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How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment

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Blake Porter
How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Dec 24, 2009 at 5:31:53 am

HI,
I have a client that needs the ability to lay down digital voice-over tracks, then ftp them to me.
He does own a couple of sennheizer wireless mics (XLR Output). Can anyone recommend basic, clean hardware to record to?
Ultimately he would ftp the file to me, but we need a painless way for him to get his voice to the digital realm.

Thanks


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Jordan Wolf
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Dec 24, 2009 at 8:13:54 am

I would hook him up with an M-Audio FastTrack and Audacity. Interfaces usually comes with some form of (usually-limited) DAW software, so you might be all set that way.

All that said, there are MANY options...I'm sure we'll see some more recommendations as this thread ages.

Wolf
<><


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Al Vazquez
Audio Mixer
on Feb 18, 2010 at 2:12:39 am

I'm working on my Final Cur Pro Edit Suite and all I need now is and audio Mixer that I can use with my Mac Pro and Final Cut Pro. I will record voice overs for travel documentaries and put background music...
I need help...


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Ty Ford
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Dec 25, 2009 at 1:31:20 am

Hello Blake and welcome to the Cow AUdio Forum.

More details please.

Which mic?
What does he now have to record on?
What kind of computer does he have?
Is it in a room other than where the mic is?
How do you expect to receive the files?
What sort of space does he expect to record in?
Will the VO have music under it at all times or not?
What kind of file do you want?
What's this for?

and anything else you can offer.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Sam Mallery
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Dec 28, 2009 at 5:18:53 pm

I wouldn't recommend using a wireless mic for this task. He's going to have to needlessly feed the transmitter and receiver batteries, and a lavalier mic isn't what you want to use for VO anyway. Plus, you're still going to need a way to get the mic to record into the computer.

I had a friend who was in a similar position recently, and I suggested he get the BLUE Snowflake USB mic. It's a small microphone that plugs directly into a Mac or PC computer. You record the audio directly into the production software (Audacity, Garageband, Final Cut Pro, etc.).

There are lots of inexpensive USB mics on the market that can do this as well. BLUE is a good company that makes great sounding mics, and the Snowflake is pretty inexpensive and competes price-wise with lots of lesser quality mics.



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Mike Cohen
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Dec 29, 2009 at 2:16:14 pm

Alternatively a flash audio recorder, such as the Zoom h4n. I have found that people prefer a "record" button vs learning software. Plus you can take the flash recorder into a quiet room, away from a computer, and get decent sound. I once suggested audacity to someone who wanted to record his own voice over. He was very frustrated as a result. You want to make it easy for your client.

Mike Cohen


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Ty Ford
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Dec 29, 2009 at 2:39:40 pm

Thanks Mike,

The thing is, it depends on one's expectations. This is (presumably) a professional forum. I got my wife an H2 so she can record her guitar practices. It's cute, it has a record button. If you know what you're doing, you can make an OK recording. It is not a professional recorder to me because of limitations in the mics. As a pro, I might be able to get acceptable results for voice only recordings.

Would I want to give it to a client to make recordings for a professional project? No. The presumption that a client understands the job well enough to get me a good recording is unfounded. Vagaries including acoustical environment, handling noise, proper mic placement, lack of quality in the microphone and/or preamp and a whole bunch of stuff I'm going to lump into "operator error" are there to bite your butt, and that doesn't even address the possibility of performance inability.

Back to the top; it depends on one's expectations. The "Democratization of Technology", a term I coined over ten years ago in a published article, continues. As it does, many people have learned a lot.
The availability of low cost gear has empowered people as never before. It has also given some the impression that if they buy the gear, they can make movies or recordings that are as good as what they see in theaters or on DVD. As with most wanna be "performers" on American Idol, they become disabused of that notion. Your situation MAY be different.

How long before your client devalues your present skill set and starts doing it all him/herself?

Regards,

Ty Ford



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






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Joel Servetz
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Dec 31, 2009 at 10:52:59 pm

If your client ever used a cassette recorder, he/she will love the Zoom H4N. It's a great little machine, super simple, terrific audio, not too expensive ($300.00). And here's a tip for where to record. Assuming your client doesn't have access to a recording studio or some other similar acoustic environment, tell him/her to go into a walk-in closet and shut the door. All that hanging clothing makes an instant recording studio.

