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Old February 11th, 2008, 03:29 PM   #1
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A Sound Question from Church

We occasionally have an instance where a prayer is spoken and the speaker does not remember to use a microphone. I quickly change my camera to use the internal microphone, but it sounds like it is coming from inside a tin can.

Is there a process in Vegas to "try" to improve on the sound quality? Should I use Sound Forge? I sounds so bad that I sometimes would like to exclude the audio.

Any help?
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Old February 16th, 2008, 04:30 AM   #2
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We occasionally have an instance where a prayer is spoken and the speaker does not remember to use a microphone. I quickly change my camera to use the internal microphone, but it sounds like it is coming from inside a tin can.

Is there a process in Vegas to "try" to improve on the sound quality? Should I use Sound Forge? I sounds so bad that I sometimes would like to exclude the audio.

Any help?
You could use a Vegas audio filter to boost the sound levels in Vegas but in my experience "garbage-in/garbage-out" applies to sound quality. On really bad audio I have sometimes had no choice but to boost the audio, add a noise filter to remove the background noise, add some EQ - but to be honest a viewer can tell when audio changes, and if they went from a scene with good audio to the one with the tinny-audio it would be obvious.

What about over-dubbing the voice? You could record the prayer into the PC and align over the video clip. Use the audio EQ filter to get it to sound like the rest of the other voice (this will be a challenge but may give better results).

If the audio is very tinny I dont think Soundforge will help either. I have the Waves Restoration plug-ins for advanced audio rescues but those will cost more than soundforge itself. Only worth it if you rescue a lot of audio.

Sherif
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Old February 16th, 2008, 04:52 AM   #3
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We occasionally have an instance where a prayer is spoken and the speaker does not remember to use a microphone. I quickly change my camera to use the internal microphone, but it sounds like it is coming from inside a tin can....
Any help?
I agree that this is very hard to fix in post (if you have any time for post in recording services anyway).

How do you normally acquire your sound? For instance, is it all through the PA desk? A separate mix with a lectern mic (without an on/off switch!) could allow for this if the prayers always come from the front. But it depends on the style of the service - you can't mic the whole congregation.

*You could always add in the actual words of the prayer as titles overlaying the video. Been there etc. After all, it's done on broadcast telly on the news when the sound is poor.

Last edited by Colin McDonald; February 16th, 2008 at 05:03 AM. Reason: Remembered a trick
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Old February 18th, 2008, 07:53 AM   #4
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I am caught by surprise

I typically get the audio from a mix from the board on a channel for me. Then the minister occasionally looks around the congregation and select a person to say a prayer. I don't have a clue where the person is sitting. When I here the minister select someone who is not miked, I switch a channel on my camera to use the internal mike. It is very hokey, but I at least have the prayer. But it REALLY sounds bad.

What audio filter in Vegas can be used? I looked briefly but only saw video filters.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 08:04 AM   #5
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I've done extensive church work. My solution would be to explain it to the minister, and either have the person come to the podium to pray, or just go with the audio you have. In my opinion, you are asking a production question that needs a production solution.

You could spend hours trying to fix audio that really has a 5 second walk the the podium fix.

Just my two cents.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #6
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There are a lot of software solutions (i.e. reverb) for making a microphone sound further away from the sound source, however, there are NO solutions for making a microphone sound closer to the sound source than it was. No amount of EQ or filtering is going to change that. EQ can make a slight bit of difference as to its intelligibility, but there's no way it's going to sound "closer."

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Old February 18th, 2008, 09:50 AM   #7
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I agree with Steven, talk to the Pastor and explain it to him/her and when they pick someone, have them go to the pulpit. or if there is another mic available, place it done front for people to use.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 10:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chris Barnes View Post
We occasionally have an instance where a prayer is spoken and the speaker does not remember to use a microphone. I quickly change my camera to use the internal microphone, but it sounds like it is coming from inside a tin can.

Is there a process in Vegas to "try" to improve on the sound quality? Should I use Sound Forge? I sounds so bad that I sometimes would like to exclude the audio.

Any help?

Leave it alone!!! I really mean that.

When they view the video and don't hear the person praying and ask why, tell them it is because they were not using a microphone and that they must do so in order to be heard on the recording.

I used to do the filters, cam mics and all that stuff and occassionally I actually got a pretty good sound. But it took a lot of editing time to get it. Problem is, once I started doing this, they started counting on me to continue to do this.

This means that as long as I compensated for what they would not do/remember to do, I was always expected to keep on compensating for it.

So I finally said I have had enough! If they want to be heard on the recording, they WILL use a microphone. PERIOD!!!

Sorry to get into a bit of a rant mode but I have struggled with this problem for years. Especially with certain musicians who refuse to use a microphone. One lady will push the mic down to the floor (on stand) and then walk a distance away from it.

Now, when she sings all you can hear on my recording is the piano accompaniment. And when the paino stops playing you hear a distant echo of her voice.

Point is, never compensate for those who don't use a mic for whatever reason. You will always be expected to from that moment on.

