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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 September 4th, 2008, 11:55 AM   #1
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Bamboozled in the UK with Canon XH A1 wedding audio

Hi Everyone

This is my first post to these amazing forums. Any suggestions whatsoever on the below would be really appreciated.

I just bought a Canon XH A1 and I'm intending to start making wedding videos on my own. Well, with my non-technical father as my general assistant (minding my second camera and equipment).

First of all, I just want to say thank you to all of you who suggested the Libec 38 tripod. I've ordered one and look forward to receiving mine tomorrow. Another good suggestion I saw here was to use a large 'Sea to Summit' Dry Stuff Bag (8.99 it only cost me) to use as a rain cover for the Canon XH A1, rather than splash out a small fortune on one.

As regards audio, I've gotten a bit confused with the sheer wealth of information available in these forums. My head's spinning! :o) I mean, I think I know what my ideal set-up would be (2 wireless microphones and transmitters feeding into the 2 XLR sockets on the Canon XH A1 so that whoever is closest to the relevant wireless microphone I could switch to that particular channel?)

I've had a good browse of these forums and have seen some excellent recommendations for microphones that could be used in weddings. However, quite a few of them aren't available in the UK. With the differing voltages and customs duties I'd prefer to play safe and buy microphones in the UK.

I like the look of the ew 112-p G2 (Model No. 2141) system with the ME 2 clip-on microphone (omni) which costs 399 here in the UK. I can only afford one of these. Basically this means I have a single receiver and a single transmitter.

At the back of the church and reception room, I will have a second, 3 Chip, camcorder rolling with its internal microphone throughout the ceremonies.

My main concern at the moment is being able to record any speakers who might be sat along a long table at the wedding reception (best man speech, groom speech, father of the groom speech, father of the bride speech). I've heard a decent suggestion about removing the wireless transmitter from the groom after the church, then 'hiding' it in a plastic champagne bottle at the reception table. Then, I would brief the families at the reception table to slide the bottle along to whoever is about to give a speech, irrespective of whether they are using a microphone connected to a PA system or not. How does this sound?

I would like a separate recording unit such as the old "IRiver" as a contingency plan should my wireless microphone fail for some reason. Since I can't afford another wireless microphone, should I need to have a microphone at a podium, I could use one of these 'separate' recording devices to record that sound close-up.

Unfortunately, the IRivers that are used by some videographers on these forums are no longer available - I've tried Ebay and search engines to no avail. Is anyone aware of something similar, with a microphone-in socket for a lavalier microphone, that might be available to buy in the UK?

Perhaps there is a very cheap wireless microphone system available that I could attach to the 'backup' 3-Chip camera? This could mean I have two wireless microphones sitting on the reception table and won't need to ask the families to slide along a plastic bottle!? Perhaps I should get 2 cheaper wireless systems instead of the ew 112-p G2? Know of any good ones available in the UK please?

I would also like something like a Rode NTG-2 microphone or Rode Videomic but I'm bamboozled with the adaptors, shockmounts and J-Rods I would need to use. I understand their purpose, but it's hard to know if my wireless receiver would be compatible with this:
"J-Rod Twin Shoe has 2 shoe mounts, allowing a microphone and a radio reciver to be mounted on the J-Rod"

Further to that, I can't find anywhere that sells J-Rods in the UK. I like the idea of having a snug fitting on the camera that will hold my 'shotgun mic' and receiver in the one easily accessible place, but is anyone aware of something similar to the J-Rod available in the UK? I don't fancy the DIY route as I'm pretty hopeless at DIY. :o)

Like I say, I'm a bit confused and would sincerely appreciate any suggestions you can offer me please. Sorry if some of my questions seem glaringly obvious and I come across as stupid!

Peter
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Old September 4th, 2008, 03:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dunphy View Post
I think I know what my ideal set-up would be (2 wireless microphones and transmitters feeding into the 2 XLR sockets on the Canon XH A1 so that whoever is closest to the relevant wireless microphone I could switch to that particular channel?)
Hmmm not sure what you mean by this, I've been in the business for a couple of years now will explain to you what I do. Audio is almost the most important part of your production, with two wireless lav mics you can cover the average wedding just fine. One mic for preacher and one mic on the groom. This set-up is the best for all round audio capture. You will run into trouble when there are musicians signing or others making speeches. Ideally you want four wireless mics but you can work with two. Plan ahead, make sure that the preacher is aware that the mic will need to move in case someone else is going to say something usually they are very accommodating and will give the other person the mic.

Quote:
I like the look of the ew 112-p G2 (Model No. 2141) system with the ME 2 clip-on microphone (omni) which costs 399 here in the UK. I can only afford one of these. Basically this means I have a single receiver and a single transmitter.
Before you buy this! Look at this:
Sennheiser | Evolution G2 100 Series - Wireless | EW100ENGG2 - A
If I knew this was around when I first bought my gear I would have saved myself so much trouble. It's the same EW112P G2 with the extra plug-in. The plug-in will save your butt! Spend the extra money and get that!

