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Old March 30th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #1
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Need advise for high school play video shoot

I just did a video shoot of a High School play, and i will be doing more in the future. What is the best way to record the audio when i am about 50 to 100 ft from the stage. The video sounds ok when i view it on an HD tv but it sounds like im in the audience. I thought about putting a mic in the center near the stage and on the other hand i dont know what kind of mic to buy for the next shoot for this type of video.

Im a rookie to this and a rookie in general to videography i would appreciate any suggestions
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Old March 30th, 2009, 11:57 AM   #2
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You've got four choices: (maybe more)

1) Shotgun mic on a stand (narrow coverage - probably need an operator)
2) Fly a couple of shotgun mics over the stage (better coverage)
3) Boundry mics (but they will pick up lots of shoe tapping on the stage)
4) Stereo mic (I haven't worked with one before, but they should offer a wider coverage)

Here's a link to the boundry mics:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/sear...y+mic&go=Go%21

Here's an example of a stereo mic:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/NT4/
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Old March 30th, 2009, 12:17 PM   #3
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Thanks Mitchell,
All the actors are also wearing wireless mic's and im next to the control booth. Im using the EX3 any way i can also tap into the wireless mic's from the actors or should i just use the stage mic's.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 12:30 PM   #4
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That detail changes everything.

You should tap into the audio board that is being used to mix together all the various wireless mics. The trick is to find an appropriate output from the mixing board that will worth with the EX3. Examples include:

Main Out (best choice, but usually being used)
Aux Out (good choice, but each channel needs to have the aux level set individually)
Tape Out (also a good choice, but it's an unbalanced, high impedance signal so I'd be worried about hum and buzz getting into your audio)

Hopefully it's a decent audio board and more importantly the operator is competent enough to provide a good connection to your camera. Once you have that figured out then you need to set up your EX3 correctly. In my experience, this is what I would do:

1) Connect the mixing board to the camera, hopefully with a standard XLR microphone cable.
2) Set the input switch at the connection to Mic (leave phantom power turned off)
3) Set the volume control on the side of the camera to 5
4) Go in the Menu settings>AUDIO>TRIM and adjust the trim to get a good level. For me, this has meant turning the level down quite a bit. Something around -11db has worked for me, but this will vary depending on the mixing board.
5) If necessary, you can turn the volume up on the side of the camera.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR: If you get a distorted signal, but your audio meters are barely registering, this means you have an impedance miss-match. You need to try another output from the mixing board. You could also try using the LINE setting at the audio connection on the side of the camera. But I don't use LINE much because it disables the TRIM settings in the MENU (Sony was really stupid in designing it this way).

FUNNY STORY: The other day an "AV guy" tried to us the headphone output using a tip-ring-sleeve to XLR cable. All I got was distortion and a very low level. Once I realized what he had done, I explained to him the difference between a stereo 1/4 phono connector and a balanced tip-ring-sleeve 1/4 phono connector (they look the same). Once he understood, he switched to an AUX output and everything worked great.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #5
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Hi there,

The actors are all wearing wireless mics?
So is there an audio set up in the control room? If so, you can take a line into one of your camera's from the audio console. And if they're mixing, then you don't need a sound recordist either.

Sandeep.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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Old March 30th, 2009, 12:55 PM   #7
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Pick up a Zoom H2. You can hook it up to the the board and get the house mix, or if that's not available, you can place it near the stage and use the built-in stereo mic. It records on SD card, and you can sync in post.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 02:31 PM   #8
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Most audio setups have a connected deck (tape or sometimes now a CD/DVD recorder). Sometimes it's only for playback, but it's worth asking if it happens to be hooked up to record off the master bus (or other "mixed" source, line out, etc.). If so, just get a copy of the audio, and sync in post, use the camera mics for ambience and to match the tracks.

They most likely will have media, be sure to offer to pay for it! I keep a blank CD in my kit for this purpose too, but always worry about compatibility just a bit.

Most audio systems should have the option if they were set up by anyone who knows anything about setting up a sound system... no guarantees though!
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Old March 30th, 2009, 03:57 PM   #9
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All, Thanks,
I appreciate the advise and techniques. This is my second play i have videoed but for the next time i want to get higher quality audio. They seem to be perfectly fine with the video the way it is, but i am not, because the final product reflects on me so i want to do the best i can. I dont know what kind of control board setup they have but thats something i need to investigate and experiment with the advise given to me thus far.

And Mitchell thank you for taking the time to go into detail.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 05:02 PM   #10
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I've used a number of solutions, and so far the best is a combination for me is to run one signal direct to the camera from the sound board and then fly a shotgun over the stage for things that aren't mic'd. A wireless mic or digital recorder (H2, iriver) can also work instead of the shotgun.

In the theatre I usually work in, there are box seats over the stage. I put the shotgun on a boompole and hang it over the performance space, using lots of gaff tape of course, or hang a mic from the catwalks above.

I would definitely connect everything to the camera if possible so you don't have to match up later: perhaps you could invest in some long XLR cables and a direct box, or better, take them from the place you're working. After a while you realize how much time you're spending in post matching audio - a real pain in my opinion.

So to answer your question, what to buy, I would say these:

-Direct Box - about $25 ART | Zdirect Direct Box | ZDIRECT | B&H Photo Video

-A 3-foot 1/4" to 1/4" patch cable for going into the board and transferring to XLR through the DI box. - $10

-200-300 feet of XLR cable - $100-200 or free if you can find it at the event

-a handful of other adapters to take a feed from tape out, main out, aux out, etc. Might be XLR, might be 1/4", might be 1/8", might be RCA. These are cheap and then you'll be ready for anything, including small budget plays and the like that might not have the greatest boards or equipment.

That's it for most events I work. Some other nice products I like:

Zoom H2 - $179
Sennheiser G2 wireless system- about $500
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Old March 30th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #11
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All the above is good. If you want to be mobil then in sted connecting a XLR cable from the mixingconsole I would use the SKP 100 G2 plug-on transmitter from Sennheiser. It accept XLR but you need to set the sensitivity to -30db for line level. For sterieo you will need two sets of transmitters and receivers and be careful not use the same frequency as any other of the transmitters.
Sennheiser Worldwide - ew 100-ENG G2

You could record in mono using only one set and then use ambient sterieo to get the sound image correct. The ambient stereo can be cam2 stationary, H2, H4 recorder
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Old March 31st, 2009, 07:55 AM   #12
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And as you invest in the equipment, there's the legal/business side of the endeavor:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/taking-ca...formances.html
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