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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 25th, 2009, 10:12 PM   #16
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Garett- that is a very interesting piece of tech and a very reasonable price if I am understanding you correctly. I have a Behringer board i have used for some live mixing before so i follow you to the point of connecting mics and line feeds, but I get a little fuzzy after that. i take it once you hook up the firewire and install any necessary drivers, the computer reads it as an audio input device. If i am understanding you correctly, you are recording individual streams not a mix. I have used Vegas to record one stereo track for VO before so i understand the basic concept of arming a track to record but how do you record multiple tracks simultaneously and designate multiple sources within the same feed? Is this a function that the Alesis opens up by its design or is there something I am missing in setting up Vegas. In other words how do you isolate the inputs during recording?

Thanks for your help!
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Old January 25th, 2009, 10:21 PM   #17
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I downloaded the manual from Alesis MultiMix 8 FireWire so i see how this sends multi stream audio to the computer so i am mainly confused about the setup in Vegas to isolate the tracks... Can you help me wrap my head around this? thanks!

Edit: I finished reading the manual and I think I have a better grasp on this. Does it use the VST settings to interface with vegas? Since you have used this for recitals before, have you experienced any issues with continuous recording for over 90 minutes? This recital is 2 acts, each about 90 min long with a 15 minute intermission.
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Last edited by Bryan Daugherty; January 25th, 2009 at 10:56 PM. Reason: found new info.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 11:23 PM   #18
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Hi Bryan,

No problem. If you've got the basics of arming each track all you have to do is click the record button (or Ctrl+R) at the bottom of the timeline window.

Once you've loaded the Alesis drivers you go to the Options/Preferences, then click on the Audio Devices. Under the Audio Device Type you should see the Alesis as an option. When you choose the Alesis you'll be able to right click on the audio track list then under "record inputs" you should see a choice of the various track inputs from the Alesis. You can choose to have each track be stereo or mono.

It actually all makes a lot more sense after you've walked through it once. Then you can adjust input levels via the mixer or the volume sliders on the Vegas Audio Track. Rename each track to some logical name such as "Board Feed Right - Date" and after you stop the recording each track will show up as a separate wav file. You need to remember to set the audio properties for the project to match the bit depth and sample rate of the input device (the Alesis in this case can be 24bit-44.1kHz or 24bit-48kHz) or you will get an error message.

That's about it.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 11:17 AM   #19
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Audio Capture

Bryan (& Garrett):

In the keep it simple philosophy, I also have and use the Sony PCM-D50 recorder for this type of show if you can place it. It's easy to use and works great.

IMO, the D50 can often record extremely good audio when set up correctly. Sometimes you may need to use an external mic, but the built in mics are very good indoors. You can record in 24bit/48K mode at a low level and with the (excellent) limiter on. Then you have a file that can be tweaked with excellent results in post.

I have been able to bring up and take down levels for audio off the PCM-D50 that at first would seem unusable, but ended up extremely good (usually with a compressor & equalizer). In short, on-camera sound via any source can't touch a good 24 bit file of a good recorder with a good limiter. In this type of shoot, I think you will have to run a compressor on the audio, as there is going to be a wide range of audio levels.

Jeff
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Old January 26th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #20
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Hi Jeff,

I also use a D50. It either provides additional backup (I'm a big believer in redundancies) or I use it center stage to pick up sound from the dancers. The limiter works great but clipping still can occur. It does a great job and it's small footprint is really nice. I don't think I would choose it as my primary choice for final mixes since it can only take two channels. For small plays I have use it as my primary recording unit.

I have found that as long as I can get a good sound check I can usually set the levels so that I only have to check levels once or twice. during a show just to make sure there's nothing wrong.

Just like any other situation the key is in the prep work. Planning mic placement, working with the sound techs, and set up does take some extra time but it really helps to lower the stress level when you know you've done everything you can to avoid problems. After doing it once or twice it really becomes a routine and isn't that difficult.

Bad sound can make great video unbearable when you're doing a play or dance recital.

Garrett
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Old January 26th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #21
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Garrett, Jeff - Thank you for your insights.

I really like the idea of being able to record multiple streams, that way I can remix the audio in post. if i was just going to record a stereo live feed I would probably use my second op's Marantz PMD660, but we have had some issues in the past syncing the audio streams back to the video over extended timelines. That is another reason i think multistream record into vegas would be helpful. I am also thinking that with strategic mic placement, i can remix as a surround sound mix for the future bluray re-release. I see a lot of potential here. There are a few downsides such as the 48kHZ max but I can upsample in Audition if necessary. Since I will also be getting copies of the music separately, I can also remove the board feed completely with the mix by deleting that timeline and replace it with direct from source feed, that is if I can get the engineer to send my the talent feeds separately....

This is exciting. Thanks for bringing this piece of equipment to my attention.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #22
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Exciting News!

