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Old November 16th, 2017, 10:07 AM   #31
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Re: External audio recorder

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Hi Kathy,

I don't have the premix, but the number of inputs is irrelevant to the premise. I have an 8 input mixer which will also record to two output tacks. On a mixer of any sort, you will have input channels which will either just have a simple gain or volume control on each input channel or other controls such as eq which may either be in the form of control knobs or switches, or set from accessible menus.

The input channels will be routed after mixing to the output bus which could be just one on a mono mixer, two on a stereo mixer or more on a multi output buss mixer. Most mixers will also have some sort of 'Pan' control, which is basically to vary the amount going to each output channel. so anticlockwise will send the signal to the left output buss, clockwise to the right output buss and centre equally to both. In a multi output buss mixer, you would have a further switch to send each channel to the output pair that you want.

If the mixer also includes a built in recorder, like the Premix, there will be a fixed number of record 'Tracks'. So a stereo recorder will just have two record tracks and it will be up to the user to route each channel output to the left and right outputs and record tracks depending on where in the stereo image they want each channel to appear. If you are just using two mics, they could be recorded with one on each track, or both equally on both tracks if you wanted, or offset slightly between left and right. The more input channels you have depending on the mixer, the more you can vary your mic positions in the stereo image.

If the Premix only has two record tracks but 3 mic inputs, you just need to decide where to arrange each mic in the stereo image. If it has three record tracks, then you can record them all separately if you want. I should also say that some recorders have paired tracks so that you can make two identical recordings at different levels as a backup.

This is why you see audio recorders listed as stereo(2 tracks) 4 tracks, 6 track etc. If you are a multi mic user, the the more record tracks you have, the more you can change things at the editing stage.

Hope you are not even more confused now,

Roger
Well, you just got me mildly confused! Here is the thing. All I want to do, for now, is to record 2 people. They each have their own lavs and I want to get a mono recording of each. I want to end up with two files, with mono recordings of each speaker. Really simple. I'm not mixing anything on a fly, I don't need to do anything fancy. Is there something I need to know about tracks and buses to get this accomplished?

Last edited by Kathy Smith; November 16th, 2017 at 01:28 PM. Reason: typo
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Old November 16th, 2017, 10:50 AM   #32
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Re: External audio recorder

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Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
I see, I will have to test that. Thanks. How do you monitor the sound? Do you listen to the recording on the external recorder or the one on the camera?
You could monitor in either place. If you're going to use the camera tracks and not sync, monitor on the camera. If you're going to sync the recorder tracks, first make sure you're getting a good signal into the camera to sync to, and then monitor the recorder.
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Old November 16th, 2017, 10:53 AM   #33
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Re: External audio recorder

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Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
I don't understand this. I have 3 XLR inputs on the mixpre, so if I'm in BASIC mode, do I not get 3 separate tracks if I have 3 inputs? Maybe I'm confusing track and channel?
In Basic mode you can plug in three sources but it records to two tracks only. So each one would need to be panned left, right, or center. So you're doing a LR mix of three sources and recording it and/or outputting it to your camera.
To record three separate tracks you have to use the Advanced mode. That would give you the three isolated sources plus a LR mix if you want it. So five tracks total. Channels are what you plug your sources into, tracks are what you can record to.
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Old November 17th, 2017, 09:15 AM   #34
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Re: External audio recorder

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Originally Posted by Bernie Beaudry View Post
In Basic mode you can plug in three sources but it records to two tracks only. So each one would need to be panned left, right, or center. So you're doing a LR mix of three sources and recording it and/or outputting it to your camera.
To record three separate tracks you have to use the Advanced mode. That would give you the three isolated sources plus a LR mix if you want it. So five tracks total. Channels are what you plug your sources into, tracks are what you can record to.
Thank you, that makes sense. Here is another question if I have two inputs (two lav mics) and I'm in Basic mode, do you get one file with two tracks (one lav on one track and the other lav on the other track) or do I get both inputs mixed into both tracks or do I get two separate files (each having two tracks with one lav on each track)?
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Old November 17th, 2017, 04:13 PM   #35
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Re: External audio recorder

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Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
Well, you just got me mildly confused! Here is the thing. All I want to do, for now, is to record 2 people. They each have their own lavs and I want to get a mono recording of each. I want to end up with two files, with mono recordings of each speaker. Really simple. I'm not mixing anything on a fly, I don't need to do anything fancy. Is there something I need to know about tracks and buses to get this accomplished?
Hi Kathy,

I can not answer your questions entirely. The scope of your answer is not simple and beyond a short forum post. What you are asking is really about "How do I learn proper gain staging and record good interview audio?" There are books written about it and operators who spent years to understand that. I am familiar with your posts on this forum and the tools you use. You are on the right track to achieving your goal. I believe your frustration is coming from a lack of understanding audio for video in general. No one on this forum will be able to tell you exactly how to set up your Sound Devices MixPre-3 and Canon C100 so that it will be simple and work every time for a two person interview. There is much more to it than that. I am not writing to be critical in any way. I have seen you work through several other things you wanted to lean on this forum. I know you always figure out a solution that works for you in the end. I think I can make a couple of comments to help you avoid a disaster in the future.

