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Old January 26th, 2008, 08:42 PM   #1
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Best on-camera mic solution for Roundtable event

I will be filming a round table event where about 50-75 people will be discussing ideas around a particular topic in a room. I would like some form of on-camera microphone that could capture the audio clearly, without using a wireless microphone or external boom mic. What is the best route?

My camera is a Sony HDR-FX1 camera and the event will be recorded with a tripod and edited together on a final DVD to deliver to the sponsor of the event.

Will I have to get a beachtek interface, some sort of camera mount for the camera, and a microphone?

All healp and direction is greatly appreciated.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 12:41 AM   #2
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Unless that room is a sound studio with a very quiet audience, no mic will pick up everything clearly. Will there be a PA system? What kind of room are you using? Will everyone be facing the front? Are the people in the back going to be 30 feet away from you?

If this is a carpeted room and everyone knows to speak up, you might try an omni-directional mic but it will still be best to place it near the center of your people. Can you put it on a mic stand in a central area?
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Old January 27th, 2008, 06:18 PM   #3
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A Zoom H2 will do it beautifully, and you won't have to move it at all. You will have to sync it in post, which takes about 5 seconds, but you will love it. They're $200, but worth much more.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 06:55 PM   #4
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I've done a number of these kinds of events over the years. There are two ways to approach roundtable commentary, one inexpensive, the other expensive.

The inexpensive way is to use a single handleld wireless microphone and have it passed from one attendee or group representative. This only works if there is some kind of formal structure to the commentary.

If attendee commentary is to be free form and is allowed to happen at any time the only way to get good audio is to use a lot of microphones, at least one omni directional hand mic on a table stand for every two attendees. For 50 people you will need 38 microphones. Shure makes a great voice-gated mixing console that automatically opens any microphone when used and turns it off when not in use. Rental of such a system should run about $2000 and usually includes the mixing console, all microphones, stands, and mic cable. Also, 75 people can nt be expected to clearly hear all commentary, so a PA system is in order. This PA will need a 1/3 octave EQ and feedback suppression. Hiring an audio technician to manage the PA is essential.

The only clients I have ever had to choose the latter approach have been corporate. Once your sponsor understands the technical complexity of getting good audio they will make the appropriate decision.
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Last edited by Waldemar Winkler; January 30th, 2008 at 06:38 PM. Reason: 50 people, not 5
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Old January 30th, 2008, 02:06 AM   #5
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Round Table Event

Zoom H2 was the best investment I made in 5 years and I am buying another one.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 12:22 PM   #6
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How do you incorporate the zoom H2 into weddings??? do you use it to record the vows? It sounds like a pretty good solution for someone like my self who can quite afford all the gear for a wireless lav mic. Right now I'm using a Rode shotgun mic that works pretty well... but i defiantly want to get something closer to all the action.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
A Zoom H2 will do it beautifully, and you won't have to move it at all. You will have to sync it in post, which takes about 5 seconds, but you will love it. They're $200, but worth much more.
Dana
Where would you put it? How sensitive is it? Is it difficult to sync in post?

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Old January 30th, 2008, 06:48 PM   #8
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I've just looked at the promotional information on the Zoom H2 on the Samson website, and I would say it is a very promising replacement for the iRivers. First thing I would do is to see what it will do if it were strategically placed in an arch above the B/G and officiant. Then I would see how an external lav mic (like one of the giant Squid's) is managed.

If sync-ing audio is really easy, the Zoom H2 is the best alternative to wireless I have seen in quite a while.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 03:28 AM   #9
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How good is the Zoom H2 at isolating the audio in 4 different directions? If it really acts as 4 mics picking up different quadrants, that's a whole lot more coverage than a single on-camera shotgun.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 09:36 AM   #10
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The H2 is very sensative and sits on a table stand (included in the box), so it's the ideal solution for round table discussions. You won't have to move it and there are no wires or transmitters -- beautiful. You can plug in headphones and do a sound check on-site. Then, if it doesn't have the umph you desire, just take off (unscrew) the stand and screw on the handle. It instantly becomes a handheld (wireless) mic. It even has a muff-monster (included) to slide over the grill.

