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Old September 24th, 2005, 10:25 AM   #1
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hints on a basic setup for good a good live band sound

I be getting a PD150 (still waiting for it to arrive) and am wanting to film live bands. Sound quality is a major issue I have not had very much experience with digital video so don’t kill me if some of my questions are, well questionable. I come from a music background, mainly playing not recording I am setting up a music studio with a few other musos...... I don't however want to go too high-tech for filming though.

Should I go straight from the mix desk? Can the PD150 accept the signal? Are the –db switches enough? I have heard of people using XLR leads that also attenuate? Anyone have some more info on this? I'll be recording in LOUD clubs.

I also don’t want to be tied down by two leads hanging out the top of my cam….. I still need to be able to move around. Anyone know of a wireless XLR system? That would work with this cam? Do they even exist and if so any rough costs? I know there are inherent problems with wireless. I'm just thinking as I am typing.....

Would a condenser with a wide frequency range be an ok budget start? This seems like a risky way of going, as I’ll be shooting a range of venues. I am just worried about inconsistent sound, different room acoustics and the like. This will also be a one-man operation for the time being. So moving around would change the sound dynamics. So do I set-up a room mic and have cords running all over the club/pub to my cam? Not really too convenient. Hmmmmmmm.......????

I know the best way to go is to record the sound separately (laptop with protools) but I don’t really want to go that high-tech to start with.

Any other hints for this kind of work?

I also wouldn’t mind some advice for shooting in low light conditions…. But that is a whole other can of worms for another post…

As I said, I AM NEW TO THIS!! So o easy on me……

Thanks in advance!
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Old September 24th, 2005, 02:12 PM   #2
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Hi Shea, welcome to the forum! Excerpts from your post are italicized below.

..don’t kill me if some of my questions are, well questionable...
That doesn't happen here.

...Should I go straight from the mix desk?...
It's often a good solution to take a mixer board feed for a clean pure mix, and a second feed from an ambience mic placed in the room. But that approach is best suited to a stationary camera position, and would conflict with your desire to be free to move around.

...Can the PD150 accept the [mixer] signal? Are the –db switches enough?...
Yes, both XLR inputs are switchable between mic and line level. For the mixer feed you would set the switch to line level. The -dB switches (I assume you mean MIC ATT) are for "hot" mics that could overload the input and cause distortion.

...I have heard of people using XLR leads that also attenuate? Anyone have some more info on this? I'll be recording in LOUD clubs...
In-line attenuators like the AT8202 are available. And yes, with loud bands the MIC ATT swtch may not attenuate your external mic enough and you would need an additional attenuator to avoid distortion. Speaking of external mics, you will need one that can function in loud environments. The specification of interest is "maximum SPL." You will need a max SPL of at least 120-125 dB. The built in mic won't cut it.

...I also don’t want to be tied down by two leads hanging out the top of my cam….. I still need to be able to move around. Anyone know of a wireless XLR system? That would work with this cam?...
There are many choices for wireless systems. There are cheaper ones, but here's a popular good qualty outfit:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Here's one with a "plug on transmitter" that can make any souce wireless:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

The lesson: High quality audio is expensive and hard to get, and different circumstances require different approaches.

...Would a condenser with a wide frequency range be an ok budget start? This seems like a risky way of going, as I’ll be shooting a range of venues. I am just worried about inconsistent sound, different room acoustics and the like. This will also be a one-man operation for the time being. So moving around would change the sound dynamics...
For a camera mounted mic, the shifts in audio character would be less with a stereo condenser mic than with a directional (cardioid or hypercardioid) mono mic. An omnidirectional mic would be best to minimize this concern. IMO, viewers would accept as natural some shifts in sound character, as long as the quality remained high, as the camera's viewpoint changed. This would be most true if the video were a documentary of the whole event, and less true if the focus of the video was to record the band, with cutaway shots of the audience mixed in.

...So do I set-up a room mic and have cords running all over the club/pub to my cam? Not really too convenient. Hmmmmmmm.......????...
A roving cam and a stationary cam are two entirely different approaches to filming an event. There are choices and compromises with both.

It sounds to me with your budget and what seems to be your intended approach it would be best to invest initially in a good cam mounted mic. You will get excellent audio and video, but yes, you will have to accept that there will be some audible changes as you swing the cam.

I think that your number one priority should be to choose a mic that will not overload in the environment, and whose audio signal output will not overload the cam's input.

