Sony HX5 - canceling the wind noise

2010-7-16 2.36 

...by now you have seen that funky "hat" my HX5 has.
Let me tell you about that. I did some research with different materials to check what works easy and effective on my Sony HX1. See my post: SONY HX1 - Silence, I kill you

I read a bit around how other people tackle that problem. I want an eye pleasing - but worst case - a not too disturbing look.

Some one suggested the soft part from velcro with tiny holes punched for the microphones.

I tried that since I had industrial strengths self adhesive velcro at home.
It failed miserable in my fan test (see HX1 post)
Since I liked the fiber velcro idea (works well as a finger reminder: Do not block the microphone holes!) I modified a foam hood with a recessed hook velcro part in it to have an easy stick on aesy remove wind breaker hood.
It came in second, was ok for a bit wind but not optimal.
On the first place came out my contoured mic hat - aehm hood.

The problem with the HX5 microphone position is that it is in a place where the left index finger grabs the camera and that it is too much in front to have space for an effective dampening area.
So you need to extend the wind dampening material in front of the camera to be effective.
You can see easy the way I cut out the foam to cover the top and front and you can spot the white double side sticky tape what extends to support the foam in front of the camera.
Use good quality double side sticky tape, punch 2 little holes where the microphones are and stick the foam in place. Use the softest foam you can get your hands on.
My hood looks a bit wild, since I cut it a bit in shape with small nail scissors to optimize the shape.
It has no problem to go into a trouser pocket, is easy compressed and works well up to 35 KM/H.
Since I use the HX5 a lot to record the rides with my bike I need a more effective wind hood what should work for wind speed of at least 60 KM/H.
So in the next days I will redesign the hood with a larger protrusion in the front.

full size screen caps from the rides

Wind Filter MK II
After a few days testing and just slipping the HX5 into my trouser front pocket unprotected the side of the foam came loose.
So it was time to design a better wind filter. I wanted one which could be easy removed but Velcro did not work out too well in my first test.
I had a piece of cable tubing around and wanted to see if that would do the trick.

so first came the cutting, drilling and getting rid of sharp corners, part.

Since my HX5 is non glossy black, the choice of color was simple.
I did not like the look of the bottom part after mounting it on the SONY HX5V, so I removed some material to make it slimmer.

double sided sticky tape to mount it on the camera.

and now the fun part begins, testing different shapes and thickness of foam pieces.

this is the extra squeeze variation

The same version but thicker, I also tried a "just matching the inside of the top" variation.

I wanted something what also could muffle the noise the wind would make on the plastic casing too, so I just made two cuts into the foam and slid the top piece right through.

So far this is the most effective version ever. Clicks on easy, comes off easy with a bit of pressure. This will not be the final version, since I want to try out the most effective way to keep high wind noise out, but with the top clip it is a matter of seconds to try different foam designs.
This should also work well at loud concerts, since you just need to compact the foam a bit more and you will keep the high decibel out.

And this is how it looks topless. It blocks a bit the direct wind from the front and you have something to put your finger on without blocking the holes.
Does it look pretty?
I don´t think so, but this is so far the best idea for MY usage of the HX5 to address the wind problem. If you have a better idea, share your thought with the world.

... oh and the bottom is sturdy enough to attach other things to the camera too ...
(think kids or other people who you want to make smile)

It will be a day or two until I have a few different foam pieces and do the 50 to 90 km/h test. Result will be posted here.  
Did the wind filter MK II test today. No wind noise up to 50 km/h, 60 km/h auidble wind noise and 80 km/h wind noise overpowers. So will work on a improved solution , but for videos in a regular windy environment the wind filter MK II works very well.

Wind Filter MK III

The main problem is if the wind comes fron the font, there is not enough foam to block it, I needed a solution where I could have a big foam buffer in front an if tould stay there. With the MK II I had to pull the foam down in front and hope it would stay there.
So I redesigned the MK II.
I cut nearly half of the camera mount off  and re glued it 90 degrees twisted with sticky tape (did held on strong when I tried to remove but came off without any damage to the HX5 surface).

I used the case from a wide angle mirror (see my Malaguti Spidermax blog), cut off a longer piece of foam, made two slits for the U shape top mount, bend the foam and inserted the U shape top mount.
To insure that there was enough pressure from the foam to press down for a good seal I cut off a slim piece of foam and put it into the front part of the mirror casing.
Double sided sticky tape was used to stick everything together.

you can see how well the foam presses against the HX5

First I wanted to cut it shorter, but I like the way it looks from the side.

here you see the U shaped top mount mounted inside the mirror casing.
The visible part of the sticky tape will be made black with a marker.

The Wind Filter MK III slides into the camera like as you slide a flash into a DSLR, just more smooth.

First tests show that with this kind of foam I use above 50 km/h the wind just gets to prominent.
The MK III is the most effective so far but my goal to block up to 80 km/h of wind speed can not be reached this way.

Wind Filter MK F

I wanted to try if a permanent attached fur wind filter would work well also.
So I went into our local animal charity shop and rummaged in their preloved  stuffed animal toy box. Not too much thick and long fur black animals there. But I found a cow.
So after some plastic surgery, a got some fur she could part with.

it is even thicker and longer than I guessed

I Cut a couple holes for the microphones into my double sided sticky tape and stuck it on the back of the fur. To be on the safe side, I punched with a fat needle repeatedly into the holes throught the fur´s bottom.

Made a test without wind filter, with the MK III wind filter and with the wind filter MK F.

sec 0-17 no wind filter - sec 18 MK III test - sec 35 MK F test

And this is how my HX5 looks now.

So far it seems to do a good job, will try on the bike, but at least this one is permanent on the camera. The MK III even it was always in the camera transport case, I often just grabbed only the camera and when there was something unexpected to record (like the concert sound check I did), I often ended up with wind noise.

Test drive today with the MK F (you guessed right F=fur).
The MK F is as efficient as the MK III. Comparing the video clips from different rides, they both go up to 50 km/h eliminating the wind noise very well. At 60 km/h the wind noise, engine noise and the spoken word are equal. Above that the wind noise dominates and above 80 km/h there is only wind noise.

So I am happy with the MK F, now it has to proof how durable it is in and out the pocket and carry bag.
The only problem I have, now my wife calls my HX5 - Ernie. Sigh.

Tested the Mk-F today in a wind gusty situation. It worked perfect in muting the wind noise and recording the sound clear. Also there is no sign of wear on the fur piece or any hair loss.

The new wind filter sticks very well with the HX5 and today (2010-7-15) I had a chance to do another outdoor concert sound check shot in quite windy conditions (less than 200 meters (yards) from the sea). The video was taken above the amphitheater with 10 x zoom, so the acoustic was not very good but the wind was 100% eliminated.
Now my HX1 will get a permanent fur wind filter also.

1 comment:

  1. I've read that the mic is lousy on this camera for louder events/concerts. have you tested this in those settings to confirm that it also helps those situations?


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