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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 November 22nd, 2010, 01:38 PM   #1
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Field Recorder and the A1: whether...and what to do?

This could belong in the Audio sub-forum, but since I shoot on an A1...well, here it is. (I've read the Audio stickies; whilst they are informative, I came up short on understanding.)
In a nutshell: how do I make practical use of a field recorder with the A1, especially in shooting scenarios with many short takes, not a few long takes?
I'm in the middle of upgrading my audio equipment, with the thought that it shall outlast my A1 and probably future cameras, too. In my modest stable to date is a Rode NTG-2 shotgun, Audio Technica BP-4025 stereo, and Sound Devices 302 field mixer. For now, I'm recording mic-->SD 302--> A1 (line-in); in my preferred HDV mode, the audio is 320 kbps, IIRC. I'm a one man band and so far, I'm managing to shoot and ride levels on the 302. Most of the time, the A1 is on a tripod, but I do move it around, depending on the venue. For hand-held shooting . . . well, I'm experimenting: I have a limit as to how much gear I can strap to myself and monitor.

I'm thinking about recording audio separately to a field recorder, much like the HDSLR crowd does. This is primarily to ensure highest quality audio for mastering and for final delivery (PCM on either DVD or Blu-Ray.) I'm not dissatisfied with the A1's audio recording; I just know it could be better. And I'm familiar with field recorders in my price range (~ $1k or less).

My question relates to synchronizing audio and video in post. I'm familiar with visual and software based methods (e.g. PluralEyes). For shooting long takes, like a concert lasting a half hour or so, this seems to be a no-brainer in post, i.e., match one long video clip to one long audio clip. But I shoot a lot of short take events, too, such as little league baseball, similar events, and family stuff.
1. How would I manage syncing in post with so many video and audio takes? The A1 has no timecode out, as far as I am aware, so even with a TC-enabled field recorder, it seems that I would be stuck with hundreds of video clips and a similar number of audio clips.

2. Practical concern: does one hit record on the A1 and record on the field recorder at roughly the same time, and then hope to sync in post? Or would I leave the audio recording the whole time (many hours??!), then line up video in post?
I'd appreciate real-world input, as well as a smack to my head if I'm failing to consider more fundamental issues that I haven't touched upon here.

TIA,
Steve
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 05:25 PM   #2
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I've done what you are thinking of doing ie record separate (double) sound into a field recorder via an SD302. And then sync it up with my XHA1.
Nowadays I am doing it with a 5Dmk2. The XHA1 doesn't get used so much.
If you are going to sync it up manually I would suggest recording the sound in one take for the location.
It's lot easier to get sense of which video clip goes where if the sound recording is not broken up into pieces.
If you want to do it manually and you have an assistant during the shoot I would suggest that using a clapperboard for each shot will speed the process up.
I can't give you any practical feedback about using Pluraleyes because I haven't used it but if you really have so many short shots I would imagine that this is where it would excel.
For conference type work or interviews I can't see much point in using it - it doesn't take very long to sync the sound to the image manually when you have long takes (assuming that you have reference audio recorded with the image).
For lots of short clips you should number them in order when you import them. Then, if you do match them up manually, all you then have to do is find the clapperboard spikes on the audio track and place marks on them. Then place each clip on the timeline, one at a time, and line up the clapper on the video track up with the spike on the audio track for each clip, in sequence.
And, yes, I think this should have been posted in the audio section of the forum.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 08:18 AM   #3
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Many thanks, Richard. I think your suggestions make sense to me.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 06:50 PM   #4
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I did this just the other day doing some audio testing. I broken my wireless mic system so used the lav mic in a Edirol R-09 which I carried in my pocket. In many ways it was better than the wireless mic and with the camera mic picking up the background sound, I was able to mix the sound very well.

I don't have a clapper board - I found a very simple alternative was to clap my hands together, if you do it in a very straight-to-camera way I found it very easy to sync. I used Vegas Pro 9 for editing and simply slid the audio track along to get it roughly in place then whilst playing back Vegas always you to fine tune with keyboard short-cuts (arrow keys) to move the track forward or backwards as required in very fine steps
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 10:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Younger View Post
I did this just the other day doing some audio testing. I broken my wireless mic system so used the lav mic in a Edirol R-09 which I carried in my pocket. In many ways it was better than the wireless mic and with the camera mic picking up the background sound, I was able to mix the sound very well.

I don't have a clapper board - I found a very simple alternative was to clap my hands together, if you do it in a very straight-to-camera way I found it very easy to sync. I used Vegas Pro 9 for editing and simply slid the audio track along to get it roughly in place then whilst playing back Vegas always you to fine tune with keyboard short-cuts (arrow keys) to move the track forward or backwards as required in very fine steps
Thanks, Philip. That sounds like a viable method, although I have to smile at the thought of clapping at public events. I probably will make use of PluralEyes in the near future. I just came to grips with the fact that I don't have a good means of using any sort of time code, but folks here (like you) and even some on audio forums have good ways of syncing double audio. I plunked down for a Korg MR-1000 today and I can't wait to try it out!

Thanks,
Steve
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