Quote:
At the back of the church and reception room, I will have a second, 3 Chip, camcorder rolling with its internal microphone throughout the ceremonies.
The XHA1 has a "Free-Run" option under time-code, when you use two cameras sync/set both "Free-Run" time-codes at the same time this will save you so much post sync work! Most pro cameras has this option. In Sony Vegas 8 Pro you just say sync using time-code and walla perfect, no need to waste hours syncing. This took me years to figure out.

Quote:
My main concern at the moment is being able to record any speakers who might be sat along a long table at the wedding reception (best man speech, groom speech, father of the groom speech, father of the bride speech). I've heard a decent suggestion about removing the wireless transmitter from the groom after the church, then 'hiding' it in a plastic champagne bottle at the reception table. Then, I would brief the families at the reception table to slide the bottle along to whoever is about to give a speech, irrespective of whether they are using a microphone connected to a PA system or not. How does this sound?
Sounds no good!! Trust me on this at the reception they never remember your mic! It's your responsibility. The MC will be the best man for this job, brief him instead. Usually keeping a wireless mic on a stand forces everyone to meet at one point for the speeches, its your production, let the bride and groom, or MC know what won't work.

The best solution for this is to run through the DJ however "never!" trust a DJ! They will screw up your entire production, they usually get paid peanuts. You get a few good DJ's you'll learn to trust, the rest forget about them. Worst case scenario tape you lav mic to the DJ's mic with gaffer tape, lol, it works. If you get more money, buy a extra wireless handheld mic that you supply for the DJ and run through that. If all fails the on-cam mic on the XHA1 is pretty good, fall on that.

I usually hide a lav mic between the flower just to get reaction sound from bridal table.

Quote:
I would like a separate recording unit such as the old "IRiver" as a contingency plan should my wireless microphone fail for some reason. Since I can't afford another wireless microphone, should I need to have a microphone at a podium, I could use one of these 'separate' recording devices to record that sound close-up.
The Sennheiser G2 will never fail! Blasphemy :P Separate recorder is not all that useful unless it's professional, save some money and get that extra plug-in with your Sennheiser.

Quote:
Perhaps there is a very cheap wireless microphone system available that I could attach to the 'backup' 3-Chip camera? Perhaps I should get 2 cheaper wireless systems instead of the ew 112-p G2?
NO NO NO NO!! Did I say that enough? NO! NO! Cheap wireless microphones will be your death! In no soft words. Don't even think it. I did this and what a mistake I had to buy the expensive one's anyway. Cheap = absolutely unreliable! You won't believe how crap they are.

Quote:
I would also like something like a Rode NTG-2 microphone or Rode Videomic but I'm bamboozled with the adaptors, shockmounts and J-Rods I would need to use. I understand their purpose...
You're starting, a second expensive wireless lav will benefit you much more than a shotgun, the on-board mic on the XHA1 is great and will do fine until you start making enough money to buy a NTG-2. A shotgun and all those extras is "really" not necessary when you start.

Quote:
Like I say, I'm a bit confused and would sincerely appreciate any suggestions you can offer me please. Sorry if some of my questions seem glaringly obvious and I come across as stupid!
I wish you all the best! Just get in there and do it, the confusion will clear up as you are faced with problems, you'll find practical solutions and become a master at what you do. When you are all successful, invite me over to Ireland for a wedding :)
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Old September 5th, 2008, 02:12 AM   #3
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Hi Nicholas

Thanks for your really helpful suggestions. Very much appreciated.

Absolutely once I'm up and running you are more than welcome over to Ireland :o)

What purpose does the extra plug-in serve in the Sennheiser | Evolution G2 100 Series - Wireless | EW100ENGG2 - A please? I tried looking it up online but as far as I can see, it's a sort of transmitter?

Are you recommending that I would need to purchase 2 full sets of the Sennheiser | Evolution G2 100 Series - Wireless | EW100ENGG2 with plug-ins?

Or, if I only buy 1 set of the Sennheiser | Evolution G2 100 Series - Wireless | EW100ENGG2 with plug-in, is it possible to only purchase 1 additional lav mic and transmitter, without having to purchase an extra receiver etc as well?

Unfortunately I don't have a "Free-Run" timecode option on my little 3-Chip camera (Panasonic GS230), but great tip nonetheless should I buy an extra camera that has this option.

If I wasn't able to bring my 3-chip camera with me and I was on my own, would it be possible to have the audio from the 2 lav mics inputting directly into my XH A1 do you think?

All the best

Peter
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Old September 5th, 2008, 02:23 AM   #4
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You might consider using Minidisc recorders. I have them dotted about in the church (very useful on the lecturn for the readers) and on the top table for backup. You can never have too much audio backup at a wedding as Nicholas says.

My Minidisc recorders keep tight sync with my camcorders, wheras the Zoom H2 digital recorder loses sync very quickly.

tom.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 02:43 AM   #5
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Thanks very much for the prompt advice Tom.

