You are here

Soundboard to video camera help

chiefblackhammer's picture
Last seen: 7 years 6 months ago
Joined: 05/06/2007 - 6:12pm
Forgive me I am novice at best but...

I am looking to run stereo quality audio to a camcorder for real time recording of church services... We have several mic's and other inputs that record umm...20ish channels of audio and we want to sync this audio with the recording of live video.

What I need to know is how to do this? ...is it as simple as running a AV cable to the camcorder if the camcorder supports line in? Will that not work at all for me or are there "better quality" ways to do this? Beyond that I need a decent quality camcorder that is midrange price ($500-$1500) dollars to do it with. Can someone suggest a few that can handle the audio input and that have decent to higher quality indoor video capturing for that price range? Also if the camcorder has internal HDD that would be great...otherwise need 1 HR + recording capabilities for recording media.

The sound board/set ups aren't an issue.

After searching the net for how to do this with little avail I found this article:
http://www.videomaker.com/article/8243/

It was very helpful in telling me I "could" do this but not very detailed in the "hows"...can someone please help this rookie out?

P.S. The camera will be stationary so no need to move it!

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Whether or not you can get a "decent" camcorder in that price range, depends entirely upon your definition of "decent". That's about all I'll say about that.

Now, about your audio quesiton..

Most soundboards will have a "Tape out" with RCA connections. You'll need a cable with two male RCA plugs and a 1/8" male mini plug. Otherwise, look for "Line out" connections. These can be RCA or they may be 1/4" female. Again, you'll need the 1/8" male connector for your camera or audio adapter and the appropriate male connectors for the sound board.

You'll want to be aware whether your sound board is applying channel volume levels and equalization to your connections (preferably, it is). Which brings up another point - your soundboard now becomes your mixer. If the audio is not mixed properly on the board...well, that's what's going onto your tape.

It can be difficult to tell during a live session, just how to mix everything. That's why I prefer to mic choirs myself, using our own mics, thus giving me the freedom to mix in post.

When miking a choir, it is best to split them into soprano, alto and bass groups and set them in semi circles of three or four with a mic in the middle of each little group. Keep each group's recording separate so you can mix in post. You nearly have to pull a gun on the choir directors to get them to allow this, but you'll get the best sound. If you're doing an annual video, it will definitely worthwhile. If it's an every week thing, then probably not worth the hassle.

Whatever you do, be sure and mic the piano or organ. I know the other mics will pick it up, but you'll get a much clearer track on it if you mic it properly and have as much separation between this instrument and singers as possible.

Be sure your camera or audio adapter (like Beachtek, etc.) let's you set it to "Line" instead of "Mic".

chiefblackhammer's picture
Last seen: 7 years 6 months ago
Joined: 05/06/2007 - 6:12pm
I have full control of the sound board and it is very much "mixed" properly...in the sense that everything is "mic-ed" on it's own channel and everything is blended to near perfection...with adjustments to the singer's mics made before they start singing. With the same group of people rotating (8-9) singing each time...it isn't hard to know how to set the mics before they start singing. Also our choir director is a stickler for the segregation of vocal range groups and thus the cds we produce are about as great sounding as non studio production gets...thus there is no issue with the sound board or other inputs.

I have run the sound board to my laptop and recorded that way but was unsure if it was that simple when it came to hooking it up to the video camera. I am still unsure if I am suppose to plug to the AV line-in or if I am suppose to use another slot or route it through to the camera's mic somehow?

In terms of "decent" quality; I don't want it to look like my back yard cook out from the 80's but we don't need Warner Brothers movie production quality either. So basically I don't care about high def. I just want a good picture with no distortions or artifacts when the preacher moves around. For $500 to 1500 that should be easy...I just don't know which ones can handle the feeding of audio into it as it is recording...and thus looking for suggestions.

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Be sure your camera or audio adapter (like Beachtek, etc.) let's you set it to "Line" instead of "Mic".

Your A/V in probably only works in VCR mode. Your mic connection isn't attenuated for a "Line" input. You'll need an adapter, or you might consider using a digital recorder with a "Line in", then synch your audio with your video in post.

As for your camera selection - churches are not generally lit up like a studio. To get good images and good, crisp color saturation in lower light settings that are typically found indoors and in churches, requires a really good 1/3" 3-CCD camera with a low lux rating (3 - 1, with '1' being preferable). There are only two cameras currently available in the under $3,000 price range that offer 1-Lux - the PD170 and VX2100. I think the lowest price for the VX2100 is around $2200.

chiefblackhammer's picture
Last seen: 7 years 6 months ago
Joined: 05/06/2007 - 6:12pm
Thank you for your continued attention...and I apologize for not catching your suggestion earlier. I am just still fuzzy on what you are saying so let me put it this way.

