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Old October 8th, 2010, 03:13 PM   #1
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Recording gunfire?

I'm going to be working on a firearm training video and would appreciate any advice on the best way to record people speaking with sporadic gunfire? On some of the videos I've seen online the camera limiter seems to handle the shooting ok.

Thank you, Marc
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Old October 8th, 2010, 07:37 PM   #2
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Use an external mixer with a LIMITER rather than use the camera AGC,
A limiter is just that, it stops the maxium peaks, where an AGC will tend to pump the signal when a loud spike occurs.
If the mics are clipping use a dynamic handmic (omni or cardiod) instead of a directional condenser mic.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 07:58 PM   #3
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Are the shooters also the speakers? What kind of gunfire? Rifles, machine guns, police pistols, civilian gun training, etc? Indoors/outdoors?

38 special/9mm gunfire isn't anywhere near as loud as say 357/44 magnum etc. particuarly if they're using relatively low power target loads. If you're close micing somebody who isn't actually shooting and is some distance away from the firing positions, not sure there would be much of a problem. If you're recording from the firing line, might be a different story. Limiters have some lag so not sure they'd react fast enough to be really effective. Might be, I just don't really know. Interesting question.

Just some thoughts.

EDIT: Yeah,AGC might make things worse by cranking down too late and goosing the gain too soon and pumping as Brian said,
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Old October 8th, 2010, 08:18 PM   #4
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Sometime back a friend and I filmed a night shooting sequence using a Panasonic PV GS500 and a Rode SVM with Deadcat on a stand. I set the audio levels for our voices, mic was about 5 feet away from us, and if I remember right the audio circuit in the camera was set for manual level with limiter active.

Firearms used were Colt Commander .45ACP and Glock 19 9mm. Gunfire recorded and sounded much like on TV.

I also have made a training video that gets passed out to my students in small Defensive Handgun classes. The material has been accumulated over several years and was filmed with Sony Digital8 (no mic jack and no manual control over audio levels), the GS500 mentioned above, Sony MiniDV (no mic input, no audio control), Canon HF100's with Rode SVM.

At present I'm doing a promo video for our gun club and I'm using Canon 7D and 550D but am recording audio with Zoom H2 (using mid range and recording level set a bit low). Audio is edited and volume boosted as necessary in Audacity.

The recording of gunfire has not been a problem with any of the gear. However I would avoid being near magnum loads, under a canopy, or near high powered rifles (especially under a canopy.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 01:54 AM   #5
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Thanks for the tips. It will be a 12 gauge shotgun.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 08:35 AM   #6
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Get a mixer with good limiters. For instance the SD's have input AND output limiter circuits. In addition, a mic that can handle higher SPLs.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 01:52 PM   #7
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Do you need the gunfire to be live? Can you record the speaker, and if the gunfire is for effect, record it separately and mix it in?
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Old October 9th, 2010, 01:58 PM   #8
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Low sensitiity lav on the speaker (headset style??)????? Keep the speaker away from the shooter and the mic near the speaker????

And if the speaker IS the shooter it won't be any surprise when the gun goes off and unlikely the speaker has to be talking at the instant the shooter pulls the trigger so manually cranking the gain down or switching in a switchable attenuator when the trigger is about to get pulled etc

Or maybe it just isn't a huge problem - only a test will tell for sure. And use light loads in the gun.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 08:23 PM   #9
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You might also be able to double patch the input to your camera. For instance, on the ex3 you can send input 1 to both channels and gain down channel 2 so that the gunfire will not clip. This is assuming the mic itself can handle the sound pressure level. This would allow you to use channel 1 for the dialog and channel 2 for the gunfire.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 10:18 PM   #10
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Or something like the Sony PCM-D50 which has a clever limiter scheme that does sort of what you just said - ie it runs a buffer with attenuation and if the sound clips it replaces that section wiith the attenuated version. Works quite well.

But if it were me I'd do a test before concluding that I had a real problem. Have to admit that I'm not an experienced gunfire recordist, but I used to shoot in pistol league and once worked at a location where they routinely tested heavy ordnance - up to and including 16 inch naval rifles. The sound of gunfire is so dependent on what kind of gun and what kind of load and the environment that I suspect there's a pretty good chance that it won't be a problem. I think a shotgun with a light load may not be all that bad, depending on the setup
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Old October 14th, 2010, 09:15 AM   #11
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I'm guessing that what you are working with is shooting in the background. If you use a directional hand-held microphone with the speaker holding it properly, the gun shots in the background will not be a problem.

I think that it is unlikely that you will be shooting on the actual firingline with independent shooters while you have a subject talking. Most range officers would shun this as an unsafe practice. If you were doing this, though, I think that the viewer would just have to understand the limits of audio technology.

If on the actual firing line, more than likely you have a single shooter who is going to appear in the video. In this case any gun shots would be coordinated with the speaker making it pretty workable.

TIP: In preparation for a gun range shoot, get yourself "amplified ears" as they are called in the gun shops. With these you can carry on an ordinary conversation in the midst of any gunfire. Otherwise it will be frustrating coordinating your video shoot.

