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Old January 14th, 2007, 07:16 AM   #1
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Live audio help

Hey all, I do alot of live music videography for some local bands and have been trying to figure out a way to get decent live audio. Previous times, ive used the on board mic which when walking around gets crazy,im constantly riding the gain and never get a decent live mix. If the entire band is mic'ed up and mixed thru the house, I ask the sound engineer to just send me the mixed signal and I plug it into the mic input on my vx2100. But that tethers me to the board and in the back.

Any ideas of some relatively inexpensive system that i may be able to use to send it to the camera wirelessly(if thatsa word). I was thinking of using a guitar/bass wireless system but its backwards. The send is the small battery powered piece and the recieve is the large station with antennas and ac power. I need the send to be ac powered and my recieving to be battery powered and small so i can run around with my camera getting shots of the talent.

Any ideas or suggestions?I wish I could afford many cameras and just leave one at the board, but I dont have multiple cameras and I dont trust my camera alone on a tripod around a bunch of people. Rule number 1 ....dont leave your camera unattended. Anyways let me hear some thoughts on it.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 07:54 AM   #2
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Well. If you really like sound-board mixes and just don't want to be tied down to the board, why not just get a cheap mini-disc recorder and leave it at the sound board...then you can sync it up in post?

I on the other hand would prefer to have a good external mic because the line-out from a soundboard mix in a club just isn't reliable. If you can work with the sound engineer on the mix, or record all tracks individually and mix them later then maybe, but if you're going to local clubs chances are they won't really want to work with you on something that would give you good results.

I'd pick up a Rode NT3 Hypercardioid microphone, or an Audio Technica 4053a. You'll need to power them with a battery though and use an XLR to mini-jack connector. The minidisc recorder is still a good idea though (since you don't want to buy a second cam), cause then you can leave the mic stationary instead of moving with it mounted on your camera.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #3
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There are several separate issues to contend with here. One is that the house mix might be great for a PA but is often not the best sounding when listened to in the environment where your video will be seen.

Second is that recording in-camera means you can't cut in the middle of a song without interupting the music recording. So that means you must move the camera around while shooting, leading to what I think of as a firehose effect, the camera weaving and bobbing, panning and zooming around the scene in one long take like you were squirting a hose all over the scene. That sort of camera work just drives me nuts to watch -- incredibly distracting. I know, I know - it's popular on MTV but IMHO that doesn't mean it's any good! LOL. So that means going to double system so you can start, cut, reframe or reposition, and restart picture without interupting the music recording. So Craig's suggestion of a dedicated audio recorder is a good one, though I don't know that mini-disc is necessarily the only way to go. Something like the Zoom H4 or Tascam HD-P2 would be worth considering as well.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 10:05 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Irving
Well. If you really like sound-board mixes and just don't want to be tied down to the board, why not just get a cheap mini-disc recorder and leave it at the sound board...then you can sync it up in post?

I on the other hand would prefer to have a good external mic because the line-out from a soundboard mix in a club just isn't reliable. If you can work with the sound engineer on the mix, or record all tracks individually and mix them later then maybe, but if you're going to local clubs chances are they won't really want to work with you on something that would give you good results.

I'd pick up a Rode NT3 Hypercardioid microphone, or an Audio Technica 4053a. You'll need to power them with a battery though and use an XLR to mini-jack connector. The minidisc recorder is still a good idea though (since you don't want to buy a second cam), cause then you can leave the mic stationary instead of moving with it mounted on your camera.
Ideally, you've got both mixes. The board mix as your master, and camera mix as a fall-back.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 10:29 AM   #5
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I'm not fond of the MTV-style shooting/editing either. I've been videotaping live shows for years now, and in the last year finally moving to multi-cam setups and the edited result has improved things by 200%.

So I definitely find that a 2nd cam is a way better option than just a backup audio recording. The more cams the merrier, but then it isn't always in everyone's budget.

