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    portable recorder set up for live concert recording
    #1
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    Hi,

    This is my first new post.

    I'm trying to figure out how to record audio for a live band concert video. I'll be videotaping a 1 hour set of music with two cameras, and then edit it down to 5 minutes of highlights. I have two dvx100b cameras.

    I've done some other shoots like this, but my buddy did the audio. He set up an expensive pair of mics on a stand near the sound guy, and then EQed it in ProTools. Sounded great to me.

    I'm hoping to do something similar, but use a portable stereo recorder like the Zoom H4n.

    1. Should I get a feed off the board for the portable recorder, and then mix it with the camera mic for crowd noise?
    2. Or should I place the portable recorder on a stand near the sound guy?
    3. Or just spend the bucks and hire a sound guy of my own? (Since I'm a low budget production, I don't think I can do this.)

    Thanks!
    Tom


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    Taking a feed from the board is typically a bad idea unless you have the time and skills to set up an aux mix to feed the recorder. The mix for the house typically will not serve well for a recording mix because the FOH engineer is mixing what's coming electronically from the stage with acoustic energy being emitted directly from drums and guitar and bass amps. However, if you have the time and skill, this will result is the best quality. Sometimes you can also get the feed from the house mics which are typically used to send crowd sound back to the performers thru their in-ears. In this scenario, all the instruments must be miced, and ideally iso tracked so the final mix can be done in post. Anything less is a compromise.

    Positioning two quality mics at FOH is probably the best way to capture the mix if iso tracking is not available, since this is typically what the FOH engineer is mixing to. The downside is it will also capture alot of crowd noise. Placing the mics higher (above the crown and/or closer to the FOH speakers will help, but you'll have to find a happy mix between what's coming out of the PA, and what's coming directly from the stage.

    The least complicated, and producing the least level of professionalism, is placing the H4n, or something similar on a stand directly in front of, and above, the foh mix position.


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    #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpforet View Post
    The least complicated, and producing the least level of professionalism, is placing the H4n, or something similar on a stand directly in front of, and above, the foh mix position.
    Thanks gpfloret for your reply.

    Did you mean "least level of professionalism" here?

    (By the way, what's "iso?")

    I'm hoping there is something in between doing a multitrack mix, and using the internal camera mics. I'm hoping the H4n could be that solution.

    - Tom


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    #4
    Section Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    "Iso" is short for "isolation" track... which is any one source recorded to its own track.

    Here's what I'd recommend: get a stereo room recording as previously discussed, but get a board feed as well. If you can work ahead of time with the FOH engineer to get a custom AUX mix, that's great. Chances are, that won't happen. Either the engineer is too busy, has no spare AUX channels, or just doesn't care. My money would be on either or both of the first two.

    If you can get a recording from the house mix, you'll find that you have lots of vocals, quite a bit of acoustic instruments (like guitars), and very little of anything else. Electronic instruments (keyboard, electric guitar, bass) have amps on stage and carry themselves through the room, so they only get a minimal push in the FOH mix. Drums carry themselves without amplification, but from the board feed you'll get varying degrees of one or all the drums in the kit depending on the room and depending on the engineer.

    In the recording from the room mics, the vocals and acoustic guitars are likely to be the things that get muddied the most. So by blending an ambient room recording with the board feed, you'll be able to get something much better than either of the parts could offer on their own. It's still nowhere close to multi-tracking and mixing the entire band later, but in a pinch it can get decent (not stellar, but decent) results.
    Formerly known as C2V
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    #5
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    Thanks Alex!

    So to summarize, you recommend:
    1. Getting a stereo feed off the board
    2. Getting a stereo mix of the room.

    And if I use the H4n, do you recommend I put it up high near the sound guy?

