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Old May 30th, 2014, 10:43 AM   #16
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

I am the photographer as well as the videographer :- )

No I would not remove a lav from the groom for the ceremony but I wouldn't necessarily put one on him just for the sake of it either when a nearby H1 would do just as well in recording the groom bride and celebrant. The lav is not particularly intrusive anyway especially if it can be disguised effectively behind his buttonhole flower without impacting on its performance. additionally in the UK typically we cannot move around to the extent that you can and so the prime shooting position tends to be to the grooms right slightly forward; since his upper body will much of the time be turned some degrees towards his bride this further reduces any negative impact of equipment in shot.

Again if I'm attaching an H1 to a lectern I like to put it on the side away from the camera so that the lectern obscures the view of it. If it would still be highly visible and if I have time I instead place the H1 near the floor and attach a wired lav to the lecturn using heavy duty black blutack.

Similar if I'm placing an H1 near a high altar ready for the final blessing. I do prefer the audio from an H1's internal mics though rather than from a lav unless the lav is actually on someone.

I don't want a lav showing on the groom once the ceremony is over though. It is a big ask to retouch out because of all the different colours shades and textures of textiles around it.

all the rest of the day both the photog and me are not in control and we both try to get the best possible shot

part of which is avoiding equipment being in shot as far as possible. A masterclass in that was the UK royal wedding a couple of years ago. Musicians of course always have a ton of equipment and that doesn't look out of place but photo and video equipment certainly jars.

We'll have to agree to differ. My experience of photogs is the opposite to yours - very little control going on unless their style is specifically fashionista and not much use of off camera flash except for indoor formals, but 1st dance videographers blocking everyones view especially if there are two of them - well don't get me started!

Pete
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Old May 30th, 2014, 11:05 AM   #17
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

If you do both photo and video simultaneously, then you decide where your priorities are but the example I gave you about the lav mike on the grooms vest is exactly the same what you where suggesting, you say you don't want a audiorecorder to appear it in your images during speeches but you don't want to remove a lav mike either from the grooms vest when you would do video and if another photog would have the same request for you?

So actually you are saying the same as me, "too bad", because you need your audio in the best possible way, right? There are always other ways to get your audio but would you think about the other photog photos first and just take a lower quality audio signal so he would have his clutterfree shots? I think not.

The only thing you need to assure is not to get in eachothers way so both can have a clear shot of whatever is happening.

Last edited by Noa Put; May 30th, 2014 at 11:49 AM.
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Old May 30th, 2014, 01:14 PM   #18
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

It goes back to my comment about strapping an audio recorder to the house handheld mic. Lavs can be intrusive and handheld mics can be intrusive but people are used to seeing them up to a point so they are not necessarily attention grabbers. As in this shot where the groom and best man are lav'd up by me:

Ref 314-5634-03_sntj Ashton Lamont Photo Video, Copyright

There is a Zoom H1 disguised behind the wine glass in front of the seated best man as a backup. Same with groom and fob.

Here is one where a lav got left on at the start of the formals :- (

Ref 140-6236-03_hmaa Ashton Lamont Photo Video, Copyright

But people are not used to seeing an audio recorder strapped to a handheld mic and that will be a biggie attention grabber in head and shoulders album portrait spreads as in this one I linked to earlier:

Ref sides27-28-lrl Ashton Lamont Photography, Copyright

Ones first reaction is going to be "whats that thing" then your eye is drawn to its clearly in focus knobs and dials. Ambience killer. Not what I want at all. The more the means of shooting etc are visible in shots the more matter of fact and clinical they become at the expense of romance. Likewise I don't want lightstands and tripods in the background in 1st dances. Often these can be hidden behind DJ speakers and small cams friction armed to the DJs considerable lights rig etc.

Thats why I personally avoid it. I would use it if I had to - for example a few days ago at a wedding where there were multiple speech makers from numerous room locations at unpredictable moments, but in that case I had a good feed from the shure 58 via the DJs board and my G3 to my H4n. I have a reel of black electricians tape in my bag for such eventualities.

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Old May 30th, 2014, 05:32 PM   #19
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

I would spend everything first on audio:

Zoom H6 with the extra XLR input module to record a backup audio file.
2 wireless mics.
2 wired recorders/mics (I use Zoom h1s).
1 Dynamic Microphone for the sound speakers.
Cables for as many different situations as you can think of to tap into the soundboard. Never assume the DJ will provide these!

