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Old January 14th, 2010, 10:09 AM   #1
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Company wants to Spend Money but I don't know what to BUY!

Hello All,

Okay, in all of my confusion about this topic Ive decided to turn to yall to help me out if you would please.

Heres my situation at work we have a bunch of Power Point presentations that we are turning into videos (we just bought Wondershare PPT2DVD software to convert) and we need to add audio.

We have a Sony HDR-HC9.

Wed like to add some wireless lavalier microphones to do this.

Will someone please give me some suggestions on how to do this and what I need to buy in order to use our video camera to record the audio and then I can edit the project in Adobe Premiere.

Thank you,

Andy
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Old January 14th, 2010, 10:14 AM   #2
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Why don't you use an audio recorder to record audio? Easier, cheaper, higher quality...
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Old January 14th, 2010, 10:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Anthony Ching View Post
Why don't you use an audio recorder to record audio? Easier, cheaper, higher quality...
Thanks Anthony for offering to help.

If you were in my situation what would you purchase for this situation?

Andy
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Old January 14th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #4
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Hi Andy,

I think there are a couple of questions that need to be answered before we can give a good response.

1. Where will you be doing the audio recording. Will the person just be sitting reading lines?

2. What is the expected quality of the recording?

3. Will there be more than one person speaking at a time?

4. Most importantly, what is your budget?

The cheapest way might be to pick up a decent field recorder such as a Sony PCM D50 or you could get a USB mic and plug it directly into your computer. Or on the other end you could get a really good mic, mic preamp, and an Analog to Digital converter and record that way. I would use your Sony camera as a last resort for audio recording. I believe it records compressed audio so you'll be limited in how much post you can do to the sound.

Garrett
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Old January 14th, 2010, 10:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Sanchez View Post
Thanks Anthony for offering to help.

If you were in my situation what would you purchase for this situation?

Andy
The simplest way is a pocket recorder, such as Garrett mentioned: Sony D50, or similar with high quality built-in microphone, maybe Olympus LS-11, LS-10, Edirol R09HR.
Take this recorder, as if it is a P+S camera. Record sound clips (snap shots), and paste the clips to the timeline.

Don't hand held the recorder to prevent handling noise. Set it on a stand or tripod.

Always wear a headphone to listen the sound you capture. Oh, one more thing: Choose WAV format, 24 bits, 48KHz or 96KHz. Don't use MP3 format. Make sure the recording level is good, peak at -6dBfs or lower, but no lower than -12dBfs. Activate limiter if you're not confident.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 11:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
Hi Andy,

I think there are a couple of questions that need to be answered before we can give a good response.

1. Where will you be doing the audio recording. Will the person just be sitting reading lines?

2. What is the expected quality of the recording?

3. Will there be more than one person speaking at a time?

4. Most importantly, what is your budget?

The cheapest way might be to pick up a decent field recorder such as a Sony PCM D50 or you could get a USB mic and plug it directly into your computer. Or on the other end you could get a really good mic, mic preamp, and an Analog to Digital converter and record that way. I would use your Sony camera as a last resort for audio recording. I believe it records compressed audio so you'll be limited in how much post you can do to the sound.

Garrett
1. Most likely in an office with the door closed and yes they will just be reading lines.

2. We want fairly high quality but not Hollywood studio material.

3. For this project no.

4. No more than 1,500.00 dollars or so.

Your mention of a "good mic, mic preamp, and an Analog to Digital converter," peaks my interest. What suggestions do you have for those items and can I fit them within my budget?

Thanks Garrett for your help,

Andy
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Old January 14th, 2010, 11:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Anthony Ching View Post
The simplest way is a pocket recorder, such as Garrett mentioned: Sony D50, or similar with high quality built-in microphone, maybe Olympus LS-11, LS-10, Edirol R09HR.
Take this recorder, as if it is a P+S camera. Record sound clips (snap shots), and paste the clips to the timeline.

Don't hand held the recorder to prevent handling noise. Set it on a stand or tripod.

Always wear a headphone to listen the sound you capture. Oh, one more thing: Choose WAV format, 24 bits, 48KHz or 96KHz. Don't use MP3 format. Make sure the recording level is good, peak at -6dBfs or lower, but no lower than -12dBfs. Activate limiter if you're not confident.
Okay Anthony I'm starting to see where you are going with this and I see the ease with which I can record and edit the voice overs for the Power Point stuff.

But, one more thing, is that at some point this year we are going to record video and audio at the same time. Will this set up be okay to record instuctors teaching a lesson or will I need to go with the lavalier mics for that?

Thanks again,

Andy
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Old January 14th, 2010, 11:17 AM   #8
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Stay away from a wireless unit.

I would record direct to camera and use a under camera Beachtek unit, a good wired lavalier, 25 ft of XLR cable and a set of over the ear headphones.

Beachtek | DXA-2S - Dual XLR Universal Microphone | DXA-2S | B&H

Sony | ECM-44B - Omni-Directional Lavalier Mic | ECM44B | B&H

Sennheiser | HD 280 Pro - Circumaural Closed-Back | HD 280PRO
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Old January 14th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Sanchez View Post
Hello All,

Okay, in all of my confusion about this topic I’ve decided to turn to y’all to help me out if you would please.

Here’s my situation – at work we have a bunch of Power Point presentations that we are turning into videos (we just bought Wondershare PPT2DVD software to convert) and we need to add audio.

We have a Sony HDR-HC9.

We’d like to add some wireless lavalier microphones to do this.

Will someone please give me some suggestions on how to do this and what I need to buy in order to use our video camera to record the audio and then I can edit the project in Adobe Premiere.

