Audio Setup for Seminar Shoot with XL2 at DVinfo.net

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Old January 23rd, 2007, 02:41 PM   #1
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Audio Setup for Seminar Shoot with XL2

Shooting a seminar and trying to determine best audio setup. Will have several different speakers and it will be in a large auditorium - most likely with a built in PA. Speakers will be at a podium - but will most likely receive questions from the live audience.

Besides an XL2 with its shotgun mike - our equipment includes a wirless Azden wm and wr Pro Lavilier and the Azden EX-413 handheld mike. We also have a Panasonic AG-DV2500 Mini DV Deck and an older Panasonic PV-GS70 camcorder. We will probably shoot 24pa for DVD and web use.

Considering recording directly to the DG2500 deck or the Panasonic PV-GS70 and syncing to the xl2. Quality is important and not sure we have the right audio equipment for this shoot.

Has anyone had experience recording directly to a deck (mini dv tape). Would it be better to go directly to the xl2 with a cable? Should we try to tie into the existing system? If so - what will we need? Should we purchase additional audio equipment? Would appreciate any recommendations. Thanks.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 04:26 PM   #2
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How many total cameras are you wanting to run? You seem to have several available but are you trying to use every one of them? If it were my shoot this would be my approach:

Video

Run the XL2 as the main camera. Straight on, main shot of the speaker.

Run another camera from the front as a reverse shot that can look back and get shots of the people asking the questions.

Audio

Make sure you have a dedicated audio person on hand.

Buy a small mixer if you don't have one. I'm not recommending anything here, you really just need something to mix together two to four sources.

Pull a feed from the house sound system. You'll probably need a 1/4" connector for that so have a 1/4" to XLR adapter on hand. Run that feed to the mixer.

Put a shotgun mic on the reverse camera and hard wire it or set it up wirelessly to run to the second channel of your mixer.

Run your mixer output (two channels) directly to the XL2.

When a speaker is talking it's easy, you just use the Ch. 1 input that's the house feed. When the speaker is done and someone stands up to ask a question, you mix in the shotgun mic that you have on Ch. 2 so that you can hear the question.

Possible issues: No house feed to pull from. In that case I would use a handheld mic and place it in front of a speaker from the house. But this is a very rough way to get your audio so make an effort to pull from the house system. Another issue is if you have trouble getting the shotgun mic run back to the mixer. In that case you may want to record it straight to the reverse camera input.

That setup is the easiest way to cover an event. If you run your mics straight into the XL2 then you can't combine the channels until post. Running through a small mixer you'll save a lot of time in post.

I'm not sure why you would want to record it to a deck unless your mixing the video live also. In that case, you would run the output of the mixer into the deck. If I'm not mixing the video live I always prefer to run good tracks to the camera for monitoring purposes.

If the room is extremely large (over 1000 seating) and this is very important, you could place mics in different locations to help ensure that every question is heard. But even a short shotgun can pickup enough that it's understandable on the final video if the room seats less than 1000.

Hope that helps some. If you're still unclear ask more questions.

Ben
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 06:56 PM   #3
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If you are shooting in a large auditorium you can bet your bottom dollar they have a pretty good PA system. You need to connect to that system for your camera audio feeds. How your do that could be interesting. My advice is to find where you can physically connect to an audio line out from the PA and attach a wireless transmitter to that feed. Lock the transmit frequency to your receiver on at least one camera and you should be good to go. Hard wire XLR feeds are better, but not always logistically realistic, i.e., how much set-up/sound check time do you have?

You should also have a stand-alone digital audio recording system at the podium. I like iRiver MP3 recorders, but any digital recording system will do.

Q&A sessions can take one of two forms:

The first (and biggest pain in the a$$) is the production assistant(s) who wanders about the floor with wireless hand helds and actually bring the mic to the person the question. These are difficult situations because there are usually two or more "wanderers" on the floor who generally know nothing about anything. they leave mics switch on while walking. They unwittingly turn the mics off and frantically seek help when they discover "something is wrong" (like you have time for that). And, of course, there is mic handling noise from everyone.

The other form is the standing floor mic (two to four, or more) where persons wishing to ask questions walk up to a mic positioned in a main traffric aisle and deliver the question. I much prefer this approach because it has an element of structure. You want to talk? Step up to a microphone. The astute house audio tech will shut down all other mics, providing everyone with clean audio.

