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Old July 21st, 2005, 02:44 PM   #1
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Will This Set-up work?

Hey guys, after a week of digesting your advice, I came up with the following plan. I was hoping someone could tell me whether or not the ďplanĒ will sink or swim. I donít think the plan is conventional, but if it works, Iíll be able to expand my knowledge of what works better as I gain more experience and knowledge. Forgive the long format of thinking aloud as I write, but it helps me comprehend the nature of the beast. And Fred, if youíre out there, Iíd greatly appreciate your thoughts since much of this is based on your advice even though I may have taken it out of context.

Iíll start first by breaking down the church into locations. First of all, the church is a rectangle and may or may not have a balcony.

The rectangle has a front, middle, and a back.

The alter is in the front. The sound room is either in the front or the back. The middle has pews and aisles.

I need to think in terms of being inconspicuous. Some churches may not allow cables on the floor. Some may not allow cameras on the alter. Some may not allow patching into the soundboard. I need to be prepared for unhelpfulness. Every camera should be thought of as its own station independent of the others. If one fails, so be it. If they all work, they can be added to the final mix in editing.

For my purposes, there are three stations.

1) My manned camera station.
2) The unmanned sound board station.
3) The unmanned alter station.

Each station should be developed with the idea of recording both video and audio.

1st Priority: MANNED CAMERA STATION w/ wireless and ambience mic.

It is absolutely imperative that my MANNED CAMERA STATION record both video and audio. I will be stationed either in the back of the church or in the middle on a side aisle. My camera will be the GL1. It will have a Beachtek. The wirless mic on the groom will be received by my Beachtek. This will take up one audio channel freeing me to use a second audio channel for what? I am thinking about converting my Rode Video Mic to XLR and mounting it on a stand and connecting it to the Beachís other channel with a 5 foot XLR cable. Iíve seen a mic stand for the Rode Video Mic at
http://www.rodemicrophones.com/accessories.asp#videom. Is this available at B&H? I didnít see a model number. This will ensure that I record video along with the vows and the Rode will give me ambience and will pick up the PA system if its used. I would monitor with headphones.

2nd Priority: ALTER STATION w/ unmanned camera and audio.

The ALTER STATION will be an unmanned Panasonic PV-GS150 camera on a tripod placed out of the way. It will be focused on the bride as much as possible. I want to pick up the audio using an AT3031 mounted on a mic stand. Can I plug the Male XLR end of this mic into a 10 foot cable that has a female XLR end and male mini-plug end? And then can I plug the male mini plug directly into the Panasonic PV-GS150? Or will I need another Beachtek to accomplish the audio goal? If the church says no to the camera but allows the mic, then I can hide the camera and have the mic discreetly exposed.

3rd Priority: SOUND BOARD STATION w/ unmanned camera and audio

The SOUND BOARD STATION would use an unmanned Panasonic PV-GS150 camera on a tripod. Hopefully I will be able to aim the camera at the event. It would be good to get video but sound is the main concern. The other piece of equipment would be a Whirlwind EDB1 passive direct box. I would connect to the soundboard via RCA plugs. That RCA plug cable would have ľ TS connectors that would plug into the Whirwind. The other side of the Whirlwind is XLR female. I would connect the Whirlwind to the camera using a cable with a male XLR plug and a male mini-plug. Can I do this? Or would I need another Beachtech?

From there I would hope for the best and edit what I catch.

Pre/Post Wedding Stuff:

Other than the ceremony, there is the pre/post wedding stuff that happens and the reception. I think the pre/post wedding stuff could be handled with the GL1 and Rode Video Mic. For any interviews, I could connect an SM58 mic into the Beachtek and disconnect the Rode.

Reception:

For the Reception, I was thinking I could attempt to handle the DJs sound board the same way as the Sound Board station with an unmanned Panasonic camera and the Whirlwind while working the crowd with the GL1 and Rode Video Mic or SM58. I was also wondering if I would need a Sony 10/20 light source mounted on the camera as well.

Well thatís about it. Does anyone see anything inherently wrong with any part of this idea? Or can you correct any misguided thoughts I might have shown in regard to the equipment I was planning to use?