...I also wouldn’t mind some advice for shooting in low light conditions….
You couldn't do much better than the cam you're getting.
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Old September 24th, 2005, 03:37 PM   #3
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Shea,

I know you want to keep this simple, but there are easier ways to record the mixer output than a laptop with protools. You could use something like a portable DAT or MD or CD-r to record the mixer output of the band. Or set a lesser camcorder on a tripod next to the console for a static wide shot and record the board on it. This gives you a clean copy of the audio board, and frees your main camera of cables so you can roam. Without a clean copy of the band's audio, IMO you're just another fan in the audience. Going wireless would work, but you run the risk of having interference problems and losing the most important audio of the night. Lining up the sound and vision is not too hard in Vegas or FCP, can't speak for other options. The music feed with judicious oncam sound mixed in (mostly for audience reactions at the end of songs) will carry your project quite nicely. Upgrading the PD-150's OEM mic would be a priority for me too, either an AT or Senn Shotgun type would do well.

Good choice of camera, I have a VX-2000 (similar imaging chip) and am constantly impressed with how little light I need compared to other cameras. Have shot outdoors at night on the Strip in LasVegas and Beale Street in Memphis with only ambient light and been very pleased with the results. Good luck!
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Old September 24th, 2005, 07:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Bellotte
...Or set a lesser camcorder on a tripod next to the console for a static wide shot and record the board on it. This gives you a clean copy of the audio board, and frees your main camera of cables so you can roam...
Excellent suggestion. Not only a relatively inexpensive way to get the board audio, but having cutaway shots from that second cam to go to in post is invaluable.
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Old September 24th, 2005, 09:01 PM   #5
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Thanks very much guys for your suggestions!

I think to start with I'll get a better mic for the cam. This was on the cards already for any of the options I chose. A very safe step one.

Soooo, my next question: What are a few mic models people recommend for this environment? A versatile mic that I can use on other projects would be ideal.

Looks like my best bet is to go simple until I can save up for a second cam. I am a bit worried about the wireless systems. So I think I'll steer clear of them for now.

And If I find that the sound still isn't cutting it for me I can always spend more $$ further on down the track.

Thanks again.

Shea
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Old September 25th, 2005, 10:00 AM   #6
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An AT3032 ($170) omni is a high quality mic with the pattern that will give the most even sound when camera mounted and roving at a band concert. It needs phantom power, which your PD150 provides. This mic would also be good in outdoor situations where you're not too far from the source, but will tend to sound reverby indoors for occasions quieter than a band concert. You'd need to buy a shock mount for it.

The current darling among modestly priced general application mics for camera mounting is the Rode VideoMic at about $150. It would be great for many situations, but it's a directional mic so you would hear those changes as you rove the floor and pan the room at band concerts. It comes with a shock mount and a permanently attached cable that terminates with a stereo mini plug rather than XLR.

You're up against what is probably the most common comment on this board: There is no mic that is good for all situations.

RE, the second miniDV camcorder, I'd go to eBay when you're ready and grab one for $200 or so. There are many good used ones legitimately available due to people upgrading to three chip cams or HD cams. Just make sure that a private seller has at least 10 or so transactions or a dealer has hundreds, and that the feedback is above 99.5 in either case.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 05:45 AM   #7
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Thanks. I've had a bit of a read about the AT3032 and it sounds like a nice mic.

As I am also setting up a recording studio and I wouldn't mind getting a mic that is suitable for a wide range of projects (I know this is a lot to ask from one mic). I stumbled across the AKG C1000. It has a switchable cardioid and hypercardioid polar pattern. It would be good if I can kill few birds with one stone. How would this stack up against the AT3032? I know that there will be a bit more sound variation during pans/roving.... I've been meaning to check out some mics for drum overheads and guitar cabs for a while now. The AT3032 is not suited for guitar cabs but the AKG is apparently good for live music, acoustic instruments, drum overheads and guitar cabs. If I do get the AKG I'll be getting a stereo set for drum tracking in the studio. I'm still trying to learn about recording sound. Sound is such strange thing. What we hear and what we see share so much in common. You wouldn't really think so. It's really quite amazing. Insert a long rave about vibration, octaves, infrared, UV, how colour is just vibrations....... Blah blah blah.

I also found out the I am not getting the stock sony mic with the PD (he has lost it.....). It has a "Yoga Super Cardioid Electret Condenser Microphone with a wind sock".

Cheapo mic right? I don't think it is XLR either.......
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Old September 26th, 2005, 08:00 AM   #8
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In response to the last post about the C1000 or the 3032 omni or 3031 cardioid, there are some important differences.
The 30 series mics will have much greater sensitivity and lower self-noise. This will be important for use with a PD-150, especially if you record something quiet like interviews with a band. The C1000 can run on an internal battery, but the PD-150 and any mixer you'll be using in your studio can supply phantom power.
While the C1000 can be changed from cardioid to hypercardioid, it isn't a "switch" but instead it requires installing an adapter onto the mic.
The 30 series mics also have a much higher standard max SPL rating plus having a -10db pad switch on top of that.
Unless you wanted the specific flavor that the C1000 was giving for a specific guitar amp or drum kit, I'd vote for the AT 30 series for general use with a PD-150.
In the US the C1000s is less expensive if you buy it in a two-pack, but more expensive than the AT's if you buy it singly.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 04:23 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info and advice! Much appreciated!!!! Last question, anyone have an opinion on the studio projects c4 mics?

http://www.studioprojects.com/c4.html

http://www.harmony-central.com/Recor...ects/C4-1.html

Someone recommended them to me.....

