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


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Old May 31st, 2005, 11:12 AM   #1
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Riding audio levels

Does this sound familiar? You're at the reception and you're recording toasts, first or parent dances at good audio levels and suddenly the DJ blows the socks off your levels because he's got his mic in his mouth? This was more of a problem for me this weekend when one of the toasters held the mic around his chest and was barely audible. When finished, the DJ then took the mic to announce the second toast and before I could adjust, he left me with a distorted mess. I'm thinking I better just keep the PD170's audio adjuster on? I wish the PD170 had the GL2s handy audio controls.
Bob
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Old May 31st, 2005, 11:47 AM   #2
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Tends to happen to me during church services when running two cameras; PD170 being the second cam. When we come to the hymns... we go from the quite speech heard during the vows (apart from the minister usually) to 'overload' as the organ starts up and the congregation make an attempt at singing. It's why I rarely include much of the hymns in my films.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 12:45 PM   #3
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Stephan,

Off-Topic (and double quick before one of the wardens puts me on double-secret probation): How is the Association of Professional Videographers you list in your tagline? I wish WEVA would change to something like yours instead of being strictly wedding oriented.

Now back on topic: Is there an inline device you could place between the XLR for the mic and cam that could do some rate clamping on 'out of tolerance' sound levels?
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Old May 31st, 2005, 04:27 PM   #4
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Since the 150/170 audio circuitry is "hot" I found the thing that seems to work best for me is 1) manual levels on channel 2 with channel 1 on AGC (not a true AGC but a soft limiter) with channel 2 at about 35%. I also use a 10db attenuator which helps tremendously. I should say, I used to do that, now when I use the 150s I use the AT897 instead of the Senn ME66 which is a lot hotter than the 897 so I've actually gotten away from the attenuator.

With the 2 channels at the different levels I know I've always got at least 1 good track to use. Of course I always use headphones to monitor but I also watch the levels in the VF/LCD and having used the cameras for about 4 years now I know when I'm in trouble with the levels. Luckily things have worked out well.

The 897 has made a big difference but no matter what as soon as you turn from the DJ speakers your levels will drop and of course when you get a moron on the mic (someone that doesn't know how to use it) you know you'll have some work in post.

HTHs
Don
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Old June 1st, 2005, 12:32 AM   #5
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The last stage show I shot was a singing group. The first act was children, and the second act was adults. I set the vocal levels before the show with both kids and adults. When I got the footage home that night, the kids sounded great. The adults however, sang hotter than they did at sound check, resulting in distortion across the board. Luckily, it was a two-day show and I was able to try it again the next night.

So that night I took a leap of faith and tied the feed from the mixer into a compressor/limiter before it went to me. And the results were outstanding. In the past, I'd always been an audio purist and didn't like any device that modified the signal. Unnatural. But I realized that digital distortion sounds like the voice of hell, so anything that prevents it would be a step up. I was so pleased with the results I bought my own that week. Used properly, a compressor/limiter can do wonders. The dbx 166XL I bought very nicely tapers off the peaks (soft knee), which results in a smooth compression and is just what I needed. Got a nice Gator carrying bag for it too. I'd recommend one to anybody with these issues.

...but you obviously have to be stationary to use one. :)

-Brent
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Old June 4th, 2005, 11:00 AM   #6
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this has me baffled..

am i the only guy who runs AGC and has NOT had a problem with sound levels? mind u im using a DVX, so its a lil cleaner than the SOny units, but i have to say, since my first job filming, ive used AGC all teh way through and have never had an issue with levels.. It could be the compression envelope being used on the dvx, running with a fast Attack and a quicker Release..

As fo the Sennys, im using an ME64 on one of the cams, and even though it does sound nice, it does have the tendency to blow out.. now this is a mic issue, not a cam issue.. make sure that ur mic can handle variable pressure levels and not overdrive the signal.. the senny is wierd this way.. it really depends on which frequencies are being pushed as to whether it will perform to its optimal level
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Old June 5th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #7
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Hey Peter.....

The DVX100 does not have AGC. What it has is a limiter to prevent spikes.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 09:57 AM   #8
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Peter,
I also use the ME64 but it's placed near a speaker attached to a wireless transmitter. I use it with a modified (detuned) K6 by Senn. Senn is aware of an overloading issue with the K6.
Bob
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Old June 5th, 2005, 11:29 AM   #9
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Off topic, but just to answer Patrick

Patrick, the UK Association of Professional Videomakers is doing just fine, we're just waiting for our new website to go live in the next few weeks. I'm actually the new Director of said organization. If you want any further info email me directly. :)
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