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


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Old June 7th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #1
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2 THUMBS UP for the Olympus DS-30!

I used my brand new Olympus DS-30 digital voice recorder at a wedding this past weekend, and the audio came out great. Previously I'd been using the Olympus DS-330, which doesn't have the same range and quality. It was okay, but could sometimes make people sound like they had a lisp.

The DS-30, however, is just awesome. The audio is PERFECT. I highly recommend this DVR.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 07:17 PM   #2
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Travis, what microphone did you use with the DS-30? Also, are there any issues with using the WMA audio format? Is the 256mb installed memory sufficient to record an entire wedding? It doesn't look like the memory can be upgraded, so record time in a high quality format seems like it might be limited.
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Old June 7th, 2007, 10:01 PM   #3
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I'm just using the cheap lav mic's that came with my original Azden wireless system, with furry wind-protectors.

The supplied software (Mac and Windows compatible) allows you to convert the WMA files to AIFF, so no compatibility issues there.

Also, there is plenty of memory for an entire ceremony. At the highest quality setting (STXQ) you can record up to 4 hours and 10 minutes of audio.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 09:35 AM   #4
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Travis - I just wanted to know how the DS-30 is working for you. Can you compare the new recorder with the old such as ease of use and set up? Also, how do you adjust the record levels before you record - is it adjustable or is it just a low/med/high switch? Can you give me a run down of how you mic up the groom and set up the recorder for a wedding? I currently us a Samson UHF wireless lav system plus shotgun on the cam, but the last few weddings I was getting too much interference that it is starting to become unreliable.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:53 AM   #5
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Travis: So you slip the Olympus into the groom's pocket and clip the mic onto him?

I see this ST XQ mode: 4 hours 10 minutes...

What kind of quality does the ST XQ give you?
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Michael Kirinovic View Post
Travis - I just wanted to know how the DS-30 is working for you. Can you compare the new recorder with the old such as ease of use and set up? Also, how do you adjust the record levels before you record - is it adjustable or is it just a low/med/high switch? Can you give me a run down of how you mic up the groom and set up the recorder for a wedding? I currently us a Samson UHF wireless lav system plus shotgun on the cam, but the last few weddings I was getting too much interference that it is starting to become unreliable.

Thanks,
Mike
I love my DS-30's. It is a slight pain to re-adjust the speed and sync them in post several times in the timeline, but that slight pain is more than worth it to not have ANY interference. When using my Azden wireless system, I would get spots of interference at every wedding, some worse than others.

I've been using DVR systems for about 3 or 4 years now, and I've NEVER had interference or dropouts. It's awesome.

As for the difference between my DS-30 systems and my older Olympus systems, it's somewhat night and day. The actual operation and setup is basically the same, but the STXQ recording option is simply amazing quality. It's crystal clear. I just can't stress how good it sounds.

Regarding setup for a wedding, it's easy. I simply hook a lav mic to the unit via the mic port on top, turn on the unit., confirm that it is still set to record STXQ, confirm that the switch on the left is set to "dict" (instead of "lecture" or "conf"; I've found "dict" sounds best), hit the record button, set the power button to "hold" so that all of the controls are now locked, and then attach the lav to the groom's tux/suit and have them place the rest of the unit (it's light and small) in their jacket pocket. I don't set audio levels for the device because I don't think it has that option (if it does, I don't know how to access it). However, I've been using the DS-30 since the beginning of last wedding season and I've yet to have a problem with peaking to cut-out. If the wedding is outdoors I will put a fuzzy windblocker on the mic. Otherwise I just use the standard foam protector.

Hope that helps. Any more questions just ask.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #7
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Travis: Thanks for the info.. at it's default audio level (I'm assuming it's auto gain)... is it sensitive enough to pick up the bride's voice as well? Does it auto adjust when the groom is talking and when the bride's talking?
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Old May 14th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #8
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Travis: Thanks for the info.. at it's default audio level (I'm assuming it's auto gain)... is it sensitive enough to pick up the bride's voice as well? Does it auto adjust when the groom is talking and when the bride's talking?
Yes, I use the audio from the groom's mic for the bride's voice. Depending on the circumstances I will sometimes bump up the volume in post for the bride's voice, but oftentimes it is fine as it is.

