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

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Old May 17th, 2004, 11:01 AM   #1
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Audio for Dance Recital

first, i'm sorry if i'm posting in the wrong forum..

I have a recital to tape in an auditorium and am using the panny dvc80 and really concerned about the audio. I know i should never use the onboard mic but i've yet to purchase an external mic, struggling w/ $$ issues right now. Can anyone suggest the CHEAPEST solution to capture the BEST audio for this event.

It's a one camera shoot & i will be positioning myself from the balcony to get the best overview of all the different dancers/dances.

I appreciate all your help!
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Old May 17th, 2004, 12:03 PM   #2
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Is it possible to get a feed off the soundboard straight into the cam? This is how I would do it as long as crowd noise such as applause is not important. But if the sound person will allow you could always hook a mic up to the board to get a little ambient sound. I always shoot 2 cams at recitals. My staionary cam is a wide stage shot which has a sound patch from the house sound then I will use my second cams audio to mix some applause etc in for the final edit.
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Old May 17th, 2004, 04:34 PM   #3
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thanks matt,

yes, it is possible to use the fact i think
i'll be positioned near him. Do you know what cable[s] i need
to run or patches to run from his board to my camera?

Maybe i could buy some at radio shack just to be prepared.
I am receivin a minidisk player any day now that has a mic/line level in, i guess i could use that as a backup plan. Could you
recommend a cheap o mic for the minidisk if by some weird chance i can't connect to the soundboard?

Thank you for your suggestions!
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Old May 17th, 2004, 05:40 PM   #4
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I've done this kind of thing many times can offer a little of my experience.

I use my on camera mic for applause and other room sound. Depending on how close you are to the audience, you may pick up some conversation during the quiet passages, but that can be easily edited in post. Also, there might be some delay between what the dancers hear (and perform to) and what the camera mic picks up, depending on where the speakers are and how far away the camera is from them. In a really big place the delay might be noticeable (though I never encountered it), but this is easy to fix in post as well.

I've never had the opportunity to hook into the sound board at any of my venues, but it was never a problem for me since I had all the music on my computer (I was also the music editor for the dance team). So I would record the room sound wth the on camera mic and mix it with the original music in my NLE. This works well since you can decide how much room sound you want vs. clean, original music. I usually pushed the room sound down (but not completely off) as the music started and brought it back with the applause and cheers at the end. Because the room sound contains all the room echo (and other artifacts), the mix still sounded live, but with clean and clear music.

I found that it was easy to sync the original recording to the camera audio in my NLE as long as the house sound was from CD. In the early years the music played for the performances was on cassette tape, which can run a little fast or slow depending on the tape deck. It was certainly more work to sync as I had to adjust the speed of the original music in the NLE to match what the on board mic picked up, but it came out fine.

If there is anyone with a mic (like a master of ceremonies or an announcer), then a feed from the sound board will of course sound better than what the camera can pick up.

If you do connect to the sound board, make sure you have plenty of time to test the connection and set your recording levels.
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Old May 17th, 2004, 11:02 PM   #5
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The kind of cables you're going to need depends on your camera and the sound board. I'm not familiar with your camera, but most prosumer cameras and above have XLR inputs. Lesser ones have RCA.

The sound board will likely send you a feed either through an aux send, studio out, or even a headphone. In that case, you'll need a cable with a 1/4" TRS male jack on one end, and whatever your camera takes on the other. It's possible that the board might have XLR outs too.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 07:46 AM   #6
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The DVC80 has XLR inputs. Get yourself an XLR audio cable to patch into the sound board at the theater. I also recommend you pick up an audio transformer with a 1/4 inch male phone plug on one end and an XLR jack on the other. Then your covered either way if the board's AUX send is XLR or 1/4". Radio Shack or a music store should have the parts you need.

What ever you do, don't pick get a cable that has XLR on one end and 1/4" phone on the other. Every time I use a cable like that to patch into a sound board I always get a nasty ground hum. The audio transformer will eliminate the hum.

Another thing to consider is you will get an echo if you try combine the oncamera audio with the audio from the sound board. But if you are going to be in a theater, the sound engineer may have microphones already set to collect ambient noise since that sound will be needed to be fed backstage into the greenrooms and for the theater's Assisted Listening Devices if it offers them.

I hope this helps you out. I taped a lot of community theater productions back when my wife was active with the group.

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Old May 18th, 2004, 08:45 AM   #7
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Being a former sound guy, and now a video guy, I would recommend always having a backup source to the feed from the soundboard. Those pesky sound guys have a habit of sometimes muting channels at the wrong time, or when they think they are not needed. Silence is not good for your video! I use an onboard shotgun on my PD150 in one channel, and the soundboard feed in the other.

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Old May 18th, 2004, 08:56 AM   #8
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The XLR female to 1/4-inch transformer adapter that Radio Shack carries will be the wrong gender for going to the camera and you don't need the transformer either.
I would get a regular XLR cable, that will be fairly easy to find and it's a good investment for future use. If the board has a regular XLR output available then you're all set for getting the direct feed into one channel of your camera.
However, it is more likely that the feed will be on a 1/4-inch connector and it may be either unbalanced or balanced. Hopefully the operator will be familiar enough to know and can help you make the connection.
You should also search for both a 1/4-inch unbalanced to XLR male adapter, and a balanced 1/4-inch to XLR male adapter. You don't need one that contains a transformer. These are very simple items, the key is simply finding them locally or ordering them from the internet. You only need a short adapter and this will be used in conjunction with your regular XLR cable.
It may also be important to either run on battery power or plug into the same AC outlet as the mixing board. This will reduce the chance for a ground loop hum.
The least expensive way to also get the ambient sound is to use your other camera channel with the on-board mic as was already suggested.
Since your camera has phantom power, then you can use a good mic like the AT3031 for about $170 and a regular mic stand for about $10 to get better sound than your camera mic.
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