Thanks,
Scott
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Old July 21st, 2005, 03:23 PM   #2
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I'm not sure I follow the logic of using a camera to record audio if the video isn't going to be used. Camera audio is often marginal at best anyway. If all you need is audio, use an audio recorder. I'd try to focus on getting your mics as close as practical to the sound sources - in far too many videos, the subjects sound like they're talking down in the bottom of a well.
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Old July 21st, 2005, 03:50 PM   #3
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Logic of No Video For Audio

Hey Steve,
I want the video, so that's why the two unmanned cameras are in the equation. But I'm also thinking about problems such as sound rooms without video opportunities and church's that have a tendency to say "No" to requests.

I haven't been able to learn much about Mini-Disc recorders and Irivers. But I seem to remember a post you made about being able to upload the recordings only once. That didn't sound very nice.

If by chance my idea above is workable, its still expensive. Everything there plus additional batteries and a DVD printer would come in at $3,000. I'd love to cut back on stuff that doesn't make a noticeable difference. If I can replace a $600 camera with a $100 audio recording device, I'd be all ears (no pun intended- of course).
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Old July 21st, 2005, 04:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Routt
Hey Steve,
I...
If by chance my idea above is workable, its still expensive. Everything there plus additional batteries and a DVD printer would come in at $3,000. I'd love to cut back on stuff that doesn't make a noticeable difference. If I can replace a $600 camera with a $100 audio recording device, I'd be all ears (no pun intended- of course).
I'd be leary of a $100 audio recorder but you could get a pro quality flashcard audio recorder for that same $600 and probably get a better sound recording than you would with a camera. Check out the Marantz line, for example or for a bit more investment Edirol or Fostex have some high quality recorders in the ~$1000. If you want minidisc with professional quality that doesn't have the problems with digital transfers that consumer units do, take a look at the HHB recorder. It's double the cost of the camera solution so it may be out of your budget but it's worth looking at if only to be able to make informed decisions about your alternatives. If you have a current model laptop, something else to consider is a firewire audio interface to record direct to hard drive, as an example this portable interface from Mark of the Unicorn
http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/traveler/
It's pretty close in price to the camera-for-audio solution but light-years superior in the sound quality possible.

Just adding some grist to your mill...
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Old July 21st, 2005, 08:10 PM   #5
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Grist in my mill

Thanks for the grist. The "Traveller" suggestion was cruel. It blew my mind when I looked at it. I couldn't imagine using (or paying) for something like that in my present state. But I bookmarked it anyway as something to shoot for.

I looked at the other things you suggested too. The one device that really caught my attention was that Marantz PMD660 Compact flash recorder. From what I saw, it looked capable, managable, and affordable. Seriously, it looks like something I could learn to use quickly.

So something like that is going to be noticeably better from an audible perspective versus capturing sound to a camera? The unit itself comes in at about $500. A 2 GB Flash Card is about $200. Is 2 GB overkill for a wedding and a reception? Or does it sound about right? I understand it records in MP3 format. Am I correct in thinking Itunes could convert a 2 hour MP3 to an Aif file?

Anyway, that PMD660 is very exciting. What about the other things I was talking about in regard to the manned camera and unmanned camera on the alter. Did the set-up I described sound as if it would work?

Thanks!
Scott
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 02:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Routt
Thanks for the grist. The "Traveller" suggestion was cruel. It blew my mind when I looked at it. I couldn't imagine using (or paying) for something like that in my present state. But I bookmarked it anyway as something to shoot for.

I looked at the other things you suggested too. The one device that really caught my attention was that Marantz PMD660 Compact flash recorder. From what I saw, it looked capable, managable, and affordable. Seriously, it looks like something I could learn to use quickly.

So something like that is going to be noticeably better from an audible perspective versus capturing sound to a camera? The unit itself comes in at about $500. A 2 GB Flash Card is about $200. Is 2 GB overkill for a wedding and a reception? Or does it sound about right? I understand it records in MP3 format. Am I correct in thinking Itunes could convert a 2 hour MP3 to an Aif file?

Anyway, that PMD660 is very exciting. What about the other things I was talking about in regard to the manned camera and unmanned camera on the alter. Did the set-up I described sound as if it would work?