To me all an adapter is an outside device used to make two non-compliant devices capable of communicating with each other. Thus...are you saying I would need the adapter if I was going to run audio to the "mic" input in order to make it "attenuated" for audio reception from the sound board?

If so how do you hook the adapter up to the camera? Do I just take the mic out? Is there a port? Etc..

When you say digital recorder are you talking about...like using a software program on a computer to record the raw video footage from the camera and using the same program to record the audio from the soundboard?

If so then...I have already tried this...using 3 different programs. Real Producer 11, Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 and a version of some software by Roxio which I can't remember off the top of my head.

The Real Producer worked great in terms of capturing both the video and audio from separate sources simultaneously but the quality of the video was very low and jerky (Was run on a pc with 2 GB of PC 4200 DDR2 ram so the PC wasn't an issue). I assume this is do to the nature of the program being designed for internet broadcasting and not DVD type release.

The Adobe Premiere software recorded basically the same way but had slightly better quality and was slightly less jerky. If it wasn't so jerky then I would have went this route as the software is powerful enough for the edit work we want.

The Roxio worked great in terms of video capture...no jerkinessbut I could only record either the video or audio at one time...it wouldn't let me do them simultaneously...

Now this was a test camcorder to see if we can get this working, not the one we plan to use for actual shooting. Given we want to be able to edit the footage to make the program look more professional it is in our best interest to have the footage in DV format... but we will take mpeg-2 if there is no other way.

I just felt we had exhausted our software choices which are why I thought it would be better to find some way to get a camcorder that accepts audio line-in. But then there was the question of how to hook it up to the camcorder...and so on...

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
To me all an adapter is an outside device used to make two non-compliant devices capable of communicating with each other. Thus...are you saying I would need the adapter if I was going to run audio to the "mic" input in order to make it "attenuated" for audio reception from the sound board?

Yes, you plug the adapter (like Beachtek 4a) into the mic input of your camera.

When you say digital recorder are you talking about...like using a software program on a computer to record the raw video footage from the camera and using the same program to record the audio from the soundboard?

No. A digital recorder is a piece of hardware, not software. Checkout the Marantz Professional Digital Recorder, model #660. This is what I use. It records wav files onto 2gig memory cards. I copy the wave files into my project and synch up with the video.

I use Premiere Pro 2.0 to capture video to AVI files via a firewire cable. It is never "jerky". I have a dual core computer with 2gig of ram and 2 terrabytes of harddrives.

chiefblackhammer's picture
Last seen: 7 years 6 months ago
Joined: 05/06/2007 - 6:12pm
When you said you used Adobe for video capture...are you talking about "real time" capture striaght from the camera to the HD (no tape) or capturing from something you had previously recorded to tape? Because I was doing real time and it was "jerky". I wasn't running any other programs and my system resources barely even came close to mid-range usage much less peeking during recording...that is per the log files I set the system up to record for the time span I was capturing the video for. I ran the feed through the firewire cable as well so there shouldn't be any issues with that...I will look into the cameras you suggested and the Beachtek 4a adapter. Thank you very much!

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Real time, yes - LIVE capture no.

Capturing in real time means 1:1 times (at least, that's the definition I've been working with).

Live capture is shooting straight to harddrive. No, I haven't done that. There are devices offerred for this purpose - starting at just over a thousand dollars. They don't capture straight to AVI files, but to a compressed format. Aparently, the cameras can handle real time firewire capture from VCR mode, but not so well in Camera mode unless capturing to a compressed format, which is apparently requiring a special harddrive with a ROM chip that takes the place of your NLE capture feature and compresses the video so it will save quickly enough to keep up with camera operation.

As an event videographer, I look forward to capturing straight to harddrives, but not until I can do so in an uncompressed format. Editing compressed video does not give pretty results.

paulears's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 11/05/2006 - 8:36am
The simplest way to take a line output from a mixer into the mic socket of the camcorder with as few problems as possible is via DI (direct Injection) box - you may even have one, they're used to connect line level kit, such as cd players, video audio outs and guitars to sockets designed for microphones. To prevent the mic inputs distorting when connected without a DI box, the mixer output has to be kept very low, and the auto gain control works hard to keep the input from overloading. None of this helps audio quality.

On the direct to disk subject, there are quite a few bits of software that can capture in real time, direct to disk in uncompressed format - DV rack being my favourite as it can chop the files into separate 'chunks' that can be re-assembled with no dropped frames.

I'm doing quite a lot of work now direct to the internal drive on my laptop, via DV Rack - it isn't safe to use an external HD, but I suspect that may just be the laptop limiting transfer rates when pushed - but direct to the internal drive is 100% ok. I still run the tape, of course - but so far they are just backups. The other added benefit is the large display on the laptop - saving lugging a proper monitor around.