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Zoom H4N settings

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Chandler Kauffman
Zoom H4N settings
on May 4, 2010 at 4:17:15 am

Hey all, wanted to get some expert opinions. Just bought the Zoom, using it to record audio with my 5D mark 2 for an ongoing documentary. It will be cut into footage and audio already shot on my Sony EX1 at 23.98 fps. I'll use it part of the time as a back up audio for the EX, hide it in a car I'm riding in with the subjects, along with my lav. With the 5D I will probably use one XLR port for the wireless lav and the two on boards for ambient, occasionally plug in a shotgun mic to the other XLR.
I'm using it in two days for the first time and want to get up to speed.
I'll be shooting 23.98 on the Canon, wondering what settings for the WAV files you guys recommend?
I was gonna do 48k, what should I do for bit rate?
My post workflow will be FCP, probably buy Plural Eyes to synch
Do I need to convert the WAV files to AIFF before bringing them into FCP?
Any other tips tricks about the Zoom are greatly appreciated
Thanks

Sony EX1
Canon 5d mark 2
FCP 6.06


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John Hatcher
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on May 4, 2010 at 2:30:30 pm

Hi,

A lot of guys are using the Zoom now with that camera. What a lot of them are doing that might save you loads of time is as follows:

1. Hook your mics up to the XLR inputs on the Zoom.
2. Get a cable that fits in the headphone output on the Zoom and the other end plugs into the 5D. This cable should have a built in level pad to lower the volume of the headphone output. (The guys I've heard about doing this all have pads built into this cable and it costs about $40 they tell me.) This cable is like a mini plug to whatever plug the 5D jack takes.
Then you don't have to worry about syncing stuff up later, it'll already be on your footage locked to it. You can record on the zoom as a backup of course.

To answer your other question, Final Slut works fine with 16bit as most large video cameras produce that. Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. :)



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John Fishback
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on May 4, 2010 at 4:05:57 pm

Recording to the camera is a good idea as John says. 16 or 24 bit, 48kHz sample rate, PCM are the settings to use. Most NLEs are happy with both wav and aiff. PluralEyes is an excellent program, but if you slate each take, syncing shouldn't be a problem. I suggest you run some tests before your first shoot with the Zoom to confirm your workflow.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.2, Motion 4.0.2, Comp 3.5.2, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.2)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Chandler Kauffman
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on May 4, 2010 at 4:53:46 pm

Interesting, I've heard just the opposite; that plugging in the Zoom to the Canon is a bad idea as the Canon sound software/circuitry is pretty crappy.
Regardless, the 5D will be sealed in an Ikelite underwater housing and the Zoom in its own waterproof case so plugging in isn't an option. I'm not worried about synching, used to it from back in the days of film.
Believe it or not, aside from using the Canon's onboard as a scratch track, I get some pretty cool bubbling and gurgling noises from within the housing.
When recording on the Zoom in 4 track mode, is it possible to monitor just one channel?
I'll have a lav on one of the guys and want to make sure that's clean, I'll also be running the two on boards but I'm assuming they won't be too usable from within the splash bag
Also, what do you guys think of running the Zoom in auto levels, bad idea?
Thanks

Sony EX1
Canon 5d mark 2
FCP 6.06


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Will Salley
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on May 5, 2010 at 4:14:58 am

[Chandler Kauffman] "When recording on the Zoom in 4 track mode, is it possible to monitor just one channel? "

Yes, Use the mixer function to mute the other three channels. Although it's a bit clunky since you will need to use the scroll wheel on each channel to do so.

[Chandler Kauffman] "Also, what do you guys think of running the Zoom in auto levels, bad idea?"

Yes, bad idea. Any absence of dialog or desirable sound will cause the circuit to raise the noise floor and you will have to do a bunch of DAW surgery.

Do use the onboard limiter. It works quite well and can be set to several different modes.

If you're doing double-system, you might as well keep the H4n dry and out of the water. The onboards will get nothing useable in the bag and the levels can be monitored, along with the dialog. You can submerge audio cable if the connections are sealed. I assume this is a different scene from the car interior?





Mac Pro 2x2.8 Quadcore - 10.6.3 - QT 7.6.3 - 22 GB RAM - nvidia8800GT - SATA internal & external storage - Blackmagic Multibridge Pro - Open GL 1.5.10 - Wacom Intous2 tablet - AJA io
SONY XDCAM EX3 - Letus Elite - FC7.0.2 - CS4 Prod Prem.


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Ty Ford
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on May 5, 2010 at 1:20:13 pm

Hello Chandler and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

In addition to the good advice you have already gotten here,

1. 24-bit is better than 16-bit, especially if your levels vary a lot. The "anti-digital" cries from the audio folks got pretty quiet when most systems went from 16-bit to 24-bit.

