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Basic mistake when recording with a Zoom H4nPro

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John Dericali
Basic mistake when recording with a Zoom H4nPro
on Jul 28, 2016 at 9:15:40 am

Hi people,

I recently acquired a new Zoom H4nPro, and used it for a mix of recordings of interviews and conversations, using the on board mic (in stereo) and a lav mic (in 4 channel mode).

However, three of the lengthy interviews I recorded using the on-board mics are completely silent. These were recorded in stereo mode, and I'm pretty damn sure that I registered visually on the display that the the inputs were rising and falling with the conversation (didn't listen with headphones, duh). I can only assume that the input in stereo mode was selected to be the non-active inputs. Is this the only explanation? As I say, I'm surprised that no sound was recorded, since I'm sure I checked the input levels on the display.


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Peter Groom
Re: Basic mistake when recording with a Zoom H4nPro
on Jul 29, 2016 at 1:37:39 pm

Hi
I think it seems likely to be the explanation, but as Id NEVER EVER use the on board mics, id not know. Thats because they are rubbish.

Just as well the interviews were totally un-important, hence the reason "didn't listen with headphones, duh".

Why on earth not? would you shoot an interview and never look through the viewfinder?

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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John Dericali
Re: Basic mistake when recording with a Zoom H4nPro
on Jul 29, 2016 at 2:38:59 pm

Well, in the first instance, obviously it was dumb.

However... I would shoot a interview without looking through the viewfinder if I checked it on live view. When I recorded in stereo mode I did visually check the input levels, i.e. that they were rising and falling with the conversation.

When I recreated the scenario of recording in stereo mode and selecting the XLR inputs (i.e. with no mic attached), there's no input levels shown (obviously). That's why I can't understand why I ended up recording silence. Either I'm blind, my memory is faulty, or there's a third explanation.

Anyhow, lesson learnt.


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Roger Van Duyn
Re: Basic mistake when recording with a Zoom H4nPro
on Jul 30, 2016 at 4:56:56 pm

Hey John,

From time to time something similar happens to me with my older H4N. And watching the levels rise and fall doesn't mean you are recording. And even monitoring through headphones won't help.

If you neglect to press the RECORD button a second time, the H4N is only in RECORD STANDBY mode, and nothing is saved to the memory card. I looked in the H4N Pro manual online, and it works the same as my older H4N. See page 51 of the H4N Pro manual.

Every time I've had audio missing on the card, it's because the unit was only in standby, and not actually recording.

I'm embarrassed to say, I've had this happen to me THREE times now. Guess I'm starting to have more senior moments.

Roger


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Bill Davis
Re: Basic mistake when recording with a Zoom H4nPro
on Aug 8, 2016 at 4:15:48 pm

We all face this.

It's the equivalent of monitoring tape out in the old days - only to realize that the tape transport isn't rolling. The signal LOOKS fine because it's being passed through the signal chain - it's just not being stored anywhere.

My new conditioning is that bouncing meters isn't nearly enough anymore.

The new normal for me is to ALWAYS remain in RecRun - and to visually check for ascending timecode to confirm that the recording system is actually capturing the data over time. Without THAT confirmation - I have no right to expect anything other than silence.

FWIW.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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John Dericali
Re: Basic mistake when recording with a Zoom H4nPro
on Aug 8, 2016 at 4:34:11 pm

Yes - it's the forum equivalent of posting over spilt milk.

However, I did record a sound file, which is silent. The time code was ascending. I had previously been recording in 4 channel mode then changed to stereo, and it default selected the XLR input rather than the inbuilt mic (unless I pressed it by mistake). What I find strange about the experience (given that it was recording), is that the display should not have shown any input levels, it should have been flat, given that there was no input ( I have checked this since). But I'm sure I did in the process of recording check the ascending time code, and that the input was rising and falling with the conversation levels. Hence my surprise that it recorded only silence, since there should have been no input levels given the absence of a mic.

Thanks for reading :)


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