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


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Old September 12th, 2011, 10:06 AM   #1
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Reception Audio Help Please

Hello,

Haven't posted here in a while, but need some help with an audio situation. First of all I have never had this happen, but broke one of the main videographers rules and didn't wear head phones during the reception. However, on this day I didn't and I'm paying the price. After recording the ceremony with
a wireless mic (senheiser) through a beachtec XML I mistakenly left the XLR plugged into the line in
port on the camera and no audio is present. This means I have no audio for the entire reception. I can
get the music from the DJ on the first dance etc., but there was a one person speech that I need among other things. I tried to see if I could get anything in the video editor (Sony Vegas), but the audio is very faint with a lot of noise. Hopefully, I can find someone at the recept that recorded some or all of the main events. I think pulling audio from the video is impossible at this point. Lessen learned:-( Any help will be greatly appreciated?

Thanks,
td
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Old September 12th, 2011, 01:10 PM   #2
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

I feel for you but that won't solve the problem.
To start with-don't worry about the floor until later, first you need to try to get some kind of workable level.
The first thing I would try to do (although I hate using it) is to Normalize the audio. If there is anything there at all that should help to bring it up. Then you need to work the clip or clips with the non-realtime FX-either Amp Modulation or Volume. Try to get the levels up to at least something you can hear. The noise will be maddening. Of course this can also be done in pretty much any audio program, be it Sound Forge, Audition, GoldWave, Audicity or what have you.
Now the fun begins. Trying to get rid of as much of the floor noise (or hum and buzz as I can it) as you can without affecting the voice too much. Actually not at all is the mark you want to hit. For that you can try to use the Graphic EQ or the Track EQ in Vegas. Take little bites, get rid of as much noise as possible before affecting the quality of the voice then stop. Of course a nice noise redction program would help you a out a whole lot. Without hearing it it's impossible to say what exactly will get you close and no promises that any of it is going to work very well but you've got nothing to lose by trying.
Good luck and I guess you learned the lesson of the day. Always wear headphones.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 01:23 PM   #3
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

This is no help now with what you have to work with, but in the event this ever happens again, this is where it would be good to have a Zoom or similar just set up by a speaker and always running. This saved us a few weddings back when the speeches started unexpectedly. We now set one up when we get to the reception, and just hit go. The thing will record for hours.

Sorry, I know "should've could've" doesn't really help, but the Zooms are one of my favorite and most helpful tools we have discovered this year, and this is a great reason why.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 02:58 PM   #4
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

@ Katie

Thanks. I have done that before and it's definitely a good backup.

td
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Old September 12th, 2011, 03:00 PM   #5
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
I feel for you but that won't solve the problem.
To start with-don't worry about the floor until later, first you need to try to get some kind of workable level.
The first thing I would try to do (although I hate using it) is to Normalize the audio. If there is anything there at all that should help to bring it up. Then you need to work the clip or clips with the non-realtime FX-either Amp Modulation or Volume. Try to get the levels up to at least something you can hear. The noise will be maddening. Of course this can also be done in pretty much any audio program, be it Sound Forge, Audition, GoldWave, Audicity or what have you.
Now the fun begins. Trying to get rid of as much of the floor noise (or hum and buzz as I can it) as you can without affecting the voice too much. Actually not at all is the mark you want to hit. For that you can try to use the Graphic EQ or the Track EQ in Vegas. Take little bites, get rid of as much noise as possible before affecting the quality of the voice then stop. Of course a nice noise redction program would help you a out a whole lot. Without hearing it it's impossible to say what exactly will get you close and no promises that any of it is going to work very well but you've got nothing to lose by trying.
Good luck and I guess you learned the lesson of the day. Always wear headphones.
Thanks Don. I tried the normalize method last night and was able to increase the audio a little. Of course there's a lot of noise. I will try Sound Forge and see how much I can salvage.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 03:19 PM   #6
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

Not that I have much experience, and I'm not a pro, but I had the same problem with the sound I recorded from a ceremony that occurred outdoors in a park. There as a guest I recorded the ceremony with the camcorder's on-board stereo mic from the second row of seats. Neither the officiant's nor the couple's voices were amplified (I take it that would not be very common). You can guess how crappy the resulting audio was. I was able to pull their voices out of the muck in Audacity using equalization, noise reduction and selective (windowed) hard limiting (the latter to remove a few random clicks and pops). FWIW in my case I found that I needed 10db of noise reduction. Fortunately, there is only one brief moment where I hear hollowness (flanging) in the voice as a result. I could reduce the amount of noise reduction for that one moment, but I would briefly elevate the noise floor as well so I'm not sure it's worth it.

