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


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Old November 14th, 2004, 08:12 PM   #1
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Recording Sound via Alternate Source

Hi everyone,

I've been videotaping weddings for about three years now in Omaha for a local company and audio has always been a problem during ceremonies. The vows sound just fine with a wireless mic, but the rest of the ceremony from the camera's audio usually doesn't cut it. Echoes and soft voices really cause for some problems. So, I would like to know what experiences some have had with recording sound to a dedicated sound recorder at weddings. I assume that most churches have a line that you could tap into with XLR cables to capture everything going through the churches PA system such as the priests mic, some instruments, vocalists and speakers etc. What works well for doing this, something like a Korg D1200 or a DAT recorder?

After you have recordered seperate audio from the camera is it difficult to edit. Is there a problem with a lack of ambient noise from the crowd and such, or would enough be picked up on the seperate audio track? Is a solution to switch between the cameras audio and the dedicated audio when neccessary?

Lastly, have any of you plugged into DJ systems while at recepetions for the same benefits. Toasts and things DJs say at receptions don't usually don't turn out well with the camera's audio so would it be feasible to plug into their line out into a recorder and get great sound from their system too? Any experiences or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks - Brock
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Old November 15th, 2004, 09:51 AM   #2
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First of all, as far as sound goes, I'm a nut. That being said...

If you have only one wireless mic, I would put it on the officiant. He/She is the one doing 95% of the talking thoughout most weddings. When it comes time for the vows I normally would give the bride and groom a little speech like "Say your vows loud and with love, so that everyone here can hear them--after all your in love and getting married!" No one has ever screamed, but the truth is that 99% of the time, the officiant is close enough to the bride and groom that if you use an omni-dirrectional wireless, you have it perfectly (okay, maybe a bit of post-tweaking).

Taping into a church sound system is a great idea, but it rarely works as well as you would hope. Its a dangerous bet to put your name on the line when you have to depend on someone else (in this case the church) to do the sound properly. Just a few weeks ago I did a wedding where they did not turn up the officiants mic throughout the entire service. Thankfully, I had her mic'd myself, so I was okay. If you still want to, plan on being able to hand any number of situations--XLR, 1/4", and RCA are not uncommon. Plus some systems work at line level and some are at mic level. This way often works the best because there may be separate mics throughout the church for speakers or instruments and it is much better to simply patch into the exisiting system--plus it sounds great when it works.

The same goes for the reception--patching into a DJ's system is the way to go. But you would be surprised how little some DJ's know about sound. And again, a lot of DJ's use odd equipment making it difficult to patch into.

My current sound setup (with two cameras) is something like this.
Camera 1 (L) Wireless from Officiant (R) House sound system
Camera 2 (L) Wireless from Groom (R) On camera shotgun

I could go on for hours, but I've got to get back to editing! Good luck!
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Old November 16th, 2004, 05:03 AM   #3
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One thought is that if the officiant has a wireless mic that is in the equivalent band (UHF or VHF) and you can find out what frequeny they are using, you can simply change your receiver frequency to that when they are going off on a long speech.

I always use a mic on a stand as well about six feet or so away from the b&g to capture ambient sound anyway, and it's a back up to the radio mic.

Jon
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Old November 16th, 2004, 09:57 PM   #4
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Brock

I use a wireless on the minister & groom. My Sennheiser E100's came with an XLR transmitter as well. If there are strings I will place an XLR mic on them and with the touch of a button change from the grooms mic to the strings mic. It's almost like having a third system. That way I don't have to capture and sync additional audio sources.

I also have 4 Mini Disc Recorders. I have used these on a second minister, strings, vocalist, reader, etc. You can find Mini Disc Recorders cheap on Ebay.

It does take extra time to capture and sync from Mini Disc Recorders but you do get much better audio.

If I'm working in a church that has a good soundman I will plug a Mini Disc into the board, but you never know for sure what you will get. If the church has a CD recorder, that's a safer route. It's wonderful when you come across a good sound tech and a good sound system in a church, but it doesn't happen that often.

