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


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Old June 7th, 2005, 04:42 PM   #1
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Is it a cock up.

Last Saturday I did a wedding and was only when I got home and watched the rushes that some of the audio is distorted, the worse bit been when a downs sydrome young man did a reading in church and also some of the grooms vows, I used a pd170 + sennheiser radio mic's, and the standard mic and yes its my fault as I turned the mounted mic down and just used the sennheiser mic which sounded ok through my headphones but must have been set to high, hence the distorted audio.

Can I salvage it! I use Liquid Edition 6 it seems to have a lot of audio tools its just I can't fathom it out, and it would be nice to hear the reading of the the young man because he did very well,

Any help would be gratfully reiceved.
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Old June 7th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #2
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Wow, that's harsh. I unfortunately can't help you, but I can thank you for pointing out one more thing NOT to do. My best wishes to you and your footage....
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Old June 7th, 2005, 11:34 PM   #3
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like always say.. if u have 2 mics, use em :)

pinnacle is ok, coz its now running vst plugins, and what you want is a clipped peak restorer, which i can honestly say.. wont do u any good.
If teh original is shot, the best you can do is clean and smoothen, EQ, normalise then run a noise reduction plugin..

Also, i always say.. if in doubt, run AGC.. it wont kill your shot, in fact AGC has saved me many times when i thought levels were good but werent..
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Old June 8th, 2005, 09:47 AM   #4
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The bad news - its not going to ever sound good again.

The good news - you just took an expensive and painful class in audio production.

As others have said, try to run an extra mic-it can save your butt! I was a sound guy before video, so my typical ceremony has about about 5-6 mics (two audience, one groom wireless, one officient wireless, shotgun covering the altar, and if possible I tie into the house sound). Unlike mose sound guys (or like some for different reasons) I love AGC. In live music/audio situations you simply can't hear if the audio is distorting in your headphones because you will hear the live audio coming through your headphones (from the speakers). What I try to do is set up the audio levels before hand so that everything sounds good, notch the levels down, then flip on AGC to cover me. Maybe if I had an isolated sound booth I might try to do it differently...

Regardless, the key is multple mics. If nothing else try the iRiver solution.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 12:31 PM   #5
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Ian,

As you have discovered audio requires constant watching/listening to obtain good quality audio. In addition to listening through your headphones you can watch the audio levels in your viewfinder/LCD. The level should be set to peak at around -12db, some suggest as low as -20db. IAC you do not want to exceed 0db, or the sound will be clipped/distorted. I always have the levels displayed in my viewfinder, and I frequently glance at them to make sure everything is OK.

I don't know which Sennheiser mics you're using, but the EW100 G2 series has adjustable sensitivity for the transmitter, and adjustable output level on the receiver. I find that I need to carefully set and test both of these to obtain optimum audio. If you have either set too high it could cause distortion.

One technique I use if I'm only recording one mic on the camera is to set mic input 1 to be recorded on both left and right channels. Then set the peak level for the left channel at about -12db, and then set the right channel at about -25db. If a loud, unexpected sound occurs which is clipped on the left channel most likely it will be OK on the right channel. Then in post you can select the best channel to use.

Patrick,
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What I try to do is set up the audio levels before hand so that everything sounds good, notch the levels down, then flip on AGC to cover me.
I'm not sure I understand your approach. What is the purpose of setting the audio levels if you're going to switch on AGC, which will completely ignore the manual levels?

The problem with AGC is that if there is a quiet section during the music, or dialog, the AGC will increase the level making the unwanted background noises much more apparent. On the other hand if the music ranges from soft to loud, AGC will tend to reduce the loud levels and increase the soft levels, spoiling the intentions of the performer(s). Your sound is "safe", but less interesting, and maybe includes unwanted sounds with AGC.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 12:50 PM   #6
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Pete-

Sorry I didn't include enough information. I run all of my mics through Beachtek adapters into my GL2's. The first step (as you noted) is to make sure your wireless's and XLR adapters are not overdriven. After I find the correct level where these are not distorting, I then back it down a notch to leave a bit of head room.

As for the AGC, I find it to be very useful in a situation where I use multiple mics--heres why. (1) I always record about 20 seconds of "room noise" in case I need it (I rarely do). (2) If each mic is plugged into a separate channel, I will only use the parts for each mic that need in edit. For example in my situation with the groom and the officient both on wireless mics; I will only use the audio from the groom's mic during the vows-not throughout the entire ceremony. Normally, in edit I will only use 1 mic at a time because there is someone speaking into (and I add reverb as appropiate to match the room sound) and I do not want to hear the crying baby in the back row. Because they are normally speaking consistently, the AGC never makes dramatic and unusable gains. Nevertheless, when it comes time for the first kiss, I have the officient telling them to kiss, the audience cheering the background, and the groom whispering to the bride.

