Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Videomaker › Tips and Suggestions › Getting a Feed from a mixer
- This topic has 12 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 8 years, 11 months ago by Anonymous.
June 1, 2012 at 11:11 AM #48428AnonymousInactive
Am shooting a wrestling event next week & want to get good audio when they are doing there promos in the ring. I have a H4N andsennheiser EW2 but how would I go about getting a feed from the mixer? (What cords would I need)
June 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM #198966FX1shooterMember
in this reply I will assume you are using the sennheiser on your camera.
depending on the sound board, they will give you (I hope) aseparateout that will beadjustedto meet the requirements of your H4N (volume). more than likely you will need XLR to XLR. some use 1/4 phono to XLR, others 1/4 phono to 1/4 phono. or if they don’t have a dedicated out you can connect to the tape out of the sound board that will require RCA to XLR or rca to 1/4 phono.
personallyI prefer the XLR root…
I would strongly recommend you get youownsound board that way you will have no surprise connecting to your H4N… you will still need all the different type of connections above but you will have flexibility.
ya I know its more $$$ and more stuff. but remember that the sound will make or brake your video.
June 1, 2012 at 11:45 PM #198967JackWolcottParticipant
Be really careful with regard to a feed from the board. First off, it’s not at all uncommon for the board operator to “forget” about you and fail to route audio to your camera. I’ve had this happen in shoots with professional union audio guys as well as when shooting events in high schools.
Secondly, an unthinking board operator can route a signal to your camera that can cause serious damage to both your camera and your ears. Find out whether the signal coming from the board is line or mic level; it could be either, depending on where the board op plugs you.
As a matter of course I always have audio coming from the house board attenuated until I’m sure that the level isn’t too high. I recently did a level check with the board op, had everything set before the performance started, only to have a signal come in that practically blew out my headset. “Oops,” I was told, “I had to repatch you on the board.”
All in all, it’s best if you can provide your own feed and mix.
July 14, 2012 at 2:03 AM #198968AnonymousInactive
Thanks everyone for the advice. It worked out very well in the end & here is a small sample of the video
July 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM #198969
Sound ops hate video people. They frequently arrive at the last minute and need things that they ‘forgot’. “Could I have an output from your mixer please?” “Sure, XLR, jack or phono (UK speak)?” The video guy looks confused and hasn’t brought any cable with him at all. The sound op will probably be able to dig out something, and send you some level. Almost certainly at line level. It’s up to you to cope with this. During the event, they may well have to tweak some input gains, and will be busy mixing the show, not watching a meter going to the camera, and rarely ever actually listening to it. They’re being paid to mix the live show, not provide a balanced submit for the video people, unless planned in advance. When I’m mixing, being a video person too, I try to help – but sometimes you suddenly bring up a new source when something goes wrong, and only remember afterwards you didn’t route this to the video output. It happens.
Having your own audio mixer is fine – but how do you get access to the sound sources? If there’s one mic on the subject, then you’re going to need to split it, or take a feed from their mixer again – and of course, sound mixers need operators!
July 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM #198970theonecanoeParticipant
In my job as an ENG news cameraman I’m always getting audio feeds at concerts and events. As Paulears states above “Sound ops hate video people” Unfortunately he’s got a good point…their main concern is the live show, not your thirty second clip on the evening news, and to make matters worse, in the ever changing news business we often find out that we’re assigned to cover these events at the last minute, often arriving just before show time! Some sound guys go out of thier way to hook you up with a good signal, while others just give you whatever output is left available on their board. Over the years I’ve got some amazing quality sound, but often times it’s not the best. My advice…if you have two mic inputs, then use them both. I always double mic these events, using eithera good quality shotgun mic on my camera, or I place a wireless hand mic near a speaker as a backup. Many times I’ve ended up using the sound from my own mics, or mixing these with the sound board feed duringediting, because it was so much better than using just the feed from the sound board.
