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Question on Running from Board into Camera

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Jared Smith
Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 24, 2009 at 5:47:38 am

Hello Gang,
I have been asked to shoot a Cherokee Indian celebration this Saturday. In order to get good audio I was thinking I would just run the PA mix into my camera. I am using a JVC Gy-HD200 if it matters. It has 2 audio channels. I was just going to run an XLR from the PA board into Channel 1 of the JVC and then use the on board shotgun mic into channel 2...
First of all, does that sound like a wise plan? Secondly, what am I looking for on the board? I have never done this and don't know alot about running sound, but I assume there is a master mix XLR out on the board... and if that is the case, can I just run an XLR from that output and run it into my jvc input? Anything else I should be aware of on this?
thanks a ton guys!!!!
jared



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John Fishback
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 24, 2009 at 2:56:01 pm

You've got the right idea. You take a mix from the board and feed it to your camera. The board op should be able to set this up for you. If you have to operate the board and you're unfamiliar with the process, hire someone. Either way, there are a number of pitfalls to avoid.

Most of the time you'll receive a LINE LEVEL feed from the board, not MIC LEVEL. Be sure you camera's audio inputs are set for LINE IN. Also make sure the line level from the board isn't too hot (loud). Have the board op send you tone at "0." Adjust your camera's input so the meter reads "0"." Now, make sure your volume controls are not turned below the half-way setting. If they are, ask the board op to lower the feed's level. Then you can turn up your volume controls to "0" again. The purpose here is to make sure the feed audio doesn't overload the camera's first audio amplifier that comes before the volume controls.

Another thing that can happen is the board op may not ride gain during the show, so if the performance gets loud the audio could clip (distort) in the camera. So you may have to keep an eye on your levels and adjust them as needed. If the board can run a brickwall limiter on your feed, then the maximum level on the send can be set and you can rest easier.

Hopefully there's a rehearsal or sound check where you can try all this. If it's possible, ask the performers to do the loudest portion of the show. That way you'll know for sure.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.5 QT7.5.5 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870
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Jared Smith
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 24, 2009 at 5:31:20 pm

thanks for the help... just a few more questions for you:
1. first of all, is an xlr the only cable i will need for this?
2. how will i know if it is a mic or line level output from the board?
There actually won't be a rehearsal, of course! So, if i can go in as prepared as possible that would be outstanding!!!
once again,
I appreciate it so much
jared





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John Fishback
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 24, 2009 at 6:11:25 pm

1) Most professional boards will have XLRs. However, it might have a 1/4" jack. Check with the PA person to find out or bring a phone plug to XLR adapter. If it is a phone plug make sure it's a balanced connection or you might pick up hum.

2) It's most likely line level. But, ask the board op to be sure. After you have hooked up the feed to your camera with line inputs selected, if you hear no or very low audio, it may be mic level. Then, switch the inputs to mic level and see what you have. If you still have a problem, it's probably the cable.

In any case, always record some audio and play it back and listen carefully. During the ceremony, it will be too late to make major adjustments. Request some kind of sound check. I can't believe the people handling the PA won't be doing checks. Be there when they do, record their sound check and make sure your audio is good.

Again, if you can find a more experienced audio person, even if only to help with the hook up, it might save you a lot of trouble.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.5 QT7.5.5 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870
ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE Enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
24" TV-Logic Monitor
Final Cut Studio 2 (up to date)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Erik Holder
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on May 18, 2009 at 5:50:53 pm

I have a graduation ceremony to film tomorrow night. The sound tech helped me hook up my Sony DSR-PDX10 to the sound board. We ran an XLR to inputs 1 and 2 (two mic cords) and an S-Video out to their jumbotron type screen. He left to go produce a video, so he's unavailable.
When testing the sound through headphones, there is a constant buzz. I've tried connecting the XLR cord straight to the XLR adapter on my camera, where they had two cords joined together to make a longer cord. Still had buzzing noise. The noise is still there when I tried to run everything off of the battery instead of plugging it in. I can hear the voices from the mics on stage, but it just has that constant hum or buzz. This is not the case when I just use the directional shotgun mic that came with the camera (only when I plug it into a sound board). Any suggestions of what I can try, would be greatly appreciated.


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Ty Ford
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on May 18, 2009 at 6:01:36 pm

Hello Erik,

Hard to diagnose at a distance, but I'd try to listen to the console to the audio being sent you (or your camera). If the buzz is coming from the console, you have to look there first.

Could be a half million things. From nothing, as in the faders are higher than they would be because no one is talking into the mics, to interference from lights, to bad grounding elsewhere.

I'd try to find the person running the console to see if he/she can fix the feed you're getting.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Jordan Wolf
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 24, 2009 at 10:58:08 pm

Jared,

As a live sound guy and a broadcasting major, I see this all the time.

First: are you going to run off of battery power the entire time? If not, one of the FIRST things you must do is talk to the mixer and let him know you want to plug into his AC power. If he'she knows their stuff, they'll understand and will let you; if they don't, kindly explain that this will keep any AC grounding issues to a minimum since you will be on the same circuit as the other audio gear.

