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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 March 5th, 2009, 09:33 AM   #1
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XLR sound recording - settings?

I've got some interviews coming up soon, and borrowing some equipment to use for it.

I'm using a :

XH-A1
302 sound mixer
K6/MESS
Rycote Grip
Sony Lapel Mic

I might be using a combination of both the tie clip and the mic in some instances, but more than likely will be one or the other depending on if it's male or female being interviewed. (for mic concealing purposes!)

anyway, I just wanted to get opinions on what i'm doing. I've tested the equipment, and founf that when i set the test tone on the sound mixer and get a manual set level on the camera (breaking into the yellow levels on my screen) I then have to set the XLR MIC Attenuators on the side to 'ON', otherwise the levels are peaking too much. For all you sound gurus out there, does that sound about right? It seems to sound alright, not amazing but alright. Can anyone pass on any advice for me towards this?

Depending on how the individual levels are set on the sound mixer for that particualr channel (gai up quite high) i tend to have to put the level up quite a bit on the channel on the camera. Does it sound right that i need the attenuator on for doing interviews?

Thanks
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Old March 5th, 2009, 02:30 PM   #2
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I've done plenty of interviews with the XHA1 and have gotten great results. I simply put a shotgun Mic about 2-3 feet away and use Auto sound. (Put the mic on a stand and aim it at their chest) It does a great job in controlled enviroments with a mic that close. This way you wont have to manually adjust the sound. When it comes to sound I have found that this camera does a great job of controlling itself especially for something as simple as an interview.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #3
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You shouldn't have to use the attenuation, check if your mixer is in line out mode, if so put it in mic mode or set your xlr inputs on the camera to line mode.

FWIW, for interviews I like to use a wireless lav on the subject one one channel and use my ME66 on the camera on the other channel as (1) backup, just in case and (2) to pick up a little room ambience to mix so the voice isn't so dry. In a wide shot, the closeup voice sounds strange and I give wide shots a little "distance" with a little of the on-camera audio.

I don't have a lot of use for the auto levels feature, I find it generally is too high a level. Set your camera levels so the peaks just get up into the yellow, the average level just around or above the "bump" in the audio level meter that indicates -12dB. We try to record with peaks coming out at -6, with a normal voice fluctuating between -12 and -6. (I get arguments on this, some people record a lot lower, but it works for me). / Battle Vaughan /miamiherald.com video team

PS You can set your levels so they come out at -12 or anything else and the track can still be overloaded if your source is too hot --- it's the level going into the preamps that needs to be within what the camera can use, but your viewfinder shows the levels coming OUT of the preamps...so be sure your source and your inputs are matched (line or mic). The attenuator lets you cut some level from the mike when you are in a high-sound-level situation and the mike is overloading your preamps....

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; March 5th, 2009 at 02:44 PM. Reason: addendum
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Old March 5th, 2009, 04:49 PM   #4
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thanks for the advice guys. Never even tried it in Auto Kevin; would probably only trust auto for the onboard camera mic - but will still give it a go, thanks.

I can't remember what the mixer was set to Battle. The camera was set to 'mic mode', with the XLT Att. ON for both channels. am going to get embarrassed here - but what are the difference between the line and mic mode? (...as he reaches for the manual..!!!)

I could only seem to get the sound through on the camer from the mixer when the camera was set in mic mode, but maybe i just didn't have the mixer set to 'line'. I take it would have to be set for 'line' on both mixer and camera?
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Old March 5th, 2009, 06:44 PM   #5
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Yes, the camera and mixer both need to be on the same setup -- both mike or both line. Line level is a much stronger signal, 0VU=+4dB, where mike level is around -40dB. So if your mixer is on line output and your camera on mike, you are seriously overloading your preamps and no matter how much you turn down the audio controls on the camera, your waveform will be blown out.

I suspect, since you were using mike attenuation, this must be the case. The attenuators are there to cut a high level mike signal that's too much for your preamps, to a lower level (think rock concert).
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Old March 6th, 2009, 02:46 AM   #6
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Setting up SD302 and XH-A1:

- Run SD302 at the factory default settings with strongest (standard) line out levels.
- Use limiter on SD302 (I have mine at +17 dBVU, default is +18 dBVU. These correspond to -3 and -2 dBFS on camera scale)
- Set XH-A1 inputs to line in
- Set audio to manual, turn audio potentiometers all the way open (counter clockwise, pointing down)

Now SD302 and XH-A1 are perfectly aligned, all further level setting is done with the mixer (as it should be).

It is idiotic to first amplify the mic signal with a great mixer, then pad it down back to mic level, transfer with cable to camera and reamplify it there with lesser mic preamps... and getting more interference with low level cable connection.

Make a search with my username and SD302 and you find a score of posts where I explain why this connection method is the best and only one to use.

Last edited by Petri Kaipiainen; March 6th, 2009 at 04:50 AM.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 03:39 AM   #7
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thanks battle and Petri - some 'sound' advice there (excuse the pun!) Unfortunately won't get the 302 mixer till the day before i'm doing the interviews, so will just need to wit till then to try it out. I'll do a search as you say Petri to see your previous posts.

Many Thanks

Martin
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