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Old May 7th, 2008, 05:33 AM   #1
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Improving sound quality for video using camcorder mic

My son recorded a video of a school play on a Sony camcorder. The actors wore lavs but he had no access to the mixing board. Hence, the sound was recorded using the built-in mic (16 bit) from his location at the back of the auditorium. Needless-to-say, the soudn quality isn't good and the speech is rather distant and 'empty'. I'm trying to find ways to improve the quality. I know I will never be able to get great sound. I can edit out the worst of the artifacts and use a noise reduction filter. Are there some other suggestions for things I could do to improve the sound quality? MY son is working on a iMac with FCE. On a PC, I am using Sony Sound Forge 9 and Cubase LE for audio editing.

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Old May 7th, 2008, 05:37 AM   #2
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Was a recording taken by anyone from the sound board? If so can you get a copy?
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Old May 7th, 2008, 05:48 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, no. The sound board was used to provide the live auditorium feed but no-one took a recording from it:(
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Old May 7th, 2008, 06:03 AM   #4
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Sorry Nick, there isn't much you can do. The possible solutions you offer up are all you've got. Audio is unforgiving and the most overlooked part of video. Chalk this one up to experience and take a feed from the board and/or use a real shotgun mic next time.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 07:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen View Post
Sorry Nick, there isn't much you can do. The possible solutions you offer up are all you've got. Audio is unforgiving and the most overlooked part of video. Chalk this one up to experience and take a feed from the board and/or use a real shotgun mic next time.
Good advice except for the part to get a real shotgun. Even the best shotgun on the market is still going to sound pretty lousy if used from a camera position at the back of the theatre. Contrary to myth, shotguns are NOT like a telephoto lens capturing distant sounds and magnifying them and even they need to be within a few feet of the source to do a very good job. From the back of the room nothing is going to work very well.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 08:25 AM   #6
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Steve, agreed. But it was pretty obvious from the post that actually getting sound correctly wasn't in the cards and a shotgun mic(s) placed near the stage would have been infinitely better than the camera mic at the back of the room. A board feed would have been even better than that.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 08:41 AM   #7
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Steve, agreed. But it was pretty obvious from the post that actually getting sound correctly wasn't in the cards and a shotgun mic(s) placed near the stage would have been infinitely better than the camera mic at the back of the room. A board feed would have been even better than that.
I agree - just your initial wording implied that replacing the stock in-camera mic with a shotgun without changing the position would have made it better. A shotgun near the stage, yes. A shotgun at the back of the room on or alongside the camera, no.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 01:25 PM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions. I understand that they make the most sense to get good quality sound. But, sometimes you've got to go with what you've got, not what you want. We'll try for a better set-up in the future.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 01:42 PM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestions. I understand that they make the most sense to get good quality sound. But, sometimes you've got to go with what you've got, not what you want. We'll try for a better set-up in the future.

As Rick said, at this stage there's not much you can do to make it any better than what it already is except resolve to do it differently next time. While there exist tools to clean up audio that has some sorts of noise in it, adjust tonal balance, add reverb, etc, there just aren't any tools that can take a bad recording and remove the 'badness.'
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Old May 7th, 2008, 04:33 PM   #10
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PZM mic would be best if you just want something to pick up everything on stage.
Try and cushion it from footsteps and vibrations.

Crown pcc160 is a good one to go for.

Theatre shows sometimes stick them out to add ambiance to close mic'ed/lav'ed actors.

Two across the front of the stage will even give you stereo! Should work well for you in this situation.
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