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Old March 15th, 2011, 03:15 PM   #1
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How to use an external recorder

I video weddings and I am thinking about using an external recorder and I have a few questions. I have been looking at the Tascam DR-07. Any opinions on that one? Also would you use it with a lavalier mic and put it on the groom, or just put it up front somewhere? I don't know how well they pic up sound from a distance (10 to 20 ft) I have never used one so I was just wanting some info before i go out and buy something. Thanks
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Old March 15th, 2011, 04:15 PM   #2
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Re: How to use an external recorder

I also shoot weddings. I use the Zoom H4n and mic the groom wirelessly into it. I have a Sennheiser G100 wireless lav. I am shooting on a Canon 60D so I need to record audio this way and it's a decent work around. Be prepared for syncing in post ;o)
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Old March 15th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #3
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Re: How to use an external recorder

Got the DR07 recently. Sounds fine to me. Does 24bit, has a line and mic in.

I tried it with my lav by hooking a 1/8" to 1/8" cable from the Receiver (sennheiser G2) out to the mic in on the recorder. Not sure about plugging the lav DIRECTLY into it and leaving it with the groom. . .how would you monitor your signal?
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Old March 15th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #4
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Re: How to use an external recorder

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Originally Posted by Tyson Yoder View Post
I video weddings and I am thinking about using an external recorder and I have a few questions. I have been looking at the Tascam DR-07. Any opinions on that one? Also would you use it with a lavalier mic and put it on the groom, or just put it up front somewhere? I don't know how well they pic up sound from a distance (10 to 20 ft) I have never used one so I was just wanting some info before i go out and buy something. Thanks
No mic at any price, including the ones built-in to small recorders, will do a proper job of picking up an individual speaking at a normal level from a distance of 10 to 20 feet. Such expectations are simply not realistic.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 06:15 PM   #5
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Re: How to use an external recorder

I use a Sony FX 7 and Sony FX1 so im getting pretty good sound through there, but i noticed some are using external recorders and I didn't know if it was worth my time and money.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 06:15 PM   #6
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Re: How to use an external recorder

...unless "proper job" means dialog with tons of room echo and gobs of noise due to the needed gain boost. :)
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Old March 15th, 2011, 07:00 PM   #7
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Re: How to use an external recorder

You're better off using the $$ and invest in a good wireless lavalier system. This way the receiver can be mounted on your camera and you can monitor sound at the camera position.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 07:14 PM   #8
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Re: How to use an external recorder

It really depends on how you value money, sound quality, and risk.

If you have cash, a high quality wireless system is the way to go for many applications. Rentals are a good option for some people, but not all.

If you want the best sound quality, use a wired mic, where possible. Avoid cheap wireless products.

If you can't use a wire and would rather re-shoot than spend cash, placing a recorder on the actor/speaker may be the way to go. Set levels judiciously, hit REC, and let it freewheel. If the recorder has a good limiter and/or can record dual hot and cold channels, your odds of success increase.

So, is the best situation to buy wireless, rent wireless, go wired, place a recorder on the talent, or resort to ADR? It all depends on where you are, how much cash you have, what you are doing, and what is expected by those paying for the job.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 09:14 PM   #9
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Re: How to use an external recorder

@ Tyson Yoder:

To answer your specific question about the DR-07. I have one and I echo Josh Bass's comments... it's a nice little recorder. I have seen thorough reviews and good results elsewhere.

I have been quite pleased with the audio quality. I've done some live acoustic music gigs and the recordings came out fine. As a recorder, it's more than adequate for voice. Of course if you're going to dub this into a final soundtrack, you will want to record in .wav format sampled at 48kHz.

However, as Steve House notes, no mic will give you a "production quality" recording from 10 or 20 feet away. 10 to 20 inches might be a reasonable distance, if the venue is fairly quiet and not too live. Even at that, you will need to get a good mic or mics to plug into the DR-07; you won't want to use the integral mics for your purposes (especially if the recorder is in the groom's pocket!!!).

Others have pointed out the pros and cons of wireless vs. a body recorder, and some other useful tips, so I won't repeat those comments. (Besides, Murphy can attack your wireless kit just as well as he can attack your body recorder.)

So if you have decided to go with a body recorder (rather than wireless), and if you're willing to get an appropriate mic, and put it at a reasonable distance, and set the gain correctly, the DR-07 will make a decent recording.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 09:17 AM   #10
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Re: How to use an external recorder

I've recorded classes that went on longer than most wireless batteries will last (4-8 hours). Interrupting the instructor to replace batteries was not an option, and neither was wired since I stood at the back over 30 feet away. Also, interference was definitely as problem. I used a $30 Sony IC recorder with a clip-on mic that I bought separately. It records mp3 at 192kbps, and the sound quality was great for my purposes. Not only that, but there was very little drift over a four-hour period (easily fixed on the timeline), while my Zoom H4 will drift noticeably over 90-minuites recordinh WAV.