Any left over money I would put towards a nice light such as a Dedolight 150w or an Arri 150w with an air cushioned stand.

Audio is so important and the couple will NOT be happy if the sound is poor, no matter how much you warn them beforehand. I have never met a photographer or vendor who has contested a lapel that is showing, even if there are two or three attached to the groom. There are too many instances where audio can go wrong and having backups is extremely important.
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Old May 30th, 2014, 11:31 PM   #20
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Hi Peter

As I'm often the video and the photog guy I got into the habit of clipping the lav on the groom 15 minutes before the ceremony and then straight after the congrats by the guests outside I take it off him. Like you I certainly don't want to have to photoshop out the the mic on piles of stills. If I work with a photog, I also do the same and I'm sure he appreciates it too.

For Craig ...get decent audio gear first as a priority ...at worst you could ask the venue to lift the lights at the reception for stuff like speeches. I did a wedding on 4th April this year and an hour before the reception my still and lighting camera bags were stolen from my car! I managed to get thru the reception (and the on the next day too) with some help from the venue BUT if my audio case had been the victim I would have been totally screwed! Don't skimp on audio ..it's as important as video ! I'm not a DVR fan at all as I like to be able to monitor my audio and be able to adjust levels but whether you go wireless or recorder routes, don't skimp on audio, rather spend less on lights!!

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Old May 31st, 2014, 01:43 AM   #21
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Audio at the ceremony is totally different then securing your audio in a venue.

When looking at Peter's photos I ended up on his website and saw under which conditions he had to record the audio at the venue which is totally different from how it's done here, in those cases his zoom h1's on the tables are the easiest solution because they don't seem to use a mike and they stay in one position at the table which never happens here, in my case they always use a mike and often start walking from left to right on the dancefloor. Supplying a lav mike on each speaker is often not possible because it can be that there are more then one person on the dancefloor and they pass the mike from one to the next or you can't attach the lav in a proper way on the dresses of some women.
At the venue the soundspeakers are often attached to the ceiling so that's not an option and if you can't get a decent feed from the dj your only option left is to velcro tape a recorder to the mikes handle.

My job is to secure good audio at the venue and if I can't get a good feed form the dj board (those feeds are often also unreliable) a very small recorder attached to the handle is the best way by far to have very clear audio, if you instruct the speakers how to hold the mike.

I now also understand why Peter makes such a fuzz about that small recorder for his photos because it looks to me his main profession is photography and video is a add-on which explains why he values his photos more, for me it's imperative I secure good sound even under difficult circumstances and that tiny recorder on the handle makes life so much easier, especially when you operate solo. Under those conditions, I don't take the photog into consideration.

The reason I said the photog had his moment during the photoshoot and that the speeches where my territory was because during long speeches at the venue I have to secure a constant quality, meaning clear sound and a good image without interruption, the photog just has to take a snapshot and he could have a drink in the meanwhile, that's why I rate the importance of my job at that moment much higher. In those case I will tell the photog where he cannot stand during the entire speech, he can use the entire venue if he pleases to take his pictures but he will have to stay away from my field of view so blocking that path towards the speaker is out of the question at that moment.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 05:04 PM   #22
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Do most people shoot high ISO? Yes, including me. Whether people ought to be... Well, maybe that's a long discussion in itself. But one thing about Adams and Roman is that they're prepared to use fast primes and shoot wide open. So they're not going to need a whole lot of light at f/1.2 to avoid shooting above 1250 ISO. They also use lights with a lot of throw -- so Roman uses a dedolight and Adams uses a fresnel or whatever. And if something is shining on you from far away, it's less distracting, which is the main negative about lights.

Re light stand, if you're using LEDs, you can get away with really cheap plastic (and compact and light) eBay ones. $10-$20. I usually carry two lights, for fill and backlight, or to double up from one direction if I need the extra light (eg lowering contrast between bridal dress hung against window and outside world).

Re annoying the photographer, to be honest most photographers like video lights. In my experience anyway. A lot of them use video lights themselves. They like having backlight/lens flare during the dancing, same as videographers, they like using low ISO for low-noise images as much as possible, same as videographers, and the good ones prefer off-camera lighting to avoid flattening all the shadows, same as videographers.

