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Olympus EPM-1 Audio issues

Discussion in 'Help and Feedback' started by Chesterfield, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Chesterfield

    Chesterfield New to Mu-43

    6
    Apr 6, 2012
    Hey everybody,
    I recently purchased the Olympus EPM-1 after hearing great things about it. Overall I am completely satisfied with the camera however I have one problem that is bothering me and might be a deal breaker.
    After running some tests I found that when I roll on Video it picks up the auto focus adjustments on audio. It sounds like a fluttering sound and gets louder when I switch shots. This sound is recorded and is quite loud and clear on the camera playback and when I upload to my computer.
    Does anyone else know of this problem or a way to fix it? Also, as a back up does anyone have a recommendation for a different 4/3 camera I should exchange it for?

    Thanks in advance!

    Chesterfield
     
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    What lens? The 14-42 MSC is supposed to be dead silent.
     
  3. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Apr 12, 2011
    There is a similar thread here with an example video - is that the kind of noise you're getting? click here
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You don't need a new camera, all you need to do is shell out less than $100 and get a proper 3.5 external stereo mic adapter (SEMA-1) which comes with a nice stereo condenser mic if you don't have any other dedicated video mics? The problem you're experiencing has nothing to do with lack of audio capabilities of the camera, and has everything to do with the use of a built-in mic. Switching to any other camera and using the built-in mic will not solve your problem in any way, and in fact will probably put you in a much worse situation if you end up with another camera which is not capable of taking an external mic (ie, like most Panasonic cameras besides the GH series). Olympus PEN cameras, with the exception of the E-P1, all take the same SEMA-1 3.5mm mic adapter so with that one piece along with a good video lens, you will have professional video capabilities out of ANY Olympus Micro Four-Thirds camera you decide to get down the road. 3.5mm is the standard stereo mic plug used for video besides XLR (for the big thick XLR cables that plug directly into your sound-board). Any video mics which don't use an XLR connection will generally use a 3.5mm plug. So if you really want to upgrade your audio capabilities later, you can get nice rubber-mounted Rhode shotgun mics (about $150 and up) or whatever your pleasure. You're not going to get much better audio capabilities than that. A rubber mounted, muffed external mic will not pick up the sound of you handling the camera. Any built-in mic will, and as you have probably noticed that is what really gives a "home-made" feel to your video.

    If you later upgrade to an O-MD E-M5, then you will have even better manual audio control from the camera, even if your mic doesn't have its own volume adjustment. The adapter you buy for your E-PM1 will be the same one you use on future bodies like the E-M5, so this will be a one-time purchase. Down the road they'll probably even put out a camera with headphone output, which is the one audio device missing from the cameras right now. Your 3.5mm mic adapter will still work and be necessary then (don't ask me why they haven't done live output yet...).

    Olympus - SEMA-1

    Olympus SEMA-1 Mic Adapter Set for Olympus E-PL1 Micro Four Third Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera: Amazon.ca: Electronics

    PS... I like to have a small audio device with me that doesn't take up a lot of space like a big shotgun mic, so I use the EMA-1 adapter (SEMA-1 is the set that includes a stereo condenser mic) along with a small muffed mic attached to the tie-clip extension that comes with the SEMA-1 kit, and I hang it from my video light bracket with a rubber band. Very compact and near expenseless solution for rubber-mounted audio.
     
  5. Adobres

    Adobres Mu-43 Regular

    90
    Nov 25, 2011
  6. Chesterfield

    Chesterfield New to Mu-43

    6
    Apr 6, 2012
    Thanks guys! I am using the 14-42mm lens. The sound in that video EP1-GF1 posted is exactly the sound I was talking about.
    Ned, to confirm what you mentioned, I just spoke to olympus and the guy told me the same exact things. There is nothing I can do about it other than getting an external mic. Is this a consistant issue with all 4/3? This is my first one and I am getting a bit discouraged because of this one issue. On the other hand the picture quality is fantastic and it is entirely user-friendly for my wife.
     
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    No, just with all cameras being used for video. :) Trust me, the external mic is well worth the investment, if you plan on shooting any serious video. External audio is to video what external flash is to stills. It's what makes the biggest difference between professional and amateur quality.
     
  8. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Correct! It has been said that video is 2/3 audio. I have had high end consumer camcorders that picked up the zoom or focus of the lens. All pro level camcorders have external mics of some form or another. The external mic adaptor that includes a stereo mic with it would be the way to go for anything other than the highest level of pro shooting. I know I plan on getting one in the future.
     
  9. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Apr 12, 2011
    It's not really a sensible option but the 14-140 is effectively silent so it's possible to do on m4/3. But that lens is bulky, heavy and expensive (compared with the 14-42).

    You do have two other options though - manual focus or a separate sound recorder. Manual focusing (or single autofocus) is workable a lot of the time but you will still pick up other handling noises.

    A separate sound recorder adds some hassle because you have to re-sync the audio from it to the video later, but you can use it for other things. That's the route I went because I wanted more control over the recording. I ended up with a Tascam DR-2d (119 from Uniquesquared) but there are cheaper and smaller alternatives like the Zoom H1.
     
