Recorded a concert with HV10 - horrible audio results at DVinfo.net

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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old March 19th, 2007, 04:24 AM   #1
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Recorded a concert with HV10 - horrible audio results

I had someone tape my band's gig last week and was severely disappointed with the audio quality. I knew I couldn't expect too much from the built-in mic, but I had read so far that the camera automatically adjusts the input level to the volume. Well, if that is even case, it does so VERY poorly! The sound is completely distorted and not useable.

This was the first time I used this camera for an application like this, and it failed the test miserably. Since I will be playing more gigs with my band, and would like to keep some of them on tape, it looks like the HV10 is not the right camera for me after all. Which is a shame, cause I really liked it otherwise...

Guess I will be looking into the HV20 now, since it at least has a mic-in.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 07:39 AM   #2
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Or you could pick up an M-Audio Micro Track

It's a very portable 2 channel recorder that you could record your sound with, and very easily sync it up in post with footage from your HV-10 in post with what ever NLE you use.

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_u...2496-main.html
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Old March 19th, 2007, 10:24 AM   #3
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Hi Thorsten,

Could you discribe the type of band you are in, and the venue (type of building or arena) you play in ??

Second, do you have some, or all, of the instruments and vocalists Mic'ed ??

Third, how close was the Cam to the performers and sound system ??

Forth, how loud do you folks play ??

Audio is a very complex thing to record, and all these factors, and many other's, will influence how well your Cam may record it.

If you are a performer, you will not be hearing the same thing the audience hears, and it's possible that they were hearing what you now hear on your recording.

I would also agree with Geoff, that a seperate quality audio recorder would be better than most Cams' internal units. The trick is to set it up properly too.

Harold
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Old March 19th, 2007, 10:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorsten Poeppel View Post
but I had read so far that the camera automatically adjusts the input level to the volume. Well, if that is even case, it does so VERY poorly! The sound is completely distorted and not useable.
Standard for any on-camera mic in a live music situation. Some are better, some are worse, but they all stink. It's just the nature of sound reinforcement.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 11:10 AM   #5
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Agree with Nate, the audio levels of live sound will usually swamp the input and/or the mic element on most smaller camcorders.

If there is any kind of line in capability on the camera, make up the necessary cables/adapters and try to take a feed from the FOH mix.

-gb-
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Old March 19th, 2007, 11:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nate Weaver View Post
Standard for any on-camera mic in a live music situation.
Wholeheartedly agreed. The HV10 or any camcorder that has only an onboard mic with no other way to record an audio signal, simply is not the right choice of camcorder for that type of situation.

Choose the right tool for the right job. You'll want a camcorder with an audio input jack and manual audio level control, such as the forthcoming Canon HV20.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorsten Poeppel View Post
I had someone tape my band's gig last week and was severely disappointed with the audio quality. I knew I couldn't expect too much from the built-in mic, but I had read so far that the camera automatically adjusts the input level to the volume. Well, if that is even case, it does so VERY poorly! The sound is completely distorted and not useable.
Sadly, that's pretty much the rule with in-camera mics, particularly when they're on AGC (automatic gain control... that thing that adjusts the input level to the volume).

For recording any sort of live music, it's very easy to get into a situation in which the built-in mic is simply overdriven, no matter what the level settings. This is just the nature of a cheap mic, and why some of us have $500-$1000 external mics we use for this kind of thing (sorry, they won't connect directly to an HV20 either, though you can get an adaptor).

The HV10 (I'm buying one) has its place in the world, but I wouldn't use it for this, or not entirely for this. It's great for pocket camera work, backpacking, a backup to your main HDV camera, and plain old consumery stuff. If I only had the HV10, I would take a separate sound rig along for recording (well, I would say that anyway, because I pretty much always do, whether its recording from high quality mics though a USB interface to the laptop, or going beyond that with a mic mixer)... you can pretty easily sync up the audio and video in your editor (this was the standard for film A/V for years...the "clapper" on the clapboard is setting an A/V sync point on your film and recording).

If you have a camera like the HV20, and you're really lucky, you might try to get a line-level output from the main mixing board... just make sure you ask for a -10dBV output (consumer standard), not the +4dBu output, which is the pro-audio standard, but will be too hot for a consumer camcorder input. Also, no one at the mixing board is likely to have a cable for you, so you should at least have a 3.5mm stereo to dual 1/4" phone plug cable, and ensure it's long enough to get to your camcorder setup (if you record regularly at the same place, and they're allowing you a tap off the board, ensure that's what they're looking for... they might have a single 1/4" TRS connector or even XLRs for an available monitor output).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorsten Poeppel View Post
This was the first time I used this camera for an application like this, and it failed the test miserably. Since I will be playing more gigs with my band, and would like to keep some of them on tape, it looks like the HV10 is not the right camera for me after all. Which is a shame, cause I really liked it otherwise...
My advice is that, regardless of the camcorder, if you're looking for sound that's of anything more than casual use anyway, you want some good mics set up, or that mixing board tap (if it's your band, obviously, you can get the tap IF there's actually a board set up). It shouldn't be any problem to use that camera and record to a laptop or an MD recorder (I use them both)... sound in the HDV format is recorded in MPEG Layer 2, not raw as in DV, so you can pretty easily get better sound.

Another issue is that, if you have any kind of dynamics in your music, you pretty much need someone working the audio level controls during a show or a set, or you'll probably be unhappy with the result. When targeting DVD, I usually record the sound in 20-24 bit on a computer; this way, there's essentially "guard bits" to deal with changes in your effective dynamic range, without having to be too preoccupied with the audio, or hire a sound guy (or separate camera guy... I'm at least as much of a sound guy as a video guy, having done audio for years before video just didn't totally suck to work with).
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Last edited by Dave Haynie; April 14th, 2007 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Ooops....
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Old April 14th, 2007, 10:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorsten Poeppel View Post
I had someone tape my band's gig last week and was severely disappointed with the audio quality. I knew I couldn't expect too much from the built-in mic, but I had read so far that the camera automatically adjusts the input level to the volume. Well, if that is even case, it does so VERY poorly! The sound is completely distorted and not useable.

This was the first time I used this camera for an application like this, and it failed the test miserably. Since I will be playing more gigs with my band, and would like to keep some of them on tape, it looks like the HV10 is not the right camera for me after all. Which is a shame, cause I really liked it otherwise...

Guess I will be looking into the HV20 now, since it at least has a mic-in.

You'll get horrid results from any camcorder if you're looking to record concerts in anything close to the fidelity your ears hear. As has been suggested, either use a high quality audio recorder or get the HV20 with the mike input and get a nice quality outboard mike. You just won't get the results you want from any cam otherwise.
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