Regardless of approach, house Q&A can only be accessed from the house PA.

If your house audio feed is XLR, and you have any of Canon's XLR adapters, use them. If your house audio feed is high impedance RCA Record Out, you must have some kind of audio interface/mixer. A BeachTek or Sign Video XLR/line 2 channel adapter that feeds into a mini-plug will serve you well.

Find some other kind of wireless mic system than the Azden Pro series. I own one and refuse to use it unless my receiver is 20' or less from the transmitters. To add insult to injury, the 9v battery supply drops below 8 volts within 20 minutes, which opens the door to audio drop outs on a frightenly fast occurrance rate.

It is always better to feed audio directly to (and through) a camera because you never know which piece of gear will fail when you least want it to fail. The failure will always occur in the audio feed to tape (which you can not hear). Feed audio (as well as video, if you can) to as many locations as possible.

Purchase additional equipment? By all means, yes! But not until you know what is available to you within the facility.

I spent a good part of my life doing this exact kind of task. Feel free to email me privately with more questions.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 09:29 PM   #4
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I shoot a lot of seminars where the speakers may or not be stationery. Sometimes theres audience participation sometimes not.
IF it's a big enough seminar or show and they have a seperate sound guy running a mixer I plug into the board back to my main camera (most of them are either 1 or 2 cameras one staionaery on a riser at the back of the room to get the front riser where the speaker(s) is/are and one closer up to the stage to be able to swing around and get the audience). I generally hard wire to the mixer but at times depending on locations I'll run a wireless transmitter.

IF it is a small show (seminar) and they aren't using a mixer but using the house system I do one of two things depending on the client.
1) I supply a small mixer (they pay for the use) and run the house mics to that and pull a feed from that to my camera

2) I'll wire the speakers with a lav mic and run back to the camera.

Some of the stuff I do is only 2 speakers and they alternate at the break generally an hour and a half and then take 15 minutes for the audience to break so I can switch the body pak to the next speaker OR just shut down the one pak.
This works well except genrally I can't really pick up any questions from the audience but I make sure the client knows and understands that.

If I'm switching the body pak from 1 to another I'll use a shotgun on a boom with a wireless transmitter back to the camera with someone to handle the boom.

There are lots of different ways to handle this situation it all depends on the setup they are using and how much the client is going to pay for the service.

I've done them where I've run 6 different wirelss systems including a boom to a mixer and run a feed to the main camera. I've done it with 1 wireless sytem straight back and I've done them running my own mixer to the house system.

It all depends.

If I were you I would get some more info from the client as to exactly what they plan on doing for the audio (mixer or not) and how many speakers they plan on having talk at any given time. If it's a panel discussion you'll need a bunch of stuff, if it's not you might be able to get away with what you have.

Don
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 11:05 PM   #5
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awesome info, guys.
wow...what a resource this place is.
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Old January 24th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #6
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Great Info

Thanks for the prompt and detailed reply. Looks like we need to purchase a mixer. Looking at the Rolls MX422 Basic Field Mixer Kit at B&H since it has the cables and four channels. Good choice?

Looks like we will need to tie into a PA - and also pick up comments from the audience. Thinking about keeping our small consumer Pana-GS70-3ccd stationary and close in on the speaker with a direct feed to the PA (if possible) to capture the main audio and using the xl2 for pans and q&A. Did a test shooting 4:3 24pa with the xl2 - and suprisingly - the (close up) 60I footage captured with GS70 looked like it would mix well with the xl2 footage. Are we asking for trouble mixing these two cameras and capturing audio with a consumer camcorder? Appreciate the help.
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Old January 24th, 2007, 04:25 PM   #7
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It's been my experience that panisonic cameras are the most adaptable cameras of the major manufacturers. One thing to check however is the lighting. As long as there's adequate lighting a small pani will match up ok as a cutaway shot. But if the camera has to use any gain it won't match up very well with the XL2 that almost certainly won't need any gain in it's footage. If it's just for the cutaway shot then people may not notice a difference. Can you man that camera also? If the XL2 is on a wide shot and you cut to the pani with a wide shot you'll have a noticable cut. So be aware of the two cameras on the same framing when you make a cut. Are you editing everything together in post?