They can get away with higher ISO than videographers, or I think so anyway. But doesn't mean they like it.
Thanks a lot Adrian! Great info... which lights do you use? Do you recommend the Dedolights? I would prefer to go LED but I'm guessing they don't have as much throw? What are the health and safety restrictions for using lights at a venue? Does it differ from place to place?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
I agree - togs like a few continuous LED lights around the dance floor for first dance. Regarding lav mics I've started to use these - great price and (IMO) they sound as good as my ME-2 - Come with spare foam and tie-clips - very well made

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pronomic-LA-...words=pronomic

For micing the groom for the ceremony I find the H1 too bulky - and so might he in his jacket pocket. I much prefer my slimmer Olympus WM311 (now discontinued) but they do drift a little which will need correcting in post.

Pete
They are a great price! I remember in my earlier thread that people recommended the Sony voice recorders too... I just want audio as good as the best... but I can imagine that it isn't easy to achieve. I'll check out buying those lav mics either way!! Thanks for the recommendation...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
Sometimes I go for long periods without using my wireless systems but I do like the ability to change the levels in the receiving recorder mid-ceremony if the talent has a booming or a mousy voice - something you cannot do if your recorder is inaccessible in a pocket etc. For something like the speeches often there is no point in using wireless if you can get an H1 or suchlike hidden on the table directly in front of the person speaking - that also gives you good ambient guest reaction and next door neighbours comments without having to mix.

Taping a recorder to the venue handheld mic is something I avoid - because as a photographer I don't want all that paraphernalia showing in large album spreads. Also the speakers often start using a mic and then put it down so you're stuffed.

A recorder next to a venue speaker is also of course good practice. However some systems are horrendous quality and it may not get the guests singing hymns adequately. Recently I shot in a church in which the priest was mic'd up to the inhouse system but the quality was so bad as to be almost impossible to distinguish what he was saying. I expected to be blamed for "interference" but when I asked the staff afterwards they said "yep its always like that"!

One other connection type you sometimes get in churches Craig is a single 1/4" jack socket. Just have a 1/4" male to 3.5mm female adapter from Maplins and connect your recorder using a 3.5mm cable. Doesn't matter if its mono or stereo really as you can sort that in post. Many church sound board sockets are inaccessible though.

Pete
Do you adjust the levels in your camera using the wireless systems?

Shocking that churches have such poor audio... definitely dislike the vicars who mumble through a service too - not that I've been there when recording though.

I'll get those connectors now - cheers Peter. Have you had someone like myself sign up before and you've managed to turn them pro with your advice?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush
For speeches I now always use a H1 in front of each speaker - works a treat.

Pete
Sounds fool-proof Peter - do you use auto gain in this situation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush
Craig the bottom line is that although audio is relatively simple you do need a backup strategy plus a back up of your backup strategy!

Pete
I like your 70% and 90% tip - the levels I set my table top mics at were 70% on the wedding day - captured fine, but I bet 90% would have been better.

From the conversation with Noa and yourself, it seems that educating the speakers would help even more... unless you just have people who go against your better knowledge, or forget, or you don't have time to converse with them.

For my two recorded speeches, I notified everyone on the groom's table about the recorders and I had the groom explain to the speakers where they needed to stand - thankfully, they remained in position.

I think I would like to lav up every speaker, although I bet this is time consuming and frustrating for the speakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Calabig View Post
I would spend everything first on audio:

Zoom H6 with the extra XLR input module to record a backup audio file.
2 wireless mics.
2 wired recorders/mics (I use Zoom h1s).
1 Dynamic Microphone for the sound speakers.
Cables for as many different situations as you can think of to tap into the soundboard. Never assume the DJ will provide these!

Any left over money I would put towards a nice light such as a Dedolight 150w or an Arri 150w with an air cushioned stand.

Audio is so important and the couple will NOT be happy if the sound is poor, no matter how much you warn them beforehand. I have never met a photographer or vendor who has contested a lapel that is showing, even if there are two or three attached to the groom. There are too many instances where audio can go wrong and having backups is extremely important.
Where would you position the H6? What benefits does a H6 bring over a H1, given that you won't be attaching a microphone into its XLR inputs? Or will you?

Thanks a lot for that list... I'll go for it when/if I get the jobs this summer!

Definitely understand this... I've not offered audio to the wedding couples this summer, but rather a free four minute video to a song of their choosing... mostly so I can get used to capturing good video and then I'll start working on the audio... but a part of me wants to throw audio in as a surprise or as an extra... either way, once I start doing this properly, I want to be as good as anyone else would be starting out - with great audio to boot.