July 14, 2012 at 4:16 PM #198971
I think many of us try – me probably because I do have sympathy, but the attitude of many video people is pretty bad – not all, but the few bad ones stick in your memory. It’s not even just the sound people. I remember halfway through a show, that had had three days pre-production and rehearsals, the video man asking the lighting guy if he could not do the dark blues and dark reds, and put up some white light as he’d been commissioned by the director to shoot it and his pictures would be bad. The lighting guy – also commissioned by the same person on a three day proper contract said “he’d try” – which of course really meant “no way”. Not everyone is like this – like Wayne, who obviously understands what’s going on. I tend to wear a production manager’s hat nowadays, so have to try to keep the peace, and it’s tricky. Oddly, the BBC staffers I bump into always seem to know how to ask, and what not to ask. It’s all team work really, isn’t it! My own experience of going into other venues is also quite like Wayne’s, and being nice does help -as does keeping yourself neat and tidy and undemanding. I tend to take mixer audio into one channel and the on-camera mic into the other – although I did see one a few weeks ago who had a mic on a small base, with plug on transmitter, which he discretely placed on the stage edge for a dance show to pick up the tap – so music from the mixer, and stage sound via radio.
July 15, 2012 at 7:20 AM #198972IanParticipant
Having been on both sides of this type of requirement as a sound engineer and as a videographer (at different times of course), I can tell you with some authority, that it dosen’t need to be that hard. With the exception of perhaps a news cameraman who may be sent to the event at the last moment, both the sound man and the videographer will have had advance notice of the event and, as professionals, if approached in a non demanding manner,preferably a few days before the event, will be happy to cooperate, especially if it can be totheir mutual advantage. This usually can be achieved by a phone call or two or better still a meeting on site when the sound man is doing his setup.
At the 11th hour, the sound man has a lot going through his head and if the videographer turns up with limited resources, it will be an unwanted distraction and likely be rebuffed. If organised in advance and the videographer turns up, good and early, with all the necessary cables and adaptors and all that is necessary for the sound man is to plug in a few plugs then it will all work.
There are a few pitfalls though, as the others have said, the main one being, depending upon the type of event and the size of the venue, the sound man may not need to mic up everything and the mix you get may not be the best mix for the video. This especially applies in concerts or stage shows where often the only vocal mics are fed through the sound system. A really cooperative sound man may give you a separate recording mix or sub mix, separate to that that goes to the speakers and this can be pre or post his faders ,but this needs to be organised well in advance and maybe paid for.
The things you need to find out are:
Can they give you a feed?
What will be included in the mix?
Will it be stereo or mono?
Where will the feed be available in relation to your main recording camera (or recorder)
What is the output level? can vary between -10dBm and +8dBm depending upon the mixer
What is the output connector? RCA, Mono 1/4″ Jack, Stereo 1/4″Jack XLR etc
You will need to either have XLR inputs on your camera (recorder) switchable to line levelor provide an attenuator for each channel (if you are going into a mic input usually about 50db) Don’t just use a low level feed from a high level output or the signal to noise ratio will not be very good. You will need to provide a balanced to unbalanced box if your camera only accepts mic level unbalanced inputs (usually a 1.5mm (1/8″) stereo jack)
Make sure any balance/unbalance devices are at the recorder (camera) end of any cable feeds.
If using a separate recorder then let it run for the duration of the event but also record some sound on the cameras to allow easier syncing of the sound to the video in post.
You may want to provide a separate mic, perhaps suspended above the stage area or close to the stage but out of the field of the sound system speakers, to record Foley type sound as the mixer feed will be pretty clean of crowd or audience sounds and “stage” noises.
Remember the rules are organisation, preparation and cooperation.
Lastly unless you are paying at a commercial rate for the service provided by the sound man, make sure you acknowledge his input by, perhaps helping with his pack up, a letter of thanks, a copy of your produced video, if your client allows or a dozen cans of beer. Then next time you work for with the same sound man he will bend over backwards to ensure your needs are met.
July 15, 2012 at 8:33 AM #198973
I agree – remember the army’s six P’s Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!