    Yeah, I'm shooting for "decent." Actually, I'm shooting for "doesn't sound like crap."
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tomknightproductions
    Still kind of new at this stuff...
    Final Cut Studio 2
    Panasonic DVX100B
    Rode Lavalier Mic
    Tascam DR-100


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    Senior Member 8string's Avatar
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    You don't mention what kind of band you are recording. I've done a few acoustic groups, you can hear them at
    http://vimeo.com/23063427
    And
    http://vimeo.com/23144117
    And
    http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_u...?v=W8Hvghh7wO4
    And
    http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_u...?v=KtI-uq8R1yo
    And
    http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_u...?v=wXa7et-VoL0

    What I would say is that the board feed, while great, is often "dry" and needing some reverb and eq to make it more lively.

    I always get a board feed, it's your ultimate backup. Some of my work is wild from my shotguns with room sound. It can work. And you can blend the two. Try adding 30% wild to a board feed. Unfortunately, so many bands these days are too loud, and the board is staffed by sound guys in the process of going deaf. True. No slam, but spending your life with bands wanting to be loud and louder leads to deaf and deafer. There is no escaping it. A good acoustic sound person s invaluable.


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    Senior Member ullanta's Avatar
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    Hmmmm... really need to know a lot more about the venue, the type of music, etc. In smaller places, sometimes all the instruments are not even fed through the board. Sometimes the FOH position is not the best - and sometimes the worst - place to place your mics. A board feed is often a signal that's far from optimal... often it's set up in "opposition" to deficiencies of the speaker setup, the house acoustics, or even bizarre settings of a SoundWeb or something similar. So... test, test, test. If you can, go to the venue BEFORE you start this project, and get a feed of some other band to listen to; listen at various spots in the room and grab a brief recording of the promising ones, etc. Gte a sense of how loud the venue is, and if your equipment will handle it.


    I wouldn't recommend the H4n, especially if you plan to blend it with camera sound, unless someone can confirm that it doesn't have the sync issues of all the other Zoom recorders.
    "I'd like to say that I've never come across two know nothing pretenders on the weird wide web before, but unfortunately it's all too common and is exactly why, according to the last government survey, only 5% of all internet users ever use forums or chats. And it's exactly why I'm done with this one. You two really need to get jobs and out of your mother's basements. You can't fix stupid. And I don't have time for stupid." -swoopie


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    #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8string View Post
    You don't mention what kind of band you are recording.
    I've been working with small bands playing folk/pop/country. They have a drum set, but a quiet one. The venue of the upcoming gig is fairly small.

    Quote Originally Posted by 8string View Post
    Try adding 30% wild to a board feed.
    I like this idea. Do you use a separate recorder for the board feed?

    I was set on the H4n, but now am leaning toward the Tascam DR-100.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tomknightproductions
    Still kind of new at this stuff...
    Final Cut Studio 2
    Panasonic DVX100B
    Rode Lavalier Mic
    Tascam DR-100


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    #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ullanta View Post
    I wouldn't recommend the H4n, especially if you plan to blend it with camera sound, unless someone can confirm that it doesn't have the sync issues of all the other Zoom recorders.
    Thinking about the Tascam DR-100 now.

    I'm expecting the board feed to not have much bass or drums in it, so I'll definitely need to mic the room somehow.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tomknightproductions
    Still kind of new at this stuff...
    Final Cut Studio 2
    Panasonic DVX100B
    Rode Lavalier Mic
    Tascam DR-100


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    #10
    Section Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8string View Post
    What I would say is that the board feed, while great, is often "dry" and needing some reverb and eq to make it more lively.
    When you're dealing with an all-acoustic group like the Vimeo vids you linked, the board feed is going to be much more usable on the whole, and at that point the room/ambient recording is just to fill out the "live" sound. But when you get into rock/pop/country where there are more amplified instruments and percussion, the board feed is going to be much less usable and the room recording is going to be needed to fill in much more than just the sound of the room.

    Quote Originally Posted by 8string View Post
    Try adding 30% wild to a board feed.
    That really depends on the band, the room recording, and the board feed. It could be 70/30, or 60/40, or 50/50, or...
    Last edited by Alex H.; 05-09-2011 at 06:29 AM.
    Formerly known as C2V
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    Nobody notices audio... until it's not there.


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