One issue with lights for the dance is that we often get DJ lights here... multi-coloured streams... that just destroy your video footage (or at least to my tastes...).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

For Craig ...get decent audio gear first as a priority ...at worst you could ask the venue to lift the lights at the reception for stuff like speeches. I did a wedding on 4th April this year and an hour before the reception my still and lighting camera bags were stolen from my car! I managed to get thru the reception (and the on the next day too) with some help from the venue BUT if my audio case had been the victim I would have been totally screwed! Don't skimp on audio ..it's as important as video ! I'm not a DVR fan at all as I like to be able to monitor my audio and be able to adjust levels but whether you go wireless or recorder routes, don't skimp on audio, rather spend less on lights!!

Chris
That's terrible Chris! Will your insurance cover you?!

Can you recommend how it is best to monitor your audio? Do you get something like a DR-60D from Tascam? Is a four channel field recorder so that you can have multiple audio streams passed into the device and record all four channels or something?

I seriously need to gain a basic understanding of audio... I get how to use a H1 and a lav, as well as how to use a tabletop mic... or to aim a mic at speakers... but when it comes to monitoring, wireless or any other fancy way of doing things, I become confused.

---

Thank you to everyone for your posts! I'm going to learn as much as I can about audio tomorrow on my day off - much appreciated.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 05:37 PM   #23
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I did a wedding on 4th April this year and an hour before the reception my still and lighting camera bags were stolen from my car!
I missed that remark, realy? If I hear these stories I always cringe at the thought of ever being robbed, that's why I always carry my most important gear with me at all times but I do often have to leave some things in the car like my steadicam or my slider. Did you loose a lot of gear? And was it taken at the venue parking? That kinda sucks, hope it was only small stuff.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 06:48 PM   #24
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig McKenna View Post
Thanks a lot Adrian! Great info... which lights do you use? Do you recommend the Dedolights? I would prefer to go LED but I'm guessing they don't have as much throw? What are the health and safety restrictions for using lights at a venue? Does it differ from place to place?
I generally use 3 x Switronix Torch Bolts. Dedolights are fantastic, and I have one, but I always worry about hot lights falling on somebody. The Torch Bolts have fallen over more than once, when knocked by a guest or by a careless cameraman. Plus, I avoid hot lights because I don't want to worry about running cables, and waiting for the light to cool before packing them up, and changing lamps if you rattle the fixture and break one. Your mileage will vary depending on the size of room you've got to play with.

Health/safety -- some venues will ask you for a copy of public liability insurance. Never encountered any restrictions as such, but then again I haven't yet tried my luck flying a quadcopter inside the venue room.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 07:50 PM   #25
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

my take on this is;
audio is at least as important as video! you may be forgiven for some poor video but it really annoys if you cant make out the audio, especially the spoken word.

my own particular audio setup is as follows;
I have a pair of Yamaha c24 and a Sony CD-PX333 Series recorder
the Sony goes in the Grooms pocket
a Sennheiser ew 135-p G3 Wireless Kit (thats a receiver that attaches to the camera and a radio mic thats usually taped to the church/venue mic)
the two yamahas are placed at locations like a lectern where the church mic wont be used and the other one might be where the musicians/vocalist(s) are.
this offers me a reasonable spread where i can capture good audio, the shotgun mic or onboard mics of the other cameras are not good, but at the end of the day - better than nothing!
For the speeches i have been using the wireless mic taped to the venue one, as a backup i leave the other three recorders along the top table and as a last resort two or three onboard camera mics.

I have one light a
Sony HVLLBPB High Power LED Video Light which was not cheap, of course i bought it first before i researched into it.
i don't use it much, it's ok if your subject is backlit and you want to add some fill, I often use a large reflector instead, lots of clients dislike lights and the other thing is that trying to light the dance floor is very difficult, i've all but given up using a light for the first dance, if the couple are bathed in different coloured spots or whatever so be it! anyway i haven't felt the need for more lights as of yet.
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Old June 1st, 2014, 08:29 PM   #26
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Hi Craig and Noa

My car was parked at the photo venue behind the limo (with the driver in it too!!) yet the window was forced and they grabbed my Nikon gear bag with 3 lenses and a D90 body and flash unit plus my 2nd Novoflex adapter. The second smaller bag had both my on-camera lights which went as well!! I was doing the stedicam shoot about 50m away at most and the lady limo driver says she saw nothing!!

Yes insurance covered everything (they actually insisted on paying me more than I asked for so I ended up with an extra Sigma 18-35 F1.8 which is awesome at receptions) Without video lights was the most inconvenient thing ! I just redid the stills on my video camera!!

