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Old January 4th, 2008, 06:05 PM   #1
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Advice on shooting live music

I am looking for some advice, I am shooting a friend playing live at a couple of events next week and have never done any music event shooting.
Is it best to shoot the event and record audio separately and sync later or try and get an audio stream into the XLR jack?
I am going to use my A1 but also have a Sony HC1 for handheld close ups etc. Do you think I will have issues colour matching the two cameras post?

Any advice would be great,

thanks

Jon
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Old January 4th, 2008, 08:23 PM   #2
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About sound:
It depends on your task and on music your friend is playing. Obviously, the quality MAY be better if you will take sound from mixer to another device, but later you have to synchronize it. Sometimes, if you need to "Live effect" in is better to get sound from microphone in the room.

About video:
I do not think this will be a problem to match color (I suppose it will not be a huge rock-n-roll show with a lot of lights and fire :) ). But may be it would be better to match color beforehand: look for HC1-like preset on the internet or try to do it yourself if you have a vectorscope (f.e. Canon Console or there is a freeware vectorscope for AviSynth, but in is much less handy)
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Old January 4th, 2008, 10:44 PM   #3
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for the sound, go off the board. you can bring a digital sound recorder or another cam that would plug straight in.

to synch multi cams, i bring a camera flash and set it off a few times through out the set. it's one frame and really easy to spot.

color correction is really all about your skill and software.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 03:35 PM   #4
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’ll throw in my 2 Cents given that I have only shot one live music event, (but have had decades of audio recording experience). Also I use Avid in newbie mode, with no clue about the other editors.

I was surprised how easy it was to 1) sync two cameras (note Eric’s tip about a flash), 2) Color match the cameras, and 3) import and sync audio.

Running at zero experience level, I recorded 3 stereo tracks. The first was a Crown PZM stereo imaging mike plugged directly into the A1 (note room ambient sound at a good location). The second was the direct mixing board output into an Apogee MiniME and then digitally into an MAudio MicroTrak. The third was a Rode Stereo Video Mike on a Canon HV20 roaming around the stage getting close ups.

Results: The sound from the board was very clean, but it was not always well mixed and lacked the sense of “being there” i.e. audience reactions. The HV20 sound quality from the Rode mike was good, but again the balance was off… favoring whatever amplifier it was closer to at the time. The A1 sound was the winner, giving a well balance sense of being in the room with crisp detail in the music.

Suggest that you simply get the best microphones you can and then place them in the room where your ears think the sound is good (and people won’t get in the way).

My next opportunity to shoot live music will come up in a few months, so I am planning the following: Record the A1 with the onboard mic, primarily as a sync reference. I will set up two apogee miniMe/ microtrak combinations recording stereo pairs (at 24/ 96K) from the Crown PZM and also from a pair of widely separated condenser mic’s. In post, will convert to 16bit/ 48K and mix the best stereo image, and also try my first shot at 5.1 mixing.

The most important thing I learned from the first experience was that no matter how good the sound is, it is easy to screw it up in the process of making a DVD. Apparently DVD sound can be written on the disk 3 ways, 1) as PCM (an uncompressed wave file), 2) a compressed mpg, or 3) a compressed Dolby AC3. Unfortunately, the mpg option is not adopted in the official DVD spec, and is not supported on some players. Unaware, I was outputting video with mpg to author with Ulead MF6, which was then transcoding mpg to ac3… ouch. Currently I decided to honor the concept of “music” video by using only uncompressed wav audio on the disk (PCM option). It takes more space, but there is a noticeable improvement in sound quality.

Good Luck
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Old January 5th, 2008, 03:59 PM   #5
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Thanks, loads of good stuff there. The flash idea for sync is great I've still got to investigate the locations etc. But thanks heaps. I'll keep you updated.

Jon
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 12:36 AM   #6
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One thing to watch out for if you get a direct board feed, without room mics: the mix can be off, depending on the type of music. If a band has big guitar amps, those are probably relatively low in the mains (because they can be heard directly from the amp, unlike vocals which are only heard from the mains speakers). When going direct from the board with a loud rock band, you might end up with loud vocals and weak guitars. Sometimes it's easier and better to use stereo mics in the room.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 08:18 PM   #7
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FWIW,
Back in the summer, I was asked by a friend of mine to record his entry in a Country song contest - at an outdoor venue. Here's the result: http://web.mac.com/rossdjones/Video/GregT.html
I couldn't get access to the sound board and we had to sit in the bleachers about 100ft away. Rather than set up external mics, I decided to just record with the on-board mics.. Sounds a little thin, but a pretty fair representation of what the PA sounded like 100ft away..
Rgds, Ross.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 12:33 AM   #8
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Well I did my shoot last week and the results were mixed. The first venue she was stuck in a corner no lighting, crap sound, people knocking glasses etc. I had to bump up the gain and to be honest would not use any of the footage as it's boring and noisy (both audio and video).
Second venue, better lighting (still average though), better sound. I tried to pull the audio from the board but could not get the XLR input to work. I set it to XLR on the menu, used Chan 1 and I kn ow that the lead was live. I need to check this out... has anyone else had probs? Ended up using built in mic (which I was actually surprised at the quality)
One area where I did mess up was that I was going to take my little Sony HC1 as a second camera... took on first shoot and never used it, didn't bother for second shoot. Big mistake as I was messing around doing a few 'arty' shots but now have nothing to cut into the footage... oops! I have tried to cut other sections into it but you can tell that the sounds don't match the video.
I'll go down to the venue and shoot some crowd reaction etc next week as cutaway shots.