Any particular makes of Minidisc recorder you might recommend please?

To keep the picture synched with the Minidisc(s) do you think the camera should be recording at a particular setting? eg. 25fps in the UK

Regards

Peter
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Old September 5th, 2008, 02:48 AM   #6
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Minidisc recorders (make sure thay have mic inputs as some were designed to record line-in only) are only available second hand now. I've had Sharp and Sony - all fine. Make sure it has an audio AGC or limiter on board, to stop laughter and clapping clipping the signal.

I feed mine with either a tie-clip mic or a little MKE300 Sennheiser mic. Run it in the mono mode for the highest quality and double the running time.

Always shoot at 25 fps - it's the PAL standard. I shoot at 50i because I like the smoothness and reality look for my weddings.

tom.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 02:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Minidisc recorders (make sure thay have mic inputs as some were designed to record line-in only) are only available second hand now. I've had Sharp and Sony - all fine. Make sure it has an audio AGC or limiter on board, to stop laughter and clapping clipping the signal.

I feed mine with either a tie-clip mic or a little MKE300 Sennheiser mic. Run it in the mono mode for the highest quality and double the running time.

Always shoot at 25 fps - it's the PAL standard. I shoot at 50i because I like the smoothness and reality look for my weddings.

tom.
Thanks Tom,

There are a few available on UK Ebay - I'll check their specs with the manufacturer's websites to see if they have mic inputs and an audio AGC or limiter. Fingers crossed. Would be handy to snap up a couple of these just to put my mind at rest more than anything :o)

I'll post again with my findings.

Peter
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Old September 5th, 2008, 03:17 AM   #8
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I've been using a Zoom H2 recorder which is a great device: H2 Handy Recorder

It records to sd memory, has 4 onboard mics, sockets for mic in, line in/out, usb and has several agc settings, including off. It even looks kool!

Ian
Festival Video and Audio Previews - Festival Previews Ltd
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Old September 5th, 2008, 03:30 AM   #9
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My Minidisc recorders keep tight sync with my camcorders, wheras the Zoom H2 digital recorder loses sync very quickly
yes, same problem here with the Zoom H4, easily solved though, just follow following tutorial to get the sound files in sync: http://www.mfbb.net/myvideoproblems/...yvideoproblems

You only need to do this procedure once, after that it's just a matter of using the free program audicity to correct the problem.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 03:35 AM   #10
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It even looks kool!Ian
Looks like my rechargeable Braun shaver.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 03:44 AM   #11
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yes, same problem here with the Zoom H4, easily solved though, just follow following tutorial to get the sound files in sync: My Video Problems :: View topic - Synchronise external and camera audio tracks.

You only need to do this procedure once, after that it's just a matter of using the free program audicity to correct the problem.
Very handy to know, thanks
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Old September 5th, 2008, 03:49 AM   #12
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I've only just spotted that someone else had already mentioned the Zoom H2.

I do get drift but only about 4 frames per hour, which is much less than what has been reported else where. I may have just been lucky to get an H2 whose crystal has been trimmed to be very close to that of the A1, by happy co-incidence.

Ian
Festival Video and Audio Previews - Festival Previews Ltd
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Old September 5th, 2008, 03:51 AM   #13
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I've only just spotted that someone else had already mentioned the Zoom H2.

I do get drift but only about 4 frames per hour, which is much less than what has been reported else where. I may have just been lucky to get an H2 whose crystal has been trimmed to be very close to that of the A1, by happy co-incidence.

Ian
Festival Video and Audio Previews - Festival Previews Ltd
THe Zoom H2 is definitely another handy possibility, especially now I know that there's a 'fix' that can be done should it ever drift out of synch

Thanks for your suggestion :o)
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Old September 5th, 2008, 03:54 AM   #14
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Thanks Tom,

There are a few available on UK Ebay - I'll check their specs with the manufacturer's websites to see if they have mic inputs and an audio AGC or limiter. Fingers crossed. Would be handy to snap up a couple of these just to put my mind at rest more than anything :o)

I'll post again with my findings.

Peter

As regards an audio AGC or limiter, I've discovered a second-hand Minidisc for sale which, in its instruction manual, states for recording from external microphone:

"Adjust the recording level so that the maximum sound volume from the source makes the reading swing between --- 4 dB and 0 dB."

The fact that on this Minidisc it is possible to set the maximum recording level in stone - is this a 'limiter' do you think?
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Old September 5th, 2008, 04:03 AM   #15
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No, they're describing how to set the audio recording manually, though I've not come across one that has manual level settings yet doesn't have a switchable limiter.

My favourite at the moment is the Sony MZ-R900. It's the size of 3 Minidiscs stacked one on top of another and runs from a rechargeable, slim, internal NiMh cell. It's a lot smaller than my radio mic sender unit and fits in any pocket the groom has spare.

It has a 'hold' switch on the back and is hard-wired in the sense that a radio mic certainly isn't.

tom.
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