Thanks!
Scott
Better than mp3, the 660 gives you the option to record in 16bit/48kHz WAV files ready to transfer directly into you editing software and and a 2gig card should give you several hours of recording time. As for Itunes being able to convert to AIF, don't have a clue. But the recorders also record in (much higher quality than mp3) WAV and BWF (broadcast wave format) files natively. You can record almost 3 hours of mono or 1.5 hours of stereo 16bit/48kHz WAV files on a 1 gig card and you carry a couple more cards with you to pop in if you need more time. Weddings don't run 2 hours without a break anyway.

Before going with the 660, see if you can spring for a little more and look at the Marantz 671...

http://www.d-mpro.com/users/folder.a...8&SubCatID=169

B&H list the 660 @ $500 and the 671@$750. That's not a huge difference and the extra features of the higher level unit might be worth it to you. Not pushing Marantz, don't get me wrong, just letting you know there are higher quality audio options in the same ~$600 neighborhood as the "camera-just-for-audio" approach you were talking about.

Your AT3031 microphone won't plug directly into the Panny PV-GS150, XLR to mini adapter or not. That mic requires phantom power whch the Panny camera does not supply. The Breachtek DXA-4 that we were talking about a few days ago doesn't either - you'll need the DXA-6 or DXA-8 or comparable for that setup
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:32 PM   #7
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Yeah, but...

Hey Steve, I'm chewing on that Marantz thing (660 vs. 671). I'm leaning toward the higher end, but I can't rationalize it logically because I don't have enough experience. I can only tell my self that I might get wiser as time goes by and find a use for the extra features that I have no idea of how to harness today. So I'll mull on that for a bit.

You said something else that got me a little choked up. The AT3031 won't work directly with the Panasonic PV-GS150. Nor will it plug into my existing DXA-4P. You said the mic requires phantom power. OK. So I spend another $250 and get a DXA-6. Or...I ask more questions.

Am I to assume I would have faced the same phantom power limitation if I had wanted to plug into my GL1? Is this an issue with most cameras?

Go back to my unmanned camera on the alter scenario. All I want to do is get some good video and good audio and pay as little for it as possible. The DXA-6 makes the AT3031 work with the Panasonic camera. But I have none of this equipment at present. The set-up we're talking about now costs about $1050. Can it be done with a different 3CCD camera or different mic for less? In other words, I'm not stuck on the equipment pieces. I'm just stuck on doing it as good or better for the same $1,050 or less.

Now look back at my Manned camera scenario. I had been talking about adapting the Rode Video Mic to work with DXA-4p and Wireless G2 system. Since the RVM is battery powered, will this work? I'm guessing it will unless you say otherwise. But before I read your post, I was thinking, "Hey, do I want to spend time remounting the RVM from a tripod back to my camera after the ceremony? Or do I want to have a second RVM for that job. Or hey, what about another AT3031? They're both in the same price range. And I'm thinking the AT3031 might make the room sound better. But now you told me this particular mic won't work with my DXA-4p.

So the Manned camera question is about room ambience sound as it relates to the DXA-4P. Will the converted RVM work as I imagine? And will it be acceptable? Or is there a better mic solution than the RVM for capturing crisp room noise for less than $200, keeping the DXA-4p in mind?

Thanks!
-Scott
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 04:36 PM   #8
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It's going to be an issue with most camera and mic combinations. At least, it's something you need to take into account when selecting them. Condenser microphones require electrical power to charge the element in the mic and/or operate their internal amplifier. They can get this power in a couple of ways. Some, like the Rode Video Mic, have an internal battery that supplies it. Others, like the AT3031, lack a built-in battery and require an external source called "phantom power." And some, like the Sennheiser K6/ME66 have both an internal battery or can be switched to run on external phantom power. You gotta read the specs to know for sure what the mic you're considering requires. And as an aside, the use of a battery or the lack of it is not an indicator of quality. The power module of the Sennheiser ME66 I mentioned is available with either the switchable K6 power module which has a battery and the K6P which doesn't and either option results in a high quality mic, while some even higher grade mics like the Sennheiser MKH416 or Schoeps MK41 don't offer an internal battery option at all. How do you know if you need external power or not? Read the specs and look for "power requirement."

