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Old January 16th, 2006, 09:41 PM   #1
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Multitracking Quandary

Hey fellas, I know this isn't the absolute perfect place to ask this question but I need help and I know I'll get atleast a little something from you fine folks.

My question is I'm going to be taping my brothers wedding and I'm getting more and more worried about the sound side of things. I have an Audigy 2ZS card in my computer. I have a Behringer mixer and two wireless microphones.

Now my question is, how can I multitrack the two microphones with this card and this mixer and this computer. And please no comments on the "disposable mixer"

I am more than confident on the video side of things as I have read numerous books and have actually done this before. The audio side.....not so knowledgable there. I know enough to get me in trouble :)

That and I intend on buying a better lapel mic....and the upgraded tripods....and enough batteries to power a small city....it never stops does it?

So please any help on the multitracking side of things is greatly appreciated.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 07:20 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Strickland
Hey fellas, I know this isn't the absolute perfect place to ask this question but I need help and I know I'll get atleast a little something from you fine folks.

My question is I'm going to be taping my brothers wedding and I'm getting more and more worried about the sound side of things. I have an Audigy 2ZS card in my computer. I have a Behringer mixer and two wireless microphones.

Now my question is, how can I multitrack the two microphones with this card and this mixer and this computer. And please no comments on the "disposable mixer"

I am more than confident on the video side of things as I have read numerous books and have actually done this before. The audio side.....not so knowledgable there. I know enough to get me in trouble :)

That and I intend on buying a better lapel mic....and the upgraded tripods....and enough batteries to power a small city....it never stops does it?

So please any help on the multitracking side of things is greatly appreciated.
Are you talking about "multi-tracking" in the sense of recording directly into your computer on several tracks simultaneously - each mic getting its own track, are you talking about sending each of your mics to separate audio tracks in your camera, or are you talking about mixing multiple mics and feeding the result to the camera to record one stereo track during the shoot?

Which Behringer do you have and what camera?
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Old January 17th, 2006, 08:11 AM   #3
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I have a Behringer UB1204FX-Pro

I have a Panasonic Pv-GS400 and a 150.

My main reason for asking this is that i will be using my lapel on the groom in the ceremony and more than likely taking an xlr feed from the house board into my mixer for like preacher audio and music. And yes I mean multitracked into my laptop where each input is it's own recording. I want to keep them seperate because I do not know if the house board has any latency in it. If the tracks got recorded together then they might run into one another and cover each other up if one signal has more or less latency than the other.

My big idea right now is to have the RCA outs from my mixer go into an 1/8th inch plug into my laptop. Have one channel on the mixer panned completely to the left and the other completely to the right. Thereby the output signal is in a sense multitracked because one input would be completely to one side of the wave form and the other channel would be completely to the opposite side of the waveform.

Make sense?
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Old January 17th, 2006, 09:23 AM   #4
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You can certainly do the laptop recording, but since you've only mentioned 2 or 3 signals and your two cameras have a combined total of 4 separate tracks that are already in-sync with the video, you have to ask the following question. Will I really gain anything by adding the laptop? It could be a case of which is cleaner, the PD-150 inputs or my laptop sound card inputs, as well as the audio controls on your Panasonic 400. Physical separation from the house sound board and your camera locations could also be a factor.
Tell us more convincing reasons why you need to add the laptop, it's not a necessity, but it could be beneficial in some circumstances.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 09:53 AM   #5
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Is that a GS-150, or a PD-150?

Either way, try and keep it simple. Adding a laptop to the mix really complicates the workflow and requires a lot of pre-production work to ensure that everything is ready when the ceremony starts. You could end up missing some really important pre-ceremony shots because of that.

If you have two sources (a lapel on the groom and a house feed) then designate one camera to record each source. If you work it out with the church ahead of time, and you know that you're going to have a house feed available, then that should cover all of your audio except for the vows. If you're still nervous, you could add a shotgun mic to a seperate channel of the GS400, but then you need a beachtek adapter to accomplish that. If you don't do this very often then it may not be worth the cost.

How many people are helping you with the shoot? Again, try and keep it simple, even at the cost of not achieving the absolute perfect and ideal mix. If you only use the wireless and the house feed, all of the most important sound from the ceremony will get recorded.

Ben Lynn
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Old January 17th, 2006, 12:49 PM   #6
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You mixer has an Alt3/4 bus so you can route any of the mono inputs to any of the 4 busses (2 stereo pairs) - Main left or right or Alt left or right. When setting up for tracking, each bus channel usually goes to a track on the recorder so if you had a multitrack recorder you could record up to 4 tracks at once with your mixer. The problem is your Audigy card only has a single stereo input as far as I can tell and so can only accept signal on one stereo pair from the mixer. There's just no place to plug in the other 2 channels.