If the sound is amplified, you can also connect a good digital recorder to the console, but be forewarned that, at least in my experience, inexperienced DJs will most of the time mess with the levels, regardless of the adjustments you made beforehand, and you'll find when you get home that most of your sound is unusable. Pointing the recorder at a speaker is actually a better solution unless you're working with real professionals (and not the bride's cousin).

I always try to have backups now and record from a camera-mounted shotgun as well as a digital recorder.

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Old March 16th, 2011, 10:19 AM   #11
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Re: How to use an external recorder

"Not sure about plugging the lav DIRECTLY into it and leaving it with the groom. . .how would you monitor your signal? "

I'm still learning, but does the sound level change enough to require monitoring? If you loose audio, you can't really do anything about it. This would be just for adjusting the levels? I set the levels when I set it up and turn on the limiter in case the things get louder. Tascam just came out with the DR-05. Both are good recorders. I've used wireless and wired into grooms lapel. If you go wired, don't get a cheap radio shack lav, a lot of people here recommend giant squid lavs. If you ever get a second recorder, you can stick it on a tripod next to a speaker as a backup. Or you can take the line-level feed from the DJ/house feeds and run it into the line-in input. But don't trust other peoples equipment.

In post, I've had success using the ambient sound and mixing it in with the audio from the lav.
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Old March 16th, 2011, 11:16 PM   #12
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Re: How to use an external recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson Yoder View Post
I video weddings...
Interesting replies. Some seem to have missed the OP's first 3 words though.

So no retakes, no console to plug in to. Shooting with a 60D he won't have takes long enough to worry about drift.

Put the recorder in the groom's inside jacket pocket or on his wasteband if you can figure out a way to attach it. Hope like heck he doesn't lean on it and shut it off. Use a wired lav correctly mounted to decouple it from his clothing and body.

Plan B, an omni mic at the alter, hard wired and lots of time for post.
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Old March 17th, 2011, 09:34 AM   #13
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Re: How to use an external recorder

Tyson,

The DR-07 is a great recorder and you absolutely must put a mic directly on the groom, not several feet away (otherwise, the audio is crap, IMHO). You can use a wireless and hook it to the recorder, or place the recorder directly. I previously used a wireless but last year I seemed to always get dropouts, even with the receiver only 20-30 feet away from the groom. So I now plug a lav into the recorder which I put it in the groom's inside jacket pocket and clip the lav to his lapel. I also think the DR-07 is too big and heavy for this, so I use the new Zoom H1, it is tiny and super light. I also use an angle adapter so the lav connection doesn't stick out in the groom's pocket (Hosa GMP-272 | Sweetwater.com). And both these recorders have a switch to lock it while recording.

As for levels, you also have the problem of transmitter levels when placing a wireless on the groom. Adjusting a too hot transmitter level is never an option once the ceremony starts. If the sound distorts at the source, there is nothing you can do at the receiver to correct this. Using a wireless gives you the option to monitor the audio, but not to adjust the source. So this same situation is true for placing the recorder directly on the groom. You simply need to pre-adjust the input recording level using a best guess based on the lav mic (they all have different sensitivity) and the groom & officiant's voice level.

As for syncing the separately recorded audio, this is easy -- with PluralEyes from singularsoftware.com. It's not perfect, but works most the time. It's invaluable for DSLR shooters using separate audio.

-Jim.
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Old March 17th, 2011, 10:12 AM   #14
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Re: How to use an external recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Greene View Post
The DR-07 is a great recorder and you absolutely must put a mic directly on the groom, <snip>

I also think the DR-07 is too big and heavy for this, so I use the new Zoom H1, it is tiny and super light.
Tyson:

My opinion, as stated earlier, agrees with the first part of the above.

I tend to agree with the second part, also. You might look into the DR-03, which has gotten good reviews but is smaller and lighter than the -07, without the H1's big "mic head" on one end. Or even the Sony ICD-SX700

DR-07: 13.1 cu. in., 130 grams.
DR-03: 5.1 cu. in., 51 grams.
Zoom H-1: 11.3 cu. in, 60 grams
ICD-SX700: 3.8 cu. in, 52 grams

All of the above have a "lock" or "hold" button to prevent accidental button actuation. And I agree with Jim Greene: use a mic with a right-angle plug. Furthermore, I wrap a rubber band around the recorder and plug, to keep the plug securely seated while in the kit is the groom's pocket.
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Old March 17th, 2011, 05:35 PM   #15
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Re: How to use an external recorder

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Originally Posted by Kirk Candlish View Post
Interesting replies. Some seem to have missed the OP's first 3 words though. So no retakes, no console to plug in to.
I read the first three words. At least half the weddings I used to do (when I used to have to do weddings to pay the bills) used microphones for the ceremony.


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