Using digital audio recorder at wedding

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    • #41489

      I’ve just started shooting weddings, so for now I decided to go for very modest equipment. Instead of a wireless mic system ($500-600) I want to try using a wired lavalier ($50) with a digital audio recorder ($100). The recorder is turned on before the ceremony and goes into the groom’s pocket, and the lav on his lapel. Are there any reasons why I shouldn’t do it and should rather stick to the wireless?

    • #175850

      The reason you shouldn’t do it is that you are not using a good enough recorder. You didn’t mention the brand and model of your “digital audio recorder” but I’ll bet it more of a “digital voice recorder” …. something like an Olympus or Sony … something like the replacement for those mini-cassette recorders that were popular years ago.

      Those devices may work, but the quality may suffer .. AND .. you may have problems with drift. ie. sync with the video.

      The cheapest recorder I would suggest is the Zoom H-2 at $200

      This technique is called “double system sound” and is used by professionals all the time. I’m an amateur but I’ve found this system *very* useful. I use a Edirol R-09 and a pair of boundry mics for a stereo recording. I don’t shoot weddings but 3 to 6 people at a table at a panel discussions.

    • #175851

      Another reason not to use this technique is that you’re not able to “monitor” the audio being recorded. You won’t know if: the recording is too loud and possibly distorted with a high noise floor level, being subjected to vocal “pops” from the speakers breath, or too low resulting in marginal quality.

      As n1jdu said, syncing the audio from a cheap recorder to the video in post production can potentially be a real nightmare. There’s nothing worse than watching someone’s lips move out of sync with the audio – the true sign of an amature production.

      You’re better off buying a “cheaper” wireless mic and running it into the video camera’s audio input. Let the camera be your audio recorder and you won’t have any out-of-sync video. Now (with headphones) you can monitor the audio your recording from the camera, plus run a “sound check” before the wedding starts. You might find yourself moving the lapel mic around the groom’s collar unitl you find the “right spot”.Also, you can be confidentthere will be a decent audio recording of the vows – much betterfor the customer and certainly better if this video will be a demo for future business.

    • #175852

      I’ve been shooting weddings for awhile (for someone else) and I have learned a couple of thing about this subject and unfortunately by trial and error.

      First of all, like they said above, go with a wireless lav mic. Hopefully your camera has multiple inputs so you can separate the lav mic from the rest of the wedding. Your better off turning it on, setting the level and not touching it again. You’ll be recording everything including what is said in the restroom before the groom comes to the alter, but since it’s on another channel, you can turn it down in post until you need it.

      Second, get a lav mic that is omni directional!With acardioid you’ll never hear the bride. You’ll need to be monitoring the ceremony anyway so at that point you can turn the gain up to hear her.

      Keeping it on the cheap side you can get a wireless lav from Nady or Gemini for under $100. Remember you get what you pay for, it’s a starting point though. The problems with the cheap ones is interference… If you’re near a highway you’ll get the CBer with his radio powered way up, you might walk into a church on the same freq.

      Good Luck!

    • #175853

      No, sorry, I do *not* reccomend going with a wireless mic … not at this price range.

      Yes, there might be a problem in that you cannot monitor the recorded audio as it is being recorded. But the problems you will have with a wireless mic (in this price range) are much more likely. Know your equipment .. know the settings you need to make it work .. it will serve you well.

      I still recomend the Zoom H-2 for something like this. I’ve used my Edirol R-09 for dozens ofrecordings and it has worked wonderfully (except when I plugged the mic into the “line” input .. like I said .. know your equipment .. know your settings)

      I own a $600 wireless mic .. and I prefer to use my Edirol when I can.

    • #175854

      Thank you all who answered.

      I don’t quite get why the problem with sync should be a big deal. If there is one, I’ll just sync audio at the beginning of the ceremony, and then stretch it or squeeze it to achieve sync at the end of the ceremony as well. Everything in between should become synced this way, shouldn’t it?

      Funny, Zoom H-2 was exactly what I was looking at just now.