FYI, as I understand latency, it doesn't mean there's a lag between the various input channels during recording. Instead it means that when you're recording and playing back at the same time there's a delay between the input and the output.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 04:27 PM   #7
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Well I have the GS-150 already, and I will be purchasing the 400 after a few more paychecks so i don't completely know all the in's and outs of the 400 just yet. One camera, more than likely the 150, will be back beside the mixer and house sound for the wide angle shot. And have the 400 up on the stage hidden amongst the flowers. So that limits the abilities to have mics plugged in to the camera.

I guess my main reason for wanting to have the laptop or just a seperate recorder is for sound quality and not trusting my camera sound processing. My whole total thought is have the wireless mics on my mixer and into my laptop. Have the inputs on the 150, in the back, be recording ambient sound.
The 400 in the front be recording through a rode videomic and then putting them all together in the end.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 07:30 PM   #8
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This is just the plan that popped into my head that made sense to me. I'm sure there are better ways to do things, but if I understand it and know what needs to happen here and there then isn't it a better plan?

I'm sure if I bought this equipment here and that equipment there it would be less complicated, but sometimes complicated is what makes us feel important. Not like Uncle Bob with his VHS camcorder walking around. If it would get the job done with the method I laid out, can I get a yay or nay on that?

Since I'll be the best man I'll have the remote controls for the 2 cameras and start them when I want. But as far as the audio recording I'll have my cousin pushing the record button on Audition. You may not like my method but it's what I've got. You ask for a strong reason to do it this way, well my strong reason is that I understand it. I want to ensure that I get the best possible audio from the equipment I have on hand.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 09:26 PM   #9
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Ah, yes a GS-150 rather than a PD-150 could make a logical difference in how you work. But if the GS-150 has line-level input capability during shooting, as well as manual level control, then I still think I'd use your mixer hooked to that camera. I'm not familiar with that or the 400's audio capabilities but you need good audio on the cameras to aid in editing even if that's not the audio you intend to use as the main source.
You should strive to have useable audio on all 3 devices in case there's a problem during the ceremony. Or should I say "when" there's a problem that will creep in at some point.
You basically need 3 sources: Your wireless on the groom, the house feed for other mics, and a clean ambient mic. Between your cameras and your laptop you have up to 6 available tracks so you have flexibility in making your final decision.
You mentioned that you have two wireless mics. Can both receivers be set to the same frequency? If so you can record the signal from the groom's transmitter in two locations to help prevent a killer dropout. Even if you don't choose to do this, have your second set ready to go in case you discover a problem while prepping.
And of course record on your computer and cameras at 48k and 16-bit (or higher) sample rate. It makes things easier to match even if your editing software handles multiple sample rates automatically.
Lastly, the unbalanced RCA outputs from many mixers are much hotter than -10db consumer line-level. So you may have to guard against overloading the input of your recorder using this signal.
Sometimes it's easier to use an Aux Send because you can tap off a lower volume signal while keeping your trims, gain and metering at appropriate levels.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 09:53 PM   #10
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No, the 150 doesn't have manual level control, but the 400 does. That's essentially why I'm going to be recording on 3 different places.

1. the 150 camera mic for ambient sounds and that cool echo sound that can be thrown in on the final dvd. 2. the rode videomic on the soon to be purchased 400 placed very near the actual wedding party so as to pick up voices up front....side note..that videomic is extremely sensitive when it's pointed at something, very amazed....and 3. the lapel on my brother (the groom) which will more than likely be a sennheiser g2 because I just don't quite feel comfortable with the lapel I have...the lapel recording onto my laptop through my Behringer mixer. If I do take a feed off of the house sound then my lapel will be in channel 1 and the house sound will be set to channel 3 because channel 2 will be set to my handheld wireless for the reception interviews and speeches. This audiotechnica freeway wireless handheld I have for 90 bucks sounds absolutely gorgeous and the range is very surprising.

The lapel being panned to the left and the house sound to the right so as to have a cheap mans way of multitracking just two audio sources.

The only thing I still have to figure out is the reception speeches and interviews...if my table of stuff is setup in the church and the reception is just through the doorway, I really don't want to have to move everything since I will have plugins and powerstrips in full force so I'll have to start the recording and then go to the reception.....then after I think it's ok to turn it off and just go with the videomic I'll have to stop it. Nothing like a one man production :)
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Old January 18th, 2006, 08:39 AM   #11
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John,

You're setting yourself up for a problem. It's one thing to be the dedicated videographer for the day, but your the best man and the videographer?! If you're the best man, then you need to let go of this whole production. Be the best man. The groom will need you that day to take care of issues and hadle aspects of the wedding.