I met with the owner of the studio last week and we are confirmed for the recital, so decision time is coming up soon. I appreciate all the sound advice (punny) and would love to hear more advice for this project. Anyone out there with more to say? I will post some clips online this summer after the shoot is done. I am planning to make purchases at least a few months out to test everything and learn the controls of the camera and any other equipment. Thanks!
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Old February 1st, 2009, 03:30 PM   #23
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My experience

Hi Bryan,
This is my experience from my first paying job this weekend.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Daugherty View Post
I met with the owner of the studio last week and we are confirmed for the recital, so decision time is coming up soon.
Didn't notice if you said how everything was being done but get a contract anyway.
Got into musicals for the same reason, $30 for a crappy video (SuperVHS recorder) and/or
sound (Fx1 using onboard mic). I've video'ed about a dozen shows, usually only being
allowed to do the FinalDress. Learned a bit. Built some demo DVDs and submitted and
got a response. Months go by, the show is coming up. Week before the show get a
call, can you do the show. Watch 3 nights of TechWeek. After taping final Dress, 11pm
the director asks if I'll donate everything, ie she collected the money for the DVD (first
time it was $20/DVD), now wants me to work for free and donate. I guess the blank
look convinced her to offer to pay for materials. There are 90+ kids in the show, need
to tape 2 shows (A and B). Told her I thought we were both honest and I'd do the
shows but think about the pricing. Don't get Fire Trucked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Daugherty View Post
I
I appreciate all the sound advice (punny) and would love to hear more advice for this project.
Ok, sound man (2000 seat theater, actually very nice) has 4 feeds available. We talk
it over he's going to give me wireless mic (16 main characters), floor mics, pit band
left and right. Should be great sound. Did the shows yesterday. Today I pulled the
sound (via an R09 and H2) into Vegas. First show there was a feedback. I've got great
sound for 3 songs, then nothing for 5 minutes, then so so band, no floor, useless
distorted vocals. Hard lesson, its great to get feeds you can mix, but your at the sound
boards mercy. Usually I'd put the H2 or R09 in the band but they'd mic'ed the 30 piece
band already.... Always take a house feed. It may not be mixed the way you want but
it'll be usable.

For this show we were forced back about 28 meters by the Fx1 focus readout. Because
I had 4 feeds I didn't hook up the Neumann shotgun on the borrowed Z1. Lesson, always
use the best mic available on the camcorder you can.

Best part was I used my HC3 with Wideangle, unmanned, top of tripod (maybe 6'6"),
about 10 from the stage, in front of a speaker stack. Just enough angle to get the
sweet spot on the stage. A previous show I'd put it at the stage lip but this made
for too extreme and up angle (my daughter said it was like looking up people's noses).
This may be the best footage. I told my assistant who was taking the wide shots to
start with the intro. When the curtain raised he was setup and running, I started the
standalone then went to my camera off center, for close ups from
28m. Pulling the 16 tapes in I got a glimpse on the HC3 display of a shot that will be
sweeet. Next time I'm going to try behind the speaker stack with a 20 ft ext to the LANC
controller.

Oh, did I say get a contract?

thanks and good luck
jim cowan
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Old February 1st, 2009, 04:13 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cowan View Post
...This is my experience from my first paying job this weekend...get a contract...Oh, did I say get a contract?
Ah, yes the business side of things...I have been pitching this job for 2 yrs, the difference this yr was I could show her a sample piece. (Last year i tried selling her on a vision and couldn't get a meeting.) I submitted a written proposal detailing the pricing and commission (for her) structure. I have a witnessed verbal agreement and have submitted a "letter of understanding" already. I have to iron out a few details with my photography partner but I will then be submitting a contract for the job to her and to my partner and a work for hire agreement to my second op (I never thought being my own boss would require so much paperwork, ah naivety.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cowan View Post
...Always take a house feed. It may not be mixed the way you want but it'll be usable...we were forced back about 28 meters by the Fx1 focus readout...always use the best mic available on the camcorder you can.

thanks and good luck
jim cowan
Sounds like you had some real issues with the feed they gave you. I did some editing for a client that they shot in house and sent to me for editing. It was a 3 cam interview with sound on only 1 cam. Sync was a bear, so I always keep my on cam shotgun mics running for backup and editing even if i don't plan on using the track on the final piece.

28 meters...If my conversion is accurate that is ~91 ft so your scenario would be similar to my wide cam placement. What kind of shot were you getting at this distance (wide, CU, etc.) and how did it turn out?

As far as the board feeds, i am hoping to get the house feed (stereo) isolated and record via the Alesis stereo input and also get a redundant feed on the mic'ed talent (mono each) in case I need to reinforce the audio in post, then using the phantom powered inputs place 2 shotguns on booms to capture tap and ambient stage sounds and one cardoid center each tracked out to their own tracks. In other words the feed from the Alesis would record in Vegas as:

Track 1 - House feed Dual XLR/TRS (stereo)
Track 2 - Talent ISO board feed XLR/TRS (mono)
Track 3 - Boom Shotgun feed far rt of stage XLR phantom (mono)
Track 4 - Cardoid feed center of stage XLR Phantom (mono)
Track 5 - Boom Shotgun feed far lt of stage XLR phantom (mono)

Then cam 1 and 2 will have stereo shotgun ambient feeds. In post i would mix the tap sounds in from the shotguns/cardoid and use the ambient sound from cam mikes for crowd response. potentially even creating a 5.1 mix down the road when I take the HDV masters back off the shelf and offer remastered Bluray versions of the show.

Thanks for your feedback Jim, if you get a second can you share a short clip with us to see how it turned out?
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