Ian’s comment about the “not everything goes through the sound system” is a really important feature when dealing with sources that make their own noise. Drum kits can be really loud – the bass and guitar often get turned up to cope with the drum level. The sound man, at the back of the auditorium, may well have mics on all the drums, guitars and other instruments, but his job is to balance. He doesn’t have a magic make drums quieter fader – which would be great – so the PA just lifts everything to the correct level for the audience. Recording the output gives you voices, and maybe the quiet instruments like flutes and acoustic guitars – but probably no bass and drums = apart from the sound that was so loud it leaked into the vocal mic! In really big venues, it gets better because everything is so much louder, the mix is more comprehensive in content. If you don’t already do it, a pair of small in ear headphones that cut out lots of the room sound are essential to have plugged into your camera to judge what the mixer is sending you. The operator can simply give you a mono or stereo output of the mix, or it is possible to send you a purpose balanced blend of all the sources – but as said above, this needs planning and pleasantness, or it just won’t happen.
July 15, 2012 at 2:30 PM #198974gldnearsMember
” The operator can simply give you a mono or stereo output of the mix, or it is possible to send you a purpose balanced blend of all the sources – but as said above, this needs planning and pleasantness, or it just won’t happen. “
In alarge venue concert featuring a large performing group therewill most likely be more than one mix going on at FOH ( or possibly at the monitor mix position ). Primary attention will be given to the house mix ( or monitor feeds ), but there will likely be some sort of archival mix being sent to a digital recorder in the rack. That’s the mix one wants to tap into for the video recording.
July 15, 2012 at 2:38 PM #198975D0nParticipant
I sometimes use a simple cheap sound mixer and ask for a feed from thier sound guy to my mixing board and then feed my own laptop, recorder or camera from my own board… it is simple, and effective and ensures there is a cheap piece of hardware in between thier equipment and mine…. but since the zoom recorders are so cheap these days… it is easier to just use the recorder…. bring your own cables and slitters and adapters..
when shooting at some venues, it is simply easier and faster to tap their board than to set your own mics. even if only to have as your back up to doing your own micing and sound.. it’s good to have that extra mixer.. and mine is cheap.. a little peavey with usb out.
November 29, 2013 at 5:31 AM #209248WhatNoWebsiteParticipant
I've found the comments above really hjelpful as I am working on a small project that means me capturing artists in bars etc. in my local area and although the sound is OK for a budget camera someone asked if I could get a feed from the desk.
The camera has no audio input but I "assume" I could capture the audio speerately and then sync it in the video editor. The artist I was talking to last night also suggested I take a "flat" feed which I assume to mean with no EQ adjustments etc.
I'd love to be able to do this as the sound, while OK, is not really production quality and I've been asked to shoot some DVDs so improving the sound would be a great bonus I think.
Also, I have another question regarding the video…
I can adjust the white balance manually on the camera which I have used and came out OK. However, in a dark venue with gels that change colour it's not really worthwhile as the colours are changing constantly.
Yes, it's a budget camera (Panasonic HC-V110) and I have plans to upgrade and use it for cutaways etc. but for now it's what I have and I'm open to any suggestions to improve the quality of the video and or audio.
December 2, 2013 at 5:50 PM #209266gldnearsMember
" I can adjust the white balance manually on the camera which I have used and came out OK. However, in a dark venue with gels that change colour it's not really worthwhile as the colours are changing constantly. "
Yehbut . . . . .if it were me, I'd still want to know where " white " was irrespective of the multicolored performance lighting. Beyond that, having enough light for low noise shooting must be marginal!
I had a friend in Austin TX who was trying to shoot bands live in clubs. His effort was toward capturing to a DVD recorder ( video from his camera/audio from the house board ), and selling the group a DVD before they left the club. I viewed a few of his efforts. Sadly, even when there was enough light I found the forever static single camera to be irritatingly boring! A single, static wide shot must be interrupted by another camera angle periodically or you will lose your audience! If you can move the camera to different perspectives quickly, w/o stopping the camera, you can shoot some B-roll of audience reactions or club experior shots, or whatever and cur them in later to cover your frantic camera resets while the sound carries continuous.
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