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Old January 19th, 2015, 01:23 AM   #16
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Re: recording railroad audio??

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Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
There is an extensive thread on this forum from 2011 about this very issue, with quite a lot of good information: Need Suggestions For Capturing Train Audio
Thank you , searched for mics and other audio , but never thought to try trains!! I will take a look.
Cheers Gregg
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Old January 19th, 2015, 01:26 AM   #17
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Re: recording railroad audio??

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Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
I think you want a stationery mic so the camera can pan without affecting sound. A Tascam DR-40 gives you built-in stereo mics and will record stereo at two levels. That goves you a safety recording in case the noise of the train blows out the main track. It's light and can mount on anything that has a 1/4-20 thread like a Gorilla pod or even a light stand. Your builtin camera mics can record ambient sound.
Hi Les, that sounds exactly what I may need, I will check it out.
Thanks Gregg.
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Old January 19th, 2015, 01:42 AM   #18
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Re: recording railroad audio??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
There is an extensive thread on this forum from 2011 about this very issue, with quite a lot of good information: Need Suggestions For Capturing Train Audio
You wouldn't believe, Scott is one of the guys I'm meeting up with in the States! It is a small world!
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Old January 19th, 2015, 03:57 AM   #19
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Re: recording railroad audio??

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Originally Posted by Gregg Malmborg View Post
Jay , I will spend a bit on the wind protection, most train locations are windy! My Manfrotto has a plastic fitting on the bottom of the center post with a 1/4 thread, this would be perfect?
Cheers Gregg
It may work but be careful of creaky noises from your tripod, it may be better to rig a small clamp to the centre post so you can get some isolation for the stereo recorder or a simple piece of strip metal with some rubber grommets may bolted to the centre post threaded socket may do the trick.
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Old January 19th, 2015, 04:31 AM   #20
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Re: recording railroad audio??

That's a point Gary! I have a small tripod , about a foot tall , that would do the trick and easy enough to carry.I just looked up the Tascam DR 40 recorder, $250.00 for the one I saw,perfect I think ? Compact and inbuilt mics, all this new stuff for me to learn..LOL

Thanks again mate.

Last edited by Gregg Malmborg; January 19th, 2015 at 05:35 AM. Reason: Looked up wrong price
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Old January 19th, 2015, 11:39 PM   #21
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Re: recording railroad audio??

It actually opens up a lot of thinking like.....
Should the sound be fixed and let the image on the video pan through it or should the sound pan with the video image (a bit like the human head)?
Also should the sound be narrower in width if the camera is zoomed in compared to being on a wide shot?
It's quite a different approach for each method, and a different thought pattern for each.
Broadcasters face this decision daily on some Outside Broadcasts.
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Old January 20th, 2015, 03:22 AM   #22
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Re: recording railroad audio??

The soundstage should always be a stable as possible and match the picture, that is why it tend to be done in audio post as you can control it better.

A pan may indicate that a train is passing but in reality the image is fixed as the screen you are watching will have it central for the whole of the shot if you pan the audio it may sound strange as the train goes from right to left but remains centrally featured on the screen.

There is also another option available to us in post if you are using certain digital desks such as the AMS Neve DFC or Logic that I helped to design the 90's.

