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Old June 25th, 2012, 11:13 AM   #1
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Zoom h4n recording settings

Hey, I was just wondering how you guys setup your h4ns when recording for video. I'm using a friend's friday at a wedding, but I honestly have no clue what the best file format and whatnot to use is. I have a 16gig class 10 card I'll have in it if that matters. I'm shooting on a t3i and editing in Premiere Pro. Some of it will be straight out the h4n, some will be with a lav mic hooked up to it. Also: Looking into using it to record the vows, I feel like it's a little bulky to hide on the groom though.. any pro tips for how you accomplish that?

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Evan
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Old June 25th, 2012, 02:32 PM   #2
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Re: Zoom h4n recording settings

Others are welcome to chime in here as well, but it's been my experience that having the zoom set to record at 16bit wav files is more than enough to get a great quality sound out of the recorder, and with a 16gb card in there, you're going to be quite fine on time. I can't recall if you can drop down to 8bit, but meh, I don't think it's really that big of an issue. I never drop below 160kbps. I almost exclusively use 256kbps. Now, as for your mic situation: the lav is probably going to be the best option for capturing audio during the vows. If you've got more than one, you should certainly lav up both the officiant, as he or she will most likely be doing most of the talking, unless the bride and groom have decided to do their own vows. The H4N isn't small, so "hiding" it with the groom, in my opinion, just isn't an option. Maybe place it on some stand between the three, to capture all their audio?
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Old June 25th, 2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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Re: Zoom h4n recording settings

I only have a wired Lav :\
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Old June 26th, 2012, 09:25 AM   #4
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Re: Zoom h4n recording settings

Most record uncompressed WAVE files @ 48kHz sample rate with a bit depth of 16 or 24 bits. 24 bits would maintain better quality if your record levels are set very low, at the cost of larger files. No need to go beyond the 48kHz sample rate.
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Old June 26th, 2012, 09:51 AM   #5
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Re: Zoom h4n recording settings

Hmm ok. When using it for the ceremony do you set the levels or put it on auto?
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Old June 26th, 2012, 09:54 AM   #6
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Re: Zoom h4n recording settings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Maurer View Post
The H4N isn't small, so "hiding" it with the groom, in my opinion, just isn't an option.
There are much smaller recorders that are much easier to hide. I like the Tascam DR-03, but I believe it's discontinued. A very similar model, the PR-10, was on sale for $69 at B&H a week or two ago. It accomodates unbalanced mics with "plug in power." It can also record WAV at 48kHz sampling rate.
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Old June 26th, 2012, 12:00 PM   #7
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Re: Zoom h4n recording settings

I'm with Rick's suggestions:
WAV because you have the space, it's lossless, and edits better.
24-bit because it's that much less likely to lose definition in the noise floor with low-level signals.
48KHz because it is the sample rate of other video audio systems, and many NLE sync better with all-same-sample-rate for all clips.

So, WAV 24/48 is usually the best approach for audio-for-video with small recorders (larger ones too!)

Levels - make the loudest sound that's likely to occur at the distance from the recorder you'll have, and set that peak at -12db (or -6db if you're feeling lucky). This is a pretty loose guideline, it's where experience and art come in. But there aren't a lot of other choices, typically.

If you're close to the recorder, you can reset recording level during the event as needed, with some concerns about handling noises in the recording. You can use Zoom's version of Auto Gain, which doesn't ride and pump, but resets lower every time it hears a louder sound. Most people don't like the results, because if someone pops a balloon or drops a hymnal or whatever you end up with a very low recording.
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