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Old June 30th, 2005, 04:47 PM   #1
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Tips and recommendations on lecture recording

Hello all,
i've been enjoying reading these boards for a while now, and this is my 1st post. I have a simple recording situation coming up, but am an amature... especially with audio, and would very much appreciate any tips and recomendations to help make the event a success.
The 1st ever symposium on cystinuria (a rare genetic disease) is going to be held at an auditorium in St. Vincent's hospital (New York city). This is a *huge* event for the relativly small cystinuric community. Many people can not afford to make it to NY, however, so i have voluntered to tape/record the event. I have a Sony TRV-950 and Vegas NLE software, so that's covered. What i'm concerned about is the audio, which is of highest importance. Unfourtinatly, i'm plagued by anxiety because this is such a one time event and so many people are counting on this recording.

There will be roughly 6 hours of podium speaking. The camera will probably be farther back, perhaps 15 feet. I would *like* to be able to set everything up and let it run without much monitoring. However, i've been reading that it is shameful to use the automatic volume control on the camera (also, it seems as though some mics disable this anyway for the TRV950??). I'm nervous about turning it to manual, though. Can good dependable results (not clipping, not underfed) be achieved in this kind of environment?

Also, i'm worried about echos from the PA system... any general comments on auditorium lecture recording?

I'm between buying and renting, currently. I'm willing to spend up to around $300 for equiptment. Anything over that, and i think i would like to just rent it. I'm considering this company, http://www.hwc.tv/ which is mere blocks from St. Vincents. Ideas or opinions on renting vs. buying, and specific products for this kind of job? Thanks so much for reading... sorry so long. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Kind Regarda,
matt lewis


I've volunteered to tape/record a symposium in New York city (July 16th). It will go for 6 hours. The symposium is the 1st ever by a
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Old June 30th, 2005, 05:21 PM   #2
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Welcome Matthew- First of all, I can only recommend what I would do. With that said, I do not trust the camera's mic for any usable audio. It has almost always proven to capture what is going on behind, and rarely what is in front. There are a few work arounds for this. You can use wireless mics, running the receiver into one of the cams,a good shotgun mic instead of the stock mic, or simply run the house audio into a recorder and sync it in post.

Syncing isn't so bad if you know how ;)
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Old June 30th, 2005, 05:43 PM   #3
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Keith, Thank you for the reply. Unfourtinatly, running the house audio is not an option.. the A/V people at St. Vincents say there is no option for doing it (which i read as "we don't want you mucking with our system).

Right now i'm really between a mic to the camera and a mic to a seperate capture device. The latter has the benefit of freeing up the camera's mic, which is good quality just not directional, for picking up any audience questions, etc. I'm not really worried about syncing.. i think i could do that in Vegas pretty easily. However, i'd then have to deal with changing tapes on the DAC recorder (or whatever is used) as well as DV tapes... it becomes higher maintainence that i would like, with me running around the room in between presenters. That also makes rental manditory (which i don't mind at all). Definitly something to think about though.
Thanks again,
matt lewis
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Old June 30th, 2005, 05:48 PM   #4
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I used to use a Korg Digital 12 track, that had a 40 gig HDD. It could record for hours on end... or until the power went out. DOH!
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Old June 30th, 2005, 06:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Lewis
Keith, Thank you for the reply. Unfourtinatly, running the house audio is not an option.. the A/V people at St. Vincents say there is no option for doing it (which i read as "we don't want you mucking with our system).