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Old January 25th, 2007, 02:14 PM   #8
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The Panasonic GS70 wouldn't be my first choice to capture audio.
Compared with the XL2, it doesn't have balanced xlr inputs and only limited gain controls. One solution could be to place your Panasonic AG-DV2500 next to the house PA, so you could minimise the unbalanced cable run (rca inputs on the DV2500) and still have an audio backup on Mini DV.
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Old March 31st, 2007, 07:35 AM   #9
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Seminar - Panel Discussion Audio

This seminar will be a panel discussion of four sitting at a straight table in front of a live audience in a 1500 square foot hotel conference room. We are using two canon xl2's. Not sure of best way to set up audio - which we just need from the panel. Our existing equipment includes a Rolls MX422 Field Mixer (4 chanels), one sennheiser ew 100 g2 wireless, one Azden wm pro wireless, and one Sennheiser RE50m Mic with a Sennheiser Skp 100 wireless transmitter.

Need a recommendation on the best way to set this up.

Two table top Mic's? Brand?
four wireless?
Can we use our RE50 mike and purchase one additional Mic

Is a dedicated audio person recommended for this set up?

Also - would like to thank everyone for the great input for our last seminar - which turned out great. Just picked up a little hum that we were able to get out in post.
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Old March 31st, 2007, 08:32 AM   #10
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Again, this is a type of seminar I do a lot of. Here's my REC-4 wired SM58s or similar-1 for each speaker at the table-back to the mixer and out from there.
I say wired because there is less chance of a goof them - the room is small enough to set the audio setup to the side of the room and run to it and I have had 1 person as a floater-handle the mixer and anything else I can't do when I'm running a camera or whatever I'm doing. Frankly in a setup like this it's set it and forget it you really shouldn't need someone on the mixer during the seminar since it doesn't seem like you're running any music or VOG mic or anything else.
Thats just my take on a small show like this.
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Old March 31st, 2007, 09:21 AM   #11
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The mic on the XL2 is not a shotgun. It's a stereo mic.

Regards,

Ty Ford

BTW, there is no such thing as a stereo shotgun mic.
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Old April 1st, 2007, 12:09 PM   #12
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AT Pro 44 Boundry Mics

Thinking about buying two AT Pro 44 Boundry Mics for this seminar. Anyone have experience with them for seminars? Thanks.

This seminar will be a panel discussion of four sitting at a straight table in front of a live audience in a 1500 square foot hotel conference room. We are using two canon xl2's. Not sure of best way to set up audio - which we just need from the panel. Our existing equipment includes a Rolls MX422 Field Mixer (4 chanels), one sennheiser ew 100 g2 wireless, one Azden wm pro wireless, and one Sennheiser RE50m Mic with a Sennheiser Skp 100 wireless transmitter.

Need a recommendation on the best way to set this up.

Two table top Mic's? Brand?
four wireless?
Can we use our RE50 mike and purchase one additional Mic
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Old April 1st, 2007, 12:27 PM   #13
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Four open mics in a room that big (with PA, I'm sure) will sound really echoey and phasey.

I'd put a Shure SM58 with table stand in front of each of the four and run them hardwired through an automixer like a Shure FP410. It turns off or down (depending on how it's adjusted) any mic not spoken into. It's a mono mixer with dual mic/line outputs.

You could connnect each mic level output of the FP410 to the XL2 camera mic level inputs and set their input so they put the audio on both audio tracks.

The FP410 has a pretty good limiter. If there are no other sources, you can bypass the Rolls. If you need other sources.......

Hardwire the FP410 to your Rolls and feed both XL2 camera by cable.

You can also try to use your SKP 100 to go from your rolls to the other XL2, but if you can hardwire that, you'll (I'd) feel safer.

I'd have at least one camera hardwired to reduce the possibility of RF problems.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old April 1st, 2007, 07:19 PM   #14
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You might consider purchasing a Whirlwind (or simular) XLR snake. I have a 75 foot 6 channel version that makes set-up and breakdown quick and easy. Plus you will have extra inputs at the head table. This has saved me a few times when a speaker desides to play a video or Powerpoint with audio.
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