Thank you,

Andy
Why record to the video camera (or an external recorder) at all and why on earth use a wireless lav to do it, regardless of what you record to? Record directly into the computer you're editing on rather than going through the added step of an external recording device and then importing it. Premiere can record directly through your audio interface, if you have the Production Suite and would rather you could use Audition or Soundbooth to record, or you can use a program like the freeware audio editor Audacity if you prefer. Either way recording to the camera adds an unnecessary step AND means you are going to be recording through the very questionable quality consumer camera's audio circuitry.

As for a microphone, the only time you should use wireless is when the talent has to be moving around unencumbered - for a project like this, a decent VO mic on a stand or, if you want to use a lav, a hard-wired lav will give you much better results. There's an old Hollywood adage that says "Always use a cable whenever you are able" and it's sound advice to follow. A hardwired lav is also cheaper by a long shot - you can get a good quality, professional mic like a Tram or Countryman for a few hundred USD while a decent pro entry-level wireless rig is going to run well over $500 and still not give you as good a sound.

You said you're going to be editing on Premiere - what are the sound capabilities of the computer you plan to edit on? Desktop or laptop? Does it have an external audio interface or will you be using its internal sound card? How are you going to monitor the sound while you edit?

If there's a more than a minimal amount of material to record, you might want to consider hiring a professional VO talent to do it for you. Most will have their own recording setup and are used to working and taking direction remotely so you wouldn't have to purchase any gear at all. They would record using professional quality gear while you direct over the phone or via Skype, etc, and email the files to you after the session. Delivering a script convincingly is nowhere near as easy as it looks and you'll probably end up with a better product cheaper and faster than trying to use an amatuer from your company as your voice talent.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #10
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Steve,

Wouldn't that make it difficult to sync up the video to the voice (unless it is a voice over)?
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:21 PM   #11
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He's converting Powerpoint slides directly to video clips in the computer and then editing and sequencing the resulting clips in Premiere so I'm going on the assumption that all of the audio to be added is voice-over narration and perhaps music without any actual lipsync live action shots.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:31 PM   #12
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I'd get a USB or Firewire audio card, and a large diaphragm cardiod mic and a pop screen. Many of the audio cards ship with the light version of a pro audio app, which will be more than enough for your needs.

Take a look at the Rode NT1-A mic. It has very low noise and a pleasant sound. I prefer to position such a mic above the talent, about 8 to 12 inches from the forehead, angled down toward the mouth. If the sound is too nasal, try it from below, near the chest.

For soundcards, M-Audio and Echo make some reasonably priced products. These models have two XLR inputs with phantom power and record 24-bit audio. I don't own these, but have owned other soundcards from these companies. They're not boutique, but they will get the job done well enough. They all work with Mac or PC.

Echo Digital Audio Corporation
M-AUDIO - ProFire 610 - High-Definition 6-in/10-out FireWire Audio Interface with Octane Preamp Technology
M-AUDIO - Fast Track Pro - 4 x 4 Mobile USB Audio/MIDI Interface with Preamps
M-AUDIO - Fast Track Pro - 4 x 4 Mobile USB Audio/MIDI Interface with Preamps

Personally, I prefer Firewire to USB for audio, but USB might be more practical.

Speaking of practical, here are some tips:

In an office environment, use the largest room with the fewest reflective surfaces available. Don't put a mic stand on a table. It reflects. Use a proper stand (away from the table) and record standing up, so the talent won't compress their diaphragm.

Turn off the HVAC if at all possible. It's amazing how loud HVAC can be.

Use a laptop or low-fan-noise desktop and move it far from the mic. Out of the room is best. That's one nice thing about a portable recorder - no fan noise. Also, it's best to record to a fairly clean, defragged hard drive. Hopefully, the PC is fairly fast and not loaded with junkware. An old, slow machine can record multiple tracks of audio if it's well optimized, but antivirus stuff and junkware can trash the fastest machine.

Best of luck with the project!
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:40 PM   #13
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I would agree with Steve's recommendation to record directly to the computer rather than going through a field recorder. There are a number of decent lower cost A/D boxes out there by M-Audio, Digidesign, Edirol to name a few (not in any particular order). I have an Edirol FA-101 that gives very good (not great) quality, records in 24 bit up to 192khz and provides power to the XLR's. It interfaces with my computer via Firewire.

As for mics I'm not sure why you would want to use a lav of any kind, wired or wireless, in this situation. I can't imagine that the person would be moving around so I'd go with a mic on a stand. There is a very good discussion here for VO mics:

Voiceover mic advice needed

A setup like this should be well under your budget and would even allow for you to purchase some audio software. I'm not a Premier user so I'm not sure how that would work out to record audio with but I've used Sony Vegas (which started out as an audio software) to do VO and audio recordings before.

Garrett
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:48 PM   #14
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Also, a very good cheap sound booth is a medium sized car parked inside your garage at home. With the doors closed it give a very pleasing sound and insulates from outside noises. You can usally run the wire from your recording mixer or A/D out through the backseat leading to the trunk and then into a laptop or desktop setup outside your car.

Sounds like a strange idea but it actually works out nicely.

Garrett
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Old January 14th, 2010, 01:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Sanchez View Post
But, one more thing, is that at some point this year we are going to record video and audio at the same time. Will this set up be okay to record instuctors teaching a lesson or will I need to go with the lavalier mics for that?
Recording to the computer will work except this limits Andy to only recording voice overs at the computers location where recording to the camera he can do both (and the set up is easier).
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