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Old December 17th, 2010, 03:19 PM   #1
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Zoom H4N + Rode Videomic dual record?

Is it possible to have the zoom record from both its onboard stereo mics and the Rode Videomic when it is plugged into the zoom via 3.5mm stereo jack?

I would like to use the system to record ambient via the onboard mics and dialog with the shotgun mic on a boom. When i plug in the Videomic it seems to turn off the onboard mics, even though i have selected 4 channel mode.

If this is not possible, is it possible with an NTG-2 via XLR connection?
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Old December 17th, 2010, 03:26 PM   #2
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Sure. Check out the manual and look for the 4 track mode. That will record both the internal mics and the xlr inputs at the same time.
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Old December 17th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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In the manual it says internal mic OR external mic via the3.5mm jack. ( thats page 39)

Or did you mean that yes i can do it via XLR?

(I see now that you can do it with an XLR input. I will have to buy a new shotgun mic it would seem *sigh*)
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Old December 17th, 2010, 04:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Robert Bridgens View Post
Is it possible to have the zoom record from both its onboard stereo mics and the Rode Videomic when it is plugged into the zoom via 3.5mm stereo jack?

I would like to use the system to record ambient via the onboard mics and dialog with the shotgun mic on a boom. When i plug in the Videomic it seems to turn off the onboard mics, even though i have selected 4 channel mode.

If this is not possible, is it possible with an NTG-2 via XLR connection?
Generally recording both dialog and ambience at the same time is considered a poor way to record dialog. You want your dialog track to be as pristine as possible, eliminating as much of the ambient sound as you possibly can when shooting. Then ambience is recorded separately, to be blended with the dialog in post where the editor can control exactly what the final product sounds like.
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Old December 17th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #5
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In my experience, plugging into the 3.5mm jack disables the Stereo mics on the ZOOM. So in answer to your original post - No you can't.
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Old December 17th, 2010, 04:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Generally recording both dialog and ambience at the same time is considered a poor way to record dialog. You want your dialog track to be as pristine as possible, eliminating as much of the ambient sound as you possibly can when shooting. Then ambience is recorded separately, to be blended with the dialog in post where the editor can control exactly what the final product sounds like.
Yes, but i want to record ambient and dialog from two input devices, onto 2 different tracks at the same time. I need the ambient to be in time with the dialog since it involves explosions etc that the subjects will be reacting to. Usually only a single take.

With it being on two separate tracks i can bring up the ambients as and when i need to. ( or thats i how i hope to do it - im quite new to the audio side of things)

Long and short of it, i need an XLR enabled mic for this?

Last edited by Robert Bridgens; December 17th, 2010 at 05:27 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2010, 06:15 PM   #7
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You can connect the Videomic to XLR with this Rode adapter:

Rode VXLR - Mono Mini-Jack to XLR Converter VXLR B&H Photo Video
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Old December 17th, 2010, 07:30 PM   #8
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You can connect the Videomic to XLR with this Rode adapter:

Rode VXLR - Mono Mini-Jack to XLR Converter VXLR B&H Photo Video
Fantastic - thanks Renton!
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Old December 18th, 2010, 06:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Robert Bridgens View Post
Yes, but i want to record ambient and dialog from two input devices, onto 2 different tracks at the same time. I need the ambient to be in time with the dialog since it involves explosions etc that the subjects will be reacting to. Usually only a single take.

With it being on two separate tracks i can bring up the ambients as and when i need to. ( or thats i how i hope to do it - im quite new to the audio side of things)

Long and short of it, i need an XLR enabled mic for this?
Explosions etc are not ambience, they're practical effects. Each of them should be recorded separately from the dialog scene so that each element - dialog and the various FX - is recorded at the best fidelity possible, NOT recorded all together with the dialog as part of the scene. Then they're laid into the mix alongside the dialog during post. Your talent should be able to react convincingly to the director yelling "bang" where the exposions will later occur. The ability to do that and have the performance believable is why they call them "talent." Actors get paid because they're able to react to things that aren't there, converse with people that aren't there, and walk through and interact with environments that don't exist. The separate files for the FX can be precisely positioned against picture to within a fraction of a frame during the editing process so they can occur at exactly the right moment - they do not have to be recorded at the same time in order to get the timing right. If you do, you'll have the explosion sounds bleeding into the talent's dialog mics which makes it very difficult to adjust timing in post. Also, if you record both at once on two stereo tracks, you'll need to split the tracks into two mono files when you get into post in order to edit properly.
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Old December 18th, 2010, 09:16 AM   #10
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Fantastic - thanks Renton!
Something like this may be a simpler solution given that the Zoom accepts 1/4 inch inputs:
Hosa Technology GPM103 Stereo Mini to Stereo Phone GPM-103 B&H


The 1/4 inputs are hidden inside the XLR inputs at the bottom of the unit.
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Old December 18th, 2010, 10:55 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Explosions etc are not ambience, they're practical effects. Each of them should be recorded separately from the dialog scene so that each element - dialog and the various FX - is recorded at the best fidelity possible, NOT recorded all together with the dialog as part of the scene. Then they're laid into the mix alongside the dialog during post. Your talent should be able to react convincingly to the director yelling "bang" where the exposions will later occur. The ability to do that and have the performance believable is why they call them "talent." Actors get paid because they're able to react to things that aren't there, converse with people that aren't there, and walk through and interact with environments that don't exist. The separate files for the FX can be precisely positioned against picture to within a fraction of a frame during the editing process so they can occur at exactly the right moment - they do not have to be recorded at the same time in order to get the timing right. If you do, you'll have the explosion sounds bleeding into the talent's dialog mics which makes it very difficult to adjust timing in post. Also, if you record both at once on two stereo tracks, you'll need to split the tracks into two mono files when you get into post in order to edit properly.
Thanks for the help Steve. Unfortunately I am not working with talent (that why i named them as subjects rather than actors lol).
I work with re-enactors and i unfortunately have no way of recording each pyro seperately. ( the whole thing will be one take documentary style) I will probably dub some explosive effects at a later point or something. However it works it will never be anywhere near feature film quality! :lol:

I think ( but i am not sure) the zoom separates the L/R files for each track anyway - however i didn't realise you needed to do this for post, so thanks. I have a lot to learn! ( i also have aspirations above my skill and available equipment/budget right now!)

Edit: Im not sure if it makes a difference to what you were saying about dual recording but i will have the zoom attached to the boom operator and the shotgun mic at the end of a 10ft boom, so the audio should be different?

Thanks for that Erik - i didn't realise the zoom had 1/4 inputs!
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Old December 19th, 2010, 08:11 AM   #12
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Something like this may be a simpler solution given that the Zoom accepts 1/4 inch inputs:
Hosa Technology GPM103 Stereo Mini to Stereo Phone GPM-103 B&H


The 1/4 inputs are hidden inside the XLR inputs at the bottom of the unit.
The Zoom's 1/4" inputs are for line-level signals. A mic level such as coming from a Rode Videomic won't drive them, even if you get the adapter. Second problem in using that adapter ... the stereo mini on the Videomic carries 2 channels of unbalanced audio - tip left, ring right snf sleeve is ground. On the Videomic tip and ring are shorted together to parallel the signal to both so that the mic's mono output is heard in both left and right channels when plugged into a typical 1/8 stereo mic input. But a "stereo," ie TRS, 1/4 input is such as found in the centre of the Zoom XLRs is a mono, balanced, audio signal with tip-signal hot, ring=signal cold, and sleeve=ground. Shorting tip and ring as it is in the Videomic's plug will result in no signal getting input at all.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 08:55 AM   #13
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Thanks for the help Steve. Unfortunately I am not working with talent (that why i named them as subjects rather than actors lol).
I work with re-enactors and i unfortunately have no way of recording each pyro seperately. ( the whole thing will be one take documentary style) I will probably dub some explosive effects at a later point or something. However it works it will never be anywhere near feature film quality! :lol:

I think ( but i am not sure) the zoom separates the L/R files for each track anyway - however i didn't realise you needed to do this for post, so thanks. I have a lot to learn! ( i also have aspirations above my skill and available equipment/budget right now!)

Edit: Im not sure if it makes a difference to what you were saying about dual recording but i will have the zoom attached to the boom operator and the shotgun mic at the end of a 10ft boom, so the audio should be different?

Thanks for that Erik - i didn't realise the zoom had 1/4 inputs!
See my other post about the 1/4 input issues. Even if you can't set up the explosions to record later, I think it is a mistake to try to capture them with the Zoom's internal mics on two channels while recording dialog on the same recorder on the other two channels. I'd suggest renting or borrowing a second audio recorder and setting it up to the record the explosions as best you can, by placing it, and thus its mics, in the best position you can manage to capture the explosions, while recording dialog with the other recorder located with the boom operator. Assemble them in post. The mics on the recorder slung off of the boom oeprator are not going to be optimally placed to record the explosions anyway and even more importantly, he's going to be moving around and those internal mics are going to be picking up all sorts of thumps, bumps, and clothing rustles of handling noise as the recorder bounces against him as he follows the action. The internal mics need to have the recorder stationary, preferrably on a stand, and untouched during the take in order for the recording to be clear of handling noise.

The reason you separate left and right in post is you usually record dialog in mono, NOT stereo, and position the resulting track in the centre, ie sent equally to the left and right channels, when you do the final audio mixdown. If you try to record dialog stereo the voice will wander all over the sound field as the character and the mic move about. Think how confusing it would be to the audience for the character to be on the right hand side of the screen but their voice is coming mainly out of the left hand speaker! That can happen easily if you try to record the scene in stereo on location. With the Videomic you already have its mono signal recorded to both left and right channels but you have an easier go in editing and mixing dealing with a single mono track. Most of the time a single mono track is the way it's been recorded on-set but if you have two identical channels in a stereo track, you would get it to a mono track for editing by splitting the stereo track into two identical mono tracks and discarding one of them.

I haven't seen him around lately but perhaps fellow forum member Dan Keaton will see these posts and chime in. He has considerable experience recording sound for theatrical productions featuring American Civil War reenactments and perhaps he would offer some specifc advice on techniques that he's found that produce the best results.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #14
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Thanks Steve - thats really helpful!

I had never considered the effects of stereo in that way - seems like common sense now. I have absolutely no budget for another recorder at this stage. I may just have to fill the gaps via foley?
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Old December 20th, 2010, 07:35 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
The reason you separate left and right in post is you usually record dialog in mono, NOT stereo, and position the resulting track in the centre, ie sent equally to the left and right channels, when you do the final audio mixdown.
This may sound stupid/basic, but I just have to ask:

I recently followed that advice and recorded dialog in mono.

I now have a file in Vegas where the audio is only coming from the left speaker.

How would I "position the resulting track in the centre"?

Cheers heaps!
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