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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old May 19th, 2008, 05:45 AM   #16
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Recording Audio Gear For FX-1

I'm impressed about your placement of cameras up high on stands during the ceremony. Unfortunately, for me, I'm 5'5" so "craning" up to monitor while shooting at that height could be daunting for me unless I have tv monitors to assist during the shoot! Your videos must be very compelling with all those cutaways from different cams. I like your cam placement scheme for the 2 cameras and will try that arrangement for the next wedding shoot. Thanks.

Referring back to the original topic of audio gear, do I understand that your recorders take all the audio from the groom, minister, bride and your cams are left with the ambient audio to record? If that's so, it must be complicated synching up the audio from the SD cards to the video (eg: vows, speeches) or do your cams also record the wireless audio as well as the independent recorders? As I am purchasing at least one recorder, which unit would you suggest for starters re the groom and would it pick up both the bride and the minister? Second, I currently own an Azden WMS Pro which
only records to one channel (left) on the FX-1 using the external mike jack.
That's a problem in any event and I'm not sure how the Juicedink or any other breakout box will correct that unless I incorporate my Rode Video Mic with XLR into same along with the wireless receiver via the second XLR.
Is this how you configure yours?

Thanks.

Anthony
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Old May 19th, 2008, 10:17 AM   #17
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Ok first of all Anthony, I'm only 5'7 so you won't have to worry about height.
I bring along a step stool to use if needed. My tripods only got up about '72 inches or so, but it's generally enough. I have seen some videographers using a light stand elevated real high and they do use a LANC remote and external monitor to view their footage.

I use my recorders, generally with their built in mics, one on the podium for readings and speeches, one recording musicians and maybe one on the officiant or groom. But I also use external mics, when needed, as well (Rode NT3, Rode NT5's, AT822 etc.).

I still try to use wireless whenever possible, one so I can monitor the audio and also to use as sync backup audio. I prefer using the audio recorders for my critical audio (except for the groom, where I use audio sent to my camera).

I currently use a Zoom H2 to record musicians using its 4 built in internal mics (it can record from both sides of the unit. In my opinion the H2 is great for using it's onboard mics, but stinks if you have to use it's 1/8 mic or line input. So lav micing is out of the question with it.

I use my Edirol R09 or Marantz PMD620 with its internal mics for readings as I said. But I also may use it for lav micing (like when I film at the USNA, and wireless is prohibited). Or I may also use its 1/8 line input for board feeds. Currently I prefer the Marantz PMD620 over the R09, but both are very good units. BTW I hate to say it, but there's no one does it all best recorder out there. Each one will work very well, but it depends what you recording situations calls for.
The Zoom H2 is good for using its onboard mics to capture live and ambient audio (mainly musicians or micing a PA stack and capturing crowd audio at the same time. (Using lav or line in via 1/8, not good.).

Edirol R09 or Marantz PMD620 good for external mic or line in recording via 1/8 input. Good onboard mics, but not as versatile or good as the Zoom H2.

Zoom H4, is good for using external sources such as 2 mics or mic and line feeds via the balanced built in 14 TRS XLR inputs. The onbaord mics are also pretty good. But you have no way to use a lav mic if needed as it has no 1/8 input, and it's too large to use on a person anyway.

Edirol R-44 great for live mixing via 4 balanced XLR 14 TRS inputs. Like all of these recorders it records to SD card. You get perfectly synced 4 channel audio that is independently adjustable in post. Even though the unit is small for what it is, it's still large in most cases to be used alone in the field without practice. Also, you will need to figure out what the best setup is for audio input, wireless feeds, direct line feeds, both, etc.

Now as for the Juicedlink box...
You plug the Juicedlink box into your cameras 1/8 input. You now have the ability to input 2 (or 4 depending on your model) separate audio feeds into your camera, and adjust each channels audio independently as needed, using the boxes audio pots.
You can set the unit for L/C/R for each input.
I would recommend setting one L and the other Right. This way you have 2 individual tracks (onboard mic and wireless) in which you can record to and adjust in post. Working with mono feeds is really ideal as it's much easier to work with different audio on separate tracks and mix in post.

