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Old March 8th, 2013, 04:00 AM   #1
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Seminar audio question

Hi guys,

I will be filming a seminar over the course of a week soon. The last one I did, the audio from the shotgun mic was great as the room was small and had a great sound system.

Ive been told there will be an AV guy setting up mics/p.a. system for the presenters etc.

My question is what is the recommended way to record the audio for this situation?
I would usually use my radio lapel mic on the speaker but if he already has a lapel mic or handheld mic from the AV guy it might be too much? Also, might there be interference between my lapel mic and other peoples equipment? This interference happened to me once.

I have a rode shotgun mic and a Zoom h2n recorder also. Can I hook up the Zoom directly to the AV guys gear and get a direct recording?

Many thanks for advice,
Brian.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 04:36 AM   #2
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Re: Seminar audio question

I would hook up the zoom to do a direct recording but also research what radio mic transmitter they are using as you could also fire up your receiver and pick up their mic clean as well.

Sennheiser G2 are the most common types in the UK and I have done several conferences where I have just re-tuned my radio receiver to the same frequency that they are using.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 04:39 AM   #3
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Re: Seminar audio question

ah right I get you.
I have the sennheiser ew 100 i think it is. So, Id just ask them what frequency and tune it in. no need for my lapel mic at all, just my receiver.
And the zoom as a backup recording.
Thanks!
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Old March 8th, 2013, 08:32 AM   #4
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Re: Seminar audio question

Brian,
What I do is get a feed out of the audio guy's mixer and feed that into one of (I assume) two channels of audio. The other channel I use for either on camera or shotgun mic. That way if the audio guy knows what he is doing you get good clean audio. In a very few cases I would hook up my wireless out of his mixer and feed my camera.

And if you have a digital audio recorder, I put that by the audio guy taking another feed coming out of the mixer. And then you have a completely separate system backing up the first.

Get hold of the audio guy and talk. I always find out what model of audio mixer they have so I am familiar with the outputs. I always bring connectors, adapters, and cables to go from the mixer to my camera. Never assume they will have it.

Good luck! James
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Old March 8th, 2013, 08:54 AM   #5
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Re: Seminar audio question

Thanks for that! Yes, I will keep the shotgun in channel 2 and get a wireless feed into channel one and hook up my Zoom recorder direct into his gear as a back up.

I have indeed just gotten his number and will talk to him too about this. I appreciate the heads up from you guys first. Its really cleared my head up about it all. Thanks a lot.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 09:01 AM   #6
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Re: Seminar audio question

+1 on everything James said.

Brian here is a link to an old thread about seminar recording. I started it as humor and sarcasm but it took off with four pages of guys contributing good stuff.

Surviving your experience with an audio guy

Working in the Corporate Ballroom environment is my specialty.

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Old March 8th, 2013, 09:02 AM   #7
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Re: Seminar audio question

Brian, Just to say it again, I would not use the wireless unless that was the only way to get the feed. I would take the time and enough cable and hook the camera to the mixer. You never know when the audio frequency would be stepped on by something else, battery goes out, etc. Hard wired cable is much more reliable. I don't want to be try to fix things in post.

Also bring a good set of headphones and monitor the audio with the headphones the entire time. you need to be able to tell the audio guy when there is a problem that is sounding fine to the house but is screwed up in some way to you.

Good recording! James
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Old March 8th, 2013, 09:10 AM   #8
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Re: Seminar audio question

yes, yes and yes. good advice!

Forgive my inexperience please - so youre talking just a regular xlr to xlr cable. as long as possible, from channel one on the camera into the mixer? Ive never hooked up like that before, might have to purchase one. I will try position myself close to the sound guy. Gonna contact him now.

and Ive been lazy to wear headphones at times. Ill make sure to monitor them.
Thanks guys.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 09:35 AM   #9
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Re: Seminar audio question

Why not cover all the bases by feeding ch1 on your camera with your radio mic receiver on the same frequency that they are using ch2 the camera mic and then hook up the zoom at the mixer end of things with a mix out on ch1 and a clean split of his radio mic receiver on ch2?
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Old March 8th, 2013, 10:38 AM   #10
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Re: Seminar audio question

Ok just so Im clear -

i have channel one for my radio mic receiver set to his wireless frequency. my channel 2 is my shotgun mic.

Then I get the Zoom to record in 2 channels ? on one channel, a mix of sources and the other a only the speakers lapel mic?

Im not quite clear on this , sorry!