We have an A/B wide control so you can change the width of a stereo signal and move the image from super wide to mono as for example a long lens shot zoom's in. It is done by adjusting the M/S content on an A/B signal and can be very useful for creating surround sound.
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Old January 20th, 2015, 03:36 AM   #23
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Re: recording railroad audio??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
It actually opens up a lot of thinking like.....
Should the sound be fixed and let the image on the video pan through it or should the sound pan with the video image (a bit like the human head)?
Also should the sound be narrower in width if the camera is zoomed in compared to being on a wide shot?
It's quite a different approach for each method, and a different thought pattern for each.
Broadcasters face this decision daily on some Outside Broadcasts.
Gee Brian, I think I've opened up a can of worms here..LOL it is all very interesting and a lot more complicated than it seems. I did a bit of sound mixing for bands back in the 80's, but I have forgot most of what I learned, and no digital back then! Capturing the best audio I can is the fist thing, then I will play with it in post(is that the right term) when I get back home. So I am looking at either a AT897 or Senhieser MKE-600
shot gun, and a Tascam Dr40 or better for the stereo sound? This hopefully, will give me good audio with portability on my trip.
Gregg:-)
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Old January 20th, 2015, 03:42 AM   #24
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Re: recording railroad audio??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
The soundstage should always be a stable as possible and match the picture, that is why it tend to be done in audio post as you can control it better.

A pan may indicate that a train is passing but in reality the image is fixed as the screen you are watching will have it central for the whole of the shot if you pan the audio it may sound strange as the train goes from right to left but remains centrally featured on the screen.

There is also another option available to us in post if you are using certain digital desks such as the AMS Neve DFC or Logic that I helped to design the 90's.

We have an A/B wide control so you can change the width of a stereo signal and move the image from super wide to mono as for example a long lens shot zoom's in. It is done by adjusting the M/S content on an A/B signal and can be very useful for creating surround sound.
Gary, you've lost me a little now Sir!! But I do understand where you are coming from and your info has been very helpful, so I will go with your (and others) original idea of a shot gun and field recorder, as I stated to Brian. Do you have a preference for a decent recorder, Tascam ??
Thanks Gregg.
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Old January 20th, 2015, 11:10 AM   #25
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Re: recording railroad audio??

Steam trains are my main video subject, and I've tried a few things over the years to get convincing audio. The set-up I've arrived at is as follows:
I use a short shotgun mic mounted on the camera, so that it's always pointed towards the subject. Most of the time, this gives a good, clear mono sound. The only time it doesn't work so well, is when I'm close to the line (within 50 feet) and let the train run past without panning all the way around. In that case, you can loose some high frequencies as the train goes "off axis", but it doesn't usually matter since most of the sound is low frequency rumble by that time. I use a Rode NTG1 mounted in a Rycote S-series blimp on the shoe-socket. My camera is a Canon XH-A1s (yes, still running HDV tape!) I've stuck with this, in part, because of it's reliable audio ALC (auto-level control) circuits - it doesn't over-amplify when sound levels are low, there's very little hiss, and it doesn't usually "pump" the volume, even when a loco is making a slow, noisy start (WHOOMPF... pause ... WHOOMPF ... pause ...etc.) - at least, not in a distracting way. Reliable ALC is important for a one-man-band. You can't be riding the audio faders while trying to get the picture right. (This is one way that the XH-A1s scores over the equivalent Sony FX1000/Z5, which has rather over-sensitive ALC.)

I chose the NTG1 after comparing it back-to-back with a Sennheiser ME66+K6. Although, through headphones, I could hear that the ME66 was a little better, I couldn't hear the difference through (quite good) TV speakers, and I decided it wasn't worth more than double the cost (in the UK in 2008). The down-sides of the NTG1 are that it's rather prone to wind noise (needs shielding from the back as well as where you'd expect up front) and will only work on cameras or recorders that supply phantom power. If I was buying today, I'd go for the NTG2, since it has the option of battery or phantom power, and so will work with almost any device (if you have the right cable).

I have experimented with adding stereo "ambience" using a separate recorder and a mic on a fixed tripod or pole close to the camera. I've used minidisc in the past, but now I have a Sony PCM-M10 which I use either with a Sony MS957 (as mentioned by Gary earlier) or just its built-in mics. Wind-shielding is important for both these, but you have more flexibility over where you place them, so you can often find a sheltered spot by a wall or a hedge that wouldn't be any good for the camera. The finished effect can work rather well, though it's not straight forward.

