How do I connect my A1 to a mixer board at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old December 6th, 2008, 12:17 PM   #1
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How do I connect my A1 to a mixer board

I am shooting a music video bound for You Tube this week end. I want to set up my A-1 and Firestore FSC on a tripod to capture a base track of the complete show. There will be two other cameras shooting B roll.
I am not quite sure of the best way to hook up my XLR connections to the band's mixer board. What connectors will I need? What should I be wary of?
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Old December 6th, 2008, 04:46 PM   #2
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You can't answer that question without knowing what kind of setup the sound mixer has. Some mixers have multiple copies of XLR outputs, some don't. Some have 1/4", some have RCA, some could even be terminal strip--bare wires. Some balanced, some not.

There are about a zillion possibilities. Maybe more.

The camera side is easy enough--set it to line rather than mic.

Talk to the sound guy and test things out WAY ahead of time so that you'll be able to buy the correct equipment. Do NOT wait until the day of the shoot.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 05:55 PM   #3
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Sometimes these mixer boards don't capture the full audio atmosphere of the location. I find it useful to set up at least one additional microfone just for the atmo (applause, etc.) Then you'll probably also need a field mixer like the SQN 4 if you record stereo.
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Old December 6th, 2008, 10:55 PM   #4
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Ya I am not sure about the mixer until the day of the shoot, (most mixers I believe are rented). But there is probably a RCA tape out? I'm just not sure how that connector setup will work with my A1's XLR "line in" inputs.

Jan thanks that's a good point... it's not a recording studio...it's a live event. I need to consider ambient sound. I've got an Edirol R-1 so I am thinking of taking the mixers sound to the R-1 and maybe XLR mic stuff to the camera.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 01:04 AM   #5
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Guy, I use a passive DI box to connect from the sound board to my camera when recording live events at the school in town. Whirlwind / Direct Boxes

the DI box basically is a (pair of) transformers which allow you to receive the audio signal while physically isolating the input from the sound board to the output. The ground lift also helps eliminate hum caused by power to your equipment and the sound board coming from different sources if you find you need it.

I take an auxilary send output from the board so that the levels won't be affected by the levels actually played in the venue (e.g. constant). You'd want to be prepared in advance with any number of physical connectors so that you could handle whatever they guy running the board's preference would be (he might give you RCA out, balanced 1/4", unbalanced 1/4", 3/8" headphone (not as good) etc. try to get a feed with levels that won't vary during the event (e.g. preferably not a headphone or monitor out).

hope this helps

by the way, I usually set up my own mikes & stereo mix and record that on my recorder and send the board (mono) and ambient (mono) into the camera. those mike setups depend on the event, location of camera, best location for mike(s) etc. I try to go wired if possible but also could go wireless if needed.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #6
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Dave, thanks alot I've got most variations of connectors (although I am hoping for a RCA tape out for the Edirol). I don't have the DI box yet but will get one because I have had problems with hum in the past, when hooking up my camcorder.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 02:55 PM   #7
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I'm not getting the picture here: are we talking Madison Square Garden or Dad's Living Room? Either way, someone has got to know what equipment is being used. You don't go to a rental company and ask 'what mixers are good today?'

Even if there isn't a designated sound mixer, one of the band has got to be in charge of the sound, no?

Sorry, but if you can't do this level of pre-production, I don't think you have any business hitting a record button on the day of show. On the flip side, if the band doesn't know what is going on, you are wasting your time working with them.

The fact that you are asking the question means you don't have all the information you need. Trying to figure it out at the last minute is asking for failure.

When I worked as a live van operator, unless it was breaking news, we never went in cold. We did a site survey well ahead of time. If that wasn't possible, we made sure we had the knowledge and equipment to cover any eventuality.

Are you at that point?
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Old December 7th, 2008, 03:57 PM   #8
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Andy...Point taken

Fortunately for me the expectations are not high. The video is bound for You Tube as a promotion for a local charity. I am going to the shoot in one hour and as you suggested, I may be thrown off the end of the dock. But I've got to start somewhere with shooting music and this opportunity came up really quick. Maybe after today I may be able to help some other poor soul.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 04:14 PM   #9
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Dave: Given that the cam can handle a line input, if you are using battery power for your cam (so no ground problems) does the direct box serve any purpose?
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Old December 8th, 2008, 03:24 AM   #10
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I often go in to record live events with less than 30 mins preparation - not out of choice. With just 1 camera, the best spot for it is rarely near the mixing desk or a line from it. I usually just connect my Zoom H2 to the mixing desk (having taken a variety of connector adapters with me) and use the camera mic for the background/audience sound.