Thanks again!!

YAY, I should get my new camera Friday..... Hope I don't have to wait till Monday....
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Old September 27th, 2005, 06:54 AM   #10
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Just adding, if you do get attenuators, get the A-T 8202's that Fred recommended. They are -10, -20, -30 switchable and pass phantom voltage (which a lot of single value attenuators do not do).
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Old September 27th, 2005, 06:57 AM   #11
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Really? Some don't pass phantom power? Thanks George.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 04:45 PM   #12
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I have done a lot of recording of bands over the past 6 months (over 100 different bands) and I've found a few things that work best:

First of all, audio from a sound board is a MUST! I'm lucky enough to be good friends with the sound guy at the venue I do most of my shoots at, so he uses a separate aux send and builds a custom mix to get everything sounding perfect. Rather than sending it out through an XLR line to the camera over wireless or anything like that, he records directly to a minidisc recorder. He then touches up the audio at home before sending it to me through my server.

He recently bought an audio-editing laptop so he'll be sending the line to the laptop instead of the minidisc recorder, but the minidisc is still a great option! Beautiful sound, little to no setup time (for the minidisc) and it's really easy to get the files later.

One thing you'll find by using a board mix is that it doesn't really sound "live" anymore. That's why I would recommend putting a good condensor mic on your camera and mixing it with the board audio when you go to edit. Set the levels really low so there's no chance of clipping and it should work great. When mixed to your board mix, it will add presence to the overall sound.


I'm very interested to see this project you're working on. Post some links if you put any videos online.

If you want to see my work, check out http://underthebridge.mumps.ca


-mark
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Old September 28th, 2005, 06:48 AM   #13
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Just a word of detail on planning. I am recording a group this weekend that has switched to the Bose Cylindrical Radiator speaker system. Although they have XLR out, the group is not using a mixer anymore. So, if I wanted it off the soundboard, I would need to bring my own and set it up. I will use a mix stand and run my XLR cables to my camera (I have an A-T 835ST, so we are really interested in hearing what their system sounds like through a stereo mix.)

BTW, the band (AllyX) loves the Bose system. It only takes them 30 minutes to setup and tear down. No heavy Marshalls, no major cabling, and the band leader says it sounds much better and is easier to fit for the various gigs.

Bose Cylindrical Radiator Speakers
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Old September 28th, 2005, 10:18 AM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Ellis

BTW, the band (AllyX) loves the Bose system. It only takes them 30 minutes to setup and tear down. No heavy Marshalls, no major cabling, and the band leader says it sounds much better and is easier to fit for the various gigs.

Bose Cylindrical Radiator Speakers
Umm....have you heard these yet? They are essentially for voice and acoustic guitar only. Not for keyboards, drums, basses, etc. Have been unfortunately saddled with these on a gig one time. Less than impressive, IMO.
Additionally, Marshall hasn't made PA gear for years (as in over 30), they make guitar and bass amplifiers primarily aimed at harder rock musicians, not remotely related to who might use the Bose system. Not that it matters, but my point being that there is a world of diff between Marshall anything and Bose anything, and it would be rare that the two names should ever cross in a P.A. discussion.
What sort of music do they perform?
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Old September 28th, 2005, 11:38 AM   #15
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Here's just a few thoughts. I'd shoot the video and audio seperately whenever possible. The preamps in some cams suck compared to a better stand alone preamp (this applies when you have to mic-level in), but if you can take line-level signal from the board (instead of mic-level) into your cam, then this isn't as much of a problem -- or if you can take your mics into a seperate preamp then into line-level inputs of your cam, that would work too (but depends on cam). Soundboards are great, but they can sound flat without the audience, so definately mix in some ambiance/crowd noise (audience tapers often call this a matrix recording). Also, you might be surprised how good an "audience tape" can sound with the right kind of gear (not soundboard): a good set of mics, a decent stereo config (X-Y Cards or A-B omnis or others), mics on a tall stand (not on your cam), a good preamp and a recording device (MD, DAT, JB3, MT, etc.). Some audience tapes sound incredible. Also, you asked about the C4 mics, my advice to you is to listen to them. You can download taper-friendly band audience recordings from btree using bit torrent real easily, just go to their site and search on "C4" or "C4s" (or maybe if there are too many results try "C4 >" or "C4s >" cause the >-sign will help cut out some of the results).
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