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Old February 18th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #9
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Point is, never compensate for those who don't use a mic for whatever reason. You will always be expected to from that moment on.

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I understand your feelings perfectly. The trouble is, although it seems obvious to us that sound reinforcement and sound recording are two separate issues, there's a surprising number of people who don't understand this. They think microphones are only for people who can't project their voices properly.

Steven hit the nail bang on the head, as others have agreed.
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Old February 18th, 2008, 03:33 PM   #10
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I understand your feelings perfectly. The trouble is, although it seems obvious to us that sound reinforcement and sound recording are two separate issues, there's a surprising number of people who don't understand this. They think microphones are only for people who can't project their voices properly.

Steven hit the nail bang on the head, as others have agreed.
I have done what Steven said to do many, many times. And there are a certain few who still won't use a microphone.

Yes, they do think that they don't need a mic because they can project and that mics are for those who can't. Especially certain singers. I explain to them and to the ones in charge that it doesn't matter how much they can project their voices, a person who lives miles away or one that views the video later still cannot hear them on the video if they don't use a microphone.

I don't have problems as much as I used too because I have drilled the point so much that they are finally starting to get it. There are those few who won't listen no matter what.

One way or another, trying to fix it by using the cam mic along with filters and such never works.

Thanks for the reply and all. I guess you can say I am venting a bit from all the past frustrations in dealing with this issue.

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Old February 18th, 2008, 03:47 PM   #11
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I've done quite a bit of church work too; married to a pastor, it comes with the territory. And I'm inclined to leave it as is, as well.

But you might want to try this - talk to the pastor about the problem. Make sure that you phrase everything as "it's about the ministry". If your recording is going out to church members, especially home-bound members, you're trying to make sure that everything that happens in worship is recorded so our home-bound (or whoever) can share the worship experience. Remind your pastor that sometimes even a simple prayer may be just what someone needs to hear - that may be how God has chosen to speak today - you never know. (Your pastor knows this but he'll think it's great that you express it that way.)

Given that, if possible add a mic at the back or either side. Then during the announcements or when he thinks appropriate in the service, the pastor needs to make a big deal of that addition - that this will add to our audio/video ministry. And then he encourages whoever prays to make use of the nearest mic. And when they do, thank them for doing so after the prayer. Remember, it's about sharing the ministry.

After a few services it should become expected.
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Old February 19th, 2008, 07:02 AM   #12
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Thanks

I want to thank all those who have responded. Yes, the recordings go out to those who are home stricken, mostly with cancer. I will talk to the minister to ask for his help. As he is about 70, it is sometimes hard to get him to remember minor details. I will just trust the Lord to help.

Thanks again,

Chris Barnes
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 10:07 AM   #13
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I know you asked about software solution, but why not why not use a shotgun? I do lots of church stuff I always run a shotgun on Primary cam and a wireless for second cam.

If you're using a Rode or other super hot non-adjustable mic just monitor your levels or plug in to use only during those times when you need it such as the times your describing. You'd have to edit out the noise from plugging and unplugging which can be quite loud. I could never work in those environments without a proper external mic.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 08:54 AM   #14
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Extenal mike

I am typically using two feeds from the audio panel, one a mix, and one from the minister's mike. (I have a Panasonic DVC-60 camera with two built in XLR inputs). When I get the surprise of a non-miked person, I quickly switch one input to the built-in microphone. This is where the "tin can" sound effects come from. I don't know what is the best method to remove as much of the tin can sound. I have been working on the switching in and out of the internal mike, as the spike is pretty large.

My knowledge on the audio modification needed (plug-in?) is very limited. This is the main area I need help.

And, thanks for the inputs to this point. All are very valid. I have to figure out how to implement in my environment.

Chris
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Old February 26th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #15
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Other than making them use mikes, I personnaly see the problem as the lack of a shotgun. If you haven't used one, you will be amazed.

1. Get a CD copy if available of one feed if they are recording it (sync it up in editing) and run a shotgun through the freed-up line. I imagine you would already be doing this if you could. The tin sound is likely the onboard mike recording from a distance in an environment with poor acoustics, kind of hollow, and in mono to boot since your only using one channel. Onboard mike at a distance + one channel + in a church = crappy sound.

2. Buy a digital recorder to use for one of the lines (I use the Zoom H2 available at b&h for about $200) and run a shotgun. Problem with this is it doesn't have timecode feature which needs to be re-synched periodically on the timeline and is a hassle, but it does work.

3. Best solution: run a second cam set it up for wide shot and use it to record line-feeds. Then get a shotgun to run from your primary cam. At some point in your hobby or career as a videographer you'll need a second cam.

I can't imagine any way of recording non-miked speakers without using a shotgun...onboard mike will likely NEVER work satisfactorily. Like the man said, Garbage In, Garbage Out.

My wireless feed on my back cam was messed up at a wedding ceremony and the shotgun actually got the vows really well, the customer never noticed.

Good luck. A second cam isn't expensive, it's priceless. I rarely operate without one.
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