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Old January 12th, 2005, 09:47 PM   #1
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4 track audio recorder

Can somebody tell me how to do the following scenario.
You shooting a movie with 3-4 mikes.If you use a mixer and you will direct all these signals back to the camera than all the audio will be on 1 track.How do you record the 4 microphones to 4 individual tracks.What equipment you need to do this.Can a laptop can be used ??
Thanks
Gabor
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Old January 13th, 2005, 10:37 AM   #2
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I did something similar for a wedding last July. As a co-owner in a semipro audio studio, I have access to some extra equipment. I brought in a PC (yes, I'm also crazy) with a multitrack recording interface. I pulled 8 channels of audio out of the house mixer (individual mics, etc.) and recorded them in 48K 24-bit audio (overkill but hey, I could do it).

Mixing this with the THREE DV cams I had later proved to be slightly short of a nightmare. Yes it worked; yes it sounds great (I mixed the audio in Sonar, so the three-piece musical group practically sounds like a studio recording). No, I doubt I'll do it again until I find a really important event. I mostly just wanted to see if I could do it.

So to answer your question, yes, there are ways if you're willing to put the time into it. Definitely use a digital system (not one of those tape-based portastudio units), otherwise your a/v sync will drift. Search for "Multitrack Recording Interfaces" and you should find some possibilities. If you're shooting with multiple cams, sometimes you can use the two channels off of each one and combine them in post (again, sync can be tricky but should stay put once you get it).

Did I mention this can involve a lot of extra time in post?

'Just don't forget to have fun doing it -- I learn something new with every project.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 10:29 PM   #3
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Thanks

Thanks Jeremy for the answer, I think if I use 2 cameras than the 4 XLR in will we good for 4 separate track.But can I use a mixer or I dont need any in this kind of situation ???
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Old January 14th, 2005, 12:01 AM   #4
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Since the whole idea is to keep all of your channels separate, a mixer would not necessarily be required (your real mixing will be done in post, presumably in software). Depending on the logistics of your shoot, it may be beneficial for an audio engineer to be monitoring a live mixed version just for quality control, and you may be able to use the mixer as a phantom power source if your cameras can't supply it.

The simplest solution (just plug two mics into each camera) does not require a mixer. If the person running each camera can monitor the quality and keep an eye on the VU meter you should be able to pull through. If you're looking for top-notch audio, though, you'll probably want a designated audio person, which may require more equipment to make that practical.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 12:47 AM   #5
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For maximum audio input flexibility I shoot with two E.N.G. style of video cameras. 1 will be S-VHS, 1 will be either BetaCam SP or S-VHS and I just sync them together in an A-B-Roll edit suite.

It's actually quite fast, no computer load in time is needed.

Nowadays NOBODY wants to edit this way but I find there is no mystery issues surrounding sync. I simply "lock" VCR Tape A to VCR tape B and just switch back and forth, the audio is run through a mixer and I decide on my mix values and my EQ settings. My final master is on BetaCam SP and from there I can do whatever I want, I can make copies to any format that I want, including digital.

I recently did a three camera shoot and found that my digital-8 camcorder saved me because I could not move around the room with my bigger cameras. In that instance I did an A,B,C edit and that was a lot of fun.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 08:57 AM   #6
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You can maintain sync between those decks? Do they record timecode to the tape? I don't have access to any S-VHS or BetaSP cams, so I didn't know you could do this. I would expect that the two sources would drift if you dared to try this with (gag) VHS.

Thanks for your post, Alessandro; I learned something new.
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Old January 14th, 2005, 10:04 AM   #7
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Re: 4 track audio recorder

<<<-- Originally posted by Gabor Lacza : Can somebody tell me how to do the following scenario.
You shooting a movie with 3-4 mikes.If you use a mixer and you will direct all these signals back to the camera than all the audio will be on 1 track.How do you record the 4 microphones to 4 individual tracks.What equipment you need to do this.Can a laptop can be used ??
Thanks
Gabor -->>>

Just because something CAN be done doesn't mean it should be done. Why do you want four sources to four different channels?

I haven't seen a bare laptop that will record four tracks without some sort of hardware and software. There are tons of those sorts of things. There are a couple of hard drive recorders that have four or more tracks.

You still need to sync the sound from the laptop.

Four track recorders designed for film and video include the Nagra D; $25K nicely equipped, Sound Devices 744 (just delivering). Check it out at www.sounddevices.com.

Back to the original thought; make things easy and keep it in the camera whenever possible.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 14th, 2005, 11:26 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeremy Davidson : You can maintain sync between those decks? Do they record timecode to the tape? I don't have access to any S-VHS or BetaSP cams, so I didn't know you could do this. I would expect that the two sources would drift if you dared to try this with (gag) VHS.

Thanks for your post, Alessandro; I learned something new. -->>>


Higher end S-VHS equipment supported LTC or VITC time-code, (VITC was generally better because you didn't lose an audio track) four tracks of audio, (however it was a redundant pair) two tracks HI-FI, two back-up tracks of dolby linear stereo.

Panasonic made a portable S-VHS VCR that had FOUR audio inputs.
It was really a great portable, but it was packed with so many circuit boards that was a bit on the fragile side. The audio quality was quite spectacular. I don't recall if it recorded VITC however.

There is a big difference between audio-cassette and video recording. Virtually all video formats are "self-locking", meaning the speed they record at is the exact same speed they will play back at.

If you do come across drift, It's usually involving HI-8 and 8mm, and I seem to recall it still took several minutes before it would drift a couple of frames off. Your mixer pan pots can help identify if you are in sync or not.

Here is a simple rule. Virtually ANY analog equipment that has a 9 pin connector that supports RS-422 (NOT 232) can be used to synchronize tapes and to edit with, and they in many instances these machines still have built in Time-Base Correction so one can adjust the video signal directly from the editing deck itself.
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