Right now i'm really between a mic to the camera and a mic to a seperate capture device. The latter has the benefit of freeing up the camera's mic, which is good quality just not directional, for picking up any audience questions, etc. I'm not really worried about syncing.. i think i could do that in Vegas pretty easily. However, i'd then have to deal with changing tapes on the DAC recorder (or whatever is used) as well as DV tapes... it becomes higher maintainence that i would like, with me running around the room in between presenters. That also makes rental mandatory (which i don't mind at all). Definitly something to think about though.
Thanks again,
matt lewis
I'd strongly suggest against using the on-camera mic for anything except a scratch track to help you sync things up in post. 15 feet away in an auditorium is going to sound like they're down a well somewhere and be very difficult to understand. What are they using for the speaker's microphone? If it's a podium mike, what's to say you can't put another decent mic on a stand beside it? Or if they are putting the presenter onto a wireless into their PA, how about finding out what brand and model they are using and rent a compatible receiver that operates on the same frequency? It wouldn't interfere in any way with their own system and give you the same feed their PA is picking up. I don't know anything about your camera but a quick glance at the owner's manual online it appears that the external mic input is only for dubbing in VCR mode and won't override the the in-camera mic when shooting. If that's the case - and try the experiment to see if it will record with an external mic BEFORE the day of the shoot! - that pretty well locks you into renting a flashcard or minidisc recorder to capture the sound. How about a laptop with a USB audio interface, a small portable mixer, and a decent mic up close to the presenter on the podium beside the house mic?
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Old July 3rd, 2005, 10:12 AM   #6
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Lectures

First, a signed release form. Then...

I use a XL1s to the side of the podium (trying to stay within 25 feet) with the projection screen just visible and properly exposed. I assume that when the lights go down that is what people see anyway. I usually leave the auto focus off and just use the focus button. I also let the camera adjust exposure automatically. I pan this camera and change zoom little with it to follow speakers who move around a lot.

I also use a GL-1 that travels with tripod in the back center to opposite side. This camera is used for cut aways from the other when needed (focus problems, speaker falls off camera, speakers back is to the XL1s, audience panning, tape and HD changing). I run back to and change its framing and location a few times for each speaker.

The XL1s uses tape and an FS-4 3 hr DLE HD captured in RAW MD format. This camera is very close so the on camera mic works but I also use a wireless on Stereo 2 for the speaker. At the end, I get all the speakers images they used to either import (as in PowerPoint) or (with hard copies) to scan. I do this also for any sounds and videos they may project in the lecture. I also try and get a one-on-one with the speaker either before or after to add to the overall finished project. Sometimes I do hook up a shotgun mic to the GL-1 camera through an auxiliary XLR adapter.

I monitor the XL1s sound with headphones. The wireless goes into a XLR "Y" connector before going into the camera. I then set one channel of this lower than the other which is set a 0db. The camera is set for Stereo 1 and 2 at 12bit 33.

For back-up sound I set a N-707 Sony MiniDisc and remote mic nearby. The sound is imported analog through a USB Mac input device. It goes into GarageBand and then into Soundtrack Pro 4 and finally on into FCP5. The sound from the GL1 is hardly ever used except to help sync up sound problems. Both cameras import once with video and sound into FCP through a JVC VHS/MiniDV deck, then the XL1s once again to capture only Stereo 2.

I usually have a sync problem in the mix and have to sort that out right off the bat. I guess I am just getting use to it since I haven't blacked any tape to see if that will fix it or not. The DLE HD doesn't generate the sync problem.

Good luck with your project.
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Old July 3rd, 2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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There are quite a few variables that maybe present with audio so I suggest you cover yourself.Because of a limited budget I would consider setting up iRivers .... 1 on the podium with its own mic, 1 infront of the speaker (as you said you could not get an output from the board) use your on cam mic as reference.1 GB iRiver will give you almost 8 hours at max settings if you use stereo.A 512mb would give almost 8 hours if in mono but be aware of the mono issue as you will need to do some mic rewiring to get mono.
I would assume if there is audience questions they will have a wireless mic to hand out or an audience podium, make sure it is tied to the same speaker that you mic.
All of the previous suggestions are worth taking under consideration ,I suggest the iRivers because of your budget and ease at the time of the shoot , as this maybe an issue.It will take a little extra work to sync in post
If you decide to go this way, get your iRivers and test them so you are familiar with the setup and record levels.Keep the levels on the low side as you can boost in post without adding too much noise but can't easily fix clipping.
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Old July 4th, 2005, 01:22 PM   #8
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i use a 1-to-3 mic splitter made by proco. plug the podium mic into that, then send the direct output to the pa, and one of the isolated splits to my mixer/camera. then i like to use a small mic on a stand for audience, run connected to the other input on my mixer/camera.

i realize that the hospital people might not be down with this approach, but it involves no active electronics at all, and doesn't interfere with their stuff at the soundboard. perhaps one of the people whom you're voluntarily helping has enough pull to set the av guys straight?
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