If you get the 4 channel unit you could send:
CH1: Wireless on groom (panned left)
CH2: Wireless on podium (panned right)
CH3: Wireless on musicians (panned center)
CH4: Onboard shotgun for ambient and crowd audio (panned center)

Even though you can only record 2 channels of audio in the FX1. You can still take different inputs and mix them appropriately while shooting. I prefer to send some channels left or right because its easier to work with separate audio in post whenever possible. Since my spoken audio is on separate tracks, it makes it easier for me to correct and work with in post. The musicians and ambient audio doesn't bother me as much, as this is used for filler audio on both tracks to enhance it more. Also generally the music ins't being played during the spoken sections of the service (although it is mixed in in post by me).

I would prefer having all of these on 4 individual tracks in camera, but this works fine for me, as I am adjusting the volume at my camera (via CX431 box) to my liking.

As for using recorders and syncing them in post. It is really easy. You find a reference point that you can use to sync up your audio (clap, camera click, spoken word, cheer etc.), then sync them up in your NLE on your timeline by using the waveforms and your ears for reference.

I you were using a 4 track recorder like the Edirol R-44, you would have all 4 elements like i posted earlier on separate tracks, so working in post is real easy, as all of your audio is synced perfectly in the recorder. All you have to do now is use your cameras taped audio to line up the waveforms in post as explained above.
Once again you would rather record audio in mono for ease of use. if you need it in stereo, it's easy to do that in post as well. but its difficult to correct audio if needed, if you have your audio mixed in stereo to begin with, as your audio sources are not separated, and there's no way to separate it after the fact.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 01:19 PM   #18
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Recording Audio Gear For FX-1

Michael...awesome camera arrangement you described in your last blog. I wonder if you recently tried it out and was it successful? Do you run into a problem with your tripods arrangement getting knocked into after the ceremony? I see that you have them hugging the pews but how do you avoid that problem? Also, I'm considering purchasing the Multirig but concerned about dismantling it off the person and the camera in order to "run" to the next setup at the tripod. I beleive I can purchase a Bogen quick release bracket for the DVtec but wonder aloud if the plate that comes with the MultiRig would fit my Bogen 501 head already? Also, I'm close to purchasing a Beachtek and and Rode NT2-G mic along with either a Senny or Samson wireless lavalier to replace the existing WMS Pro I own. Any thoughts on those mics and do you consider these (a boom mic and a wireless) essentials to getting good audio during the wedding? I currently own a Rode VidMic which of course goes into the 1/8th plug. Not yet ready to buy another HDV cam with XLR as I see the recording format is changing to flashdrive and the price of those units is still prohibitive to me. Thanks for your kind thoughts on this Michael and anyone who wants to chime in with theirs, please do!

Best wishes,

Anthony
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Old July 4th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #19
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Anthony, thanks for the compliment. My setups have served me well, for the last 3 years or so. Let me try to answer some of you questions below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Cipriano View Post
Michael...awesome camera arrangement you described in your last blog. I wonder if you recently tried it out and was it successful?
Do you run into a problem with your tripods arrangement getting knocked into after the ceremony?
I see that you have them hugging the pews but how do you avoid that problem?
I haven't had a chance to try this setup, but have actually come up with another.
I recently purchased a Bogen double head mount for my rear tripod. This will enable me to place 2 fluid heads on one tripod and shoot accordingly.
What I'm going to do is mount 2 cameras on my rear tripod. And I woudl still be on the side shooting for closeups accordingly. What I like about this setup is that I am able to create a 3 camera shoot using only 2 tripods. As I would handle closeups up front, and the rear cameras would create 2 different consistent focal views.

Oh, and as for my tripods getting bumped, I have yet to really have a problem with that. If anything I have more worries about my mic stand getting bumped during the reception. Which hasn't happened too often, thank God.

