OT: Camcorder sound levels at a live show - anyone with experience?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by TheoGB, Sep 9, 2001.

  1. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    First off,
    Apologies to the moderators if there is a best area for this topic cause I just couldn't find one. However, I reckoned a group of home cinema fanatics might also know the answer to my question.
    I just bought a Panasonic NS 27B Mini-DV camcorder for recording my band's gigs and I tested it out last night. Unfortunately the mic kept being overloaded resulting in an annoying buzzing. I was expecting the digital nature to make it behave like Mini-Disc and simply compress the sound.
    So, I can fit an external mic on this baby so any thoughts on the type (I have Shure SM-58, 16A and Sennheiser MD-421). Does anyone have advice about doing this and getting a good level of recording. Preferably one that doesn't involve lugging a mixing desk around?
    Cheers
    Theo
     
  2. Tom Herman

    Tom Herman Auditioning

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    you will probably find your answer at the Forums of DV magazine . Look for the audio forum, moderated by professional soundman Jay Rose. He has also written an excellent book on audio for DV, am too lazy to run upstairs and recall the title!
    It may not be as simple as just a new mic (it's probably NOT the mic, I'd bet). Sometimes the pre-amps of the camcorder will overload. AGC "on" should in principle compress the sound to avoid the distortion, but the compressed sound of AGC has always sounded bad to me.
    check to make sure you are NOT using 12 bit audio mode, which some cameras default to. 16 bit allows much more dynamic range and less distortion. Rose cautions extensively about this in his book.
    One thing that semi-pro camcorders allow is feeding the same audio signal simultaneously to L and R channels, with one channel set about 10dB lower gain. Then, if you get overload distortion in one channel, you have a 2nd audio backup at 10 dB lower that is probably NOT distorted.
    [Edited last by Tom Herman on September 09, 2001 at 10:31 AM]
     
  3. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Cheers for your time. I am certainly using the 16-bit mode. The 12-bit has the advantage of giving a second set of audio tracks for dubbing but I am not convinced of my ability to get this right at all using a Mini-Disc audio.
    Thanks. I'll check out the DV Magazine forum.
    Theo
     

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