2. Keep your shorts short, or test how well the Zoom audio stays in sync before you shoot. I just did a text on the Sony M10 and it was 6 frames fast relative to my Canon XL2 after 58 minutes. Each camera and recorder needs to be compared, because specific clocks may vary irregularly. Sony says their more expensive digital hand-held audio recorders don't have that kind of drift, but I haven't checked them.

The Zoom H2 is supposed to be pretty bad. The Zoom H4 is supposed to be better. Haven't tried them.

Will you be using wireless or hardwired mics? If wireless, you could always get to receivers and put one on the camera.

Regards,

Ty Ford



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






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Chandler Kauffman
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on May 5, 2010 at 3:31:37 pm

Thanks for all of the great info guys, appreciated.
As for synch drift, If I leave the Zoom running for a few hours out on the water, but stop and start the camera a bunch (which I'll have to do because of limited memory and battery and the inability to open the Ikelite housing to change it) that should mitigate any synch drift no?
If you wanna get an idea of the conditions I'm shooting/recording in check out the short film version we cut out of the footage shot so far http://www.theskisherman.com/
Since I'm in the water floating with my subject, no boats etc to rely on, here's my plan of attack:
On the water my subject will be wearing the G2 transmitter in this Aquapac http://www.adorama.com/AQU515.html He'll wear the lav on his neoprene hood, we'll sew it on and I plan to seal the mic with a condom (yes a condom) which was recommended to me by several sound guys.
I'l have the Zoom and receiver in this Aquapac strapped to me http://www.adorama.com/AQU554.html
I have to figure out how to immobilize the Zoom and G2 Receiver in the pack to minimize handling noise. Figured I'd throw the furry windscreen on the built in mics and maybe that would help a bit.
I'll have Aquapacs' headphones passed through the dry seal to monitor audio http://www.adorama.com/AQU916.html
I'm sure they're not the best, but better than nothing.
Any other ideas about this rig are welcome, I'm shooting tonight.
I'll report back on how this all works and if the Aquapacs lived up to their guarantee. If not they'll be getting an unusually high claim on their replacement warranty for ruined equipment
Thanks

Sony EX1
Canon 5d mark 2
FCP 6.06


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Ty Ford
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on May 5, 2010 at 3:41:42 pm

Hello Chandler,

The Countryman B6, with any of its three caps will be EXTREMELY water resistant. I have dipped a B6 into a can of Coke to demonstrate that. How well it'll hang on for hours at a time I' don't know. Call Countryman and ask to speak to Rosa.

Tell her I asked you to call and tell her what you're up to.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Chandler Kauffman
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on May 9, 2010 at 4:38:42 pm

Great thanks Ty. I didn't take audio into the water on this week's shoot, just camera. I did use the Zoom on land in conjunction with the 5D and EX1. The handling noise on the Zoom is pretty bad and the 4 channel mode isn't as flexible as far as setting levels as I would have thought, but otherwise it worked well.
I set up a test yesterday where let the Zoom and EX1 run for 45 minutes. I ran the 5D in 12 min bursts as well and used Pluraleyes to synch.
As far as I can tell there is no synch drift between the EX1 and the Zoom or the stops and starts of the 5D.

Sony EX1
Canon 5d mark 2
FCP 6.06


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Luke St. Hilaire
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on Nov 5, 2016 at 4:14:05 pm

Hi!

This is a super old thread, but wanted to just speak up on this topic just in case anyone else is looking for an answer. I've had the H4N for a number of years, have researched and compared, and feel like i know a few things about it.

SYNC DRIFT: This is when Your footage audio and your externally recorded audio start synced, but over time will slowly go out of sync. This is caused by your recorded sync rate. Every DSLR i've used (Canon, Panasonic, Sony) use 48k audio. The H4N can do 48k if you want it to

Menu -
REC -
REC FORMAT - switch this to 48/24 (48k and 24 bit)

This setting will allow all your footage to easily sync and stay synced with any DSLR you film with.

BUT
BUT
BUT

Here's the tricky thing that it took me a while to figure out. Flip the H4N over, and you will see a switch by your batteries called "STAMINA". If this switch is set to ON, it will save battery life. BUT it does this by switching from 48k to 44.1k. If Stamina is on, you can not record in 48k. Turn it off, and the full range of functions are available. And buy a bunch of AAAs or use the power cord that comes with it.

Hope that helps anyone else who wonders onto this page.

-Luke
Grave Garden Productions
GraveGarden.co


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Brian Dalton
Re: Zoom H4N settings
on Nov 30, 2011 at 12:36:58 am

"Interesting, I've heard just the opposite; that plugging in the Zoom to the Canon is a bad idea as the Canon sound software/circuitry is pretty crappy."


I agree with this from personal experience. On a recent project, I compared the audio sent from the Zoom to the Canon, to the audio imported from the Zooms' SD card. The audio recorded on the Zoom was noticeably better than the audio that had been sent to the Canon.

Just my two-cents, but the audio recorded on the Zoom and imported from the SD card was much "richer" and I think its worth the time to sync.


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