I don't use DVR's so monitoring wireless gear is easy for me. I used to have a Tascam but never liked it at all. I prefer my wireless mic setups which I can monitor. However with the Tascam I had a Bluetooth module I bought on eBay that plugged into the DVR's headphone output and sent a signal to a set of Bluetooth headphones ...it actually worked very well for me and at least I could hear what the DVR was recording. The transmitter part was small too so it could still fit in a pocket.

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Old June 2nd, 2014, 02:17 AM   #27
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig McKenna View Post
Thanks a lot Adrian! Great info... which lights do you use? Do you recommend the Dedolights? I would prefer to go LED but I'm guessing they don't have as much throw? What are the health and safety restrictions for using lights at a venue? Does it differ from place to place?



They are a great price! I remember in my earlier thread that people recommended the Sony voice recorders too... I just want audio as good as the best... but I can imagine that it isn't easy to achieve. I'll check out buying those lav mics either way!! Thanks for the recommendation...



Do you adjust the levels in your camera using the wireless systems?

Shocking that churches have such poor audio... definitely dislike the vicars who mumble through a service too - not that I've been there when recording though.

I'll get those connectors now - cheers Peter. Have you had someone like myself sign up before and you've managed to turn them pro with your advice?!



Sounds fool-proof Peter - do you use auto gain in this situation?



I like your 70% and 90% tip - the levels I set my table top mics at were 70% on the wedding day - captured fine, but I bet 90% would have been better.

From the conversation with Noa and yourself, it seems that educating the speakers would help even more... unless you just have people who go against your better knowledge, or forget, or you don't have time to converse with them.

For my two recorded speeches, I notified everyone on the groom's table about the recorders and I had the groom explain to the speakers where they needed to stand - thankfully, they remained in position.

I think I would like to lav up every speaker, although I bet this is time consuming and frustrating for the speakers.



Where would you position the H6? What benefits does a H6 bring over a H1, given that you won't be attaching a microphone into its XLR inputs? Or will you?

Thanks a lot for that list... I'll go for it when/if I get the jobs this summer!

Definitely understand this... I've not offered audio to the wedding couples this summer, but rather a free four minute video to a song of their choosing... mostly so I can get used to capturing good video and then I'll start working on the audio... but a part of me wants to throw audio in as a surprise or as an extra... either way, once I start doing this properly, I want to be as good as anyone else would be starting out - with great audio to boot.

One issue with lights for the dance is that we often get DJ lights here... multi-coloured streams... that just destroy your video footage (or at least to my tastes...).



That's terrible Chris! Will your insurance cover you?!

Can you recommend how it is best to monitor your audio? Do you get something like a DR-60D from Tascam? Is a four channel field recorder so that you can have multiple audio streams passed into the device and record all four channels or something?

I seriously need to gain a basic understanding of audio... I get how to use a H1 and a lav, as well as how to use a tabletop mic... or to aim a mic at speakers... but when it comes to monitoring, wireless or any other fancy way of doing things, I become confused.

---

Thank you to everyone for your posts! I'm going to learn as much as I can about audio tomorrow on my day off - much appreciated.
Hi Craig,

I position the H6 next to the DJ so I can tap the sound from the DJ. I actually have my assistant as my dedicated sound guy during the ceremony so he can adjust the levels of all the mics during the ceremony.

The H6 is an external recorder that I use because of the pre-amps and simple audio adjustments you can make. It will not be feasible to attach to a subject.

Audio is extremely important if you would like to command higher rates in the future. It's really a distinguishing asset that can be the difference from a sub $1,500 videographer and $3,000 when couples are considering you.

As for the light. I prefer a stationary light rather than an on camera LED simply because it gives a great back and hair light. I'm not too concerned with mixing lights as I color correct all my footage and most couples are not concerned with having exact color temperatures. At worst, I pack some gels I can clip onto the barndoors of my Dedolight.

Be aware that I now shoot weddings full time and I'm in this for the long run. It is not necessary to get exceptional audio and lighting but it has made the difference when couples have met and discussed my work prior to signing a contract.
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 03:28 AM   #28
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Do you adjust the levels in your camera using the wireless systems?

Shocking that churches have such poor audio... definitely dislike the vicars who mumble through a service too - not that I've been there when recording though.

I'll get those connectors now - cheers Peter. Have you had someone like myself sign up before and you've managed to turn them pro with your advice?!


Yes I do adjust the Levels in the cam when using wireless. Likewise if I am wirelessing straight into an audio recorder - usually my Zoom H4n.

