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Old January 18th, 2009, 03:23 PM   #1
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audio settings when using lavelier (newbie)

Hi, very much a newbie. I will be using a Sennheiser ew100G2 lavelier to record interviews on my HVR-V1 for a doco. How do the in-camera audio trim levels (i.e. 0db, -8db, -16db) relate to the lavelierís sensitivity settings? Is it an either/or thing or am I confusing two completely separate issues?

On a related note, is -20db a good sensitivity setting for the Sennheiser when recording interviews?

Okay, third question (feeling really silly now): How high should the audio levels be registering on the cameraís LCD display? Iím guessing they should be sitting about halfway and peak maybe threequarters of the way up Ė is that the right ballpark?

Thanks!
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Old January 18th, 2009, 05:23 PM   #2
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Check out Guy Cochran's Sennheiser Wireless Tutorial on Vimeo.
Sennheiser Wireless Tutorial on Vimeo

Great stuff! Thanks Guy.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 06:04 PM   #3
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Doesn't cover my questions.

Thanks, I've already seen that tutorial, doesn't cover my questions apart from the -20 setting, which info I actually got from that tutorial but which conflicted with other advice I received which suggested -30.
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Old January 18th, 2009, 09:50 PM   #4
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Guys tut offers alot of valuable info. the -20 is a general rule but notice he states, "keep the levels about mid way". So, some adjustment may be necessary. This should take care of the mic.

The camera, the level meters should be somewhere between -12 and -6 but never over 0 which is clipping and you may hear distortion for anything above those levels. All ways monitor with head phones.

It's best if in doubt, record low and you can all ways Normalize your audio in your NLE. The same rules apply as the in camera advice.

Your NLE has a default Vol. level, changing this can dramatically change how your audio sounds. Leave it at its default position (normally a Dbl click will reset it) and use the individual track vols to adjust to the desired levels. Note that a compressor will be required in many cases with in the software. Simply put, because human nature is error, unless they are a pro and then you should be golden.

Lastly, during your interview you want your talent to practice first, use this time to set up your camera, mic placement etc... Depending on your setup if your camera will auto adjust levels or if you have manual settings, this will affect the next advice. Run your camera in manual mode, that is why it's critical you test and set everything up first. If you don't have Manual settings, then you're stuck with auto, in this event, because it's self adjusting (similar to a compressor) you want your talent to do, say a countdown to trick the camera. This will eliminate the low levels you will get when he/she first begins to speak.

Opinions vary so I'm sure others with a lot more experience will chime in soon with better advice.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #5
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thanks

Thanks Jeff. My camera has manual everything.
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Old January 19th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hsien Yong View Post
Check out Guy Cochran's Sennheiser Wireless Tutorial on Vimeo.
Sennheiser Wireless Tutorial on Vimeo

Great stuff! Thanks Guy.
Cool. Thanks for watching. I'm glad it helped.
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Old January 20th, 2009, 11:25 PM   #7
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Guy,

Your tutorial videos are spot on, we embedded several for others to benefit from, thanks.
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Old January 21st, 2009, 12:43 AM   #8
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What it really comes down to is that you want a high signal for best Signal/noise ratio but do not want to run a risk of clipping (overmodulating the signal) and distorting it irretrievably in digital audio..

If the lav is on a person sitting behind a news desk for example, you can reliably set the signal fairly hot, since they use the same voice most of the time.

If the lav is being used on a subject that is in a more dynamic environment, you will want to set it lower and give yourself some protection from distortion (overmnodulation).

If your camera permits, and you are using a single lav into the camera set the single lav to record on both stereo channels, and set one at -20 and one at -12, for example... (in a studio environment I might be tempted to go -16 and -10). Pick which ever channel is best and shows no distortion.
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Old January 21st, 2009, 03:09 AM   #9
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The way I have worked the G2 is to set the sensitivity on the transmitter to give about two thirds deflection on the transmitter's level meter, and make sure that the yellow 'peak' light never comes on. -10 normally does it, but for louder talent -20 is needed. This makes sure that the transmitted signal is fully modulated, and keeps the audio as far from the noise floor as possible.

Then at the receiver I set the AF gain to give between -12 and -6 on the camera meter with the camera's audio level at about two thirds. With an EX1 input set to line, +6 does it. You can work at mic level but particularly if you are putting the receiver close to the talent and cabling back to the camera, it makes sense to have as high an output level as you can.

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Old January 22nd, 2009, 03:06 AM   #10
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Thanks Nick. So when you say the camera's audio setting is at about two thirds you mean that the dial that goes up to 10 would be sitting at 6... (sorry to be obtuse but I want to be sure I'm not misunderstanding). Does line in give a stronger signal than mic in?
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 05:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Leonie Reynolds View Post
So when you say the camera's audio setting is at about two thirds you mean that the dial that goes up to 10 would be sitting at 6... (sorry to be obtuse but I want to be sure I'm not misunderstanding). Does line in give a stronger signal than mic in?
Yes - it gives a bit of scope to take the gain up if you need to.

Line in expects a line level signal which is around 0dB or 1 volt (I think - there are lots of people on here who will correct me). It is the level you would expect to find between powered audio kit. Mic in is 40-50 dB below this and is what you get from most mics. Selecting Mic in brings in a mic preamplifier - there are lots of comments about this often being a low cost, poor quality component and one advantage of a mixer is that its preamps should be better quality. The other issue with mic level is that such a tiny signal is susceptible to noise and interference, particularly if cable runs are long or unbalanced.

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Old January 24th, 2009, 06:04 PM   #12
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OK, so if I was to use Line In I would need to buy a mic preamplifier? (My other mics are Sony ECM44B lavs and the mic that came with my Sony HVR V1p)
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Old January 25th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #13
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Well you could, but unless it is better quality than the camera one, it will not make any difference. I don't think you would bother just for the preamp, but if you are using a mixer or wireless mic which can output at line level, it makes sense because the higher level signal is going to give greater immunity to any interference.
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