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Recording a dance recital

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Mike Bisom
Recording a dance recital
on May 2, 2005 at 5:49:23 pm

Hello,

I am at wits end on trying to capture the audio during a dance recital. Year 1 (2003): audio fed from powered mixer to GL1 camcorder using a Beachtek adapter for XLRs. Audio good but out of sync to video, a fault of the camcorder. Year 2 (2004): Upgrade to Sony DVCam; locked audio/video samping rates. Run audio from powered mixer to camcorder- get crap; audio very distorted. Basically need a piece to take the line level out from the mixer and change it to a line level input for the camcorder. Had to use CDs for audio and lining up each track was a nightmare. Parents complained that there was not enough audience interaction (live feed). Year 3, 2005. Bought my own mixer, used 2 boundary mics on stage and one Sennheiser shotgun mic- all XLR inputs fed to the mixer, mixer to the camcorder. Everything is great during a quick rehearsal. This is a performing show so they only reheased their closing number using a boombox on stage. Everything seems good at my end. Show starts, now using the theater sound while I still have 2 boundary mics and the shotgun into my mixer (I am not tied into the theater sound). I get crap. Not as bad as the feed from the powered mixer without changing the signal, but the dynamic range breaks up almost into static. What the $%*#@. My meters showed nothing abnormal, always in the green. Monitoring via headphones and I knew I was getting bad audio but what the blazes do I do? The gain for each mic on the mixer was set to the lowest setting I could get but still have sound. Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong, besided shelling out 100's of dollars each year and still coming up short?

Mike


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David Jones
Re: Recording a dance recital
on May 2, 2005 at 8:17:15 pm

Are you running the mics into line level or mic level inputs on the mixing console, as there is a difference in impedance.
If you are running Line level out of the mixing console,
Then have you selected line level from the audio input menu options on your DVCam unit?


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JRF
Re: Recording a dance recital
by
on May 2, 2005 at 8:53:46 pm

Many recording decks show you meter levels for an amplifier stage after the input preamp. The Sony BVW35 is famous for this. You can have perfect levels on your meters and the sound is badly distorted anyway. A giveaway that this is happening is having your camcorder's input level controls at the bottom of their range. Your mixer may be putting +4dbm audio out and your camcorder may be looking for -10. Try dropping the level out of your mixer by 10 or 20 db and see what happens when you monitor the camcorder. You will have to turn the audio inputs of the camcorder up. If this helps, find the maximum level out of the mixer that doesn't distort the sound. This will give you the best signal-to-noise ratio.

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Mike Bisom
Re: Recording a dance recital
on May 3, 2005 at 1:17:13 am

Thank you both for your help. Hopefully you are each correct! I ran the XLR out of the mixer to the camcorder using the mic input instead of the line. I did this because when I used the line I barely got any feed. However, I have now been told that I should use the line input (on the camcorder) and crank up the mixer as needed. In other words, in doing my test at home, my mixer is peaking in the red often but the feed the camcorder is getting seems (and monitors) OK. Of course it monitored OK before as well it was just when the room dynamics changed to a louder DB. I was heistant to have the mixer peaking so often in the red but hopefully this solves everything. Will find out in 2 weeks at the next recital.

Thanks again,
Mike


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JRF
Re: Recording a dance recital
by
on May 3, 2005 at 3:13:20 pm

Check to see if your camcorder has input level controls and try raising them more so you don't have to go into the red as much. If you don't have actual controls on the exterior of the camcorder, they may exist in a menu somewhere. Check your manual.

Usually you won't have problems is you're just going +3 into the red. Much more than that or if the meters are always banging the pins or going to the top, and you might get distortion out of the mixer. If you're able to shoot a bit of a rehearsal with the sound levels at performance levels, that would be the final test.

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Huge U-320R 1TB Raid 3 firmware ENG12.BIN
ATTO UL4D driver 3.20
AJA IO driver 1.3.1 firmware v21-26


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John Hartney
Re: Recording a dance recital
on May 3, 2005 at 9:37:08 pm

You've solved your problem: line level into mic input = distortion. set recorder to line and adjust from the mixer, si. Keep the levels in the mixer well below 0db. If your mixer sends 1ktone, set camera levels to it peaking 0 on the mixer and -20 on your camera/recorder.

John Hartney
werks.tv
Elgin, Illinois - Chicago area
847.608.1357


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Ty Ford
Re: Recording a dance recital
on May 9, 2005 at 1:31:08 am

Stop feeding line level audio into mic level inputs?

Work on how to set audio reference levels before shooting?

Regards,

Ty Ford



Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" was written for video people who want better audio. Find out more at http://www.tyford.com


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