If I can't get a connection to the mixing desk (audio guys are usually a bit stressed 30 mins before the start) I still record with the Zoom, using its mics, as a backup to the camera audio.

Here's an example with the Zoom connected to the mixing desk: Amanda Palmer, Danger Ensemble, Zoe Keating and Jason Webley live in concert: video clip Festival Previews Video Blog

Ian
Festival Video and Audio Previews - Festival Previews Ltd

Last edited by Ian Wright; December 8th, 2008 at 03:26 AM. Reason: typo correction
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Old December 8th, 2008, 08:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Bennett View Post
Dave: Given that the cam can handle a line input, if you are using battery power for your cam (so no ground problems) does the direct box serve any purpose?
I am sure others can tell you with more certainty based on the specific voltages, impedence, levels coming out of the mixer, but for me, I liked that it electrically isolated the output of the board from direct connection to my camera .. to be honest I don't know what kind of signal comes out of there (well I do actually in this case but you know what I mean), so I liked having the transfomer, and checking the specs on the whirlwind page, it also shows a -20dB pad (pad out) and a -40dB pad when the pad is engaged, so it is cutting the signal down a bit and this has helped me (of course you can buy an inline pad, sure sells them I believe). This mixer does have a balanced send which I use (Mackie) but that is also a benefit of the DI box if you are running a long wire is that it will convert unbalanced to balanced (although if you lift the ground, I am not sure if that goes away, I'd have to check), esp, in your case if you are taking an RCA unbalanced feed.

So for me I view it as a bit of protection for the circuits in the camera - the camera was expensive and you can get a DI box cheap (relative to the camera) plus the other items above.

good luck!

by the way, you can pick up DI boxes locally in music stores (sam ash or guitar center around here) ... check prices first online

also, check the audio forum and serch for live event mixer or DI box and you will see more ... I don't know of anything canon specific about this topic (others may but I don't).

Last edited by Dave Stern; December 8th, 2008 at 09:06 AM. Reason: added purchase place & ref to audio forum
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Old December 8th, 2008, 10:14 AM   #12
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good point about the balanced output for long runs. I mostly use wireless from the mixer

For all the venues I shoot I prefer more control over my sound. Sorry to say I don't trust most of the people running sound-boards. Not that they are all incompetent by any means - but they rarely share my priorities. Plugging into a sound-board after the soundcheck means that any problem arises during the set - you get pulled without a second thought.
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Old December 8th, 2008, 07:13 PM   #13
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Well here is what happened. Fortunately for me the organizer of the event had cleared a path for me as the "camera man". When I got to the event the mixer guy gave me a couple of choices, 1/4' phono or XLR. I plugged in the XLR directly into my A1 and adjusted the audio input levels...cool.
A few minutes later the sound stopped working (I was later to find out that it was probably a loose connection at the mixer side XLR). I spent a few minutes trying to figure out if the problem was due to menu settings on the camera. It wasn't.
By now the musicians were getting ready and I had to move. Again, fortunately for me the mixer guy was recording the whole show on a multi-track professional recorder and said he would give me a copy. So my butt was saved .....albeit complexity was added to the project because of audio/video sync issues.
Then I got on with what I do best...shooting. Since the video is You Tube bound I used the A1 as the establishing shot camera...unmanned. I connected my Firestore FSC to the A1 and ran tapeless.... which was good for 4 1/2 half hours of footage. I then pulled out my trusty Panasonic DVC30, set it on my Merlin and shot a bunch of B roll. The footage I got was just incredible. The musicians were all seasoned professionals and worked with the camera well.
So Andy is right about preparation. Always make sure the equipment is working well in advance of the shoot. Unfortunately I didn't have any preparation time otherwise I could of got a good sound feed to the A1. The sound guy was also forewarning me about the fact what comes out of the mixer is not neccessarily good for recording because sounds are dealt with differently depending on the room acoustics etc. He had set up a mic to "fill in" the holes since the event was being recorded professionally. That's the feed he gave me. As mentioned didn't work because of a simple loose connection!
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Old December 8th, 2008, 07:25 PM   #14
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Yeah, that's the way it goes--you can prep all you want and then stuff happens beyond yer control.

Glad it worked out for you!
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Old December 8th, 2008, 07:54 PM   #15
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Just some additional information that I feel is very important for anyone else reading this thread:

Make sure you are not using the same output that is going to the house speakers. Most sound engineers can designate an additional output and have the level set specifically to run to your camera. During the performance the tech will constantly be adjusting the volume to the house speakers. If you set the output to the camera lower you will have some room for any adjustments he makes and won't have to keep up with him using on camera audio controls....
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