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Camcorder -12dB & -20dB built-in tone

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Michael Goldberg
Camcorder -12dB & -20dB built-in tone
on Apr 16, 2009 at 8:39:45 am

I posted this a couple of days ago on the Canon video camera list, and have not yet received a response. I hope you won't mind my posting it here as well.

I have tried to track down why there are different level settings for the internal 1kHz tone oscillator of the Canon XHA1 (a handheld HDV camcorder), namely -12dB, -18dB, and -20dB.

I understand why one must record 1kHz tone from a mixer, and use it to set level in playback during digitising, editing, and dubbing.

I have tracked down several threads on line that discuss which level to record tone generated by various external mixers (depending on the video camera you are going to and which mixer is being used), sometimes mic input plus limiter instead of line input (though the latter is preferable), dBVU vs dBFS, etc, which often left me as confused in the end as at the start.

My question here is when recording bars and tone from the XHA1's built-in oscillator (when NOT using an external mixer):
(a) when would you select -12dB, and when should it be set at -20dB,
(b) under what circumstances;
(c) for what reason; and
(d) how would you set level when playing back the tape for capture / editing?

Michael Goldberg
IVW (International Videoworks)
Tokyo, Japan
http://www.ivw.co.jp


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Ty Ford
Re: Camcorder -12dB & -20dB built-in tone
on Apr 16, 2009 at 12:52:58 pm

[Michael Goldberg] "My question here is when recording bars and tone from the XHA1's built-in oscillator (when NOT using an external mixer):
(a) when would you select -12dB, and when should it be set at -20dB,
(b) under what circumstances;
(c) for what reason; and
(d) how would you set level when playing back the tape for capture / editing?"


Hello Michael and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

a: Maybe as a way of distinguishing on-camera miced sections verses those sections recorded with a mixer. I don't think -12 represents real world situations when using external mixers. I would always use -20 in a professional shoot.

As a professional sound mixer, I always use -20 for tone. My Sound Devices mixer (and many others on the market) use -20 as a reference. There are a few variations from -20 in Europe.

b: see A
c: see A
d: Playback through today's cameras is normally done through firewire, requiring no adjustment during capture into an editing system.

I'd stick with -20 myself.

Regards,

Ty Ford




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