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

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Old May 29th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Vilnius Lithuania
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Hello, first of all I want to say, that I was amazed how much information there is on this forum, and how friendly are the users.
I'm a videographer from Lithuania, and my budget is really tight here. I use NV-GS400, and I want to equip my camera with cheap audio equipment(~100$).

Till now, I have been experiencing big problems with the sound in the church, because most of the priests talk so silently, that anyone can hardly hear it. I used noise reduction tools, but the sound quality drops a lot.

What is better?

Rely on my internal mic, and buy an iRiver for the church?


Buy some kind of ext mic?

Last edited by Tomas Saunuolis; May 30th, 2006 at 02:27 AM.
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Old May 29th, 2006, 04:14 PM   #2
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With your budget an iRiver is the only option. New ones are almost impossible to get and be prepared for some steep shipping costs to Lithuania

Plus you'll need a lav mic.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 06:04 PM   #3
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The only way, in my opinion, to get quality sound is to place a microphone as close to the sound's source as possible. While perhaps useful as a back-up, the on-camera microphone will not produce the best quality audio, so do not rely upon it. There is no easy way to capture good audio. All demand some kind of investment.

The most reliable way is to use hard-wired microphones, microphone cable, and an audio mixer to feed the audio signal into your camera or cameras. The microphone cables and their connectors should be "balanced", meaning the cables are "shielded" from any electro-magnetic fields in the immediate area, and the wiring uses three conductors. Unfortunately, this demands an lot of time to set-up and secure cables an such.

The next most reliable method is to use a stand-alone digital recording device, like the old 700 and 800 iRiver MP3 recorder or a SONY mini-disc recorder. Once the record settings are identified, either one will produce remarkable results. The disadvantage is that one must synchronize the audio with that which exists on the video tape. Matching the audio on stand alone recorders with video takes me about 20 minutes to match to one camera.

My preferred method is to use wireless microphone systems. They transmit wirelessly to receivers behind me to one camera through an audio mixer, which feeds to my camera. ( I always have one stationary camera to accomodate my four channel wireless receiver tower. ) The advantages to my approach are:
1) I can choose (by monitoring the mixer headphone output) which of the four microphones actually send audio to the camera. If I have a bad signal from one microphone I simply turn it off.
2) I can use as many audio sources as my mixer can handle to mix sound "live", which significantly reduces my post production time. Make no mistake, I do the best i can to have independent digital copies of all audio recorded as back up.

However, wireless audio systems can get complicated. In my country (USA), the broadcast frequencies available to me without license are not only limited to a transmission strength of perhaps one or two kilometres but are also used by broadcast television stations, whose power exceeds mine by a factr of at least 100 to one. It is very important to know what the unused frequencies are in your local area before your purchase a wireless system. If you know where the unused frequencies are located, your video redorcing life becomes much, much easier.

To add insult to (possible) injury, please be aware that "wireless" really means "without wires". That means anything, from electric motors oerating air conditioning systems to cell phones within an arm's length of your receivers could interfere with the stability of your audio signal. Fortunately, in my experience, this particular issue can be isolated with a comphrehensive sound check before the event.

I do not know the regulations regarding wireless microphone systems in Europe. My opinions may be useless. However, I have found that investing time and effort into developing a reliable, working audio system turns out to be very worthwhile. Once defined, it is easily adapted.

I hope these opinions have been of value.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 11:14 PM   #4
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With your budget, I think you're best option would be a powered and/or dynamic mic plugged directly into your camcorder and placed as close as possible to the action. Inexpensive mics like the Rode NT3, Shure SM57/SM58 or the really cheap Audio Technica ATR35s.

Sony's HiMD recorders are another option. I've been using the Sony MZ-RH910 and have been very happy with it, but you'll still need to add in the cost of a mic.
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
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