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Old June 22nd, 2008, 06:15 PM   #1
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Question about Zoom h4 recorder

I plan on using this with a rode ntg-2 mic and a canon hv20. My question is how to get the audio to sync correctly with the video. Does anyone know any specific settings on the h4 that can be set to obtain this? o ye i will be shooting in 24p

Thanks
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 07:39 PM   #2
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Syncing H4

Austin:

I've used the H4 many times to record audio along with my camcorder. I simply line up the audio from the camera and the H4 on my editing software timeline. I typically use a clap at the beginning to make it easier to line up the audio tracks. There are no special settings.

PG
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Old June 22nd, 2008, 09:07 PM   #3
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H4 Low level?

I, too, have an H4 and would like to use it for second audio.

I am quite new at this, but, not knowing anything to the contrary, I plan to do just as Mr. Greis sugests. Figure just a single audio marker is sufficient, although might use a second at end, if the shot is long.

So far, I have tried some preliminary recording with two mics: AT Pro-88w wireless and ES57 (cheap Shure SM57 wannabe). For the Pro 88w, I use a transformer-coupled 1/8" to XLR adapter. I connected one mic to each channel, set the input gain to "H", the level to 100, and spoke simultaneously at normal conversational volume into both mics held at the same distance (several inches).

The H4 level seemed pretty low. Peaks were in the -30 to -24db range for both mics. Another whole topic, I suppose, but really no benefit to increasing gain setting on the H4, because at levels >100, it is digital gain only. Might as well do that in post, and avoid any added risk of causing clipping by "embedding" digital gain that I can just as easily do later.

Perhaps, I don't know how to properly use the H4, but it seems like the H4 doesn't produce very high levels when using external mics. On the other hand, maybe I don't have a proper mic for it. On the other, other hand, I think I've seen other folks complaining of similar experience with H4.

I wonder if Mr. Greis, and other folks, are experiencing similar low levels with H4.

Thank you.

Regards,

DG
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 04:23 AM   #4
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How successful you'll be depends on a number of factors, one of which is the length of your shots. There are two very different issues with sync. One is lining up the video track with its matching audio track. That lineup is what timecode does and slates as a manual alternative to code work just fine, just a little more time-consuming. The other, more serious issue, is sync 'drift' which occurs when the camera's video sync clock and the audio recorder's sample clock are not slaved to each other. The result is that you can line up the audio and video at the start of the shot and as it plays through, the audio slowly drifts out of sync with the video until by the end of the shot it is signifigantly out of kilter. When the two device's sample clocks are not precisely at the same frequency, two files that were recorded at the same time and that should be of exactly the same length will playback at slightly different rates. Some camera/recorder combinations will exhibit such drift in shots lasting just a few minutes. Other, higher quality, devices will let you get away with shots lasting 15 or 20 minutes before the drift is noticable. But unless you are able to use some way to lock camera sync to recorder word clock they will all eventually drift out.
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Old June 23rd, 2008, 04:29 AM   #5
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Low levels

I have a Zoom H4 and used it for my recent UWOL film - both on location and for voiceover recording.

And oh boy was the output level from that low. Everything sounded fine in the Zoom itself (via headphones, with the Zoom volume dial set to approx 60%), but when I copied the .WAVs to my PC I could barely hear anything.

I have tried the built-in mics, a Rode NTG-2 (XLR) on both phantom and battery, and my Beyer MCE72 stereo mic via twin XLRs. I'm not an audio afficienado, but I am trying to learn.

I had to boost the hell out of the audio tracks to make it audible. I fiddled with levels and other settings on the Zoom and could never get the recorded audio to get any louder.

I know it's not as good as a recorder costing $1000s, but I wasn't expecting it to be this bad.

Any other Zoom H4 users with any thoughts/solutions?
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Old June 24th, 2008, 09:52 PM   #6
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Levels on the H4

I agree with others, the record levels seem to be very low on the H4. I mostly use an external microphone either my Rode NTG1 or an AT3035. In both cases I have to raise the levels in editor, but it still sounds very good.

I haven't spent much time experimeting, but based on this discussion I'm going to play with the H4 some more to see if anything you can do.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 10:12 AM   #7
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I use the H4 and a ntg-2 as well. I just sync the audio in post, unfortunately there's no camera time sinking functionality with the H4 that let you just plug in a cable.

Great recorder for the price, in my opinion.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 07:34 PM   #8
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H-4 volume fix?

I also had extremely low volume with an NTG-2 into an xlr on the Zoom-4.

However, the volume improved considerably, to a "normal" working level when using another mic with a 1/4-inch jack into the Zoom.

Has anyone else tried this?
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:29 PM   #9
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"However, the volume improved considerably, to a "normal" working level when using another mic with a 1/4-inch jack into the Zoom."


Interesting. I thought that the H4 "expected" the 1/4" jack inputs to be line level, and the XLR inputs to be mic level. But, strange as it may seem, I have been known to be wrong.

DG
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Old June 27th, 2008, 03:07 PM   #10
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hmm maybe i will just save the cash and stick to what i have. But thank you for all the responses.
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