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

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Old October 23rd, 2010, 06:26 PM   #1
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Audio nightmare... a lesson learnt...

Yesterday I had the worst nightmare with my audio recording during ceremony. I used two digital recorder, one on the groom and the other one on the sound mixer.

Halfway during the ceremony, when the B&G were doing their vows, I realized.... I have not put the digital recorder in a recording mode!!! I thought, at least I have my second recorder in the sound mixer...... but a nightmare struck when at the end of it I checked and the recorder had died on me... it was probably low battery, so it completely missed the whole ceremony audio!! When I checked it the night before it was showing full battery.. obviously it was lying to me...

All I had was shotgun mic from my three cameras.. but obviously all we get is an echoing sound coming from the church speaker...

Luckily... their vows were not personal written vows, so I got them to re-read their vows again backstage.. which I will use to somehow fit in the video.. It was my only choice..

Lesson learnt from here is to always hit record as soon as you put the mic on the groom!! (let it record even for the full 4 hours).. would rather record more than less!! Secondly, always get new batteries the night before.. it's a minor spending that could possibly save you from major disaster..

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Old October 23rd, 2010, 07:02 PM   #2
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Johannes, as you imply, these lessons we all have to learn the hard way so no doubt you'll have nods of agreement from most people who read your tale. Even if you use alkaline batteries, using new ones is a small price to pay for reassurance. If you use 9v (nominal) rechargeables, may I recommend the investment in sets of Lithium Polymer.. They're expensive, need careful handling and need their own chargers but last about as long as alkaline batteries. Perhaps best of all they recharge completely in about 60 minutes.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 07:53 PM   #3
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Hi John

It's always scary stuff when that happens. That's why I still use radio mics! At least I can monitor the output and see and hear the audio. If I did use a DVR I would still have a radio mic as a backup..something I could at least monitor!!

I had a similar bad audio day yesterday!!! My wedding was on the river at Dalkeith and by the time the bride arrived we had a howling 30 knot southwester coming straight at us with no shelter. All I could really do id tuck the lav as best as I could on the groom and having his body shelter the mic a bit!! Even if your mic is grabbing good audio it still picks up the pops and noise from the wind hitting the PA mic!!!

Yeah, brand new high quality batteries are an absolute essential for vows and critical audio!!

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Old October 23rd, 2010, 10:33 PM   #4
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Every job the reciever and all of my transmitters get new coppertops. 12 per job but it'a an expense that gets written off. I've been using coppertop AAs for years and get them in a 40 pack at Costco. IIRC they're about $14.00, worth every penny. All it takes is one nightmare like Johannes to make the decision to use new batteries everytime. The alternative ain't worth it.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 01:14 AM   #5
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I use rechargeable batteries and that fixed my problem.

Invested in 12 good rechareable (powerex, eneloop, reyko) and a good charger and you're good to go.

One of my best investments
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Old October 24th, 2010, 03:01 AM   #6
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Highly recommend the Sanyo Eneloops for AAs. For 9v, iPower PRO lithium polymers you can find at .
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Old October 24th, 2010, 10:30 AM   #7
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Thanks for the recommendation on the brands guys! I will look around!

I do need to invest on rechargeable batteries.. I'm just very talented at losing batteries (and my other pair of socks) that ever since uni I just kept piling on bunch of batteries in my drawer!

Not sure with radio mic yet, It's just a lot of money to spend for now.. digital recorder is still reliable for me so far, but as long as I remember to actually hit the record button on it!
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Old October 24th, 2010, 11:27 AM   #8
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I purchase the Energizer lithium ultimates and put brand new ones for each job in. These badboys cost about $2 a battery but they've powered my DR100 and H4N the WHOLE DAY, both of which are notorious for running out of battery quickly. I highly recommend them. Make sure to buy the ones that say "8x" and not "7x".
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Old October 24th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #9
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I did a band gig once, and shot the most beautiful footage possible. Absolutely stunning !!! I defy anyone to show me better looking footage shot of a band that had ZERO audio associated with it !!! I had one full set, a full hour of dead silent footage that there was no help for, just trach it and come back and do it again. Right after I did that, I made myself a cheat sheet checklist, to go over just before everything kicked off and the first thing I put on it was " TURN ON THE RODE". :-)

The side benefit of having and using this, it had a calming effect as you go down it and realize you are ready to go.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 04:25 PM   #10
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OMG what a nightmare. I second with the iPower 9v they are excellent. I'm here in the UK and there is only one place I know of where to get them as they are from the US. (can't find any decent AA batteries though.) Just a thought you could try using a Sennheiser SKP transmitter block. That way you can get your shotgun near the B+G and record sound to camera

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