  10. Chesterfield

    Chesterfield New to Mu-43

    6
    Apr 6, 2012
    These are excellent suggestions. I think I am going to keep it and get the external mic. I just took more video in various settings including indoor, outdoor, low light, lots of light, windy, etc. Here is my consensus based on what you all have said and from my experience:
    Speaking in terms of video only, the overall picture quality is excellent with the EPM-1. I found that the fluttering sound that was bothering me so much does not exist when I am in normal lighting situations such as daylight and is only evident when I am indoors in a lower lighting situation. My consensus is that the Auto focus works a lot harder in lower light and therefore the sound is louder and the internal mic will pick up that fluttering sound. Regardless of the fluttering sound, the external mic is an much needed addition because not only does the internal mic pick up sounds of every hand movement while you are recording but it very easily picks up wind noise very easily as well. This is the mic I am going to get based on Neds suggestion,
    Olympus SEMA-1 Mic Adapter Set for Olympus E-PL1 Micro Four Third Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

    I will let you know how it goes.

    THanks again!!
     
  11. jff1625

    jff1625 Mu-43 Regular

    100
    Jan 14, 2012
    London
    hey EP1-GF1, you mentioned in the other thread that you heard the same sound as mine on your 14-42IIR. By any chance was the test you did in similar lighting to my sample video? Have you tried it outdoors on a bright day?

    I'm sure its the lens, not the body, as that's where most of the mechanical stuff is.
    Anybody else with this lens want to try a quick video test in low light and in bright, and report their findings? Maybe it's normal for this lens, or lens / body combination?????

    J
     
  12. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Apr 12, 2011
    Yes it was indoors with similar lighting to yours. Since my 14-140 lens was virtually silent in the same conditions I think we can rule out the body making the noise.

    I think the key is that indoors there's very little other noise to mask the clicking and more importantly it means the auto audio gain is ramped up to 10 (or 11!) so it's picking up everything. Outside there's more ambient/wind noise so that would account for it seeming better, even though the lens noise volume is exactly the same. Possible?
     
  13. jff1625

    jff1625 Mu-43 Regular

    100
    Jan 14, 2012
    London
    Yeah, it's definitely not JUST the body. It could still be the EPM1 body but only when this 14-42-II-R-MSC lens is attached. Much more likely to be the lens. Can anybody test the same lens on a different body? Record a video going from quiet/dark indoors to bright/noisy outdoors and see how it sounds.

    That sounds fairly believable. I just did another test video going from indoors to out, and altho the noise did disappear while outside, I really couldn't tell whether it was the increase in background noise masking the sound, or if it went away for some other reason.

    That said, it's called MSC for Movie and Still Compatible, not OMSC for Outdoor Movie and Still Compatible. According to how it's described by Olympus it should work indoors. I'll try taking mine back, see what they say....
     
  14. cz9h3d

    cz9h3d Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Jan 18, 2012
    SE Michigan
    Kevin
    The e-PM1 needs a SEMA-1 microphone adapter for an external microphone? Bummer - I just assumed it had a 3.5mm port to plug a microphone in. Now I don't feel nearly as bad for having a GF3 ;)

    I purchased a clearance Kodak Zi10 specifically because it had a microphone port. Sound is such a big part of video if you're making something for others to watch which relies on a narrative during the shoot. The Zi10 with a lapel microphone will be 1000% better than something that does much better video, but uses a built in microphone. But I certainly wouldn't worry about zoom noise if I'm just shooting family videos.
     
  15. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Apr 12, 2011
    I agree 100%. How about trying it indoors with some ambient noise - music etc, simulating a party. Or just have a party :smile: It doesn't solve the problem of course but it might help isolate the cause.
     
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The adapter system is a very good one, actually. If you look at Panasonic's lineup, the only models they have which consistently has a mic port is the GH series (and a couple other random models). The GH series is very large and very expensive, definitely not what everybody wants. If you want anything smaller or more affordable, then you have no choice for external audio at all if you buy a Panasonic. On the other hand, if external audio is important to YOU, then you buy a $90 adapter and you have external audio on EVERY SINGLE PEN camera you own, right down to the smallest, cheapest Mini. It's all about personal customization.

    Same thing with the Electronic Viewfinder accessory... Before the GX1, if you were a Panasonic owner the only way you could get a high-quality 1.44 million dot viewfinder was to buy a bulky mini-DSLR style camera from the GH or G series, and even if you bought the low-grade 202k dot accessory EVF (LVF-1), it was only good on TWO camera models (GF-1 and GF-2) before being discontinued. Even though it took a while for Olympus to make the O-MD with built-in EVF, I'm glad Olympus went with the modular setup... I'm able to customize my system with the accessories that are important to me, and carry them over between all new purchases.
     
  17. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    So you can't even use an external mic on a GF-3 ? Bummer.
     
  18. cz9h3d

    cz9h3d Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Jan 18, 2012
    SE Michigan
    Kevin
    Pick on the GF3 user - I'm use to it!

    Nice that Olympus accessories can be utilized across the range. I just think it sucks that you have to buy an accessory for this. But I guess if manufacturers don't think orientation sensors should be standard, they certainly won't add the cost of the input. They must figure anyone who really cares is going to spring for the really really expensive camera - my $89 Zi10 notwithstanding.
     
  19. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Most consumer camcorders do not have an external mic input either. It is more common lately but still you have to spend $500+ to get that feature{based on MSRP}. There is another option - do it like Hollywood - a separate audio recorder. This does require syncing in post but it isn't that hard.
     
  20. Chesterfield

    Chesterfield New to Mu-43

    6
    Apr 6, 2012
    Sema-1 microphone Olympus

    Soooooo. I bought the Sema-1 microphone and while there is an improvement in sound quality. I can not turn the internal mic off. So when I am shooting in low light the internal mic still picks up the fluttering sound of the auto focus. The whole purpose of me buying this mic was so I can solely use this and turn the internal mic off.
    Does anyone know if I can possibly turn the internal mic off without turning the external mic off?