I recommended the minidisc because I've heard it's good & cheap. I've never used one myself though. If I had a lot of money I would for sure drop it all on a nice Tascam CF recorder. I just can't see myself affording to do that for a while yet. Until then, I'll be keeping one good hypercardioid (most likely the Rode NT3 or the Audio Technica 4053a) on my V1U and having a backup mic recording on a 2nd cam (which is just a cheap Sony ECM-908C that I've been using over the years that still gives me good reliable sound).

One thing I've been considering doing with my V1U though is to get a Y-splitter for the hypercardioid and recording to two channels, one with AGC and the other one in manual mode. That way I have a backup track and avoid clipping, etc. Can anyone tell me whether or not that is a good or a bad idea?

Or, I'm also considering using a different style microphone and mounting it to the accessory shoe and recording it to the other channel. Both mic with different qualities will be mounted on top of the camera affording me a backup track and perhaps being able to mix/blend them together to come up with something good.

Aside from the heaviness of having all that mounted on top of the camera, is there another reason why I shouldn't keep two mics close together like that? I don't suppose there's any interference is there, or some sort of drastic reduction in quality? I know there's something called the "proximity effect" but I don't really know what that is or if it applies here, so I'll have to do some reading on Wikipedia.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 10:37 AM   #6
 
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Proximity effect only deals with directional mics, not omni's. The disadvantage to having two mics mounted on the cam, close together are that you'll likely experience phase issues. The same sound striking two mics at an identical level but at slightly different times, is an issue. This is why there are several different angle techniques for stereo recording.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 10:46 AM   #7
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Cool. Thanks Douglas. I knew there would be a reason why I shouldn't do it. I've been reading all your tips on the V1U recently and it's been EXTREMELY helpful. So I'm just wondering how you feel about what I said above, about the Y-Splitter, is that a good idea? Just to have different levels and such? I figure since I wouldn't be using the other XLR-input on my camcorder anyway, maybe it's worth it? Although maybe the AGC on the V1U can keep up just fine.

Just a quick check, has anyone compared the Audio Technica 4053a versus the NT3 for live music recording? I'd love to hear samples somewhere but I haven't been able to find anything except dialog/speech. Nothing for live-music.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 11:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Irving
...

Aside from the heaviness of having all that mounted on top of the camera, is there another reason why I shouldn't keep two mics close together like that? I don't suppose there's any interference is there, or some sort of drastic reduction in quality? I know there's something called the "proximity effect" but I don't really know what that is or if it applies here, so I'll have to do some reading on Wikipedia.
Adding a little to DSE's post as an FYI, 'proximity effect' refers to the change in frequency response inherent in directional mics as one moves the mic close to the sound source. You most often see it showing up in cardioid or hypercardiod mics as an increase in bass response as one gets up close, within what's called the critical distance. Vocal mics intended for close use are sometime designed with a bass roll-off or switchable bass filter to help counteract this effect or you can adjust the degree that it effects the sound with the equalizer in the input channel in your mixer. Skilled vocalists and voice talent will often learn to use the effect as a creative tool, 'working the microphone' in order to achieve a specific timbre to their sound.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #9
 
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You don't want to Y split a microphone in most instances, and almost never splitting one input to two mics. Use a mixer.
Your cam has two channels; you can run two mics into it.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 01:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
You don't want to Y split a microphone in most instances, and almost never splitting one input to two mics. Use a mixer.
Your cam has two channels; you can run two mics into it.

Yeah it didn't occur to me to split an input into two mics. I was intending to use the other channel on my camcorder if anything and just use the Y-Splitter from the one mic to have different levels.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 02:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Craig Irving
Yeah it didn't occur to me to split an input into two mics. I was intending to use the other channel on my camcorder if anything and just use the Y-Splitter from the one mic to have different levels.
Recording the same mic to both channels is not a bad idea, either one channel on auto and the other on manual or both on manual but with one channel set about 6db lower level than the other. But as DSE said, don't use a 'Y' splitter to accomplish it. Instead use a stereo mixer, panning the mic equally to the mixer's left and right channel outputs to feed the camera.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 03:19 PM   #12
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Any idea if putting a mic on a mic stand in the back of the room going to minidisc or some recorder and just leaving it there would work fine? Would need some trick to sync up.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 04:42 PM   #13
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No trick.

You just need two hands to clap together.
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