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Old January 8th, 2011, 01:06 PM   #1
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Recording audio from an acoustic guitar

I recently offered to shoot a music video for a friend. He's going to be singing and playing an acoustic guitar. I'm planing on using a Canon 7D and a 60D I just got over the holidays. I have several options for recording audio. I have a Rode video mic, an Audiotechnica shotgun mic, a lavaliere mic, and I also have access to a Tascam DR-07 digital recorder.

What would be the best route to record the vocal track and the acoustic guitar at the same time?

Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Old January 8th, 2011, 01:16 PM   #2
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Much depends on if he can actually sing and play at the same time properly? You have a number of ways really. Live vocals will have guitar in the background, and if you use a mic on the guitar, it will also pick up the vocal. If you want a live, raw feel - fine. Just be prepared for multiple takes - record each one to a channel on a separate recorder - makes life much easier. In post you can always add a little reverb or whatever effect you might want.

Second option is to do a proper studio recording and then mime to guitar and voice, or pre-record the guitar and sing to that. Depends so much on the song.

If the guitar is an electroacoustic, then with a DI box, record the output via this and forget the mic. With some guitars this sounds pretty good - and is isolated from the mic audio.

Without hearing a bit, it's so difficult to recommend the 'right' way. Will headphones be usable, or not? Can he/she stay in one place? Can they turn to the camera without going off mic?

Personally, I like to pre-record the instruments and do a live vocal, playing to speakers or in-ears. Most of these methods will work - but will need serious audio work to make sound good.
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Old January 8th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #3
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So best bet would be to record guitar and vocals separately? If I go that route what mic should I use for each? I don't have any "studio" equipment available
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Old January 8th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #4
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More questions than answers. There are a hundred or more ways the record an acoustic and vocal.. 100 less than a piano & vocal though.. if that's any consultation.
Can the mics be visible? What is your and the clients expectations? Demo? Do you have the budget for studio time, and/or access to a proper recording environment?
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Old January 8th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #5
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Can the mics be visible?
-I want to do this all out doors using all natural light, etc. So Id rather the mics not be visible if possible.

What is your and the clients expectations?
- I'm doing this as a favor to a friend who I've known a very long time. I am not receiving pay, I am doing this over winter break when we both have free time. He is excited about it but has no expectations, I have yet to see the song since he just finished it recently.

Do you have the budget for studio time, and/or access to a proper recording environment?
-I have no access to a studio for recording.
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Old January 8th, 2011, 03:28 PM   #6
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The best placement for a mic on acoustic guitar is to have a small diaphragm condenser, cardioid pattern, pointing at the 12th fret where the neck meets the body, and angled a bit toward the sound hole. The more you point to the sound hole the more bass you get. A shotgun won't sound near as good. A large diaphragm condenser on the voice is nice, but also a dynamic stage mic like the SM58 would be great for rejecting the sound of the guitar. I was testing out my Rode NT55 mics in the video below, and the placement I have (ignore the Sony D-50 in the shot) is the best for live acoustic guitar/voice.

You could maybe try the shotgun (if that's all you can use) on the guitar, and something else (not a lav) on voice. Try to keep the mic pointed so the vocal mic picks up less of the guitar.

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Old January 8th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Tamer View Post
I recently offered to shoot a music video for a friend. He's going to be singing and playing an acoustic guitar. I'm planing on using a Canon 7D and a 60D I just got over the holidays. I have several options for recording audio. I have a Rode video mic, an Audiotechnica shotgun mic, a lavaliere mic, and I also have access to a Tascam DR-07 digital recorder.

What would be the best route to record the vocal track and the acoustic guitar at the same time?

Any help would be greatly appreciated
Look up "Roger McGuinn's Guide to Home Recording on a Computer", a very interesting video for music recording novices.
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Old January 8th, 2011, 07:48 PM   #8
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And for those of us who are not so expert on guitar performance ourselves, there are plenty of internet resources such as RECORDING ACOUSTIC GUITAR which can sometimes give further insight even when we are fairly sure we have thought of everything. After every recording session I have been involved in as performer or tech/engineer I have come away with a "next time, I'm going to remember to.... ".

