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Zoom H4n - Capturing Conference Audio

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Andrew Tucker
Zoom H4n - Capturing Conference Audio
on Jan 17, 2018 at 5:16:07 pm

Good day all,

I'm more of a video editing person and when it comes to Audio recording, I know the bare basics (if that). I want to bring forth a scenario to see if there is a way to capture the best audio I can.
If I were to film a conference, how would I go about capturing the audio that was coming through a microphone that the person would be using on stage. This microphone would probably be something provided by the Conference center and just coming out of the speakers in the room. My gear would be a Zoom H4n and an XLR cable to capture it.
I recently had an individual do this for me but we were on a time crunch where he could not show me how he did it.
Please, any input or feedback would be great!

Thanks in advance.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Zoom H4n - Capturing Conference Audio
on Jan 17, 2018 at 11:13:38 pm

There are several different ways of doing this depending on several factors not revealed in your question. The methods include:

  • HOUSE FEED
    This is a mic-level or line-level signal from the venue sound system. Many more modern facilities have a "Press Feed"
    connector available for visiting videographers (including news reporters, etc.) Or. If the event is using a contracted sound system, the system operator may be able to give you an audio feed. The advantage of this system is that typically ALL of the microphones will be covered in a multi-microphone situation. Disadvantages include that this is not always available, it requires prior arrangement with the sound contractor, etc. This method requires coming prepared with a modest variety of different connectors, adapters, cables, isolation transformer, etc. But if you are doing many events, this kit is worth it and it is not large or expensive.

  • MIC SPLITTER
    The event operation may permit you to insert a microphone splitter gadget between the microphone and the venue sound system. This is a small, modestly priced gadget that will allow the venue sound to pass through normally, but gives you an isolated "split" of the audio that you can connect to your camcorder or recorder.

  • PARALLEL MIC
    You can just put up your own microphone next to the venue microphone. An extreme case of this can often be seen in press conferences on the TV news, etc.

  • ACOUSTIC PICKUP
    You can put your microphone close to a venue PA speaker to get a reasonably good pickup of the audio. Get the microphone as close to the speaker as possible. If it is more than a few feet away, you will start getting ambient noise and reverberation which is probably undesirable


  • All of these methods have advantages and disadvantages. Many (most?) of them require some sort of prior arrangement with the venue or sound contractor. In a large, complex event perhaps weeks ahead of time, or in a casual setting perhaps something arranged by showing up an hour early and buying the sound guy a soda, etc. And there are many variations like wired or wireless (if you can't or don't want to stretch wires across the floor, etc. And like running the sound directly into your camcorder vs. using a small handy-recorder at the sound board recording the event. You can then drop the sound track into your editor and sync it with the video, during editing, etc.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder.


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    Andrew Tucker
    Re: Zoom H4n - Capturing Conference Audio
    on Jan 18, 2018 at 5:46:56 pm

    Thank you so much for this detailed response! It is a great amount of information that I will now use for each situation like this.

    May I ask you of what would be a good way to become more knowledgable about audio? Are there any series of books or online tutorials that you feel would help me become better with audio? It is indeed the most important part of a video in my eyes.


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    Richard Crowley
    Re: Zoom H4n - Capturing Conference Audio
    on Jan 18, 2018 at 6:52:29 pm

    [Andrew Tucker] "Are there any series of books or online tutorials that you feel would help me become better with audio?"
    Check out the book published by our leader here, Ty Ford:

    http://www.tyford.com/Ty_Ford_Audio_Bootcamp_Field_Guide.html

    If you have specific questions, feel free to ask them here. Also I am compiling a list of topics for some YouTube videos I am planning on producing.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder.


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    Ty Ford
    Re: Zoom H4n - Capturing Conference Audio
    on Jan 18, 2018 at 10:11:35 pm

    Thanks, Richard,

    You always have such a great answers.

    Regards,

    Ty Ford
    Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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