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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 April 19th, 2007, 12:05 PM   #1
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On Board Mic - Recording Band / Loud DJ

Hi all,

Am still very much learning about my new A1 (big learning curve from VX2000) I used to record the sound for a first dance previously on my VX2000 in Auto using the on board mic, and found this was fine, but i recently tried the same with the A1 for the first time, and the sound of the DJ coming through the camera was booming! The bass was really heavy and breaking up, so much so that I had to overdub the original artist's track over it. I see the attenuator switch lowers the sound; should i have this on when recording loud stuff; Bands/DJ's in the future? Or can you suggest an alternative method/mic?

Thanks

Martin
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Old April 19th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #2
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You definitely need to flick the attenuator switch. I made the mistake of not doing so, and the result was an orgy of distorted sound.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 12:34 PM   #3
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Been there....done that!


Agree, flick the attenuator switch.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 01:14 PM   #4
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I was just testing and experimenting last night with the A1 at a CD launch I played at. Found some of the top end of the music was distorting as well.

So basically for anything musical, attenuator switch flipped on?

Would manually lowering the channels, basically do the same thing? (flipping the switch to M and adjusting. Or is there an advantage to keeping the switch at A for that. (ie. it compensates on the fly)

Anybody know?

As a side note, I tested filming with the spotlight setting on, and it was too dark as the spotlights on the stage were just so-so and if someone wasn't directly under them, it wasn't bright enough. So I went to manual settings, open iris, 1/30 and gain at both -3 and -6 and the footage came out quite nice, no noise in the dark spots, or hardly noticeable.

This was all done on Steve's VIVIDGRB (final version after the magenta debate) Not sure if the setting was appropriate or not for a dark club but it looked good.

Trish
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Old April 19th, 2007, 01:36 PM   #5
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I found that although the audio levels were peaking at -3 db, and thus should be fine, sound was still distorted, because the mic was clipping heavily.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 02:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Trotter View Post
Bands/DJ's in the future? Or can you suggest an alternative method/mic?
Forget the on-board mic altogether. Use mics with a high SPL rating. No attenuation is going to reduce distortion at the mic source if the mic elements can't take it to begin with.

Bill
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Old April 19th, 2007, 02:20 PM   #7
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That's concerning if the levels where looking fine. The only way you'd know otherwise at that point would be to have headphones on the whole time.

Did you have the channels set to Auto or Manual?
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Old April 19th, 2007, 02:22 PM   #8
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so, what happens if the attenuator switch is accidentally left on for, say, a failry quite scene which still needs good sound. (I'm thinking church minister speaking etc)
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Old April 19th, 2007, 02:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trish Kerr View Post
That's concerning if the levels where looking fine. The only way you'd know otherwise at that point would be to have headphones on the whole time.

Did you have the channels set to Auto or Manual?
Sorry Trish, were you asking me that - i had the audio at AUTO.
What is SPL then on Mics?
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Old April 19th, 2007, 03:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trish Kerr View Post
As a side note, I tested filming with the spotlight setting on, and it was too dark as the spotlights on the stage were just so-so and if someone wasn't directly under them, it wasn't bright enough. So I went to manual settings, open iris, 1/30 and gain at both -3 and -6 and the footage came out quite nice, no noise in the dark spots, or hardly noticeable.

This was all done on Steve's VIVIDGRB (final version after the magenta debate) Not sure if the setting was appropriate or not for a dark club but it looked good.
Hi Trish,
I've been messing with spotlight mode as well and got similar results to you. I did not have a lot of time to experiment but it appears to me that the preset does have an effect. I think that lowering pedestal and/or setup will darken the results. I don't know quite understand why AE Shift is disabled in this mode. Ultimately I decided that I couldn't trust spotlight mode and went with manual.

One aspect of the A1 that I don't like is when using any of the auto assist modes, the camera will not display the setting that it's controlling. For example, in Tv mode, it won't display the f/stop it chooses. I didn't experiment enough to say for sure but I got the impression that in spotlight mode the camera may be altering the shutter speed as well the f/stop.

-Dan
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Old April 19th, 2007, 03:09 PM   #11
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I had wondered if setting the channels on manual and bringing it down that way would have helped, but it sounds like using the built-in microphone is not recommended.