Joel Servetz
RGB Media Services, LLC
Sarasota, Fl
videobyjoel@aol.com


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Archie Cruz
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Jan 1, 2010 at 6:24:41 am

I'm still refining things, and I'm a neophyte that's learned a lot from the Pros on this subforum.
- I own an H4N and I also own FCS2 with Soundtrack pro as part of the bundle
All things being equal, I found the the H4N functions as an excellent MIDI interface but for some reason, I get far cleaner and richer recording when passing through and capturing directly to my Mac rather than recording directly to the H4N, even at high bitrates. No clue why that is. Anyway, in a pinch the H4N recordings are great on location. Way easier than setting up a complex field recorder.
I do use a modified Harlan Hogan Portabooth- works well!


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Ty Ford
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Jan 1, 2010 at 2:08:28 pm

HNY Archie,

What mic/preamp, etc are you using to capture directly to your Mac?

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Ty Ford
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Jan 1, 2010 at 2:59:16 pm

Joel,

While your answer is solid and can get the job done, there's a reason location audio people use mics that cost four times what the entire H4 recorder costs.

I want to make sure that anyone who finds this thread understands the difference between "down and dirty" and "best practices."

There have been some amazing advances in both audio and video over the last 6 years. The cost/performance ratio have been redefined. Nagras are seen less and less. They were pretty darn expensive in their time. The Nagra D, four channel digital reel-to-reel recorder with the parts needed to make it do the job well was about $30K. I never owned a Nagra. I was one of the "new guys" with DAT machines.

I'm not trying to douse your enthusiasm for the H4. I'm saying, in the hands of an audio pro, you might get away with "acceptable" recordings, if the quality level of the intended use was not too great. Put the H4 and it's built in mic up against a Schoeps cmc641 and a Sound Devices 702, and I think you'd hear the difference.

Story #1: Some time back I held an audio for video clinic at my studio. Someone brought a PD150 or 170. I let them hear the difference between the camera mic and a Sennheiser MKH 416, plugged in exactly the same way. They were JAW DROPPINGLY STUNNED by the difference.

"How could this make SO much difference!!", they asked. "First", I said, "Let's appreciate the fact that we have taken the time to compare the two so you can hear the difference."

"How much of the $4K price of this camera do you think went into the microphone?", I asked.

No one knew for sure, not even me. However, I did know that the 416 cost about $1k new and I also knew Sony didn't put $1k into that camera mic.

Story #2: While on location for a corporate/industrial shoot, I had to arm wrestle my preference for using my Schoeps cmc641 suoercardioid on a boom rather than wireless lavs. The shooter was a friend of mine. His inclination was to "just slap a lav on them, we'll be fine."

Fortunately, he finally conceded and let me use the Schoeps although it made him have to rethink the shots. (I knew they were possible. He had just never worked that way before.)

The next day I got a call from him. He was in the edit bay reviewing the footage. He said, "I just had to call you and let you know you were right. The Schoeps sounds AMAZING! So much richer. I can really tell the difference."

Now when we work together, I use the Schoeps unless it's impractical, without argument.

Regards,

Ty Ford





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






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Joel Servetz
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:04:14 pm

Thanks Ty, I really do appreciate your comments and expertise and have learned much from your postings in the past, and look forward to more. You may have misunderstood my answer though. I was only responding to that fellow's need for budget-minded solutions and ease of use by his client. As for me, I've never ever used built-in mics on anything, camcorders or audio recorders, and have always taught my staff and customers the same. Garbage in, garbage out, but for the budget conscious there are moderately priced solutions that do work, as long as everyone understands the limitations. Thanks again and keep up the great postings.

Joel Servetz
RGB Media Services, LLC
Sarasota, Fl
videobyjoel@aol.com


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Ty Ford
Re: How to capture voice over - Client needs equipment
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:28:03 pm

That's what I'm talkin' about! :)

Regards,

Ty Ford



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






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