    • #175855

      Recording audio at a wedding ceremony is the single most important thing when shooting a video. There are so many variables that can screw things up. I put a wireless on the groom and feed into channel two of my main camera. With my second camera I put a wireless on the Priest or Minister. I also use a minidisk recorder and pull an audio feed from the board. If a board is not accessible I use the mini disk recorder to mic up a speaker. In the latter case I use a Shure 57. These are designed for “micing” a speaker. During the editing process I may only use the audio from the minidisk several times for example maybe duringthe readings orfor a specific song.I will actually show up to the ceremony 1.5 hours before the service to setup and check audio levels. I will do all the audio setup first.Itry and get someone at the church to do a sound check with me. I set the audio levles on the minidisk just a little bittle lower to compensate for possible recording peaks. My minidisk recorder has amono function which gives me over two hours of record time.There are no rules when doing this stuff but a little overkill on the audio never hurts. If for some reason the minidisk recorder is unusable…you still will have clean audio from the clergy, the bride and groom. The reason for micing the clergy is if for some reason the groom wireless dies you still can pull the vows from his microphone. Your camera angles may not be perfect, maybe you camera gain was set a little to high, or someone stands in front of your shot…if the audio is garbage the final product is as well. I think most peopl ecan handle some imperfections in the video but if it is inaudible you really have a problem. I would make sure that any format for audio recording can handle at least 1.5 hours of recording. Plan out your wireless system if you plan to get one. I have two transmitters one is a lav system the other is a line level system for guitar. I pull my audio from the DJ mixed at the reception so that audio is also clean. I’ve never had any problems with syncing audio and video and if the sync is off just a little…add some reverb to simulate the hall. Good Luck, Rob

    • #175856

      I am going to respectfully disagree with most of the previous poster.

      I live in Greenville, SC. I have shot nearly 30 weddings and I have been told out right by each and every church that I AM NOT allowed to use wireless mics. The reason? They have a sound system and they don’t want to take a chance that my system will interfere with theirs.? I just follow their rules.

      I live in a growing town where most of the churches have pretty nice systems.

      Now to compensate, I do two things (If I am at all able).

      1. I ask if they have the capability to record the audio through their wireless system. Then I ask for a copy of that recording.

      2. I mic anyone not already wearing a wireless mic with my digital voice recorder.

      I use an Olympus WS-100. In Hi-qualtiy mode, it records to WMAat 44.1 kHz for 4hrs 20min in stereo.

      The only quirk I have with it is that I have to adjust the the audio line to 100.04% of the original speed so that it syncs with the video.

      The sound quality is excellant! In most cases, better that the wireless system that the churches audio is recorded from.

      I have gotten to the point I don’t plan on even using the church recording because my digital recording is sooo much better.

      I think that many of the people that say, “No” to digital recorders, are purists. They are comfortable with the way things have always worked. I don’t fault anyone for that. I understand completely. Do what you are comfortable with. I received my college degree in Music Education. I myself am the biggest of musical snobs. I am a musical purist. But I find that being able to assurethe church/venue administration with 100% confidence that my sound recording device will not cause interference makes my job so much easier.

      Many people have told me in the past that if you have issue with the church rules, then get your debating skills ready and make your case to the church. But why do that when there is a better way. A way where the sound is just as good.

      But I look at it like this, if people didn’t try new/different things we would still be using VHS tapes and large editing machines that only rich people would ever be able to get into the editing business.

      There are newer digital recorders on the market now that record much much higher quality. I have seen some that record straight to CD quality WAV files.

    • #204848
      Will G Santiago

      Im a beginner on shooting Video and im still in the process of learning. I would like to ask if its right for me to just use my separate Audio Recorder (Zoom, H4N) on recording audio on weddings? I know my cameras (Panasonic HMC150pj and 60D with Mic) will also record audio but when i stop recording video to change angle and footage the audio stops along with the video recording. so is it just right for me to record all audio on a separate audio recorder (Zoom H4N) and just use the audio that was recorded on my cameras to sync the video footages to what I recorded  separately?

    • #204902

      I have 2 zoom h2n's.  I use them in various places depending on the situation. They are pretty easy to hide.


       I never stop my cameras for events like a wedding. It makes it a lot easier to sync up all the sources.  It's always good to have options in case there is a problem on one of your sound sources.


      Just my 2 cents worth.  

    • #205045


      I've just started shooting weddings, so for now I decided to go for very modest equipment. Instead of a wireless mic system ($500-600) I want to try using a wired lavalier ($50) with a digital audio recorder ($100). The recorder is turned on before the ceremony and goes into the groom's pocket, and the lav on his lapel. Are there any reasons why I shouldn't do it and should rather stick to the wireless?[/quote]


      Yes in my opinion a $50 lav is not going to provide you with the level of audio quality you need, couple that with only being on the groom and you are on the road to a disaster.


      Never forget audio is the largest part of video.


      Your best bet is if you cannot afford to buy the wireless rent it, as for interference all of the professional wireless systems allow you to scan the spectrum so you can steer clear and not interfere with house wireless system.



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