At weddings I plug in my Giant Squid lavs into the H2(s), sound check, hit record and slide them into the groom's and officiant's pocket. The sound is perfect with no interference to deal with! Syncing is simple and quick. When the ceremony is over I retrieve my H2(s) and screw on the handle for a handheld that I pass around the table. (How cool is that?!) The other H2 I set on the PA speaker and dangle the Squid lav, gaffers taping it between the horn and woofer to get both PA and ambience sound. I don't even mess with the sound board.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 01:59 PM   #11
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there is no static mic that can pick up usable sound from 75 people in free-form discussion. Unless you are doing it for the Guinness book of records or some sort of surveillance operation.

Last edited by Peter Ralph; January 31st, 2008 at 03:35 PM.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 03:33 PM   #12
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OMG, I didn't notice how huge of a table that is! I would buy several, then, if it's worth the money for the gig. The nice thing about several mics is that you can edit out the noisy people, coughing, etc. H2s are only $200, so it might be doable.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 04:30 PM   #13
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I agree that the H2 is a great step up from iRivers (I moved away from them several years ago).

I also shoot weddings and am an audio fanatic.
I currently have a Edirol R09, New Marantz PMD 620, Edirol R4 (4 track XLR recorder, sold off Zoom H4 because I use the R4 for XLR based recording), and Zoom H2.

All of my recorders have different uses, as they all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Edirol R09: Good built in mics, great manual controls. I mainly use this to record direct feed from board during receptions, and to place on podium for readings during the ceremony. For times when I can't use a wireless setup like USNA, I use R09 with lav and it works great.

Marantz PMD 620: Same as R09, but has better built in pre amps, so I also use this to mic loud PA stacks or bands with external mics or built in mics.

Edirol R4: Take 1/2 feeds from soundboard into CH1/2 and mics in CH3/4 for ambient audio. All of this records to hard rive for a perfect mix every time. I mainly use this to record live bands where I can get a sound check beforehand. I am looking at the upcoming R44 for a possible replacement for the R4 (the R44 is smaller and works recording to SDHC cards).

Zoom H2: I use this for what is was intentionally designed to do. I use it as a mic recorder in either 2CH or 4CH recording mode, recording from both sides of the unit. It works great at receptions where I mic the PA stack with one front side (90 degrees pattern) and use rear of the unit to record (120 degree pattern). the 1/8 mic/line input isn't really that good so I rely on my other recorders for that. All in all the Zoom H2's built in mics are good for most situations, except very loud environments like close micing of drums (Yes that's even with gain set to Low).
Forget using GS lav mics to mic PA stack, as the built I mics wil work better than the GS mic (which is too sensitive in my opinion). but to use a GS lav on a person will work well.

So all in all the H2 will work for most as a mic recorder. And for a roundtable it is a very good solution for recording your audio.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 06:22 PM   #14
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Michael, do you think I should tape the unit to the PA speaker in between the horn and tweeter? What setting should I use? How do you do it?

Also, have you ever had the 'PLUG-IN' setting dissappear from the H2 menu? That killed me once at a wedding, and I had to use the other one.
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Old January 31st, 2008, 07:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dana Salsbury View Post
Michael, do you think I should tape the unit to the PA speaker in between the horn and tweeter? What setting should I use? How do you do it?

Also, have you ever had the 'PLUG-IN' setting dissappear from the H2 menu? That killed me once at a wedding, and I had to use the other one.
Dana I just screw the H2 to a mic stand with a Edirol OP-R09M mic stand adapter that was designed for my Edirol R09.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...one_Stand.html

I have used this adapter for all of my small units.

BTW I also have several clamps from Windtech that are great to attach to a mc stand and mount another recording unit if you like.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...one_Clamp.html

So you could mount a wireless mic to the top of your mic stand (send wireless signal to your camera for monitoring backup sync audio (I use recorder audio for main audio). The attach the Edirol Mic adapter and H2 to the Windtech clamp.

I then place the mics halfway in between the tweeter and woofer of the PA stack slightly off center to the side of the PA stack (either right or left). I can move this setup at a moments notice anywhere in the room as there are no cables to get in the way.

As for settings on the H2 I always record at least at 24/48 WAV format in order to match the same sample rate of my cameras. The gain on the outside of the H2 is set to either L(low) or M(medium) depending on how loud the venue is, and I set the recording level to AT LEAST 100. This is because Zoom wired the H2's recording input before the pre amps,and as such the pre amps don't kick in until 100. All effects are turned off in the menu as I can do anything else in post.

I have never had plug in power disappear in the H2's menu as of yet.
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