documentary filmmaking, or at least gives those of you thinking about getting started a solid equipment list to choose from.  I’ve erred on the side of portability and minimalism; no fancy shoulder mount with a big LCD, no focus-pulling gear.  It’s a concious decision to be both lightweight and have a low-visibility factor; I’m so happy with the results.  It feels like I’ve achieved a filmmaking zen state and I’m not going back.

proactively • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.


slaughter across the water

My brother Jon’s film is a 2010 Visions Awards nominee for Outstanding Documentary Production.  He’s in the running for the audience favorite and needs your vote.  Cast your vote here!  In fairness you can see all the nominee videos here.

The film was shot on a collection of Canon HV30’s, equipped with the Sennheiser MKE 400 boom mic (with the Sennheiser MZW 400 wind-muff, makes all the difference on windy days like this!) and the Panasonic VW-W4307H 0.7x wide angle converter.  Posted entirely in Final Cut Studio 3, I think SATW is an excellent example of getting great picture and sound out of an inexpensive filmmaking setup.  Not to mention, the story telling ain’t half bad (which always helps).

proactively • proud • peter


canon hv30 – accessory shoe removal

Yes, the tethered accessory shoe is really annoying. Especially when you want to put accessories on your HV30 like this:

Me & Joel with Sennheiser MKE 400

Me & Joel with Sennheiser MKE 400

Solution found after a search over at Special thanks to Spider.JM for the post and pics!

Its done and I’m proud to announce we don’t need to worry about parts falling into the camera. When you do remove MAKE SURE YOU ONLY CUT ONE SIDE. Otherwise it will fall in… You just need to pull it out after you’ve cut one side.

accessory shoe top view

accessory shoe top view

accessory show reverse view

accessory show reverse view

no more tether!

no more tether!

Tool list:
-Needle Nose Pliers (not required)
-Either Sharp clean Scissors or Exacto Knife

Basically try to stretch it away from the camera so that you have both strands away from each other, then progress to snipping ONE strand. Then just pull the cover out with the last strand STILL intact! Once its out, sever that other side, and make it so theres about 2mm left on the cover so that it will still fit back into the camera.

Pics of my fully accessorized Canon HV30 incoming.

proactively • going to the toy store for an exacto knife tomorrow • peter


Canon HV30 purchased!

pics of awesomeness

My good friend Joel (left, excited) and yours truly (right, really excited).

Joel hand-framing the awesome Panasonic VW-W4307H 0.7x wide angle converter.

Everything put together! Thanks to Katie & Rani for the photos.

Waiting on the Sennheiser MKE 400 Compact Video Camera Shotgun Microphone which should arrive next week. Bought everything at

proactively • a proud new baby daddy • peter

August 2020

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