(PS. The only problem I have now is the much louder sound of the photographer's shutter! I am going to try isolating one of those instances that occur alone, inverting its phase and mixing copies back into the track at each precise location the sound occurs. I don't mean to hijack the thread but has anyone else tried this?)
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Old September 12th, 2011, 03:54 PM   #7
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

This happened to a buddy of mine, no audio on the Bride & Groom speech. This is not the best option but if after exhausting all efforts to extract the audio fails be up front with the Bride & Groom, just tell them. Ask them to check if any of the guest recorded the speeches, etc. My buddy was lucky, one guest was able to record the Bride & Groom speech, he was able to use the footage.

Good luck.
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Old September 12th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #8
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

Can't suggest anything that other people haven't but for me - I steer clear of radio mics and wire up the speakers with Olympus digital recorders and also place a few boundary mics into Olympus recorders on the top table - can't have enough audio backup!
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Old September 12th, 2011, 04:44 PM   #9
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

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Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
I steer clear of radio mics and wire up the speakers with Olympus digital recorders ...
I do this too. I just started this practice this year, and it's paid off immensely. I usually run a mic -- either a lav or a shotgun, depending on the DJ's setup -- into my Olympus and record the reception from beginning to end. Sure, I have a 5-hour clip to deal with during editing, but it's a small price to pay for crisp audio.

The only problem is that it's another piece of equipment, and thus another thing to have to think about. This past weekend, I put my Olympus on top of one of the speakers, and dangled a lav down in front. I recorded the whole night, then forgot to grab it at the end. On my way back the next morning -- it was a 3-hour drive -- I realized I had forgotten it. I scrambled to get ahold of someone -- I couldn't remember the DJ's name, and I was hoping he had it. After not getting ahold of anyone, and making myself sick the rest of the day, I got a phone call . . . the DJ! He had tracked me down so he could get my address to send me the recorder and mic. What a relief! And what a nice guy, to go to all that effort to contact me!
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Old September 12th, 2011, 06:41 PM   #10
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

Corey, we just about left our Zoom this weekend too! it was the LAST thing we grabbed, still plugged into the DJ...so much equipment to remember! I left a brand new monopod on a pedestrian bridge at our second wedding this summer. It was the first time I used it. And the last. But this is off topic...
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Old September 13th, 2011, 09:48 PM   #11
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

I'm attaching a snippet of my bad audio in case anyone wants to take a crack at it:-)
Attached Files
File Type: wav bad_audio.wav (5.75 MB, 89 views)
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Old September 14th, 2011, 06:36 AM   #12
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

Troy, I just listened to your clip. Remember the advice I gave you earlier? Forget it.

After hearing it, IMO, you're screwed. Sorry man, but there is nothing you can do to fix this and achieve any kind of decent sound.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 07:17 AM   #13
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

Sadly I have to agree with Don as well...there is just no way you can salvage anything there. Regardless of whether I'm using 3 wireless mic channels on two cameras or boundary mics I STILL have a Rode Videomic running on each camera ALL the time!!!

It may not be the greatest audio in the world but if all else fails at least you have audio on your second channel that is useable (ok, it's going to be a bit echoey but it's still useable audio)

You have to just move on with this one BUT...it might be worth your while to see if anyone was using a camcorder at the reception ..you just might be able to use their audio track..it won't be good but it will be better than what you have!!!

You truly have my sympathies!!! I know the feeling!!!

Chris
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Old September 14th, 2011, 08:12 AM   #14
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

Troy,
I would add that this year, I've started to plug a H4n into the DJs board or the band's board. It has ambient mics as well and I run both at the same time. I'm using DSLRs though, so I know my audio is junk. Good luck man.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 09:09 AM   #15
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Re: Reception Audio Help Please

Words fail. I'm having an Emily Litella moment here. ("Never mind.")
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