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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old August 6th, 2008, 12:02 PM   #1
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Audio level problems

Major head-scratcher for me this, as I play with my new toy!

So doing a bit of general filming, getting used to video settings ect, I forgot all about what was going on with the audio!

I have been shooting in auto mode (mainly) at HDV 50i using the internal microphone with the mic settings as per factory default.

The problem is when I 'capture' my footage into either Sony Vegas 8 or Pinnacle Studio 11 I get very low sound levels, with my (PC speaker) volume up high I can just hear what's being said, useless for editing! When I am recording the levels on the screen show around half way when talking straight to camera, normal voice, about 4ft away. But, like I said, it is really far too low when imported. The graphical representation on the audio track looks almost like a straight line with just the smallest rise and falls during speech. Interestingly, the sound from the camera's built-in speaker is louder than what comes from the editing programs during playback!

I am most familiar with the Studio 11 software (as I used that before on my Handycam) so I contacted Pinnacle support who blame the camera saying that when you are dealing with HDV the sound level is controlled totally by the hardware (camera).

Can anyone advise on my best option(s) here?
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Old August 6th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #2
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Your audio needs to be recorded at around a -12db, maybe up as high as a -6. Then the level should be OK. If you were shooting on auto gain for the audio, it could have recorded too low, especially if there was background noise. Switch to manual next time and check your meters. You should be able to crank the level up to an acceptable level after you capture the footage, but when it captures, via firewire, it's going to go in at whatever level the camera recorded. With DV/HDV editing, via firewire capture, you change the audio levels after capturing.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Philip Younger View Post
Major head-scratcher for me this, as I play with my new toy!

So doing a bit of general filming, getting used to video settings ect, I forgot all about what was going on with the audio!

I have been shooting in auto mode (mainly) at HDV 50i using the internal microphone with the mic settings as per factory default.

The problem is when I 'capture' my footage into either Sony Vegas 8 or Pinnacle Studio 11 I get very low sound levels, with my (PC speaker) volume up high I can just hear what's being said, useless for editing! When I am recording the levels on the screen show around half way when talking straight to camera, normal voice, about 4ft away. But, like I said, it is really far too low when imported. The graphical representation on the audio track looks almost like a straight line with just the smallest rise and falls during speech. Interestingly, the sound from the camera's built-in speaker is louder than what comes from the editing programs during playback!

I am most familiar with the Studio 11 software (as I used that before on my Handycam) so I contacted Pinnacle support who blame the camera saying that when you are dealing with HDV the sound level is controlled totally by the hardware (camera).

Can anyone advise on my best option(s) here?
Try this in Vegas 8

From the Edit menu, choose Switches (or right-click an event and choose Switches from the shortcut menu).

Select Normalize

You will increase your audio track as well as all noise. After normalization, select the Track FX button. You may have to tweak the "Track Noise Gate". If that does not work try keyframing the volume. Last resort if the noise is really bad is keyframe the EQ in conjuction with the Noise Gate & Key Framed Volume

This approach is only used as the last resort to low level audio.

Byron
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Old August 7th, 2008, 08:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
Your audio needs to be recorded at around a -12db, maybe up as high as a -6. Then the level should be OK. If you were shooting on auto gain for the audio, it could have recorded too low, especially if there was background noise. Switch to manual next time and check your meters. You should be able to crank the level up to an acceptable level after you capture the footage, but when it captures, via firewire, it's going to go in at whatever level the camera recorded. With DV/HDV editing, via firewire capture, you change the audio levels after capturing.
Thanks Bill,

I have a couple of questions following your reply:

1. The viewfinder meter doesn't seem to have numbers, just a scale, so I don't know if I am recording at -12 or -6 it is usually in the midle or just above when recording using the built-in mic.

2. As stated I am mainly using the built-in mic. I have MIC ATT set to off, is there any other way to increase the level of the internal mic? - I note that using an XLR mic I can use the CH1/2 Audio level dials, but no mention in the manual as to how I can achieve this for the internal mic.

3. You refer to 'auto gain' I assume this is again with regard to XLR external mic's and using the auto/manual slider control just below the Ch1/2 audio dials - again is there a method of adjusting for the internal mic?

I'm sorry to appear cofused by all this - my first time with a 'pro' camera!
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Old August 7th, 2008, 09:40 AM   #5
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The knobs on the side adjust audio gain. Look at the meter in the little round dial. It has numbers. The green mark in the viewfinder is -12 db, so you can go over that up to the next mark in most cases. You have to move the toggle switch from auto to manual to use the gain knobs.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 10:12 AM   #6
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The knobs on the side adjust audio gain. Look at the meter in the little round dial. It has numbers. The green mark in the viewfinder is -12 db, so you can go over that up to the next mark in most cases. You have to move the toggle switch from auto to manual to use the gain knobs.
Thanks again Bill.
Do you know, I never noticed the audio level in the round dial!

I can see I have a problem but don't know how to fix it - holding the camera in my hand no more than 15 inches from the internal mic and my normal voice only JUST reaches -12db I have to shout to get -6db!

Turning the audio dials makes no difference, and flicking the Audio Lever switch to manual switches off audio altogether - which leads to to conclude these settings are only for the external XLR mic's.

Is there a way to increase the sensitivity of the internal mic?
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Old August 7th, 2008, 10:19 AM   #7
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Perhaps asking the obvious here - are you trying to turn the dials when in auto mode - in which case they have no effect. When you've switched to manual mode, the dials should have considerable effect if they are turned between the lowest and highest settings. Unless somehow something has been connected wrongly and what should be manual is actually auto and vice versa? No, it's all put together by robots, and they can't make that kind of mistake, can they?

If this isn't happening, it's time to send the camera back to Canon.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 11:01 AM   #8
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You're not turning the knobs backward are you? I still make that mistake because they seem to turn the wrong way, like down is up.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #9
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Hiding my head in shame - Bill, you are correct, I assumed that turning the dail so the pointer was at the top (which is also the thickest part of the scale-marker line on the side) was the loudest / greatest level.

Fancy doing it that way!

Thanks also Annie
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Old August 7th, 2008, 12:29 PM   #10
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You're not the first to make that mistake. The knobs are the opposite of the way they should be.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 04:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
If you were shooting on auto gain for the audio, it could have recorded too low, especially if there was background noise.
Do you know how the auto gain is correcting the audio i.e. hard limiting only or is it a combo of compression/limiting and upward expansion?
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Old August 8th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #12
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You're not the first to make that mistake. The knobs are the opposite of the way they should be.
If you look at them from the side yes, but not if you only look from the back. Go figure. There probably was a focus group that worked this human-factors thing out.back
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Old August 9th, 2008, 03:08 AM   #13
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I have no idea which way the dials turn - I turn them and either the sound gets louder, or it gets softer.
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Old August 9th, 2008, 04:47 PM   #14
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On all cameras I've ever been involved with before this one, you turn the knobs to the right to increase, left to decrease. Same with all mixers.
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