All good lessons though.

Jon
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Old February 8th, 2008, 03:48 AM   #9
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If anyone can give me advice on shooting live music I would really appreciate that.

Next week I am filming a singer/songwriter. She plays guitar.

The film will last for the duration of one song. During the film you find out more about the performer.

I want to record her in her bedroom, where she writes her songs, and in a studio/performance space.

I haven't filmed music for real before.

I have only experimented by recording my nephew.

I used two DPA 4061 mics. These are tiny. Often used as lapel mics but have many other applications.

I mounted one on the guitar and the other on my nephew's T shirt.

The result wasn't a disaster but there were two problems:
1 the mic on the guitar picked up the bass strings at the expense of the others because it was closest to the bass strings.
2 there was not enough separation between voice mic and guitar mic so it was not possible to mix them.

Should I forget about using these mics for this job and go for something else. If so what?

I have a really good hire place nearby with a huge range of mics so I can probably get hold of anything that is suggested.

Would very much appreciate advice based on experience.

Thanks.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 05:36 AM   #10
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My main question for live music is: 24f or 60i?

I think I'll be okay on the sound. I'll take a L & R feed from the mixing board, but I can't make up my mind for 24 or 60. I'll be using an XL2 for the wide shot, and XH-A1 for the medium/closeups. Final destination for footage is a DVD.

Thanks

JR
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Old February 8th, 2008, 02:09 PM   #11
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professional sound jockey? No? - forget the sound board. Too much aggravation - way too many things to go wrong.

why not use the cams the other way round? The A1 is higher rez - better for wide shots. The XL2 maintains maximum aperture thru more of the zoom range - better for close-ups in low light.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
I used two DPA 4061 mics. These are tiny. Often used as lapel mics but have many other applications.

I mounted one on the guitar and the other on my nephew's T shirt.

The result wasn't a disaster but there were two problems:
1 the mic on the guitar picked up the bass strings at the expense of the others because it was closest to the bass strings.
2 there was not enough separation between voice mic and guitar mic so it was not possible to mix them.

Should I forget about using these mics for this job and go for something else. If so what?
Try the following:
-one vocal mike on a stand very close to the mouth. Something like the shure 58A should work fine.
-one cardioid condenser mike on the guitar.


Separation will always be a problem. To improve things, try a non-reflecting room and turn the cardioid guitar mike so that its rear faces the mouth of the speaker (it does not need to face the guitar). If you really want separation, use a pickup on the guitar. AKG has a system which you stick on the guitar, it is supposed to be wonderful, but I have not used it (yet).

You can also put a normal (small) mike IN the guitar. Works well, but the sound is noticeably unnatural.



....or you could make it simple: if your room is not reflecting, put a cardioid condenser mike about one meter in front of the singer. It will record both the guitar and the singer and sound very natural.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #13
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For the audio portion of this: the topic comes up every now and then in the "All things audio" forum. Well worth heading over there and doing a search for live music or something like that.

- Martin
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Old February 8th, 2008, 04:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ralph View Post
professional sound jockey? No? - forget the sound board. Too much aggravation - way too many things to go wrong.

why not use the cams the other way round? The A1 is higher rez - better for wide shots. The XL2 maintains maximum aperture thru more of the zoom range - better for close-ups in low light.
There is going to be a professional sound jockey there and the sound system belongs to the university so it's not a mickey mouse setup.

I'm still going to have a pair of shotguns collecting sound, I haven't decided whether to camera mount or not though. I'm going to test out during rehearsals and see how it sounds.

Yes, I've been going back and forth on which camera to use for the wide shot and which to use for the tighter shots. I planned on burning to BluRay eventually, even though the immediate destination is SD DVD. It might be a better idea to have the "whole" show on HDV.

JR
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Old February 8th, 2008, 09:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremiah Rickert View Post
There is going to be a professional sound jockey there and the sound system belongs to the university so it's not a mickey mouse setup.
<clip>
JR
Unless I really know the sound engineer, no way would I use a tap of the mixer. One push of a button like the PFL/SOLO and while everything is okay for them, you are toast! Sure, if you have extra recording channels, by all means get a tap from them - but always have a "PLAN B." Just be aware you'll need to properly attenuate the signal and match the impedences coming out of the mixer that go into your mic inputs. You can buy the gear in pieces or get something like a Rolls DB25 Matchbox. And never, ever forget RULE NUMBER ONE:

ALWAYS monitor the audio throughout the recording session (and be ready to act fast).

Jonathan, if you've setup everything properly (no clipping but near peak), you shouldn't have any inherent camera audio recording problems in post. But if you're using a wide range of microphones or don't have things properly set, no recorder will resolve those problems.

Happy Trails, Michael
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