However, I don't use stereo regularly. It takes extra time to set up and take down, which can be a problem if you're hurrying to get ahead of the train at its next water stop, and it adds extra complications to the editing process. I struggle to edit even half the stuff I shoot during the year as it is (I do the editing for a couple of friends as well). I have found that, if you're going to do stereo, you need to do it all the time. All mono (if it's otherwise good quality) will sound fine to most viewers. However, add a couple of stereo sequences and they'll stand out, making the rest of the sound-track seem a bit shabby. It's a bit like putting a digital clip in the middle of an analogue video, or running a fine-scale coach in the middle of a ready-to-run HO model train!

BTW, careful about the clapper board & announcement. Make sure the guy beside you isn't rolling when you do it. Mind you, that's nothing compared to the 5 still photographers gossiping away on their aluminium ladders just to your left! ;-)

Follow the link in my signature to see the sort of things I and my pals have produced.
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Old January 20th, 2015, 04:02 PM   #26
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Re: recording railroad audio??

Hello Gregg !! There have been fabulous responses to your question. Since my first question about this in 2011 cited by Battle, I have found that diesel locomotives are very difficult to record up close, especially when working hard, and I still haven't really come to terms with it. I tried some different mics to improve the audio from my AT875r, but even up in the stratospheric range of the Sennheiser 8060 and 416 the booming around 120hz is what dominates. I really like the idea of recording a separate track or tracks with a static omni mic and using a shotgun on the camera and maybe using the shotgun for approach and recede and omni when going past.
I also found that the limiter and ALC on my Canon XF 100 were good but not good enough, so I held my breath and clicked "buy" on a sound devices mix pre d. That alone was the biggest improvement to date. Superb limiters and church- mouse- quiet pre's. But there really is no substitute for learning what distances equate to what sound levels, and setting your recording levels for them. My $.02 only.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 01:11 AM   #27
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Re: recording railroad audio??

Hi Scott,
First of all, do you know what Gregg I am???, or did you work it out straight away? I will email you soon regarding Mullan Pass and my arrival dates...yes "that " Gregg..LOL I have read your entire post from 2011, couldn't believe my eyes when I read the name, what a small world! Yes , it is an interesting subject and I had no idea how much is involved, but I'm very grateful for all the inputs and ideas. I have read so much in the last week , amps , filters and so on, my heads about full..LOL But since I don;t want to fill your car up with camera gear, I have to keep it small, but as effective as I can. So I think I'll go with a Senheiser MKE-600
and maybe a Tascam DR44wl recorder, with the Hxr-NX3. I'm not decided on the Tascam , yet , so maybe some will offer another choice?
Anyway , thanks for dropping by and I will email you shortly!

Cheers Gregg.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 04:33 AM   #28
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Re: recording railroad audio??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fry View Post
Steam trains are my main video subject, and I've tried a few things over the years to get convincing audio. The set-up I've arrived at is as follows:
I use a short shotgun mic mounted on the camera, so that it's always pointed towards the subject. Most of the time, this gives a good, clear mono sound. The only time it doesn't work so well, is when I'm close to the line (within 50 feet) and let the train run past without panning all the way around. In that case, you can loose some high frequencies as the train goes "off axis", but it doesn't usually matter since most of the sound is low frequency rumble by that time. I use a Rode NTG1 mounted in a Rycote S-series blimp on the shoe-socket. My camera is a Canon XH-A1s (yes, still running HDV tape!) I've stuck with this, in part, because of it's reliable audio ALC (auto-level control) circuits - it doesn't over-amplify when sound levels are low, there's very little hiss, and it doesn't usually "pump" the volume, even when a loco is making a slow, noisy start (WHOOMPF... pause ... WHOOMPF ... pause ...etc.) - at least, not in a distracting way. Reliable ALC is important for a one-man-band. You can't be riding the audio faders while trying to get the picture right. (This is one way that the XH-A1s scores over the equivalent Sony FX1000/Z5, which has rather over-sensitive ALC.)

