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Old January 18th, 2014, 02:46 PM   #1
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Lav mic advice...

I am very new to video production and am learning a lot by simply doing videos for my church. I will like the first real video I did at the bottom of this post. I finished that up last week, but I seem to be struggling a bit with audio and I was hoping to get some advice.

I currently have an Azden 300LT system for my lav mic. I was wondering how this compares to some others. I want my talent to sound good, but I'm not sure what I can do to make it sound right. In this video below, I interviewed the two woman in one room and the pastor in a separate room. The audio on each interview is different and I'm not sure how to fix that.

I am currently editing on Final Cut Pro X

Any advice would be awesome! Thanks!!

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Old January 18th, 2014, 04:21 PM   #2
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Re: Lav mic advice...

The audio from Pastor Sowards and Jennifer Green are OK, although there is a touch of distortion or clipping in there somewhere.

But the audio from Leslie Dean is very "phasey", at least when we listen to it here on the other end of the YouTube distribution pipe. How was that audio recorded (or edited) differently from the rest of the piece?

It is not clear why you need to use a wireless mic system when the subjects are seated and immobile? A $3000 wireless system is not as good or reliable as a $30 cable. And Azden has a reputation pretty much at the bottom of the barrel of equipment.
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Old January 18th, 2014, 04:23 PM   #3
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Re: Lav mic advice...

I'm sure others will have more detailed suggestions, but here's a few I heard on first listen:

It sounds like you used noise-reduction in FCPX. In my experience, it doesn't work very well at all and I think it's causing most of your problems... I'd skip it.

It also sounds like the audio clipped a few times, meaning the audio either peaked when recording, or clipped because the volume was too high in FCPX. Keep an eye on those meters in FCPX. If you click on the little tiny ones to the right of the timecode display, they expand to be much larger and more useful.

Perhaps you could upload a version without any noise reduction and ensure that nothing clips inside FCPX? I feel that would give us a better idea of how your Azden system sounds, rather than calling it out for the modulation done in post.

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Old January 18th, 2014, 05:10 PM   #4
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Re: Lav mic advice...

Thanks for the responses guys..

Well I am shooting on a Canon T3i and I saw online where people remove the "hum" that comes with shooting on these by switching the audio to manual and turning it way down and then turning the volume up on the mic itself. I did this and my mic didn't have the option to turn it up and so Pastor Sowards had veryyy low audio. So low that I had to work very hard try a lot of things to make it not distorted.

The other two were shot in the same room, but in different locations in this room. They were during different days, but I don't think I did anything with the audio differently with Leslie as I did Jennifer. Not sure what is really happening.

I was using a lav because I don't really have a lot else to work with. I have a shotgun, but it's XLR only and I figured I could get better audio for an interview with a lavier. The church has two different sets of mics. I may go see what the other type is, but the one I was currently using is the one I stated in the original post.

I was basically just wanting to try to figure out how to get the most out of the mics I have. Audio can be really difficult and I want to be really good at it cause I know it can make videos seem really professional.
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Old January 18th, 2014, 05:36 PM   #5
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Re: Lav mic advice...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Burwell View Post
I am shooting on a Canon T3i and I saw online where people remove the "hum" that comes with shooting on these
You should not be getting hum in the first place. The way of dealing with hum is to identify it and eliminate it at the source

Quote:
by switching the audio to manual and turning it way down and then turning the volume up on the mic itself.
Audio needs to be "gain-staged" at EVERY POINT along the chain. That means optimizing the audio level (keeping it high enough to be out of the "mud" of equipment noise, but low enough to avoid clipping) at every point where you have any control over it. That means getting the mic in the right place on the subject. And setting the gain properly on the wireless transmitter. And setting the level properly on the wireless receiver. And setting the level properly on the recorder (or camcorder).

Quote:
I did this and my mic didn't have the option to turn it up and so Pastor Sowards had veryyy low audio. So low that I had to work very hard try a lot of things to make it not distorted.
It is not clear to me how the audio could be "veryyy low" but then you had to try very hard to make it "not distorted"?

Quote:
The other two were shot in the same room, but in different locations in this room. They were during different days, but I don't think I did anything with the audio differently with Leslie as I did Jennifer. Not sure what is really happening.
Strange. The audio sounds VERY DIFFERENT to me. Does it sound different to you when you listen to the video on YouTube? It "phases" in and out and nearly drops completely out for brief times. How did you handle the left and right channels? We typically record dialog to a single channel (vs."stereo") Even if we record dialog to both Left and Right channels of the video while shooting, it is more reliable to use only the left OR the right channels when editing, never BOTH channels.
And as Mr. Haustein suggested, using any kind of post-production (editing) "noise reduction" is always a kludge and a compromise to be avoided if at all possible. It is MUCH MUCH better to avoid recording noise in the first place vs. trying to "remove" it after the fact.

Quote:
I was using a lav because I don't really have a lot else to work with.
Sorry, I wasn't clear. The question wasn't about using a lav vs. using a shotgun (etc.) The question was about using a WIRELESS mic vs. a hard-wired microphone. There are so many unknowns here, it is hard to tell which problems may be caused by using a low-end wireless microphone kit.

Quote:
I have a shotgun, but it's XLR only and I figured I could get better audio for an interview with a lavier. The church has two different sets of mics. I may go see what the other type is, but the one I was currently using is the one I stated in the original post.I was basically just wanting to try to figure out how to get the most out of the mics I have. Audio can be really difficult and I want to be really good at it cause I know it can make videos seem really professional.
Yes, it would be to your advantage to experiment with different microphones, especially wired ones to get better audio quality.

You might also investigate using a better viewfinder as several of the shots seemed to be out of focus. The shot selection and editing were very nice, however.
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Old January 20th, 2014, 09:47 AM   #6
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Re: Lav mic advice...

Thanks for the advice. This is the first video I've made. I've done some little stuff here and there as jokes, but nothing with serious audio that needed to be good.

I'm glad you think my shot selection and editing was good. At least that gives me a little hope that I am headed in the right direction.

So your advice would be to use my mic and try different settings to see what comes out the best? I will definitely do that. I appreciate the advice. Thanks!
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Old January 20th, 2014, 10:15 AM   #7
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Re: Lav mic advice...

Hi Brock,

A wired lav would be best for interviews, as wireless rigs can add noise and other issues into the mix. Nothing beats a simple wired lav for interviews. If you're on a budget, a Radio Shack unit is $30-40, and also get yourself a "headphone extension cable" to more easily reach your camera. ALWAYS monitor your audio with headphones when recording, to avoid surprises in post. If you have the ability to manually set the audio record level in the camera, do it. AGC in many cameras will cause the audio to go up and down, adding a lot of noise during quiet pauses.

Switching from wireless to wired lav made an incredible difference in the quality of my interview audio.

Thanks
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Old January 20th, 2014, 11:12 AM   #8
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Re: Lav mic advice...

Thanks a lot for the advice.

I will have to look into a wired set. The church currently has two sets, but both are wireless. Perhaps thats why I am getting some lower quality sound. I will definitely look into a wired set.

I didn't wear a headphones last time, but I will make sure I do with my upcoming video.

So make sure to set the camera in manual? I can make sure to do that.

Thanks for the practical advice! Good stuff.
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