The only disadvantage I've seen with the DVR system is that you have to spend time in post adjusting the speed and syncing with the video several times. But I would bet I only spend about 10-15 minutes extra doing this, and that's more than worth it to me to not have dropouts and interference.

A side advantage is that my DVR systems also will not interfere with other audio systems. So when I have to do a wedding at a church where they typically don't allow videographers to using their own mic system, I can explain how mine operate and they then have no reason to not let me use them.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #9
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Thanks Travis - great info on user experience. I Searched on the Olympus site and found that the WS-311M also records at STXQ and at 50 -19000Hz. Less money and double the flash memory - I think that the DS-30 cost more because of the stereo mic that sits on top of it. Do you ever use the mic at all or just with the lavs? Not sure if your old recorder is similar to the WS-311M as far as set up and usability and function. Also you mentioned that you have more than one recorder - How many do you use at one wedding/ceremony/reception?

Thanks again,
Mike
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Old May 14th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #10
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Travis - do you have any sample weddings on your site that include audio from the DS-30 such as vows or speeches that you can share with us?

Thanks,
Mike
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Old May 14th, 2008, 01:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Michael Kirinovic View Post
Thanks Travis - great info on user experience. I Searched on the Olympus site and found that the WS-311M also records at STXQ and at 50 -19000Hz. Less money and double the flash memory - I think that the DS-30 cost more because of the stereo mic that sits on top of it. Do you ever use the mic at all or just with the lavs? Not sure if your old recorder is similar to the WS-311M as far as set up and usability and function. Also you mentioned that you have more than one recorder - How many do you use at one wedding/ceremony/reception?

Thanks again,
Mike
I'm not familiar with the WS-311M. You have to be careful and make sure the device can output to your computer. I remember some of their models were basically the same thing, but they had no way of getting the audio onto a computer.

I've never used the stereo mic, just lav's. I use two at each wedding; one on the officiant and one on the groom. Another nice thing about using these is that it then frees up all of my cameras to record their own ambient sound.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #12
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Travis - do you have any sample weddings on your site that include audio from the DS-30 such as vows or speeches that you can share with us?

Thanks,
Mike
Nothing publicly visible. I do, however, still have this video:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=119150

If you skip forward to the ceremony you can hear the audio from the DS-30's (previous audio was captured on camera via shotgun mic). This was actually the first wedding with the 2nd DS-30, and it was placed on the officiant. I received it literally the day before the wedding, and was in a hurry and forgot to set the quality level to STXQ. So the the officiant's mic is recording at lower quality, but the groom's mic is on STXQ. The audio in the piece I linked to has music underneath, but you should still be able to get an idea for the audio quality (keep in mind the audio in this piece was also compressed for internet delivery).
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:26 PM   #13
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Thanks Travis for the video sample - It is a great video! Thanks for forewarning us about the first mic not properly set. It didn't survive so well being compressed for the web file. But what I heard from the quick clips of the vows it sounded good. So I think I'll pick one up and try it out soon - still may consider the WS-311M which has a USB adapter built in to the recorder that somehow reveals itself after sliding off its cap/housing. Thanks again for all your detailed info and for reviving a year old thread.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 11:16 PM   #14
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Thanks Travis for the video sample - It is a great video! Thanks for forewarning us about the first mic not properly set. It didn't survive so well being compressed for the web file. But what I heard from the quick clips of the vows it sounded good. So I think I'll pick one up and try it out soon - still may consider the WS-311M which has a USB adapter built in to the recorder that somehow reveals itself after sliding off its cap/housing. Thanks again for all your detailed info and for reviving a year old thread.
The mic issue was my own fault, too, in case I didn't make that clear. I just forgot to change the quality setting when it first arrived. Once you set it, you don't have to worry about it anymore.

Glad I could help you with the info. That's what these forums are all about. Good luck!
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Old May 26th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
I love my DS-30's. It is a slight pain to re-adjust the speed and sync them in post several times in the timeline, but that slight pain is more than worth it to not have ANY interference.
Travis, can you try re-sampling your audio file in Soundforge before you drop it in the timeline? Resample it as 48K, 16-bit and I think you should be in sync all the time every time.
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