Let’s get the easy stuff o


Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. If you display your audio as waveform on the timeline, you can visually synch the external digital audio to your video’s audio signal. I do this all the time. But one caveat, try to keep a mic close to your external DR. I’ve had a couple of situations where the close in camera was getting the sound a couple of frames sooner than my wide cover shot. But there was some serious distance involved.

I’ve been investigating using a DR to record a good stereo soundtrack. The real problems with an external DR recording are pretty obvious. You need to have good mics on the unit or be able to plug good mics into it. Most mics made for video are optimized for recording voices. To get good music reproduction, you need mics designed to record music. Some DR’s are intended to record speeches, take verbal notes and the like. The units designed for music recording have mics designed for full frequency pick-up. Now the problem is that music mics are significantly more expensive. So like camcorders, the less expensive units have mics designed for voice recording. So the way to improve the brightness & bass in a recording is to get a better mic. The folks recommending pulling sound from the soundboard (or mixer) will get some improvement in frequency response. Unfortunately, unless you’re in a sound studio, major parts of the sound are not mixed in. Rock bands (not in a stadium) do not mic the drums. They are already plenty loud, unless you’re just recording the mixer out. So even if you use the mixer out, you still won’t be getting an accurate recording of the music. This is the case with most venues for various elements of the mix. They mix the audio to sound good in the space they are in, not what sounds good over their headphones. So if you want accurate sound, you have to mic the room. And you have to mic it with quality mics designed for music.

So where does this leave us? The DR can record great audio but only with great mics. If you had the great mics to start with, you could be recording great sound on the camcorder. But leaving the mic quality issue aside, you’re hoping to improve your sound with the very sensible plan of getting closer to the source. The inherent problem is that the unexpected always seems to happen. Recording your master sound with no one or no way to monitor it will someday lead to that audio going south. Maybe a baby or a heckler is by one of the mics. Maybe the record button got double touched and never actually started. Maybe the battery you thought was new died unexpectedly. Maybe the DR is too close to a musician’s stage monitor and your recording is dominated by one voice. Most of these problems can be prevented by having a person monitor the entire show through closed headphones.

Here’s what I planning. I’ll get a fairly inexpensive DR with line/mic inputs & a headphone jack. I’ll attach two mics placed for best stereo reproduction to the DR and record away, hopefully with a friend monitoring the recording. Then I’ll assume that audio will be useless and do something similar to the shotgun on the camera & a wireless on near the stage. I selected a wireless mic system that doesn’t have the mic hardwired to transmitter. I can then plug in my third music quality mic and I monitor my recording at the camcorder. If things went well, I now have a stereo recording from near the front, and two mono recordings of ambient sound at both ends of the venue. I can mix these four audio lines to make one excellent recording. And if there were problems, I should still have reasonable audio with just my two mono sources.

i hope this helps with your question.

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