Could a audio recorder trigger a Nikon D90?

When my friend Matt pointed me to a video showing what sort of moving footage digital stills cameras can record…

…it seemed like an interesting development. A stills camera that records 720p24 footage. If a prosumer camera allows multiple lenses, shallow depth of field with the ability to zoom, why bother with cameras costing £3-5000 from Panasonic and Sony?

Nikon's D90 camera
Nikon’s D90

Prosumers and freelance professionals have become used to having cameras that record production-quality sound with their images. We want at least two XLR inputs with 16-bit 48kHz sound. The D90 has two tiny holes cut into the body where the sound is recorded onto a mic that probably is a part that Nikon pays £1 for.

We have become spoilt. Why use the camera to record the audio. There are two options: use a clapperboard, record separately and sync later, or get another device to trigger the camera to record.

I’d prefer a portable solid-state digital audio recorder that can send out a start signal to the camera (using the D90’s remote control interface) to capture better quality audio. It can have the XLR inputs and the recording medium for the audio. Recordists can enter scene/slate/take info to associate with the audio files. If the camera and the clock in the recorder had the same time and date, you could use this information to sync audio and video (maybe using Apple’s Automator: open files created within the same 5 seconds. Sync based on known frame offset between camera and audio recorder, using scene/slate/take info).

Maybe a software update to a Fostex box might work…

Fostex FR2 Field recorder
Fostex FR2 Field recorder


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