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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old December 29th, 2006, 07:40 PM   #1
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XL2 audio recording question

Hi, I just rented an XL2 for a wedding video shoot tomorrow, and I have a quick question about it's audio recording...

I know that the onboard mic is stereo, but is there a way to downmix that mic to a mono channel, and record it along with a wireless XLR mic on a separate mono channel?

I've messed with the settings and checked the manual, but have had no luck yet. Also changed the Audio Mode to 12 bit Ch1/2. 3/4, with no luck either.

Which leads to another question... I hear that you need to set it to that 12 bit mode to record the two signals like I described, but is the audio quality then significantly worse than the 16 bit mode?

Thanks,
Chris
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Old December 29th, 2006, 08:05 PM   #2
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Hi Chris. If you want to use the on-board mic and an external mic, you will need to go to 4-channel recording.

This is 12-bit, 32 KHz sampling, which should be fine for speech and wedding background sound. I would say that background noise and mic positioning will have a greater impact on the audio quality than the recording format, unless you are recording live music and are looking for great results. (But if you were, you would probably be using 2 external mics for stereo sound).

The 12 bit format is non-linear, so as long as you have a healthy record level the quality loss is not as bad as you might expect. Whether your NLE can handle it correctly is another matter (I have heard Vegas do some strange things to low-level 12 bit audio).

Capturing the 4-channel audio stream is also a possible problem area. Easiest way I have found is to use Scenalyzer which captures the video and 2 channels of audio as an AVI file, and the other 2 channels of audio as a WAV file of the same name, all in one pass. There is no headache about syncing clips captured from different passes and it is easy to match the WAV files to the AVI files.

Another possible solution for you is to forget about the on-board mic and use 2 external mono mics, one on-camera and the other nearer to the action. The disadvantage is that the background sounds recorded by the on-board mic are in mono, however you can apply a pseudo stereo effect to this which opens up the sound nicely. If you are using Vegas and are interested in this approach, I can send you a project file with the mono-stereo effect already set up for you to drop in your own mono file.

Good luck with the wedding shoot.

Richard
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Old December 29th, 2006, 08:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for the help.

I have figured out the recording part, but I didn't realize capturing the 4-channel audio would be more difficult. I have successfully configured the XL2 to capture the on-board stereo mic to channels 1 & 2, and the XLR wireless mic to channel 3.

Now, how do I capture it? I'm using Final Cut Pro 5, not Vegas, and I don't have access to third party software. I have read that FCP5 does support 4 channel recording, but I can't figure out how to do it!

EDIT: I looked into that Scenalyzer app. Good to know that it's freeware, but they don't have a Mac version. I could borrow a PC to capture and then move the files to my Mac for editing, but I won't be able to test this before the wedding tomorrow, so I won't know for sure that it will work well. I'd still like to know how to capture all 4 channels in FCP5.
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Old December 29th, 2006, 10:27 PM   #4
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Typically, you will need to capture the 2nd two channels via a 2nd pass capture although you can do just the audio and drop it in. Or you can also do it using QT 7 "new audio recording" configured to dv cam firwire input for 2nd 2 channels, or any other number of audio recording apps - but either way, you will need to do it via a 2nd pass on the Mac. Using a search function in these forums will yield a bunch of posts on the topic. Some of them are fairly detailed depending upon the app of choice. There are also a few posts that state someone has figured out a way to do it. You can ignore those as they are mistaken. Some of those posters have figured out that you can capture the 4 channel mix, no problem, but they are not separated into 4 channels of audio. They still mixdown in the capture with 1 & 3 combined, and 2 & 4 combinedt o 2 track stereo.

Go for a 2nd pass audio capture either in FCP or QT 7.
-Jon
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Old January 6th, 2007, 09:04 PM   #5
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Quick question to Chris...

I didn't think that you could capture audio on 4 channels with the XL2 without the MA-300 adaptor. Am I wrong or are you using the adaptor? Could you give a quick rundown of how you are using the stock stereo mic for channels 1 & 2 and using an external for channel 3? Thanks in advance for the info...

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Old January 6th, 2007, 09:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Randolph
I didn't think that you could capture audio on 4 channels with the XL2 without the MA-300 adaptor. Am I wrong or are you using the adaptor? Could you give a quick rundown of how you are using the stock stereo mic for channels 1 & 2 and using an external for channel 3? Thanks in advance for the info...

Kevin

No, you don't need the MA-300 to capture 4 channels of audio on the XL2.

