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Old February 5th, 2014, 01:01 PM   #1
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Recorders vs Radio Mics

Hi all

I have been lurking on the forum for a while now, so I thought it was about time I said "hello"

I have been working with Video on and off for about 20 years, and spent my youth working as a wedding DJ as well as working on sound for Am-Dram productions.

These days, I have been working with my wife filming school productions (she is a drama teacher).

Currently I have been using cable runs for the mic's from the stage back to the camera, into a mixer and then to the main camera to record the audio.

Running xlr cables each time is a bit of a pain, and of course takes time, so I have been looking into alternatives.

While I know that cabling is the best route, I am conscious that I could also consider:

1, Using radio mic's
2, Using recorders such as the zoom h1 connected to the mic, and syncing the tracks up in post.

My thoughts are pushing me towards the radio mic's as that is what I am familiar with, and there is a certain amount of confidence in being able to hear what's being recorded, I understand that the radio mic's could also give interference and a headache!

How feasible is it to "fit and forget" a zoom h1 for the duration of a show? will it automatically handle the peaks? Are they reliable?
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Old February 5th, 2014, 01:13 PM   #2
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Re: Recorders vs Radio Mics

IME, the much bigger issue is getting microphones into the right place(s) for decent coverage.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 01:29 PM   #3
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Re: Recorders vs Radio Mics

Cabled mics as you say are the most reliable to work with, but the biggest pain to set up. Radio mics are also comparatively easy to set up and run, but are comparatively expensive for a multi mic, multi channel setup. There is also of course the possibility of interference. Small portable recorders such as those from Zoom, Sony, Tascam etc, can be put anywhere but you have no way to monitor them.

Personally I prefer the portable recorder route when I record school drama productions. They can be used with external or onboard mics and because the recordings are digital, you can afford to leave a fair amount of headroom to allow for unexpected peaks, without the problem of system noise. They are also cheap enough that you could even place pairs of recorders at different level settings incase you get the settings wrong on one. Generally though, for school work, the auto limiting is pretty efficient on most of them.

Synchronising is also straight forward with modern software. I use Magix Media Edit Pro for Video and audio editing and synchronising, which has a very effective multi track synchroniser built in. Many others here use Plural Eyes which I believe is also very efficient for synchronising.

Roger
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Old February 5th, 2014, 02:21 PM   #4
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Re: Recorders vs Radio Mics

Have you thought about investing in an XLR snake of a length and number of connectors to satisfy your situation?

Also, are you taking full advantage (if possible) of the house wiring?
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Old February 5th, 2014, 03:41 PM   #5
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Re: Recorders vs Radio Mics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
Have you thought about investing in an XLR snake of a length and number of connectors to satisfy your situation?

Also, are you taking full advantage (if possible) of the house wiring?
Hi jay

Thank you for the reply. If only they had in house wiring, unfortunately around here school halls tend to be multipurpose. Staging issue ally temporary, and any in house kit minimal.

I do have a snake which I run to the stage, however running it round the perimeter of the hall, over emergency exits etc is a pain, it's the setup time it takes which we would like to reduce.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 03:42 PM   #6
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Re: Recorders vs Radio Mics

I agree, it's a real challenge. One of the shows we did before Christmas, the head freaked out when we wanted to put a mic on a stand in front of the narrator..
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Old February 5th, 2014, 03:44 PM   #7
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Re: Recorders vs Radio Mics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Cabled mics as you say are the most reliable to work with, but the biggest pain to set up. Radio mics are also comparatively easy to set up and run, but are comparatively expensive for a multi mic, multi channel setup. There is also of course the possibility of interference. Small portable recorders such as those from Zoom, Sony, Tascam etc, can be put anywhere but you have no way to monitor them.

Personally I prefer the portable recorder route when I record school drama productions. They can be used with external or onboard mics and because the recordings are digital, you can afford to leave a fair amount of headroom to allow for unexpected peaks, without the problem of system noise. They are also cheap enough that you could even place pairs of recorders at different level settings incase you get the settings wrong on one. Generally though, for school work, the auto limiting is pretty efficient on most of them.

Synchronising is also straight forward with modern software. I use Magix Media Edit Pro for Video and audio editing and synchronising, which has a very effective multi track synchroniser built in. Many others here use Plural Eyes which I believe is also very efficient for synchronising.

Roger
Thank's Roger, that's most encouraging, I think I might invest in a couple to try out.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 04:20 PM   #8
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Re: Recorders vs Radio Mics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel James View Post
...One of the shows we did before Christmas, the head freaked out when we wanted to put a mic on a stand in front of the narrator..
Is this person from the 17th century? Were you using electric lighting? Didnt' they freak out that you weren't using gas?
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