Second: You will most likely get a feed from an Aux Send or a Matrix. If you get one from an Aux Send, the mixer can determine just how much of each individual vocal/instrument, etc. you are getting. This takes time to dial in and if something on stage gets louder, it might impact your mix more noticeably than if you were given a Matrix feed.

Third: Don't expect that the audio person will have the cabling that you need. Bring everything you think you will need, toss it in a gig bag; if you need it, it's there. I would go out and buy some of the following cables:
2 XLR(M)-TRS
2 XLR(F)-TRS
2 XLR(F)-XLR(F)
2 XLR(M)-XLR(M)

Having those will be a great investment. They don't have to be long (no more than 12"). If you know how to solder you could just make your own.


Wolf
<><


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Ty Ford
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 25, 2009 at 12:05:06 am

All extremely excellent advice.

I like the idea of a good audio tech with his/her own mixer and bag of tricks.

The mixer I use, Sound Devices 442, has come in very handy for jobs like this where you don't really know what to expect.

I've been told the XLR feed is line level. Um, well no, it isn't. It's closer to mic, but higher. The input and outputs of the 442 are extremely adjustable and both inputs and outputs have limiters.

I run my 442 with an external battery so I don't need to plug into AC, thus bypassing most of the ground loop problems.

During the show, with a mixer I can adjust levels to feed the camera continuously. It's always needed. Always.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Jared Smith
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 26, 2009 at 3:18:38 pm

hey guys,
finally got in touch with the sound guy and here is what he said... could someone tell me what i need to buy (and again i apologize for my lack of knowledge)... here is his email:
"I think that the sound board they connect probably has 1/4" outs, which would need an adapter from 1/4" to XLR, if that's what they need."
So I will bring XLRs for sure in hopes that he is wrong with his guess, but if he is right what should I go buy between now and then (then means Saturday)...
thanks so much
jared


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Jared Smith
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 26, 2009 at 8:36:17 pm

got one at radio shack...


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John Fishback
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 26, 2009 at 10:33:53 pm

The board output may be unbalanced in which case you'd use a 1/4" plug divided in two sections (tip & sleeve), or it's hopefully balanced in which case the 1/4 plug should have 3 sections (tip, ring & sleeve). These three sections correspond to the three pins of the XLR. If you use the wrong adapter you will either get hum or the audio will sound thin and tinny. Get the other type of adapter, too. It's best to be prepared.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.5 QT7.5.5 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870
ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE Enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
24" TV-Logic Monitor
Final Cut Studio 2 (up to date)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Jared Smith
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 26, 2009 at 10:47:04 pm

thanks again... so you're saying buy:
1. tip and sleeve adapter
2. and a tip, sleeve, and ring adapter
is that right?


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Jared Smith
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 26, 2009 at 10:47:43 pm

would a direct box be a better buy?


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 27, 2009 at 2:44:33 am

Well, you could go a similar route.

If I were you, I would buy an "iso box". It's very much like a direct box, but it uses a 1:1 turn ration to keep the signal at the same level instead of knocking it down to mic level. ProCo makes one that I use and see commonly and Whirlwind makes one, as well. If you do ANY camera work at all and plan to have audio involved, either from a mixing board or an outboard mic, either of these units would be well worth their weight in gold.

Wolf
<><


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Jared Smith
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 27, 2009 at 5:09:31 am

so i was going to go buy one tomorrow and found this one online and hoping they have it in stock at the store, otherwise i won't have time to get one in before the shoot... it is this one:
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Radial-TWIN-ISO-Passive-Line-Level-Isolator-153...

but my question is still about 1/4 jacks... i suppose i would still need to buy 1/4 to xlr adapters in the event that the board cannot take the xlr input???


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 27, 2009 at 6:07:11 am

Okay...you're phrasiology is a bit confusing.

In the last part of your post, you mention something about the mixer board not being able to take an XLR INPUT. Now, just to clarify, you never mentioned anything about the camera feeding signal into the mixing board. If you could clear this up for us, it would help.

Onto the Radial unit...

The pro audio industry loves XLR connectors because they are robust, can lock together, are balanced, and you can connect them without needing a barrel adapter (like RCA's or Speakon's).

I would go for the ProCo unit since it has XLR and TRS/TS jacks for BOTH inputs and outputs. The Whirlwind unit only has them on the input side (not a bad thing, just not as useful). I love Radial Engineering's products, but I think that you should consider a more Swiss Army knife box. The Radial unit ONLY has XLR jacks, which is fine if you have all the appropriate adapters and turn-arounds. You would have more connections to troubleshoot, though. And, if you are on have a strict timeline, troubleshooting needs to take as little time as necessary.

I would buy the Radial as long as the return policy lets you take it back after you try it out. Buy adapters and turn-arounds, as they always come in handy. Oh, and label them, too. Bright, obnoxious colors work well to keep them from walking.

Wolf
<><


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Question on Running from Board into Camera
on Mar 27, 2009 at 2:47:30 am

Oh, and the iso boxes will take XLR(M)/XLR(F), TRS, and TS connections. They have an XLR out output and will not allow phantom power hum/buzz from the camera's mic jacks to get into the console's outputs (a sticking point among audio guys, I will say).

Wolf
<><


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