Quote:
Also, I'm considering purchasing the Multirig but concerned about dismantling it off the person and the camera in order to "run" to the next setup at the tripod. I beleive I can purchase a Bogen quick release bracket for the DVtec but wonder aloud if the plate that comes with the MultiRig would fit my Bogen 501 head already?
All that you need is to mount a normal QR assembly on the DVMulti Rig, and you can remove your camera to tripod with no issue. Also, DVTec has a new Tripod Docking Bracket, that will enable you to mount your entire rig on a tripod. Danny, is sending me one to try out. It should work very well, as the old tripod braket worked well, and I have heard from some that this one is even better.

Quote:
Also, I'm close to purchasing a Beachtek and and Rode NT2-G mic along with either a Senny or Samson wireless lavalier to replace the existing WMS Pro I own. Any thoughts on those mics and do you consider these (a boom mic and a wireless) essentials to getting good audio during the wedding?
I am an avid preacher to capturing the best audio that you can, either off camera or on camera. On camera mounted audio for the most part is useless, but has it's place.
I have used Beachtek XLR adapters for a long time now, as I used to use them on my old VX2100's (I also had PD170's so they weren't needed), and now require them for my FX1's. I would prefer onboard XLR's of the Z1, but needed multiple cameras, so I settled on the FX1s. On average, the Beachtek boxes are noisy, because they are passive boxes, which means that there are no active pre amps in the unit to keep the noise floor down. Beachtek does have a unit (DXA-6HD, that uses built in pre amps and is pretty quiet. But it's expensive in my book. If you are looking for an XLR adater, then besides Beachtek you may also want to take a look at http://juicedlink.com/. I actually like the sound quality fo their boxes better, as the pre amps are quieter and more adjustable. Also, what's nice is that they are considerably cheaper in price, but not quality. If you need phantom power, then you can get the CX231. If you don't have need for phantom power then I would suggest the CX211 a great buy.
As for onboard mics. I love the Rode mics, and use many of them. For a shotgun style mic, the NTG2 is very good. I prefer it over the Sennheiser ME66, because it's better in both outdoors (where shotguns are best used) as well as indoors (where hey aren't good on average). The Sennheiser is a very good mic, but too hot for indoor use where you are getting a lot of sound reflection. During a wedding shoot, I will use a wireless feed to my main cameraa dn the onbaord shotgun strictly for ambient audio. So for a ceremony, I have grooms mic going into my camera, and onbaord for crowd audio. Readings and such are captured by off camera audio recorders. For the reception, I mic one pA stack with a wireless handheld and feed that to CH2 and use onboard shotgun (CH1) for ambient crowd audio.

As for wireless, the Sennheiser units are the best bang for the buck. With that said, I have used the Samson Micro 32 units for 5 years now with no issues. The reason that I went for Samson, was strictly for price (as I needed 2 full sets, as well as wireless handheld with built i n transmitter). The Sennheiser units actually have a better sound to them, and have a much better body build. The Samson build quality is not the greatest, and people have reported problems with the transmitter antennas breaking off and such. Thank goodness, I haven't had any of these issues as of yet.

I ams till trying to find the best and easiest setup for me shooting alone, and am constantly tweaking. I am actually going to try going back to only using a monopod (just purchased a new Bogen 561B fluid base monopod with fluid head) and tripod for ceremony use. The reason being that I can't seem to get good tight zoom in on the bride for the processional, with the DVMulti Rig, and seem to get steadier tight shots with a monopod. Also, the smaller setup is a bit quicker to transfer from monopod to tripod, than DVMulti Rig to tripod. the new "Tripod Docking Bracket" may change that, well see.

So, I will be trying to use a monopod (which has a smaller footprint) up front for the processional and then go to tripod (like normal) for remaining ceremony shooting. I tried the Bogen fluid head monopod at a meeting and loved how smooth it panned. And with a fluid base and fluid head on top, should make for some real nice steady closeups during the processional. As for the reception, it's all DVMulti Rig. My camera will still be setup with either 2 wireless, or wireless and shotgun mic. Camera light will be off camera unit the reception.
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