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Old August 3rd, 2007, 12:57 PM   #1
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Audio Hookup Question

Hello All,

I will be shooting a video of a funeral for a friend on Monday and I wanted to hook up into the PA system for audio. Can I do this right into my VX2100 with an adapter or do I need a digital recorder? I do not have any wireless audio capability and I don't want the audio levels changing whenever I pan the camera. I will also be using a Rhode Videomic. Any help is appreciated.

Aloha,
Ron
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 03:51 PM   #2
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Ron,

Taking a direct feed from a PA into a prosumer camcorder is possible but it's a bit tricky.

The issue is that all PA systems are different. Some have mic level outputs - others have only line level outputs available. A line level is thousands of times "hotter" than a mic level signal. So using adaptors to feed it into a camcorder without the proper level matching devices (pads) just won't work.

Since your camera will likely only have a mic level input in the form of a 1/8" mini-pin, you also won't get much success using a long cable fun to a stand mounted mic positioned in front of one of the PA speakers - a simple technique that often works well when you're using balanced XLR type microphones. Long unbalanced microphone runs are very prone to noise problems.

Here's what I'd suggest.

A) if you can borrow a wireless microphone - even a relatively inexpensive one, that would be the easiest solution - put the mic/transmitter at the PA speaker and the receiver at the camcorder.

B) rent or borrow a small digital or Mini-disc recorder and put THAT at the PA speaker position and use it to record better audio that you'll match to your video later in post.

C) ask the sound operator (if there even IS one) to make an audio only recording of the ceremony for you to sync up to your video later.

D) investigate how to hook up something like that yourself. Most audio boards have simple line level mixed outputs that you can run to an outboard recorder.

If you decide to do the "board to camcorder" approach you'll need three things. An ADAPTOR to patch the boards output (usually XLR-Female or balanced 1/4" female sockets) to the appropriate cable. Then a PAD (15-20db should work and are common) followed by the appropriate ADAPTOR to get you into the camcorder.

There's a lot of info on line, searchable under "balanced to unbalanced audio"

Good luck.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 06:57 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info

Thank you for the info and suggestions. I think I will try and rent a wireless setup and go that way. What would you suggest if the speakers are in the ceiling? Would a lapel mic cause problems with the house mic if they were too close? Thanks again.

Aloha,
Ron
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Old August 4th, 2007, 01:14 AM   #4
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If the ceiling speakers are up high, the answer is simply a tall stand.

(I have a lightweight stand that goes up 17 feet and I've used that to mic ceiling speakers dozens upon dozens of times.)

Just put your wireless transmitter and element on the tip of the stand and raise it to a point about a foot from the speaker grille and you'll get a nice clear recording of everything that comes over the house system.

And yes, you can put a wireless lapel mic on a podium and it won't bother the existing microphone at all unless the podium mic is also wireless and it's running at or near the same frequency - but that's pretty unlikely.

The thing to remember about microphones is they work best when they're much closer to what you want to hear than they are to anything else making noise.

So choose a speaker grille in a corner away from air conditioning vents, etc. and you'll be fine.

It's also fine to clip the mic element right to a stand mounted PA speaker. Unless it's turned up REALLY high - like a rock concert level - the wireless feed to your camera should be just fine.

Good luck with your recording!
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Old August 4th, 2007, 08:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Anderson View Post
Hello All,

I will be shooting a video of a funeral for a friend on Monday and I wanted to hook up into the PA system for audio. Can I do this right into my VX2100 with an adapter or do I need a digital recorder? I do not have any wireless audio capability and I don't want the audio levels changing whenever I pan the camera. I will also be using a Rhode Videomic. Any help is appreciated.

Aloha,
Ron
If you can get a feed to your camera from the mixer or preamp that feeds the house PA an have the right hardware to get it into your camera, you've got a shot.

Limiting factors:

You may not have the gear or a cable long enough to get from the house gear to your camera.

The house sound may suck; bad mic, people popping into it, wandering off mic so you can't hear them.

Maybe try a wireless rig with an omni lav taped near the head of the house mic. Takes more time/money and with any new gear, there's the "oops" factor.

Congratulations, your work in video has escalated to the point at which you need to begin making more complex decisions about audio.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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