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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old February 18th, 2008, 05:00 AM   #1
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Zoom H2 settings

I know some of you guys are using the Zoom H2, and wonder what you have learned re settings from your experience so far.

I've done two recordings using it now. One a big singing 'do' in a packed house Cathedral. This was the day after I got it and I didn't know how to use it. The volume was far too low and I had to boost it by about 1000%! Not optimum.

Then last Saturday I used it in a wedding I filmed. I wanted to capture the guests singing indecent quality audio so set the H2 on top of a light stand up about 3m, virtually in the centre of the church/the guests, just to the side of the aisle and half way down it.
- I was using 4 channel recording
- had the volume on 100
- AGC/COMP off
- Gain = medium.

Again it was too quiet, though this time I have only needed to boost it by about 450%, and the quality is pretty good.

I presume I need to up the recording volume for this sort of situation, higher than 100.

I had practised with it before the wedding by monitoring the volume from a sterio set at home - increasing and decreasing the volume of the sterio to see what effect on the monitor it had. I thought I had it about right...but clearly didn't.

Any thoughts?
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Old February 18th, 2008, 06:53 AM   #2
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You need to setup the recorder using the H2's LCD meters, not some predetermined 'guess-timated' settings. In the venue, at the mic position, and with material similar to what you'll be recording you need to make a sound check, adjusting the mic gain trim and the recording level controls until you see the front panel meters hitting at about -12 dBFS. The untrained ear is notoriously unreliable for estimating levels - just because your stereo at home sounded to your ears about equal in loudness to the music you were recording doesn't mean the real sound pressure levels (and so the recording settings needed) were even remotely close.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 02:10 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve.

The problem with working out what level to set the H2 at for a particular event - in this case a wedding - is that you do not have in advance a sample of the sound to be recorded, so as to monitor it!
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Old February 18th, 2008, 02:22 PM   #4
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I'm going to use mine this coming weekend, and my hope is to have the organist playing prior to the ceremony. This will allow me to set the loudest volume, in other words what the top peak will be. Now my plan is to use the recorder to catch the readers on the pulpit. Even though there will be a house mic there, I'm not a big fan of echoey audio when matching it to my my lapels for the speakers.

So try this, try a sound check and monitor the levels on the recorder itself, head phones etc. But try your sound check with your loudest and softest sources. I'm probably over simplifiying things, but I hope it helps.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 03:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renton Maclachlan View Post
Thanks Steve.

The problem with working out what level to set the H2 at for a particular event - in this case a wedding - is that you do not have in advance a sample of the sound to be recorded, so as to monitor it!

True enough - but you can go to the rehearsal and get a pretty good idea what things are going to sound like. Or get there 30 minutes before hand, before the guests start to arrive, and have an assistant stand in the place of the celebrant, etc, and give you a sound check. And doesn't the organist or other musician do a musical prelude while the guests are waiting for the arrival of the wedding party? I just don't think you can come up with any a priori settings rules that are going to give you much better results than just blind luck.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 04:48 PM   #6
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Yes, I've thought since about monitoring the organ either at the practice or during set up (I was at this wedding 1 3/4 hours early to get everything set up.) so maybe I'll go that way next time. All the same, the singing guests would still be a lot closer to the mic than the organ and you can't get a trial run on them. Celebrant, groom, fathers, lecturn, are all individually mic'd/iriver'd, so they are not any issue.
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