Maybe I'm lucky with the GL2, the AGC does not react quickly (which I love!) but I have found this method of sound recording to produce better results (ie, better levels) than not using AGC and I have adapted my editing style to reflect it. Not to mention that with program such as SoundTrack Pro you can actually dub in an entire audience later, but thats a different story.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 02:01 PM   #7
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Patrick, I'm glad you have an approach that makes AGC work for you. I have to admit, I've never seen anyone else who routinely uses AGC (except for ENG, run-and-gun situations), particularly the pro sound guys. :-)

For more discussion/info on the effects of AGC, just search the Now Hear This forum for "AGC" or "ALC".

Here's one good thread that is returned by the search:
Limiting vs. Compression vs. AGC

So, opinions will vary.

From my experience, and from all that I have read, using manual audio level control usually produces the best audio. As is with most things in the world of photography, one can learn much from experimenting, trial-and-error. Before using an approach in a real production, it's best to test it out before hand to make sure it produces the results you want.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #8
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fess up and get help

You might find that someone else recorded this with their own camera. Check your video for the closest camera, usually the uncle in the audience.

You made an error and there is no way to fix it without your client knowing.

Good Luck

Last edited by Jerry Mohn; June 8th, 2005 at 02:26 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old June 8th, 2005, 02:47 PM   #9
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Pete I did ENG run and gun for 15 years and never encountered any shooter who would admit to using AGC. You don't make a living doing run and gun if you can't finesse your camera on the fly. The only pro I have ever seen advise to use it is ALan Barker, the documentary producer who figured out the audio was so bad on the pd-170 that he came up with a technique to make AGC work.

2 things a good shooter in a competitive market never uses, Auto Iris and AGC. I used to think you could make exceptions for the Auto iris but after seeing the bounce of the iris I changed my mind. You never want to see the iris bounce, I would rather over-expose it a bit. I think AGC does a horrible job with loud sound on professional cameras but maybe the camcorder world needs it at times, I will never use it on any camera. I know I am preaching to the choir.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 02:54 PM   #10
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Ian,

Agree with everyone that there's no easy and complete fix to bad audio. I've also had a mistake or two as I was learning to use the Senn G2 wireless. If the same thing happened to you that has happened to me, you might be able to improve it enough to be workable.

In my case, the mic level on the Senn was ok, and the XL2 input level was mid-position, but I think the RECEIVER of the Senn OUTPUT too hot a signal (ie gained-up too much for "export" from the receiver...perhaps a better word is "overdriven?"), so even though the levels looked good (nothing past about -6dB) on the XL2's meter, the waveform and sound was essentially that of clipped audio.

This thread kindly posted by Josh Mellicker links a tutorial on Senn G2 settings (basic and has commercial slant to it, but definitely worth a look):

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=45520

Anyway, as far as reducing the damage...I was able to use the Clip Restoration feature of Adobe Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro) to substantially improve the clipped areas. This feature is specifically designed to round off the squares of clipped audio. Not perfect, but it helped. I don't know if other competing software offers a similar feature, or what limitations there might be on the free downloadable trial version of Audition. But it might be worth a try if the other applications don't have this feature.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 04:19 PM   #11
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Thanks everybody for your replays,

I have been messing around with it and think I can make it workable, the camera mic although turned down did record some of it so its not all gloom, but I do seem to struggle getting the audio right useing the sennheiser ew100 G2 and the camera mic and have left the EW100 set as they came out of the box, The pictures are great but I think I must be a bit thick when it comes to setting the audio levels,

Anyway practice makes perfect and i will after keep toiling with it.

Thanks again.
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Old June 8th, 2005, 05:27 PM   #12
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If you have to boost the levels of the cam sound, you'll get a lot of noise, so go and invest in a good noise reduction plugin for your NLE. It will be worth it's weight in gold.

If you can't afford the US$200 (I think) for Sony Noise Reduction, there is the Goldwave Editor and DC Millenium. I used DC's one recently when editing a friend's footage that he shot, but had the levels down too low. Cleaned it up VERY nicely compared to the hissy pile of audio noise it was before.

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Old June 8th, 2005, 06:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Wilie
Patrick, I'm glad you have an approach that makes AGC work for you. I have to admit, I've never seen anyone else who routinely uses AGC (except for ENG, run-and-gun situations), particularly the pro sound guys. :-)

Pete-

I know, its scary for me to admit it. :) That hard fact is I cant monitor audio on 4 separate cameras at the same time, so this reduces my chance of getting clipped audio. I do sometimes use a soundboard where I can monitor and ride the audio properly, but its too much setup for run and gun weddings and I dont use it enough.
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