So some mics require phantom power - now where to get it? Some cameras (Canon XL2, Sony HDR-ZX1) that are " pro-sumer grade" and virtually all professional cameras have mic inputs that can provide phantom power since that's a very common requirement of professional grade microphones. Most consumer cameras, if they even HAVE an external mic input, are designed with the notion that those consumers who want to occasionally use an external mike will likely be using the much cheaper "Radio Shack" grade dynamic mikes that don't require power and so they don't provide it. That means you need to have some source - a Beachtek preamp for example or a field mixer of some sort - to provide power if you wish to use a mic that doesn't have an internal battery. How do you know if your camera, recorder, preamp, mic adapter, or mixer can provide it? Gotta read the specs and/or the manual carefully. One thing's certain - if the device can provide phantom power the manufacturer will definitely say so in the specs.

When you talk about capturing "room ambience" just what are you trying to get? Are you talking about what is called "room tone," the overall acoustic signature of the place, or are you talking about audience sounds and background conversation, that sort of thing? (I'm just picturing someone in the congregation shouting "You go girl!" when the bride says "I do" or you wanting to be ready in case when the minister says "If anyone knows why this couple shouldn't be joined..." someone stands up and hollers "As a matter of fact ..." LOL) Room tone is a good thing, it sets the atmosphere of the place but you don't have to record it through the whole event - a couple or three minutes recorded at a convenient time can be looped in the editing. Background audience "buzz" during the ceremony is usually something you want to reduce rather than record - at least not getting it in the same tracks as the important dialog. An omni or a cardoid, not a shotgun, and recording outside the camera would be a good choice to record those sorts of sounds if you do want them. If you're talking about capturing members of the audience in the church giving speeches during the ceremony, that I'd have to think about - do they even DO that?????

To get good audio, the A#1 consideration is to get the mic as close as practical to the sound source. A $2000 mic 20 feet away from the person speaking is probably going to sound worse than a $100 mic 2 feet away from them. Start there and work back along the chain.

As for adapting the Rode mic to the Senn G2 system, that one I just don't know enough about to say anything one way or the other.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 05:46 PM   #9
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Hey Steve,
Where do I start? Nope, I wasn't aware of these issues until you pointed them out. Even now, there's still some confusion.

I'll start with the obvious. I recognize that all components need a power source to operate. So there's phantom and battery. The DXA-4P doesn't have phantom and neither does the GL1. So where does the DXA-4P get its power? I'll take a wild guess and say that the power comes from a mic or line attached to it. If that's not right, then I'm really stumped. So the G2 Wireless systems are battery operated and I'm guessing the DXA-4p will get it power from the G2's receiver.

As far room noise goes, yeah, you're right. I just want to catch some yawns, an occassional baby cry- things to add in so the DVD viewer doesn't feel like the wedding was filmed in a sterile studio.

I had planned to use an SM58 mic for interviews. I read the specs like you suggested and pasted them below.

Power Requirements
None Dynamic, Requires No Phantom or Battery Power

So what does that tell me? I guess it says that it won't work with my DXA-4p but it will work with a DXA-6 (phantom power).

And that means I should look for a battery powered cardoid or omni mic instead? Am I catching on? Or did I stumble over your words?
Thanks,
Scott
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 12:09 AM   #10
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The Shure SM58 requires no power like condenser microphones do. However, it will likely need a preamp because dynamic mics don't put out a very strong signal. I'm not exactly sure how much preamp-ing it'll need, but it's something to watch out for. You may be able to demo the SM58 at a music store to see if it'll work.

2- The DXA-4p probably is powered off a 9V battery inside it. The manual should say.

