Wedding speech audio!
I'm currently investigating the possibility of improving the audio captured from wedding speeches by getting a direct feed from the PA equipment. The 'echoey' audio from the on-camera mic, doesn't really cut it anymore as far as I'm concered.
Obviously because the equipment can vary so much from venue to venue, I'm looking at the 'best' solution (or 2-3 solutions that will let me cover most bases). XLR, 6.5mm, 3.5mm? Do I need some sort of Y adapter or splitter?
During ceremonies, I use a lapel mic and capture it to a second camera, which essentially acts as a deck (I don't use the footage captured) and sync it up later. Is it feasible to use this 2nd camera to capture the speech audio? I've also got an iRiver IFP-899, but have found the mp3 compression unacceptable when compared to the camera.
I realise this could probably be posted under audio, but figured there's other cow members in events who've crossed this bridge before me.
Welcome to the world of audio, little tougher than video at times. Do a little more resarch and the best solution is mics run into a portable mixer then from there run to your camera. A lot of work but is really only the correct way to do it is to have control of your audio
I respectfully disagree with Tom.
I don't use a mixer at events...I'm too busy shooting to worry about setting audio levels in response to changing conditions. If you have a separate audio person to handle it, then live audio mixing becomes more practical.
I don't have an audio guy, so instead, I capture audio from multiple sources and mix them in post, when I've got more time.
The iRiver iFP series will produce excellent sound, quite acceptable for wedding video. However, you must use an external microphone, such as the lavaliers made especially for them by Giant Squid. The built in mic is only good for verbal notes to yourself.
The problem with on-camera mics is that they are almost never close enough to the sound source to get good audio...hence the "echoey" quality you complain of. You have to get a mic right up to within 2 feet or so of whatever audio you want to record.
An iRiver, minidisc recorder, or a wireless mic, with a lavalier mic element, can be placed on the groom to capture the vows. Sometimes, you can also get the officiant to wear a mic. A backup mic can often be hidden in a flower arrangement near the altar. You can place mics at the pulpit, the reader's lectern, and in the choir loft.
If you shoot with two cameras, you have four audio tracks to route your mic inputs to. If you use a Canon XL-1 or -2, you have up to eight. All of these tracks are, of course, automatically synced to the video, saving you time in post. Audio recorded by MP3 recorders or minidisc has to be separately captured and synced.
Sometimes you can get a good audio feed from the church's sound board. I prefer to use my own mics, because you never know whether the church sound person knows what they're doing (and some don't want you tapping into their gear). Still, I always carry a box of audio adapters. I can plug into XLR, 1/4" mono, 1/4" stereo, or 1.8" mini jacks, and adapt them to my wireless or camcorder inputs. I can also insert an audio "pad" or attenuator, to reduce a line level output from a mixing board to a mic level signal for the camera. All of this stuff will cost you about $50 at Radio Shack.
No matter what method you use, if the church sound system has problems like feedback squealing, rest assured that you will be blamed for it. :)
Thanks for the responses thus far guys. I think I may not have been clear enough in the original post?
The audio at the ceremony is not the problem at the moment. The lapel mic fed to the 2nd camera works really well and I sync it up afterwards. I also use another mp3 recorder attached to the lectern for any readings etc. and sync this up also.
The main problem I'm having is after the ceremony at the reception during the speeches. Although I haven't had any complaints regarding audio, I know that it can be significantly improved. Obviously it's impractical to use the lapel mic with multiple speakers involved, and generally by that time of the night, the videographer's audio is the last thing guests want to concern themselves with.
I'm guessing that the majority of PA systems at reception venues have some sort of jack to get a direct feed out of that I can feed into the 3.5mm socket of the 2nd camera and record it to miniDV tape, or even better to the same connection of the iFP-899. Are XLR the "standard" when it comes to DJ or band setups? If so, I assume a XLR -> 3.5mm cable would suffice?
Thanks again and looking forward to any more responses!
Why not do what the "news guys" have been doing for decades when there is no "pool feed" provided for audio.
Attach YOUR mic to THIER mic with gaffer tape (use a very small mic) and attach it to a wireless transmitter (or another independent camcorder or audio deck) under the podium.
That way, you are in control of the audio at the mic position, not some dude who may have been taking advantage of the open bar that day.