I know you may be trying to save him some money by doing this. But your not going there as the dedicated videographer and the setup that you're convinced is going to work, isn't going to work unless you're the one monitoring it the entire time. And even then it may not work out, you still aren't sure yourself. If it's experience you want, get it on someone else's wedding who isn't a close friend.

If you still want to be the best man, but give him a professional video, take the money for the gs400 and hire a local wedding videographer to come in and shoot the day and then hand you the unedited tapes. Then you do the editing and you'll be able to make it how you like.

If you step down as the best man, or pass off the video production, you won't have any regrets in the future. Decide which area is the most important to the groom and focus on that.

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Old January 18th, 2006, 11:19 AM   #12
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I don't really think it's necessary to hire someone else or not do it all together for the simple fact that once it starts, it's done until it's stopped.

Why would I need to hire someone to push record? I am the only one in the family that is fairly proficient in this field and so I naturally thought of doing this. I don't even really want to be the best man or even in the wedding to begin with.

Give the audio recording enough headroom and it should be fine. You can always boost the audio later but if it's too loud and distorted then it's junk.

I'm fully confident that I can pull this off and do it successfully without problems. My asking for help wasn't an admission of I can't do this or I don't think it will work it was more of a what're your thoughts but don't tell me I can't do it. Yes I'm defensive.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 12:35 PM   #13
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"I am the only one in the family that is fairly proficient in this field and so I naturally thought of doing this."

Hire it out and you don't have to worry about it. I know you think that you can do better than others, but lets be realistic. You're just setting up camera's and letting them run. That's the most unprofessional, and chancy, way to create a video that there is. If you really want to be a pro, trust other people when you can't be there and let them do what needs to be done for you. If you have a particular way that you want the video recorded, talk it over with the local videographer. I'm sure that they'd be more than happy to record it just like you want it.

"I don't even really want to be the best man or even in the wedding to begin with."

Fine. Don't be the best man, be the videographer. Problem solved and you know that you'll have everything you want.

"I don't really think it's necessary to hire someone else or not do it all together for the simple fact that once it starts, it's done until it's stopped."

and

"Why would I need to hire someone to push record?"

Not the case. Professional video is about proper control of the setting and the equipment. It requires a person to run that equipment at all times to achieve the desired quality. Don't be fooled. The subtle changes in the shot are what make it professional. Just because someone holds a medium or tight shot the entire time doesn't mean that they aren't working the camera constantly to keep that shot. Putting a camera on a tripod for a lockdown shot is not going to cut it. That's not so bad for a second camera when the main camera is being manned. But your just taking a guess and hoping for the best when you leave both cameras unmanned.

"Give the audio recording enough headroom and it should be fine."

Should? Your talking about one of the most important days in your friends, or families, life and your saying that it "should" be fine? How many times have you worked with audio that needed a major gain increase in post? Do you understand that there's no replacement for a clean track to begin with? Even with todays software a signal will only gain up so much before noticable noise is introduced.

You're really rolling the dice when you just hit record and walk away from your setup.

It's not a question of your ability to record a wedding. Relax. It sounds like you have plenty of skills for that. The question is whether or not you should be in the wedding, while also serving as the designated videographer. If it really means that much to you, and you think you're the only one who can run the cameras, step down from the role in the wedding and focus on just the video. Then you can use the setup you want and make it work. You can be there to make adjustments in case it doesn't. And if you can't be there, hire someone to be in that position.

Ben
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Old January 18th, 2006, 02:24 PM   #14
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I apologize for sounding slightly snappy earlier but this wedding is becoming a sore spot in the family. I was never asked to be the best man, it was just expected of me. I wasn't asked to video the wedding, my mind is just about to burst from boredom. You can only do so many lightsaber shots and green screen shots before you want to have something real to work on.

Of course in the end it won't be a static shot on the final edit, but yes it will be made up of static shots.

No offense to you or anyone else who suggests this but I refuse to hire someone to do something for me that I'm not being paid to do in the first place. That's just absurd. It's a project to give me something to do and to give me and my dad something to actually talk about. He's in the wedding as well, also not asked just expected.

This is the equipment I have, these are the circumstances I have. Not the best, but in the end it is just for me to have something to do. I wish I could get out of the wedding.....could I hire someone to stand in for me there?
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