I chose the NTG1 after comparing it back-to-back with a Sennheiser ME66+K6. Although, through headphones, I could hear that the ME66 was a little better, I couldn't hear the difference through (quite good) TV speakers, and I decided it wasn't worth more than double the cost (in the UK in 2008). The down-sides of the NTG1 are that it's rather prone to wind noise (needs shielding from the back as well as where you'd expect up front) and will only work on cameras or recorders that supply phantom power. If I was buying today, I'd go for the NTG2, since it has the option of battery or phantom power, and so will work with almost any device (if you have the right cable).

I have experimented with adding stereo "ambience" using a separate recorder and a mic on a fixed tripod or pole close to the camera. I've used minidisc in the past, but now I have a Sony PCM-M10 which I use either with a Sony MS957 (as mentioned by Gary earlier) or just its built-in mics. Wind-shielding is important for both these, but you have more flexibility over where you place them, so you can often find a sheltered spot by a wall or a hedge that wouldn't be any good for the camera. The finished effect can work rather well, though it's not straight forward.

However, I don't use stereo regularly. It takes extra time to set up and take down, which can be a problem if you're hurrying to get ahead of the train at its next water stop, and it adds extra complications to the editing process. I struggle to edit even half the stuff I shoot during the year as it is (I do the editing for a couple of friends as well). I have found that, if you're going to do stereo, you need to do it all the time. All mono (if it's otherwise good quality) will sound fine to most viewers. However, add a couple of stereo sequences and they'll stand out, making the rest of the sound-track seem a bit shabby. It's a bit like putting a digital clip in the middle of an analogue video, or running a fine-scale coach in the middle of a ready-to-run HO model train!

BTW, careful about the clapper board & announcement. Make sure the guy beside you isn't rolling when you do it. Mind you, that's nothing compared to the 5 still photographers gossiping away on their aluminium ladders just to your left! ;-)

Follow the link in my signature to see the sort of things I and my pals have produced.

Hi Mark,
Interesting story, steam is really alive in the UK , which is great! This a step up on video and audio for me, but I'm excited to get my teeth into it. I try not to chase trains, so much, more like I set up in a place and stay for a while...a long while down here as there's a long wait between trains! So having a recorder on a small tripod, or on the ground? will be easy enough for me, as long as I don't forget it! I will be mindful of my "clapper" noise, but I concur with your dig at Still snappers making noises..LOL
As for fine scale models, I model HO present day US, and the new fine scale freight cars are fantastic, but you have to be careful handling them as the details are so fine!
Thanks for the input, cheers!
Gregg
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Old January 21st, 2015, 08:21 AM   #29
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Re: recording railroad audio??

I find on-camera mics pic up too much extraneous noise, so I've taken to just using a small fishpole and blimp for wind protection. There's always some way of propping it up away from the camera.

The first pic at the bottom shows the setup that I use now, sometimes with an additional audio recorder or another remote cabled or radio mic. The Rode NTG-3 in the blimp is a big step up in audio quality from the NTG-2 I used before, and seems imperious to weather (I've had a few strange noises, quiet but audible, from non-RF biased mics in damp weather).

The second pic shows the blimp (almost) hidden in a station shelter for the video below. The audio was recorded in mono from near the bridge as well as at the station.

Attached Thumbnails
recording railroad audio??-rail_mic.jpg   recording railroad audio??-blimp.jpg  

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Old January 24th, 2015, 07:28 PM   #30
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Re: recording railroad audio??

Nice clips there Colin, reminds me of a Michael Portillo railway adventure episode!! Nice audio, I almost got a NTG-3 , but settled on a Mke-600, see how that goes? Also I bought a Zoom H5 recorder to get stereo as well. All new to me , so we'll see how it goes, I have to get it sorted soon as I leave for the US in May.

Thanks for the input, cheers,
Gregg
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