I got the sony package, (there was a promotion at Vistek in Canada where they included a wireless F-112 mic and UTX plug-on transmitter along with the regular wireless set) I have yet to properly test it.

I've tried out the lapel wireless and it was nice sounding even with singing and guitar strapped to me, but haven't tried out the F-112 which could be mounted on the camera as well. ( I sure hope it's got a high SPL rating reading this after the fact)

Is the consensus to avoid the onboard at all costs?
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Old April 19th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Wilder View Post
Hi Trish,
I've been messing with spotlight mode as well and got similar results to you. I did not have a lot of time to experiment but it appears to me that the preset does have an effect. I think that lowering pedestal and/or setup will darken the results. I don't know quite understand why AE Shift is disabled in this mode. Ultimately I decided that I couldn't trust spotlight mode and went with manual.

One aspect of the A1 that I don't like is when using any of the auto assist modes, the camera will not display the setting that it's controlling. For example, in Tv mode, it won't display the f/stop it chooses. I didn't experiment enough to say for sure but I got the impression that in spotlight mode the camera may be altering the shutter speed as well the f/stop.

-Dan
I did use the spotlight setting at another club that was better lit and it was fine. But I didn't have Steve's vividgrb setting on at the time - not sure if that makes a difference. I vaguely remember people discussing what was going on with the spotlight mode that managed to shoot well without grain, but in the end I don't think anybody had an answer for what 'spotlight' was actually doing.

(and for grain, I meant where big noise will show in only the dark areas, not overall texture - I know have permanently taken off that autogain switch)

I have to go out again tonight to another event so I'm going to be trying a few things based on last night's hits and misses. I'm using these nights as testers til I find the best settings, but I have a feeling I'll end up close to the manual settings I used last night, and when I get brave enough, all manual focus, because when it gets s bit dark the auto starts to wander.

As for displaying what is changing, that isn't an option in the menu section is it? I know you can choose what you want to show on the display to some degree. I'll have to check.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 03:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trish Kerr View Post

Is the consensus to avoid the onboard at all costs?
It would be a poor show if that were the case.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 07:29 PM   #14
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Initially when I bought my A1 (a week ago) I filmed a wedding with the on board mic, and using what I learnt with my XL1s (no longer with me - sob) I made sure of flicking the ATT on when filming the reception (DJ noise etc).

I had the level control on on my A1 set to Auto, and as pointed out in this thread, I would say this is the safer option (others may beg to differ)

The results were satisfactory, but I still think the onboard mic on my XL1s was MUCH better.

So for my next wedding gig, I bought the Rode NTG1 (or the Rodent G1 as I call it) and the difference is more than substantial!!!

My current settings are:

On board mic - off
XLR - On
16Bit
Phantom Power to Rodent G1
Attenuator switch ALWAYS on (I find it too sensitive otherwise)
Level control set to Auto
CH1/CH2 Switch activated, recording mono to both channels

I can film noisey/quiet environments without switching anything around.

And Martin also asked "so, what happens if the attenuator switch is accidentally left on for, say, a failry quite scene which still needs good sound. (I'm thinking church minister speaking etc)"

In such circumstances (as previously experienced by myself with my XL1s) you will get VERY quiet audio and you'll need to increase the volume/gain in post quite a bit! (with Vegas, I had to crank up all the controls!) and even then, you may lose some of the ambient sound. Also, in line with cranking up speech etc, you'll most probably be amplifying all the grainy noise you don't want!

Best bet - get a good XLR phantom powered mic and apply the relevant settings.
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Old April 19th, 2007, 08:55 PM   #15
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Same thing happened to me!

Hello to all,

I used to use a vx-2100 with the onboard mic all the time. I just got my A1 and used it for the first time. I used the onboard mic on auto because it was what I was used to. Big mistake! The DJ was super loud & the whole reception shy of the cake cutting was distorted. I also had to dub music over it. Now, I'm playing with putting 1 mic onboard on 1 channel & a wireless on the DJ's top speaker or even his soundboard on the other channel for a mixdown in post. Anybody ever have problems like this?

Angelo
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