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


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Old June 4th, 2008, 11:19 AM   #16
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Tapping a DJ board is not very difficult and really is the best sounding solution. If you try to mic his speakers you'll be stuck with the whatever quality his speakers were. The RCA record outs of a DJ board are tied directly to his master. If there is sound coming out of his speakers, you can get it at the record out. One RCA to 1/4 cable into a line matching transformer (radio shack 274-017) attached to a sennheiser plug on transmitter and you're done. Takes about 20 seconds. Set the sennheiser to -20 sesitivity. About 95% of dj boards are the same but you will run into some where a certain microphone channel isn't sent to the record outs so make sure he tests his mic for you after you hook it up.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 11:29 AM   #17
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Well - here's what I did.

I had four different audio sources going on throughout the ceremony. An H2 on a mic stand in front of the PA, along with a wireless lav to my camera going into the left channel. I had a Videomic going into the right. Also, I had an iriver on the groom. It was an outdoor ceremony and it was very windy (on top of a hill at a winery). H2 and the iriver on the groom gave me the best results.

Had the same setup during the reception (minus the iriver). I had the mic stand in front of the PA - and the DJ did give me a look - and I felt he was a little annoyed. What can you do.

During the first dance, we had to move to a different dance floor so he moved the speaker away from the Mic Stand, but did not move the Mic Stand.

When I had the opportunity, I moved the Mic Stand. During the slideshow, everyone moved to the dance floor and someone bumped into mic stand and my Zoom H2 fell out and hit the ground. When I checked it, all of my reception audio was missing. The file was there, but I cannot play it at all.

Still I had backup from the lav and the Videomic, so I at least have something.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 09:31 PM   #18
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I agree that nothing takes the place of taping directly into the DJ's audio board. Of course you would want another channel of ambient sound to mix in.
I have been doing it over twenty years without any problems. All it takes is an understanding of the the audio leaving the board and your camera's capacity to receive it and a little knowledge of the typical sound board. With that little knowledge of the sound board you will probably be one up on the DJ.

The audio (pressure) leaving the sound board /mixer is to hot for your camera to handle. This has nothing to do with the volume.
The solution is to reduce the audio out db to a level that the camera microphone inputs can handle. An attenuater that knocks the level down twenty to fifty db will do the trick. There are several devices thet will do the trick from black boxes to mixers to a simple audio line.

The next step is to figure out where to plug into the DJ's mixer. Standing in the rear of the mixer, facing the DJ, you will almost always find the audio outputs on your left. The exceptions are generally large venue mixers such as a 32 or 48 input board found in live performance venues or churches. Then the outputs may be in the center or left side.
Look for a line level output. The RCA audio outputs for recording to tape recorders are the perfect match. The signal goes right through so the DJ cannot tamper with your signal.

That line must be attenuated (db's knocked down) before it gets to your camera.

Some of the larger DJ boards may have an auxiliary output (1/4" / phono plug). This output may have a separate volume output controlled by the DJ. Once it's set, your volume input won't change. You stilll have to use the attenuator.

When the DJ is hooking up, you have to make sure he is hooking up your line to his output and not input (the right side of the board with the sliders).
Believe it or not, there are a lot of DJ's out there who don't seem to know the difference on their own boards. That's where your newly aquired expertice comes into play.

As far as DJ's being cooperative, I let by brides' hear the difference, offer Direct Sound as an option and they let the DJ know that this is what THEY want for their wedding. Works all the time.

It's becoming common enough now that some DJs already have a line pre attached to the board to make the hook up easier.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #19
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Interesting thread this.

I rely on the two internal mics of the cameras and a direct feed into an Iriver from the DJs board. However, I find the Iriver recording usefull 70% of the time becuase either a) the DJ \ I plugged it in wrong, b) set the record level too high or low.

I'm interested in the H2. Can you really put it a few inches away from a speaker and get good audio when the DJ cranks it up??? I thought it would explode the thing!
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Old June 6th, 2008, 11:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Avdienko View Post
Hi everyone -

I'm hoping to get some ideas here. I have a Zoom H2 and two irivers with some GS lav mics.

I got the ceremony audio covered, but I'm not happy with the audio I'm capturing at the reception (specifically, the music).

I generally have the Zoom on top of the PA speaker - with a lav mic dangling in front of the tweeter. Speeches are coming out fine. However, I want to avoid patching into the DJ's board, because I'd like to have more control with the audio.

Is dangling the lav a good idea? Or is there something better? Do I need a better mic (I assume I do).



What do you guys do.

Thanks!
If you want more control over the audio, then hire a sound tech to manage each channel of the audio before the DJ gets it. My personal choice is to tap into the DJ's board, but ONLY THROUGH THE RECORD OUT or TAPE OUT RCA connection. This feed is independent of the master feed in that it is a stable audio signal, and gives you quite a lot of control. Once your recording device is set properly for a constant 10K audio feed it never has to be reset. You can even set this level on your home stereo. Granted, if the DJ does something stupid and overloads a channel, you will get a distorted signal. Regardless, the Record out feed remains stable. You will get a good audio for most of what you need.