Also, I liked the sound of getting an XLR cable and hooking directly into the mixer. It sounds secure.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 12:10 PM   #11
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Re: Seminar audio question

I've recorded hundreds of seminars for law and corporate clients, both multi-camera and audio only. A lav would work if there's only one or two presentations but if there's a panel it won't work. There's are quite few ways to audio off the house board, a main-out feed, pre and post fader aux sends, a matrix and mic splitters. any way you must bring your own cables, attenuators, DI, ISO transformers ect, Most of the outputs on house mixer will be +4dB (nominal) however some have RCAs which are usually -10dB but some Mackie's are around 0dB.
I was friendly with many of local hotels my clients used and was friendly with the A/V staff, they would allow me to use my own mixer and integrate the house feed . My usual MO was to sent the house a pre-fader mix and 'mix-to-tape' off the main linear faders, in which any moves would not affect the house mix. This is not recommended for the inexperienced, especially if there are panel discussions.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 12:24 PM   #12
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Re: Seminar audio question

Brian, as many here with great advise have said, Don't use a wireless! When you're able, use a cable!
Like Rick, I've done so many seminars either just audio or video that I've lost count. As a video guy recording the seminar, I want a clean feed from the audio board so I get together with the audio guy (luckily I've probably worked with him before) I pull a feed to my camera set it to channel 1 on AGC and channel 2 to manual have ALL the mics checked for levels and quality of sound then press the red button.
Remember at a seminar, there might be, well any number of wireless kits going. I've done seminars where there were 12 kits set up and as many as 6 running at once. Makes it hard to find an open freq plus all the cell phones, blackberrys and othr wireless devices that while they may not be on the same or even close freqs as our wireless, they hunt for the network and BAM! Now you can get interference that can not be cleaned in post. Did I mention that most venues that can host large seminars are generally hotels or convention centers and around my area at least, they are constructed with a whole lot of steel. Also not good for wireless systems. Buy or rent if you can a few 100 foot XLR cables, put together some other connections that can work off of the XLR connections in case you can't get an XLR out and don't forget the gaffers tape to tape down your cable after it's out and tested. Wireless has it's places and I'm a big proponent of wireless but not for picking up an audio feed at a seminar. Like I said earlier, When you're able, use a cable!
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Old March 8th, 2013, 12:42 PM   #13
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Re: Seminar audio question

If you're able, roll your own cable.

As long as you're adding much-needed XLR cable to your kit, and you have some time and patience, why not make your own? It's a lot cheaper than buying pre-made, pretty easy to do if you still have opposable thumbs, satisfying, and you gain the knowledge for repairs (if possible) whilst in the field. My cables look every bit, and sometimes a lot better, than commercial cables.

$0.04 (adjusted for currency exchange).
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Old March 8th, 2013, 01:35 PM   #14
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Re: Seminar audio question

My god, this forum is awesome, it never fails to impress me. As I said before Im a jack of all trades and a master of none so when Ive been landed with a job thats slightly out of my day to day expertise its great to have people give me some time.Much appreciated.

So I cant just stick any old XLR cable into the mixer and hope it works? Crud. Im awaiting a reply from the audio guy, Ive let him know my situation and the seminars not for 6 weeks.

Im pretty sure that getting the seminar recorded was an afterthought of the organisers but Id still like to be as professional as possible and learn as much as I can along the way.

Many thanks,
Brian.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 02:45 PM   #15
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Re: Seminar audio question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Manning View Post
My god, this forum is awesome, it never fails to impress me. As I said before Im a jack of all trades and a master of none so when Ive been landed with a job thats slightly out of my day to day expertise its great to have people give me some time.Much appreciated.

So I cant just stick any old XLR cable into the mixer and hope it works? Crud. Im awaiting a reply from the audio guy, Ive let him know my situation and the seminars not for 6 weeks.
Huh? No need to hope it works. Know it works. Brian, good news, man (in good humor): if you buy something that has a female XLR plug on one end and a male XLR plug on the other, each connected to the other by a wire, then chances are better than 99% that it will work on equipment with XLR connections. It's a three pin affair (+/-/ground); in days before my time, I think polarities (+/-) sometimes could be switched around the pins, but now they're essentially standard, i.e., "any old XLR cable."

What do you have in Ireland in the way of musical instrument, DJ, and audio equipment stores? Just walk in, grab an XLR cable off the wall, and it will likely work. Simple as that. You can run 'em many hundreds of feet with no signal degradation.

When you're given, say, unbalanced RCA or some other outputs (say, from consumer equipment or a musical instrument), then you need additional kit to mate with XLR connections, but I don't think you wrote of anything suggesting that would be your case. However, if that IS your case, you'll likely need what's called a DI box. For garden variety audio work, a passive DI box should work fine: unbalanced input (of many different kinds) on one end, balanced XLR out the other end. Single or multiple channels, your choice. Super easy to use and good boxes can be had for cheap. (I paid US $120 or so for mine.)
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