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Old July 9th, 2005, 07:33 PM   #1
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Recording the Audio from a PA System...need help

I am new to all of this and have researched the boards here, but not sure what is the best route to go.

I cover drag racing events and I would like to record the sound from the announcer as the series I cover has an excellent announcer. It's much too difficult to get any quality sound using the mic on the camcorder as the sounds from the cars really muffles out the announcer.

Can someone recommend or point me into the direction for something? My hope is I can tap into their PA system and record the audio, and then sync it with the video when editing. I would like to turn it on in the morning and let it run all day until the racing is over.

Any thoughts, recommendations, or more areas to research?

Thanks!

Last edited by Frank Peterson; July 9th, 2005 at 08:06 PM.
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Old July 9th, 2005, 09:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Peterson
I am new to all of this and have researched the boards here, but not sure what is the best route to go.

I cover drag racing events and I would like to record the sound from the announcer as the series I cover has an excellent announcer. It's much too difficult to get any quality sound using the mic on the camcorder as the sounds from the cars really muffles out the announcer.

Can someone recommend or point me into the direction for something? My hope is I can tap into their PA system and record the audio, and then sync it with the video when editing. I would like to turn it on in the morning and let it run all day until the racing is over.

Any thoughts, recommendations, or more areas to research?

Thanks!
Two things come to mind right off the bat.

First of all, will the track cooperate and let you tap into their audio at theie sound board? Best have a chat with them about it before doing anything else.

Secondly, the idea of "turn it on in the morning and leave it running all day" narrows your options a lot. Such a lengthy recording time is possible, but AFAIK only with a few hard-drive based or laptop based recording systems, all of which are pretty pricey toys to leave unattended in the track's soundbooth. Even if you get the continuous recoding time aspect covered, I don't know of any recorders that are truly "set and forget" and the track's sound person isn't going to be very well motivated to monitor your recording for you - after all, he's got his own job to do. An un-noticed and uncorrected minor glitch early in the shoot could ruin your whole day since you wouldn't discover you've got no usable audio until it's too late. So perhaps the first thing to think about is whether you can bring another person onto your team to act as audio recordist and plan your strategy from there.
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Old July 9th, 2005, 09:38 PM   #3
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I used a Korg D12 for an all day concert. 40 gig HDD will hold quite a bit, and could record 8 channels, putting musicians and vocals on seperate tracks. Only downside was the power kept going out, and I would lose anything not saved.
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Old July 9th, 2005, 10:14 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, you bring up some very good points. I have couple answers and additional info.

I have a very good relationship with the race series staff, so I do not see a problem in being allowed. I haven't talked specifically with them about this in detail, just glossed over in earlier conversations. My goal at this point is to look into it, see if it's going to be feasible for me to do, and then talk to them in more detail prior to purchase. This way I don't talk to them and get it all ironed out and realize it's not within my budget.

I do know that the race series has their own sound setup. They use wireless mics so that announcers can go down to the track as well as not having to rely on a track's system(of which it is likely that they are all different). I am not sure of their whole system, but I think it's a complete Shure system.

We do usually have one of our site members in the tower periodically, sometimes all the time. So, while I would like something that could "set and forget", that is more for the sake of not having to monitor it too often. If we are short staffed, it would be something we would check probably once every two hours at the worst. I do understand there is always the loss of info, but at this point in our coverage, it would have to be something I had to endure.

I am not looking for anything too elaborate. We would be recording just the one channel from the announcer. While it would be nice to have some room to grow, it's not going to get too large.

Thanks again, I really appreciate the answers...
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Old July 10th, 2005, 08:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Peterson
Thanks for the replies, you bring up some very good points. I have couple answers and additional info.

I have a very good relationship with the race series staff, so I do not see a problem in being allowed. I haven't talked specifically with them about this in detail, just glossed over in earlier conversations.
...<snip>...
They use wireless mics ...
...<snip>....
I am not looking for anything too elaborate. We would be recording just the one channel from the announcer. While it would be nice to have some room to grow, it's not going to get too large.

Thanks again, I really appreciate the answers...
You might be able to get a compatible wireless receiver and pickup directly off the announcer's tranmission.

Something else occured to me, less of a technical issue than a business one. It depends, of course, on what you're doing with the video but on the assumption it is for other than purely personal use but you need to think about usage rights from the announcers. Announcements over the PA that you're hearing in the backgraound of a race video are probably considered incidental usage and would not require any releases. But if you're picking up announcements directly from their soundboard that makes it a primary soundtrack source and you would need a written release from the announcer or his employer if his announcing is considered "work for hire." There's a good chance you'll have to pay a fee of some sort for a license to reproduce his voice, just as if you'd hired him as voice-over talent. Especially if he's a professional, his being paid by the track to announce doesn't necessarily mean the track or the race association has the rights to license his voice or his account of the race for purposes other than live on-site announcing. I ran into this myself many years ago with a professional TV actress who I photographed at her airline office "day-job" as part of a series of candid stills of the office employees to be used in a "meet the voice on the phone" multimedia presentation for travel agents. While we were previewing the slide show for the employee group she came up to me and said "My face is my livelyhood, I haven't signed any releases, and you can't use my images without them" and she was perfectly correct and within her rights. In fact she was even a member of AFTRA and had them to back her claim, not that it matters legally. Luckily it was the employer's job to get her release, not mine (I was "work for hire" since I too was an employee of the same company), so I didn't have to negotiate the issue but they ended up paying her a day's wages at AFTRA scale in exchange for her release, which she signed only after she approved the pictures and we had destroyed any she felt were unflattering. Had they not obtained the relesase, we legally would not have been able to use any of the images where she appeared since the shoot was indisputably for advertising/commercial purposes and modeling was not part of her formal job description.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 04:55 PM   #6
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Steve,

Thank you very much for the detailed reply. I had not thought of that but will definitely look into it more. I do not want to make any assumptions on this.

Thanks again,
Frank
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