Basically you need to go into the audio setup portion of the on-screen menu system and select 12bit / 4 channels (I think that is the wording). Then, under the audio control panel on the rear left of the camera, you must designate the appropriate source-in port for both Audio 1 and Audio 2, audio 1 typically being ch 1 & 2, and Audio 2 typically being ch 3 & 4. For example, you could select front mic for Audio 1, getting the stereo ch 1 & 2, and then on Audio 2, you could select 'rear', routing your XLR connections on the rear of the camera to channels 3 & 4.

-Jon
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Old January 6th, 2007, 09:55 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tip Jonathan. I guess I was in the weeds on that one.

MA-300 + XL2 = four audio channels with XLR inputs... Still using the same menu setup and the "SHOE" setting on audio 2 (channels 3 & 4).

Thanks again,
Kevin
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Old January 6th, 2007, 09:58 PM   #8
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Yep, I believe that is right. I think the benefit of the Ma-300 on the XL2 is the quality of XLR connectivity across all 4 channels.
-Jon
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Old January 9th, 2007, 11:53 AM   #9
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seems like Scenalyzer (freeware verison) only works on current AVI files to scene detect those. I want to capture 4 channel audio from the tape. I'm using an older camera as a deck. Do i need to use a XL2 as the deck since thats where it came from?

Is it possible to record 4 channel on 1 pass into Premeiere? I can't even find how to change tracks on Premiere. Is it a camera setting on the XL2 that would changed if I needed to record the two different tracks? 1/2 and 3/4?
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Old January 10th, 2007, 02:14 AM   #10
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As far as I know, Tom, there's no way other than Scenalyzer to capture all four audio tracks at the same time, no matter what your capture deck is, and no matter what it's settings are. Premiere won't do it, Vegas won't do it, Final Cut won't do it. Heaven knows why not. At least I'm pretty sure about all that.

Scenalyzer will do it, though.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 09:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrod Whaley
As far as I know, Tom, there's no way other than Scenalyzer to capture all four audio tracks at the same time, no matter what your capture deck is, and no matter what it's settings are. Premiere won't do it, Vegas won't do it, Final Cut won't do it. Heaven knows why not. At least I'm pretty sure about all that.

Scenalyzer will do it, though.
The pay verison I would assume. Maybe i'll invest some money into that. At that point, it wouldn't matter what deck i use, correct?
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Old January 10th, 2007, 05:34 PM   #12
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Hi Tom,
Scenalyzer is the only way to go. It will allow you do capture 4 track audio through firewire off a deck or camera. Works great and is pretty cheap. I went through the same problem a while back with an XL2 and Premiere. Scenalyzer worked great - But, beware of importing 32k audio into a 48 porjecct, or worse, 48 audio into a 32k project in PP2. You can end up with ridiculously long render times for the sudio conversion. Better to offline convert everything to the same sample rate in an audio editor like Soundforge and then bring all the files together in PP2.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 08:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Wilson
Hi Tom,
Scenalyzer is the only way to go. It will allow you do capture 4 track audio through firewire off a deck or camera. Works great and is pretty cheap. I went through the same problem a while back with an XL2 and Premiere. Scenalyzer worked great - But, beware of importing 32k audio into a 48 porjecct, or worse, 48 audio into a 32k project in PP2. You can end up with ridiculously long render times for the sudio conversion. Better to offline convert everything to the same sample rate in an audio editor like Soundforge and then bring all the files together in PP2.
Thanks for the tip!
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Old January 12th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #14
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I totally agree with Matthew.

If you're running Windows, Scenalyzer is the best (maybe the only) option. I believe it costs less than $40. The interface is a little wierd - and I guess by wierd just sort of non-standard windows feeling - but it gets the job done. I was in a varitable panic trying to figure out how to get 4 channels of audio off of a tape which just one pass. Scenalyzer saved the day, I don't understand how all of these commercial packages don't support capturing 4 channels of audio.

Incidently, it allows has some interesting features for presenting video files in a very organized contact-sheet like format. It can fast-forward catalog a 1 hour tape in about 5 minutes and allows you to print up video logs complete with thumbnails.

Neat stuff!

Todd
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Old August 14th, 2007, 04:18 PM   #15
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XLR Y lead

You could of course just put the two xlrs from the camera mic in parralel via a Y lead and then put your other source into Track 2. That way you don't sacrifice quality and keep it at 48 kilohertz. However your camera mic is now mono'd. Should be ok.

Mono compatibility is however an issue with some mic's. The audio police may want to investigate.

The above is based on the assumption that your stereo on board mic actually breaks out into two xlr plugs. The advantage is quality. Personally I would refuse to lower the sample rate to 32kh. I'm a sound man.
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