I go prepared with a direct box. It allows me to accept a mini jack, quarter inch, & RCA. It also lets me adjust the level from mic to line and also has a ground switch. From there I can take an XLR feed to the back camera or a quarter inch or mini jack into the Mini Disc.

The same technique can be used at the reception. I have also used a mic with my XLR transmitter in front of the speakers and I have also gotten good results by plugging the XLR transmitter into the bands board and then mixing it in post with a mic in the room. The louder instruments like drums and guitars won't typically be mixed very loudly in the house system, so it's important to have a mic in the room to get a good mix. Then in post I will mix between the two signals that were recorded to my camera.

All My Best,
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Old July 4th, 2005, 11:56 PM   #5
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quote from patrick: My current sound setup (with two cameras) is something like this.
Camera 1 (L) Wireless from Officiant (R) House sound system
Camera 2 (L) Wireless from Groom (R) On camera shotgun

suppose i will be using a gl2 with a beachtek dxa-4P i have a wireless on L and Shotgun on R, what is the connector for R, XLR (3pin)? i thought shotgun mic comes with mini-jack (stereo?) please enlighten me...thanks :) I need your feedback guys...
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Old July 11th, 2005, 01:04 PM   #6
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Leonard-

Some shotgun's will use miniplugs, some will use XLR. Generally speaking, XLR is a professional cable, designed to withstand years of use. I believe the beachtek adapter has a miniplug receiver on the front of the unit, allowing for one miniplug input. If both of you mics (the wireless and shotgun) use miniplugs, then you will need to purchase a converter cable to turn them into XLR's.

Good luck!
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Old July 11th, 2005, 01:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Pike
If you have only one wireless mic, I would put it on the officiant.
With only one lav, wouldn't it be better to put it on the groom? Here's my rationale:
  • Bride will always be close to groom, but the officiant may or may not be close to either. IAC, she will be closer to groom. The bride is usually the quietest of the three, and will be picked up better with lav on groom.
  • The officiant is used to public speaking, usually project his voice well, and should be easily picked up by lav on groom
  • If the officiant is using church PA, the the groom lav will also pick it up from the speakers.
Of course, it's best to put lav on both groom and officiant if possible. Check you local rent house. I rent Senn G2 lav for only $35/day.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 12:26 AM   #8
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I use a Fostex MR-8 multitracker for external recording. You can record from two sources (either mic or line level; you adjust a trimmer) and select which tracks to record on (there's 8 tracks, so overdubbing is possible), then mix it in post. Has both XLR and 1/4" jacks, and even a built-in condenser mic (hey, you never know). It records onto compact flash cards, the same ones digital cameras use. With a 512 mb card, you'll get over 3 hours recording time in near-CD quality monaural, which is fine for voice. Costs $300, available at Guitar Center.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 12:40 AM   #9
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anyone have used this recorder (Fostex MR-8 multitracker ) sounds good to me, any problem encountered? thanks
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Old July 12th, 2005, 12:47 AM   #10
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http://www.fostex.com/index.php?file...ts/digital/mr8

I call it my magic red box.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 12:52 AM   #11
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oh just searched now and this recorder is getting some problems with its media...they recommended that if were going to buy this recorder, we should consider the flash cards as media since the zip drives...(not really sure haven't seen this in person) are really noisy.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 12:56 AM   #12
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It is finicky about what brand of cards it'll take. I use Lexars and they work fine, and you can get them at Wal-Mart.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 08:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo Silva Jr.
anyone have used this recorder (Fostex MR-8 multitracker ) sounds good to me, any problem encountered? thanks
I haven't used it so take anything I say FWIW but according to the manual you can only record on a maximum of 2 tracks at once so in terms of recording it's a conventional stereo recorder. Since IMO the reason to look for a multitrack recorder is to give you the ability to simultaneously record multiple sources to multiple tracks and mix them down in post, this seems to make this particular unit less than suitable.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:31 PM   #14
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Well thanks, i thought this unit does record in different tracks and i can mix it in post...thanks again. any unit like that, that i can record different track like, voice, guitar, piano, so i can minimize levels of each instrument?
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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:40 PM   #15
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The Korg D12 could record like 6-8 tracks, at the same time. But it wasn't overly portable.
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