3- You might want to look into using a minidisc to record a lav on the groom/officiant (to capture the vows)? The new hiMD units can do a digital upload (once), but I believe there are hacks to get around that. As well, they should have pretty good analog-digital converters if they're anything like the minidisc Jay Rose reviewed over at dv.com.
http://www.dv.com/news/news_item.jht...se_feature1102 registration required

PROS versus wireless:
Can't get interference or wireless dropouts
Better technical quality, because the wireless link can degrade audio quality (unless you get the really expensive systems).
Lower cost, and uses less batteries

CONS:
The recorder may have a higher chance of messing up?? (i.e. the person starts pushing buttons on it) The old MD recorders weren't that idiot-proof, but the new hiMD units should be better.
Need to sync once in post
Only 1 digital upload
Can't be monitored while you shoot

DIFFERENCE:
No XLR input, and may have mini-plug input for "consumer" lavs
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 04:14 AM   #11
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Scott,

One GS150 will give you a second angle on the ceremony and it's mic will get you room ambience. I wouldn't worry about trying to plug a mic into it.

I'd plan on using the two inputs to the Beachtek to get two sources of vows audiio. One will be the wireless. The other will be either a wired mic you place somewhere or a board feed.

The phantom power issue is one of the reasons I recommended the DXA-8. It has other benefits too. But you can get a phantom power supply to use with you DXA-4p for about $40.

So here's the short list:

GL1
GS150
Beachtek DXA-8 or DXA-6 or DXA-4p plus a phantom power supply
AT3031
Two Tripods
Mic Stand
XLR Cable
Various Adaptor cables

Assuming you already have the GL1, that's about $1600

Other notes:

The DXA-4p does not required power. It's a passive device.

The XLR on the Whirlwind is male.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 07:28 AM   #12
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Fred pretty well covered what I would have said. The only thing I would do differently is if at all possible I wouldn't use any sound captured by an on-camera mic unless there was just no other option. Even if it's locked down on a tripod so there's no handling noise, there's still whine from the focus motors in the lens, miscellaneous noises from the tape transport mechanism, etc.

There's no need to record your room ambience for the entire ceremony, especially if you are able to record some of the sounds on minidisc or on a recorder like the Marantz we've talked about. When everyone is quiet, say the few minutes before the procession down the aisle when everyone is seated and waiting, record a couple or three minutes of ambience to pick up the random motions of air in the room, the undercurrent of breathing, muffled buzz of audience, all the other sounds in a place that we never notice. Try to get some also when the room is quiet. Use your audio recorder if you have one or you can make do with rolling tape in your camera if you must. When you're editiing you can put this room tone on a track by itself, edit out any sudden distinctive noises that would tip off a viewer that it's being repeated, and just use cut and paste to duplicate it over and over again for as long as the scene runs. If there is distinctive conversation where the words are clear and it would be obvious someone is saying the same thing over and over, flip the track in your editor so it plays backwards and the mother's "Isn't she beautiful!" becomes a muffled and unrecognizable "Schneeglob Tsn!"
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 08:58 AM   #13
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Stuck On Phantom Power

Hey guys,
I'm stuck on the Phantom Power Supply for the DXA-4P. I've looked on B*H and searched Google and I'm not getting any where. Am I thinking about this wrong? I thought the PPS was for powering the Beachtek. Is it for powering a mic? Could you give me a model to search for?
Thanks,
Scott
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 09:15 AM   #14
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Scott,

Here is the DVX-4p at another of this sites sponsors: EVS.


Here is the Beachtek website for the DVX-4p that has been "Improved". The back has links to images and a brochure but not a Manual. It does have a link to ask Beachtek questions at info@beachtek.com .

As I read all the material, the DVX-4p does not provide phantom power.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 09:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Routt
Hey guys,
I'm stuck on the Phantom Power Supply for the DXA-4P. I've looked on B*H and searched Google and I'm not getting any where. Am I thinking about this wrong? I thought the PPS was for powering the Beachtek. Is it for powering a mic? Could you give me a model to search for?
Thanks,
Scott
Don't have a model to refer you too but the Beachtek 4P is a *passive* device, meaning it doesn't use any power itself. It's just a network of transformers and resistors that doesn't contain any active devices. The 6 and 8, on the other hand, also have amplifiers which are *active* devices and require power to operate. The same battery that provides that power is also used to generate the phantom power for the microphones when needed.

BH lists a bunch of different microphone phantom power supplys here:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...rch&Q=&ci=8675
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