Adjusting Levels in the wireless units is all well and good if you have the time and opportunity but you do of course need to have physical access to each transmitter and receiver and go through their menus to do that. Instead I have both the G3 receiver and the G3 transmitter set to -12dB permanently for speech. This gives me a clean recording. Typically I have the levels in the H4n set at a default of 50% for any socket that is receiving from a G3 and of course I can adjust the Levels on the H4n for each channel individually (in its "4ch" mode). If I connect a G3 transmitter to the DJ's board I could adjust the dB to be lower than my default of -12dB to take account of the "hotter" signal from the board and stop peaking, but I prefer to simply add a -25dB pad cable inbetween the board and the transmitter so its one less thing to think about. The G3 units do have a peaking warning light anyway.

The Zoom H6 is a capable unit but it is not all that it may seem when you delve into it. It has a lower noise than the Zoom H4n but reliable reviews have reported that when you increase the Levels from 6 to 7 on its dials there is a significant increase in preamp noise. Also the two extra XLR sockets you can add at extra cost do not support phantom power (though the other 4 do so). You don't need phantom power for the G3 receivers though. The 3.5mm input on it is on the removable onboard mics unit at the top so if you take that off you lose the 3.5mm input. Again it can record two versions of your audio at the same time, one version being -12dB lower than the main one; but only if you use the onboard mics, not available using the XLRs. Some users have reported that the LCD is annoyingly small and tricky to judge Levels readings on. The H6 is a big unit as well and this has implications if you want to hide its placement or even when trying to fit all your gear into one bag.

Bear in mind that noisy preamps are not a huge concern for most wedding work. What audio specialists regard as noisy and what "normal" users regard as noisy are different. With weddings there is almost always some ambient sound going on which will drown preamp noise anyway.

Hey I'm no guru. In a few months you'll take it all for granted and wonder what all the fuss was about :- )

Pete
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 07:19 AM   #29
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
I generally use 3 x Switronix Torch Bolts. Dedolights are fantastic, and I have one, but I always worry about hot lights falling on somebody. The Torch Bolts have fallen over more than once, when knocked by a guest or by a careless cameraman. Plus, I avoid hot lights because I don't want to worry about running cables, and waiting for the light to cool before packing them up, and changing lamps if you rattle the fixture and break one. Your mileage will vary depending on the size of room you've got to play with.

Health/safety -- some venues will ask you for a copy of public liability insurance. Never encountered any restrictions as such, but then again I haven't yet tried my luck flying a quadcopter inside the venue room.
So, is it safe to say that the Switronix Torch bolts run cool, as they're LED lit? They look like a great unit and I might invest in two of them!!! Did the torch lights survive the falls? Also, what batteries do you use with them? And what are the costs? Thanks for these - they look perfect!

Haha good luck with the quadcopter - I met up with two photographers recently who were laughing because a camera man had a 10,000 helicopter and flew it into a wall of a warehouse... apparently it was really evident that it was going to hit the wall... but yet he continued to fly it in that direction... apparently there was a good ten seconds for him to avoid hitting the wall... but he didn't seem able to control it and then it hit the deck - much to the photographers annoyance. Although it's a funny story, I guess it's also a frustrating one for the photog and a scary one for potential weddings, should this happen to any of us... I'm ages away from considering a device such as this though.

Thank you for your help Adrian!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Cantwell View Post
my take on this is;
audio is at least as important as video! you may be forgiven for some poor video but it really annoys if you cant make out the audio, especially the spoken word.

my own particular audio setup is as follows;
I have a pair of Yamaha c24 and a Sony CD-PX333 Series recorder
the Sony goes in the Grooms pocket
a Sennheiser ew 135-p G3 Wireless Kit (thats a receiver that attaches to the camera and a radio mic thats usually taped to the church/venue mic)
the two yamahas are placed at locations like a lectern where the church mic wont be used and the other one might be where the musicians/vocalist(s) are.
this offers me a reasonable spread where i can capture good audio, the shotgun mic or onboard mics of the other cameras are not good, but at the end of the day - better than nothing!
For the speeches i have been using the wireless mic taped to the venue one, as a backup i leave the other three recorders along the top table and as a last resort two or three onboard camera mics.
Thank you for explaining your setup Rob! My only questions here are:

Do you not get an awful hitting sound when the speakers are holding the mic? I know my tabletop Tascams are extremely sensitive to that event.
Do you monitor sound using your cameras headphone socket for the G3 kit?

