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


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Old March 3rd, 2011, 10:57 PM   #1
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Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

I'm shooting two weddings next month and only have one wedding under my belt so far, so my experience is limited. I'm pretty confident in my video shooting skills, but audio confuses the heck out of me. I will be shooting the wedding alone on two cameras, so dealing with audio is just another added stress. Here are a few of my questions...

What I have:
Zoom H1, Rode Videomic

Ceremony/Vows:
What kind of lav mics do I need?! I bought a cheap $25 lav for my first wedding and it picked up audio very poorly. You could barely hear what was being said even with the input level turned up all the way on my H1. I know quality audio is everything, but cheap recommendations are welcome. I'm willing to spend $150-200 per mic. I will even consider renting, but I would love to get a mic or two that I could keep around. I'm trying to stay away from wireless receivers and all that because it confuses me.

I hear plenty of good things about the $25 Audio-Technica's, but I'm wary to buy one since I've had bad experience with cheap mics. If someone can convince me that they will get the job done, I might get a couple.

I've been looking at the Sennheiser ME-2. Would I be able to get away with placing this mic on the groom only and still be able to pick up the officiant and bride?

Reception/Toasts:
I plan on buying/renting an H4N so I will be able to get clean audio of the toasts, but I haven't the slightest idea of how to hook one up to the DJ's soundboard. So if anyone could tell me what cords/adapters/etc will be needed as well as any tips for hooking everything up, it would be greatly appreciated.

On camera:
What on camera setup would everyone suggest? I run my Videomic straight into my 60D and I'm very pleased with how it sounds. The only problem is that I have no way of monitoring the levels this way. I'm always too scared to set my audio high and risk it being blown out and I often set it too low. Would it be a better choice to record straight from the Videomic into an H1 or H4N so I can monitor audio while recording, and if so, how would I keep track of audio tracks to their video clips?

Thank you for your time if you read all of this. If I have any more questions I will add them to this thread. I'm just a little slow and I know everyone here is basically a genius, so thanks in advance!

-Jamie
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:18 PM   #2
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

Hey Jamie,

Re the lav mic, most would recommend either the Olympus ME-15 or the Giant Squid Lav. They are reasonably priced and performed well.

You can still hookup a line from the DJ into a H1 (not necessarily a H4n). It depends on what available output line the DJ has. Either the 6.5mm line or an RCA line. Buy both cable and some converters just in case.

For reception I personally prefer to mount the H1 on a stand in front of the main speaker. I can't always trust the DJ as he could accidentally pressed the wrong button that affect the line out audio. Atleast if I record it from the speaker I can also monitor what audio I'm recording.

You need to be watchful as well as some venue has their built in speaker that does not go through the DJ mixer. Usually this is when the podium has its own lapel mic. What I usually do is I stick a lav mic next to the lapel mic and hook it on my voice recorder.

Hope it helps :)
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:19 PM   #3
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

I have both the cheapie AT's and the Giant Squids that cost just a few dollars more. IMO there is no comparison, Giant Squid wins out.IMO running a $200 lav into a $100 H1 is really kind of a waste. Also given the environment you are shooting in, I don't think you will see the benefits of the $200 mic.

Mix some of the Rode audio in for ambient sound in post. If you just use the lav mic it will sound kinda lame.

Every sound board is a bit different as to how you can connect to it. Some are 1/4", some XLR and some RCA. Get a hold of whoever is providing the PA and find out which you will need.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #4
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

Thanks so much guys! I'm definitely glad that cheap lavs will get the job done. I guess I'll get a couple Giant Squids and an extra H1. I just wish the H1 had longer battery life. I appreciate all the advice.

Which Giant Squid should I go with? There are a lot of options on the website.
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Last edited by Jamie Pippin; March 4th, 2011 at 11:58 AM.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 11:46 AM   #5
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

This is where I'm at. Ceremony/reception,
Set the H4n on 4ch mode (make sure you have the latest firmware so you can change levels on both), in the case of last weekend, the dj speaker was next to his audio out, so I ran the dj feed onto one channel and recorded the speaker/ambient on the second channel (using the H4N's mics). Otherwise just stick it next to the speaker on stereo mode. 4gb-16gb card, 44-48kz, 16 bit, with concert limiter (more important for the reception, it drops the input volume when sound goes up) on.

I throw a DR-07 into grooms jacket with lapel mic on his coat. Lock it so settings don't change. I had the same problem you did with the cheap mic, so I'm going to try the gaint squid mic also. Same as suggested before, mix the ambient with this track to get a good mix in post.

Regarding the camera, you can get a juicelink at $300 if you want audio monitoring, or wait it out till magic lantern comes out and you can monitor via the a/v output. You want the videomic pro to overcome the noisy preamps, not the older version. But at loud receptions it will not be noticeable as much. Maybe just monitor your levels in the menu, the only real volume change is from ceremony to the reception when the dj starts blasting sound.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

Thanks Greg, that's very helpful.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 04:44 PM   #7
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Pippin View Post


I plan on buying/renting an H4N so I will be able to get clean audio of the toasts, but I haven't the slightest idea of how to hook one up to the DJ's soundboard. So if anyone could tell me what cords/adapters/etc will be needed as well as any tips for hooking everything up, it would be greatly appreciated.

Would it be a better choice to record straight from the Videomic into an H1 or H4N so I can monitor audio while recording, and if so, how would I keep track of audio tracks to their video clips?
Just wondering why you think the H4N would be better for toasts? I am new at this, too, and with no money for an H4N I was going to get 2 H1s and set them up on the table but you may have a point there on the H4 obviously as it records better sound, from what I gather.

From the clips I have seen online, there isn't much dif between an H1 alone or plugged into a Rode Shotgun.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 09:29 PM   #8
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

Well I was under the impression that audio from the Dj's soundboard could only be captured through adapters connected by the xlr input that only the H4N has, but apparently I was wrong. Although the H4N is far superior to the H1 if you look at the specs.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #9
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

Yeah, Jamie, I believe you can plug it into a dj board. I've read of other people doing that which is what gave me the idea. I'm a bit more comfortable walking away from a $100 piece of equipment then a $350 piece of equipment although I wouldn't want to lose either, to be honest. :p
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Old March 7th, 2011, 01:56 PM   #10
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

The H4N has a line-in input built in. DJ's usually give you a "line" feed where-as the H1 needs mic level. You can buy an atenuator to drop the signal by either 20-40db so you can use the H1 though. Still, the last wedding I did, the dj's feed dropped, so sometimes having a good microphone on the H4N, and recording the sound out of the speakers works out better.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 09:05 PM   #11
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

Sweet guys, thanks.

I think I'll just set a mic up near the speakers. I picked the wrong time to sell my little flexible tripod! That would have been perfect to have for such a thing.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 05:05 PM   #12
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

Alright now I'm looking to pick up a few audio recorders. I have a Zoom H1 and I like it, but the battery drains drastically and that's a problem.

I need two devices for recording vows/toasts and one which will be attached to my camera. It needs to be small enough to fit in a pocket. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 07:12 PM   #13
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

How fast does the battery drain on the H1?
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Old March 12th, 2011, 07:38 PM   #14
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

The H1 has a problem with draining the battery while the device is off. But I can put a battery in and almost instantly one of the three battery life bars will be down.
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Old March 14th, 2011, 12:50 AM   #15
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Re: Give me a Wedding Audio Rundown

I've been using a rechargable ENELOOP battery for the zoom H1 and always managed to pull off 4-5 hours recording time on the day with plenty of power to spare too.

Never had issue with battery draining.. I guess you need to use the right battery for it.
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