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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old June 7th, 2007, 04:04 AM   #1
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Recording Sound

Hi guys, I'm new to all this, like most of you started as a hobby & has grown from there. I recently purchased the XL2 & I'm delighted with it. However, it is my first "real" video camera, my others where mainly point & shoot!!

I am wondering if I can record two audio channels at the same time to the camera tape? I see it has a number of audio channels, what I had in mind was using the onboard mic & a wirless mic. Can this be done? The onboard mic is good but sometimes the audio lets my footage down a little.

Sorry if the question is basic but as I said I am only starting out & by the way this site is excellent & it really helps build one's knowledge base!!!
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Old June 7th, 2007, 09:00 AM   #2
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Set your XLR input on the back to channel 3 instead of 1 then it will send the signal to AUDIO 2 and make sure your input select is set on REAR, and have your AUDIO 1 input set on FRONT MIC.

correct me if i'm wrong, i haven't tried it, but it seems to me that's the way it works.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 01:04 PM   #3
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Mitch...where on the back are you talking about changing the XLR to channel 3? All that's there are swtiches for phantom power (48kHz) and mic attenuation. Following the manual does not work, either. I have tried both XLRs, and the RCA connector with no luck. It is impossible to use the onborad mic that came with the camera as well as another mic plugged into the rear, unless you have the XLR adapter that goes onto the hotshoe, and even then you can only record in 12-bit audio, which is below DV NTSC standards (you'd have to resample in an NLE or audio program). Kind of a hassle. It's the only crappy thing about this camera.

Correct me if I'm wrong (please, cuz I've been trying to do it for over a year with no success).

Jonathan
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Old June 7th, 2007, 01:23 PM   #4
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my bad i'm at work with no camera infront of me.

forgot the 3/4 were the hotshoe inputs. silly me.

EDIT: what is the "audio 1" input select between the front mic and the rear?
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Old June 7th, 2007, 01:52 PM   #5
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I am pretty sure the "Audio 1" and "Audio 2" are the RCA connections (accessed by pulling the cover away next to the battery), but I'm not at my desk to try it out.

Jonathan
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Old June 8th, 2007, 10:16 AM   #6
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The Canon mic is stereo, so it will take up two channels. Therefore if you want to use any other audio source at the same time, you'll have to record to four channels. To do so, follow the instructions in the manual. Note that you'll have to record in 12-bit 32kHz mode (switchable in the menu) in order to use all four channels.

Four-channel audio capture is not supported by most NLE's; in fact, the only way I've ever heard of to capture all four channels in one pass is to use a standalone capture program called Scenalyzer. In your NLE's capture app, you can only capture two tracks at once and you'll have to go back and capture the the other two later, meaning that capture will take twice as long.

It's a lot easier to just record with two mono sources (or one stereo source) to begin with, as you won't have to worry about any of these extra steps in post. In addition, you'll get better sound quality at 16-bit 48kHz. If you do need, say, stereo ambiance mixed with a mono dialogue track, you can save yourself a lot of trouble if you record the ambiance and dialogue separately in 2-track mode and then mix them in post.
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Old June 8th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #7
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Jarrod's right. I would suggest that to record mono dialogue track and the stereo ambient track separately in one take, ditch the on-camera mic that came with the XL2 for a shotgun mic with an XLR output and plug it into the back. (Or, if you have the XLR adapter, you can plug that onto the hotshoe and have 4 balanced XLR inputs).

STILL, you can only record in 12-bit/32kHz audio, which as Jarrod and I have stated, ain't DV NTSC quality. No broadcast facility will accept your work if it isn't 16-bit 48kHz that I know of. Really peeves me about this camera (which is one of the very few reasons I don't consider it a professional camera).

Oh, and from the Final Cut Pro 5.1 User Manual (sec. I, page 287): "Final Cut Pro can simultaneously capture up to 24 audio channels to a QuickTime media file, from any of the available input channels of a single audio interface." Don't know about the other NLEs since I don't use them. Might be worth looking into.