Thank you Rob!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Cantwell View Post
I have one light a
Sony HVLLBPB High Power LED Video Light which was not cheap, of course i bought it first before i researched into it.
i don't use it much, it's ok if your subject is backlit and you want to add some fill, I often use a large reflector instead, lots of clients dislike lights and the other thing is that trying to light the dance floor is very difficult, i've all but given up using a light for the first dance, if the couple are bathed in different coloured spots or whatever so be it! anyway i haven't felt the need for more lights as of yet.
Thanks Rob! It's really interesting how different videographers feel about lights... personally, I love the look of a light that's bright and shining into the camera during the first dance... I've seen it used really well... but then I know how undesirable it is to have multi-coloured lights all over the brides... and I doubt using your own lights will stop this from happening.

Have many people expressed their dislike of lights to you during a ceremony etc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Craig and Noa

My car was parked at the photo venue behind the limo (with the driver in it too!!) yet the window was forced and they grabbed my Nikon gear bag with 3 lenses and a D90 body and flash unit plus my 2nd Novoflex adapter. The second smaller bag had both my on-camera lights which went as well!! I was doing the stedicam shoot about 50m away at most and the lady limo driver says she saw nothing!!

Yes insurance covered everything (they actually insisted on paying me more than I asked for so I ended up with an extra Sigma 18-35 F1.8 which is awesome at receptions) Without video lights was the most inconvenient thing ! I just redid the stills on my video camera!!

I don't use DVR's so monitoring wireless gear is easy for me. I used to have a Tascam but never liked it at all. I prefer my wireless mic setups which I can monitor. However with the Tascam I had a Bluetooth module I bought on eBay that plugged into the DVR's headphone output and sent a signal to a set of Bluetooth headphones ...it actually worked very well for me and at least I could hear what the DVR was recording. The transmitter part was small too so it could still fit in a pocket.

Chris
That's terrible Chris, but at least you got the Sigma as a nice counter to the theft. Can you tell me which insurance company you are with and roughly how much it would cost to insure around 10,000 worth of equipment?

Have you ever experienced any interference with wireless set ups? Rob Adams seemed to dislike the idea of wireless set ups... he was always talking about backing up your audio with wired solutions...

That Bluetooth idea sounds great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Calabig View Post
Hi Craig,

I position the H6 next to the DJ so I can tap the sound from the DJ. I actually have my assistant as my dedicated sound guy during the ceremony so he can adjust the levels of all the mics during the ceremony.

The H6 is an external recorder that I use because of the pre-amps and simple audio adjustments you can make. It will not be feasible to attach to a subject.
Thank you Edward! That's great... I'll consider purchasing one of these in the near future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Calabig View Post
Audio is extremely important if you would like to command higher rates in the future. It's really a distinguishing asset that can be the difference from a sub $1,500 videographer and $3,000 when couples are considering you.
I most definitely want to hit the higher market and become a great pro eventually! I can definitely see how audio will deflect couples... I did manage to capture great audio using my Tascams... but that was with a lot of frustration at times with the mobile interference that nobody seems to have mentioned... d-d-d-d-d... etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Calabig View Post
As for the light. I prefer a stationary light rather than an on camera LED simply because it gives a great back and hair light. I'm not too concerned with mixing lights as I color correct all my footage and most couples are not concerned with having exact color temperatures. At worst, I pack some gels I can clip onto the barndoors of my Dedolight.

Be aware that I now shoot weddings full time and I'm in this for the long run. It is not necessary to get exceptional audio and lighting but it has made the difference when couples have met and discussed my work prior to signing a contract.
Sounds great Edward. Out of interest, how long before you reached this level? I wish to become a pro within two years... I'm just working on getting a solid foundation, solid gear and a solid understanding of the fundamentals. By the tenth wedding that I shoot - which I estimate will be next summer - I hope to have a range of new gear that ensures great audio, footage and potentially, a great glidecam. Eventually, I really want a Mobi M5!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post