First, your goal of an end result with with two separate mono tracks from two lavs is very attainable with the tools you have. It can be done, and should be done, in my opinion with the end result recorded in the camera. The MixPre-3 records should be your backup records, not the other way around.

Please let me explain how I THINK about audio flow. I think of all audio in terms of signal flow. That is the name of the game. Then I plan a backup system for all audio records. Next I consider workflow.

Signal flow is about following, directing, and manipulating the source all the way to the recorded result. In other words, where is it going and what are you doing to it on the way. Your signal flow is this: Spoken word (X2) - Lavs (X2) - Mixer/ Recorder (do not stop there) - Camera, final destination, one lav on Right, one on Left. Result: Quality record in camera and separate files for backup recorded by Mixer/Recorder and a simple post production workflow.

Just because you purchased a quality off camera recorder does not mean you should disregard your cameras audio recording capability. The downfall of camera recording is their preamps, not the signal they record. When fed a proper robust signal most cameras will record very good audio. It seems to me you are disregarding the "Mixer" side of your MixPre-3 and it is a very good mixer with preamps that far exceed you C100s ability. Just one of the areas this can greatly improve your audio is anytime you need to boost a signal above average you can do it with the MixPre-3 superior preamps and not introduce noise at the camera. When booming this is critical. Even a soft talker on a lav requires additional gain. This should all take place on the mixer.

Avoiding disaster? You mentioned the possibility of forgetting to hit record on the MixPre-3. You may think that could never happen to you. I have seen it happen with devastating results to some very competent technicians. It does not happen to me. Am I so good I could never forget? Absolutely not! It does not happen to me because I know it could so I build backup systems into my signal flow. Thinking of your C100 audio as a sinc track only is dangerous. Especially when all you need to do is feed it a good signal. It records audio everytime you hit record, no extra step necessary.

You said "using advanced mode on the MixPre-3 is beyond your understanding". I suggest you learn to understand it. I know you want a simple answer to your post that tells you how to do it. Instead all can offer is a way of thinking about how to achieve your goal. You have great tools to work with. They can do it if you learn to understand them. Start basic and learn advanced until you can adapt to any situation.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old November 18th, 2017, 04:46 AM   #36
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Re: External audio recorder

Hi Kathy,

Steve is absolutely correct, you have the tools to do the job well, but are lacking in the background knowledge to understand how to use them correctly. You need to understand more about the sound itself and how to to get the best from your equipment. That is not something that can be picked up from a few forum questions and you need time to understand and absorb. It is very easy to to do a worse job with better gear just by using it incorrectly.

As Steve said, the ideal situation is getting the best possible sound recorded on the camera, but you could equally come unstuck trying to achieve it. Although I have various mixers and recorders, I film mainly weddings and don't have time at a wedding to set up levels between equipment, or the ability to run cables in most instances. To that end I keep it absolutely basic with a very small pocket recorder and lav for the speakers. I have a number of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-ICD-PX...sony+icd-px312
For your two person interview, I would put a lav on each person and a recorder in an inside pocket or similar, put them into record 15 minutes early and forget about them. Then in post cut out the first 15 minutes of garbage and sync the two tracks to the sound from the camera mic.

Using that method, the sound will be consistent and pretty much foolproof. I would learn a lot more about audio before using the Premix in a situation where you could get it wrong, but you have some great gear once you are familiar with it. Audio is frequently one of those things that is often overlooked by videographers but is as important and sometimes more so than the video.

Roger
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Old November 18th, 2017, 08:25 AM   #37
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Re: External audio recorder

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Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
Thank you, that makes sense. Here is another question if I have two inputs (two lav mics) and I'm in Basic mode, do you get one file with two tracks (one lav on one track and the other lav on the other track) or do I get both inputs mixed into both tracks or do I get two separate files (each having two tracks with one lav on each track)?
I'm guessing it will be a poly file which will be a single file that has two separate tracks. What goes to each track would depend on your left, right, or center panning. For two sources you would pan one left and one right. If you panned either source to the center then that source would go to both tracks. If it isn't a poly file then it would appear as two separate mono files which would have the exact same start time. I suggest you do some test recordings, import them into your edit system and see how they look. I'm sure its in the manual but I don't have time to look it up.
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Old November 18th, 2017, 08:40 AM   #38
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Re: External audio recorder

Steve and Roger make some good points but ultimately it all really depends on the workflow that works the best for you. Most importantly you need to know your gear and how to get the best performance out of it. You do that by reading the manual, asking questions, and then experimenting before taking it out on a real job. If you get comfortable with it in a low stress environment then you minimize potential mistakes.
There are many ways to get the job done, but what works the best for you is the right one.
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Old November 19th, 2017, 04:27 AM   #39
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Re: External audio recorder

#1 reason to use an external recorder and not just the camera itself: as doing sound is a full time job in its own right! (usually several full time jobs!)

Thus is a terrible compromise to make the cameraman do sound as well.
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