Jonathan
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Old June 8th, 2007, 11:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Kirsch View Post
STILL, you can only record in 12-bit/32kHz audio, which as Jarrod and I have stated, ain't DV NTSC quality. No broadcast facility will accept your work if it isn't 16-bit 48kHz that I know of. Really peeves me about this camera (which is one of the very few reasons I don't consider it a professional camera).
In defense of the camera, this is a limitation of the DV standard; the fixed bit rate of DV simply doesn't have the bandwidth to handle four simultaneous channels at 16-bit 48kHz. There is no way the XL2 could handle 4-track audio better and still use the DV format for recording.

In fact, Canon is the only manufacturer I know of whose DV cameras support 4-channel recording at all (dubbing being somewhat more widely available, but a different animal).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Kirsch View Post
Oh, and from the Final Cut Pro 5.1 User Manual (sec. I, page 287): "Final Cut Pro can simultaneously capture up to 24 audio channels to a QuickTime media file, from any of the available input channels of a single audio interface." Don't know about the other NLEs since I don't use them. Might be worth looking into.
I don't believe that this capability applies to DV streams, but instead, for example, to recording directly into FCP with a mixer and a digital interface of some kind. Since I'm not a Mac user I may be wrong about that, but it definitely sounds like a post-production audio recording capability to me.
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Old June 8th, 2007, 01:38 PM   #9
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Jarrod...

Hmmmm, after thinking it over, I might be wrong. I have never had a need to capture more than 2 channels, so I don't know if there is any other equipment needed. I guess I don't know as much as I thought.

And I didn't think about the limitation of the DV standard...I was just thinking in terms of the camera itself. You learn something new every day. You could still resample each channel to 48kHz and use it, right? Cuz it would seem silly to sell a camera that, after some post manipulation, can't be used for broadcast purposes.

Thanks for the schooling, Jarrod. If I'm ever down South, I'll buy ya a beer.

Jonathan
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Old June 8th, 2007, 02:21 PM   #10
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Yeah, you can resample to 48kHz pretty easily in any modern NLE; most will even do so automatically when you import the files. Whether the results are usable or not just depends upon the intended use--a broadcast network may reject it, or they might not, though I'd guess that they would. It just depends. Also keep in mind that there are lots of other outlets for professionally produced video other than broadcast. 4-track recording @ 12-bit/32k may or may not be a useful feature for all users, but Canon gives you the option though many other manufacturers do not.

If you need 4 tracks and want higher bit depth / sample rate combination, you can always record using a separate audio recorder. This is what a lot of users would instinctively do anyway.

I don't know if I'd call my pointing these things out "schooling," but I will take you up on that beer offer. :)
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Old June 8th, 2007, 04:54 PM   #11
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Hi Alan,
Just a couple of quick notes for you:

Generally speaking, if you are using more than 2 channels of dv audio to capture into your NLE, you will need to run a second pass to capture the additional audio. The supporting info for Quicktime does talk about the 24 channel capability, and when it was being touted before the release of QT7, I was really hoping for that to be functional for multi-channel dv capture, but unfortunately it references content authoring in a different arena and has no practical bearing on multi-channel dv audio capture.

Also, over the past couple of years, many new owners of the XL2 have come to these forums and asked about multi-channel audio features of the XL2. I strongly recommend that you use the search function of this site. You will be presented with a wealth of posts pertaining to the subject.

It has been hashed over so much that I suspect many folks ignore the query anymore. Look for it in the 'search' function, and you will likely also find a number of times that I have gone into great detail about the specific steps involved in recording multi-channel audio on this cam.

Good luck.
-Jon
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Last edited by Jonathan Jones; June 9th, 2007 at 12:32 PM.
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Old June 11th, 2007, 05:40 AM   #12
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Hi Guys, thank you all very much for input, I really do appreciate it. I'll be sure to search the forums in future, I did do a small search all be it a lazy one!

As I have said I'm new to all this so all the help is appreciated.

Thanks again,
Alan
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Old February 28th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #13
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The easiest way to record with a wireless mic AND an on-board mic is to lose the Canon stereo mic altogether and use an XLR shotgun (mono) into one of the rear XLR inputs, and an XLR wireless mic receiver (mono) into the other rear XLR. That way you only use two channels of audio and can remain at full quality 48/16 audio while simultaneously avoiding the need to capture audio in a second pass as with 4-channel recording. I do it all the time and it works for me! =)
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