Somebody mentioned magnum loads. If somebody is shooting magnum loads just be patient. He'll be done in a couple of minutes after his hand starts to bleed and he'll go home. .357-magnums are probably fine for the untrained to use in home defense but pretty much useless elsewhere. Nobody trains with them since all you can shoot is maybe twenty or thirty rounds before it rips your hand apart. Most training classes will have you blow through 300-600 rounds in a day. It's sort of like a circle: if you can't train with them you pretty much can't use them for anything so you wouldn't want to train with them.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 11:58 PM   #12
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Right on - it's pretty hard on the skin as well as the ears. Sort of like holding out your hand and letting someone wallop it with a baseball bat covered with 60 grit sandpaper. 5 to 10 shots just to say I did it and then it was back to 38 spcl.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 12:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Cardone View Post
TIP: In preparation for a gun range shoot, get yourself "amplified ears" as they are called in the gun shops. With these you can carry on an ordinary conversation in the midst of any gunfire. Otherwise it will be frustrating coordinating your video shoot.
Wesley is right on with this one. The "amplified ears" need not cost as much as they used to. Field And Stream sporting goods shop near me has them starting at $29.95. For my use I buy the $69.95 Radians but I keep 2-3 pairs of the $29.95 ones in my bag for my students to use.

With the need for ear protection grade earmuffs you can pretty much forget trying to monitor your audio with ordinary headphones. No matter how much they cover the ear they do not block the harmful high frequency component of the gunshot report. The damage resulting is cumulative and is at its worst when the ear is subjected to several gunshots one after another in fairly quick succession.

To check my audio, I move off quite a distance from active gunfire and play back an audio segment or two from the ZoomH2 with headphones plugged into the LINE OUT. Or request a "cease" fire from the party I'm with (I usually work in 25 yard or 50 yard "bay" with tall berms separating it from adjacent bays all intended for small shooting parties).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Cardone View Post
Somebody mentioned magnum loads. If somebody is shooting magnum loads just be patient. He'll be done in a couple of minutes after his hand starts to bleed and he'll go home. .357-magnums are probably fine for the untrained to use in home defense but pretty much useless elsewhere. Nobody trains with them since all you can shoot is maybe twenty or thirty rounds before it rips your hand apart. Most training classes will have you blow through 300-600 rounds in a day. It's sort of like a circle: if you can't train with them you pretty much can't use them for anything so you wouldn't want to train with them.
When I attended Thunder Ranch in 2003 (while they still were in Texas), I started out with .40 S&W in a Glock 22, but at the time only had 10 round magazines for . The pace was so fast I almost couldn't keep magazines reloaded so at the first break I switched to the Glock 17 9mm and 17 round magazines. Over 2 days I went through over 1,000 rounds and at the end was glad I hadn't had to deal with the "snappy" kick of .40 cal. (a pretty high pressure load) for the whole course. In the Glock 22 it's not bad for 100-200 rounds but I was better off using 9mm.

I would have liked to shoot that course with a Colt Commander but .45ACP would have cost too much for me for over 1,000 rounds.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 04:05 PM   #14
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Hey Bruce, looks like we are two peas in a pod!

I train with a Glock 22 but carry a Glock 26 (chambered in 9mm) for its ultra-concealability. On a training weekend I ALWAYS allow for a thousand rounds and so I just simply bring along a case with me. I'll usually blow through 7-800 rounds by the end of the day Sunday. I don't think that the .40 cal round is objectionable, myself. However, I do wear a tactical glove on my shooting hand for training classes. The Glock 22 is a full-size gun so you get a good solid grip on it as opposed to any of the baby Glocks such as the Glock 26.

I've found that doing a weekend training class with the baby Glock 26 is too demanding but concealing the Glock 22 is too awkward. I do practice sessions at home with the 26 where I may only blow through 50-60 rounds in a session. Being able to practice at home relative to a typical indoor pistol range has the advantage that I can routinely do various exercises such as shooting on the move and low-light and not have to wait for training classes.

Often times in classes I take there are sworn law enforcement officers training on their own dime. I noticed that they use full size guns but their application is a little different than mine.
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Old October 16th, 2010, 02:00 PM   #15
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"Hey Bruce, looks like we are two peas in a pod!"

---Wesley Cardone

Looks like it. At least two people with similar interests.

Defensive shooting and motion picture production.

My "most carried" piece is that Glock 26. Ugly as all get out but accurate as heck with a fair ammo supply. My grandson got my Glock 17 when he turned 21 last month but I also have a Glock 19 that goes in the car with me when I travel. Best IWB holster I found that works with both is Don Hume's PCCH (Preferred Concealed Carry Holster), I can wear that for days in a row with no discomfort.

I'm still working on the last video segments shot on the SAS (Single Action Shooters) folks at a Cowboy action match last week. I didn't make enough "ID" announcements on the ZoomH2 so finding segments that match the T2i audio is "fun 'n games". Fortunately I only need about 15 seconds or so of that, but I literally have to "marry up" all of the audio before I can "cut" it to some fast paced vignettes.

I'm waiting on good windmuffs for the ZoomH1, thewindcutter.com folks asked me for measurements on the H1 which I sent them; then I got in a hurry and ordered the Redheadwindmuff from Kalani Prince and it's on the way. Yesterday I got an email from thewindcutter.com saying they had one made up I could order. Since it is a new model they will take it down from their website until I can confirm they have the size right.

So I have both coming.

I have the windcutter "Stormchaser" for the H2 and it's performance matches or may even exceed the Deadcat that came with my Rode SVM. So the Stormchaser is the one I recommend.
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