Yes I do adjust the Levels in the cam when using wireless. Likewise if I am wirelessing straight into an audio recorder - usually my Zoom H4n.
The advantages of being able to do this are amazing... when using my Tascams... I was always anxious that the audio I was getting was perhaps terrible, or perhaps brilliant, but not knowing was frustrating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
Adjusting Levels in the wireless units is all well and good if you have the time and opportunity but you do of course need to have physical access to each transmitter and receiver and go through their menus to do that. Instead I have both the G3 receiver and the G3 transmitter set to -12dB permanently for speech. This gives me a clean recording. Typically I have the levels in the H4n set at a default of 50% for any socket that is receiving from a G3 and of course I can adjust the Levels on the H4n for each channel individually (in its "4ch" mode). If I connect a G3 transmitter to the DJ's board I could adjust the dB to be lower than my default of -12dB to take account of the "hotter" signal from the board and stop peaking, but I prefer to simply add a -25dB pad cable inbetween the board and the transmitter so its one less thing to think about. The G3 units do have a peaking warning light anyway.
Thanks Peter. So rather than monitoring, you set your levels? I would be happy to do this if seasoned pros do the same... do you monitor any sound during your shoot? Or do you focus more so on the footage once everything is set up to your liking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
The Zoom H6 is a capable unit but it is not all that it may seem when you delve into it. It has a lower noise than the Zoom H4n but reliable reviews have reported that when you increase the Levels from 6 to 7 on its dials there is a significant increase in preamp noise. Also the two extra XLR sockets you can add at extra cost do not support phantom power (though the other 4 do so). You don't need phantom power for the G3 receivers though. The 3.5mm input on it is on the removable onboard mics unit at the top so if you take that off you lose the 3.5mm input. Again it can record two versions of your audio at the same time, one version being -12dB lower than the main one; but only if you use the onboard mics, not available using the XLRs. Some users have reported that the LCD is annoyingly small and tricky to judge Levels readings on. The H6 is a big unit as well and this has implications if you want to hide its placement or even when trying to fit all your gear into one bag.

Bear in mind that noisy preamps are not a huge concern for most wedding work. What audio specialists regard as noisy and what "normal" users regard as noisy are different. With weddings there is almost always some ambient sound going on which will drown preamp noise anyway.

Hey I'm no guru. In a few months you'll take it all for granted and wonder what all the fuss was about :- )

Pete
Thanks Pete - to my current level of knowledge - you are a guru, along with others here.

Massively helpful as always. I think like everything else - experience will help me to understand everything that people are discussing here. As well as this, I think having the devices in front of me will help too... I still don't quite understand how you can adjust levels with these things... or if there is a way to monitor all of the sound that you are capturing through one device? Or if this is even necessary - it would seem that it is not necessary.

Either way, thank you!
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Old June 2nd, 2014, 11:18 AM   #30
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Re: Lighting and Audio: 1000 ($1600) - What do you do?!

Its easy to monitor the Levels on the LCD display of either you cam or your recording device whichever you are using at that moment. If its your cam its probably just a matter of turning a knob if the Levels appear to be peaking too high - I ignore crowds clapping when looking at the peaking as that is bound to be far higher than the rest of the take.

On a device like the H4n, if you have 3 inputs on the go - being 1 x internal mics and 2 x XLR channels - you see 3 different Levels in the graphical display. You can adjust each input by pressing its appropriate button then twitching the rocker switch on the units side.

For something like speeches once you've checked the Levels for that particular speaker you are pretty much safe to leave it. For something like music in the evening not so as the DJs often change the volume. Therefore if your audio recorder is getting a wireless feed you don't have to go back to where a wired recorder might be perched to adjust that.

One thing that is confusing about the H4n is that although its onboard mics record in stereo to the left and the right channel, and that is all visible in your NLE as expected, its a bit different using the XLR inputs.

With XLR one input goes to one channel and the other to the 2nd channel of the same track. So if you are recording 2 different input sources 1 to each XLR socket you may appear to have "lost" one of your recordings. But what has really happened is that the XLR-1 input has gone to the left channel and the XLR-2 input to the right channel. They are both there but its not immediately obvious - it can look like you've only got the left channel. But its easy to deal with that in an NLE like Vegas.

I looked at the Zoom H6 this afternoon in my local music store - Dawsons - but I was not impressed. That is a huge device. I wouldn't want to put it on top of a dSLR :- ) The build quality was not as nice as I was expecting but the killer for me was I thought that the LCD display is too small to monitor several inputs on it.

I'll stick with my H4n. Be careful of the H4n auto-Levels function if you get one. It has a strange way of dealing with it if there is a sudden peak - everything after the peak will be too quiet on auto.
There is a useful H4n training DVD here:

Zoom H4n Handy Recorder DVD Tutorial | ProAudioDVDs.comProAudioDVDs.com

Its own manual is quite daunting as the device caters for a whole bunch of musician needs.

Pete
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