Lifelong learning.

Recently I was amused to see a large yellow duster being passed around the cornets in a brass band as a low tech solution of balancing some difficult scoring problems. While I've done this myself in a theatre pit, it was somehow surprising to see other people had also discovered the technique.
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Old January 8th, 2011, 09:25 PM   #9
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What do you do with the duster to fix the balance of the score?
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Old January 9th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #10
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Held (folded or just crumpled) just in front of the bell it enabled players to play very quiet frisky moving parts a bit louder for security and accuracy, but still blending in with the texture. It's similar to the H.O.B. (hand over bell) marking that appears in swing band music.

I use a duster in front of a bass trombone bell when cueing in 2nd horn parts in theatre bands - sounds just like there are 2 french horns playing when the 1st horn is playing as well..
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Old January 9th, 2011, 02:20 AM   #11
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Lee,

We shot this video with a Rode NT1A large diaphragm mic on the voice and a Shure SM57 on the guitar. The vocal mic was either above or to the side and the guitar mic was below the 12th fret just out of the picture. It allowed us to balance guitar and mic in post. Looking back, we aimed the mics directly at their targets (mouth and guitar), but should have cheated the angles a bit (aiming high at the voice and low at the guitar) to provide more isolation.


I think this meets your requirements. We were outdoors and the mics are hidden. We used a portable recorder, but had XLR inputs and phantom power.

Your shotguns could work, but they aren't necessarily musical sounding. Whichever mic has the wider pattern (Videomic?) should be used with the guitar.

Two tips for recording outdoors: get as far away as possible from outside sounds. For instance, go to a park that is far from traffic when the kids are in school. Also, wind is your biggest enemy. We did our recording without wind protection and got away with it due to the still air. Wind protection cuts both highs and lows.

Regarding the video, I shot Melissa at odd angles when rehearsing and used that for b-roll. I then shot the master from start to end in one take. I used an 85mm f/1.8 wide open on a 5D2 (equivalent to a 50mm f/1.8 on your cam.) I also used an ND filter and a polarizer. The camera was on a shoulder rig with a loupe. Rather than focus by hand, I set a fixed focus and focused by moving the camera.

Hopefully, you can shoot some tests and figure out what looks and sounds the best, then do the real shoot on a following, non-windy day.

Best of luck with your project!
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Old January 9th, 2011, 07:26 AM   #12
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Jon,

She has a beautiful voice. Just curious but why did you bother to record outside when you used so much reverb that made it sound like it was inside.

Andy
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Old January 9th, 2011, 10:14 AM   #13
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Jon, thankyou for the help


Quote:
Your shotguns could work, but they aren't necessarily musical sounding. Whichever mic has the wider pattern (Videomic?) should be used with the guitar.
the box for the mic says its a Rode Directional Video Condenser Microphone
this http://www.amazon.com/Rode-VideoMic-Directional-Condenser-Microphone/dp/B0007U9SOC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294589620&sr=8-1
I just got it over the holidays so I have yet to use it for anything.

EDIT: could I use the Rode mic in place of the cardioid mic which i dont have? If not what would be a good replacement?
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Old January 9th, 2011, 04:05 PM   #14
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The audio for this video was recorded by the artist in the "Swem Media Center" at the College of William and Mary, and then the video was filmed by Randall Taylor as the artist played along with the music over several takes. Sounds great, looks pretty good, and makes a great promo for the artist.

YouTube - Mark Kroos - Speed Limit Enforced by Aircraft Music Video
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Old January 9th, 2011, 09:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Andy Turrett View Post
She has a beautiful voice. Just curious but why did you bother to record outside when you used so much reverb that made it sound like it was inside.
One thing I can't explain is why the encoded sound is so ridiculously wet compared to the uncompressed wav audio. It's something that I've never experienced before or since. Sure, there's some reverb on the master, but it's much drier than the Vimeo result. All I can figure is that the phasing between the two mics had some effect on the encoding algorithm.

But in the end, it still sounds "good", so I didn't bother backing up and doing a different pass.
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