You could get something similar hanging a mic in front of a loud speaker, provided you use a microphone designed to handle sound pressure levels in excess of 120 db. a Shure SM57 will do this. So will most pro quality drum mics. These I know to be reliable. Other mics, as already recommended, could work, but I don't have experience with then. But why go to that extraordinary effort? The Record out feed is very reliable.

There a lots of ways to resolve your issue. I've mentioned two. The trick is to find the method that works best for you. So take all of our opinions and find the one that best fits your workflow.

Having said this, some kind of good backup is essential.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 01:15 AM   #21
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if you are adept enough to run a camera beyond a point and shoot, you should have no problem figuring out the average dj board!

99% will have a "record" output. 1/3 or so of those will have a switch that either selects audio with or audio without the mic.

if they are using the record out, some consoles have a booth or zone out. the booth &/or extra zone will have its own level potentiometer. you have to pot this up, just connecting a recording device to these probably won't cut it. again, you may or may not find a mic yay or nay switch.

bring adapters! when i dj'ed i brought all sorts of adapters with my rig. if i had to macguyver something on the fly, no problem. not all dj's have the gift of forsight, have ever contemplated equipment failure or care enough to come properly prepared. carry some adaters with your recording rig. rca, 1/4" & xlr are all common place in dj gear, but if you show up to the gig and all you have is rca and all the dj has left is xlr, you're probably SOL. if your recording device isn't battery operated, a power splitter and extension cord would round out this prep pack nicely. the dj's "power distro" may very well be full and again, you're SOL.

check the levels even if you have a limiter on your recording device. as the party gets going, so does the volume. your perfect audio signal during dinner probably won't be so perfect after everyone is good and lit. a limiter won't fix a signal thats distorted at the output stage of the dj mixer. basically, make sure you aren't in the red whenever you hear the electric slide.

if none of this makes sense. go to your local dj supply store, or study one online. same stuff as video; inputs and outputs, watch levels, be prepared.

my $0.02
-john c.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #22
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Using the H4

I will be doing a wedding next month and want to record the DJs music from the speakers - it seems to be the easiest. I went to my local guitar center and while I was inquiring about the Sennheiser e604 he showed me the e609. It is made for micing guitar amps and is only about $100.
Would this suffice or should I just pony up the cash and get the e604?

Thanks
Jim
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Old June 17th, 2008, 01:12 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Jim Bucciferro View Post
Would this suffice or should I just pony up the cash and get the e604?
Get the e604. Unlike a guitar, it's designed to handle high compression like drums.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #24
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Zoom H4 and tape out from mixer

Rick,
Thanks. I was also considering using the tape out from the mixer - if available - directly to inputs 1 & 2 on the Zoom H4. I am assuming the tape out is line level and I want to get it to mic level. What do I need to convert the tape out to a mic level input?

Thanks
Jim
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Old June 17th, 2008, 01:43 PM   #25
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What do I need to convert the tape out to a mic level input? Jim
The sound board should have an independant volume knob/slider for this. And you said earlier you had an H2. Now you're referring to an H4... which is it?

Lots of luck dealing with this though. I haven't found 2 boards that work the same and the DJ's wireless mic (speeches) may not even work on the master out.

I never use the board anymore - too hit and miss. The e604 is my main feed and the H2 is just a backup.
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Old June 17th, 2008, 01:49 PM   #26
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No H2

Nope, I never had an H2 - that was the original poster.
I just got my H4 a few days ago.

So, I will go with connecting the e604 to the H4 and putting both on a mic stand in front of the speaker.

Thanks for the help.
Jim
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Old June 17th, 2008, 02:10 PM   #27
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All the reviews I've read on the H2 says the external mic amp on the H2 is very bad.. and the samples confirms this.

How are you guys finding the H2's audio quality for wedding vids?
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Old June 17th, 2008, 03:40 PM   #28
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Jim,
I use the 604 and it works like a charm. I also use a SE300/ck93 hyper for on camera and the 2 mix like butter. The 604 is the way to go.

Don
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Old June 17th, 2008, 10:13 PM   #29
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How are you guys finding the H2's audio quality for wedding vids?
It really sucks mic'ing a PA stack in my opinion but the thing does a pretty good job with a quartet and/or soloist if you position it correctly.

Using it to record a speaker gets mixed results for me. Cranking the gain way down takes a lot of the high frequencies out of the sound and it sounds muffled. But it has saved my arse a few times when my e604/wireless wasn't on (Oops).
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Old June 17th, 2008, 10:20 PM   #30
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Nope, I never had an H2 - that was the original poster.
I just got my H4 a few days ago.

So, I will go with connecting the e604 to the H4 and putting both on a mic stand in front of the speaker.

Thanks for the help.
Jim
Sorry about confusing you with the original poster.

I'm not sure about the H4 but the H2 has some handy LED's on each side of it that flash if the sound is "clipping". Watch those things if you have them. Just like a sound board, every DJ has different speakers and amps and the ones I work with ride the volume all night long going form low (social hour) to deafening (late dancing).

And be careful not to mount the e604 directly in front of the bass... put it mostly over the tweeter. 8-12 inches away works for me if I have the room.
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