Recording sound is hard work. First, I needed to be out early – or late – to avoid the crowds and people talking and walking on the boardwalks, making noise. Second, even then I often had to wait for quite some time until the area was free of visitors (fortunately, not all visitors are noisy so sometimes I recorded when people were nearby!). Third, to get sound like this I used two 18 inch long shot gun mics, through a Beachtek audio mixer, and then into my little Canon HF M301 consumer camcorders (set up for 3D).
A photo of the set up looks like this – two shot guns on top (home made wind muffs), the Beachtek mixer, attached to a mostly home made 3D camera mount. Click on the image for a larger photo. While bulky, this set up is not very heavy – carrying it mostly means not constantly bumping the mics into tree branches while hiking on the trails!
Inexpensive dongle interfaces between iPhone and certain Olympus and Panasonic DSLR cameras. A software app on the iPhone adds new features including time lapse, motion detection, high dynamic range controls, and other capabilities.
I am setting up gear to record an event this weekend in 3D, and to record audio in stereo
with two long shot gun directional mics.
I use two Lumix GH-2s for the video recording but there is no way to monitor the recorded audio on the GH-2. Plus, I am using XLR mics. While I have a separate XLR mic mixer, I was not successful in feeding stereo signals into the GH-2 and could not find a solution to that problem.
I decided to just record the soundtrack separately. Since I do not have a digital audio recorder, but I do have an older SD camera with XLR inputs (a Panasonic DG-AVC30), I am planning to record the audio on the AVC30, while recording the video on the two Lumix cameras. My first attempt at a setup looks like this (sorry for the lousy smart phone photo – something better in the future) with the AVC30 bolted upside down on my homemade mounting rail.
The 18-inch long shot guns are mounted on top of the GH-2s, and crossed over. The one on the left records the right audio channel and the one on the right records the left audio channel. These feed into the XLR inputs on the AVC30, which enables me to monitor the audio as a I record it, plus I can adjust the audio levels in real time.
The three cameras need to be synchronized – the only way to do that is by recording an audio pulse (hand clap, snap of the fingers, other sharp sounds) on all cameras simultaneously. The audio tracks will then be lined up in the editor. I’m sure there are easier ways to do this but I am working with what I have and my zero billion $ budget!
The plastic bag on the tripod handle covers up a remote for another camera (not shown) and was put on there since I was out recently in the rain and wanted to protect it from the rain. I suppose I could get rid of that now!
What’s with all the rubber bands? That’ll be for another day.
Update: Found the problem with the mixer and ended up using the 2 XLR mics into the mixer and into one of the cameras. Didn’t need to use the video camera as an audio recorder. Whew!
I predicted this was going to happen the moment Youtube announced it was automatically scanning videos for copyrighted music:
The problem is that Content ID improperly flags licensed music as a copyright infringement – leading to embarrassment for producers and editors that have legitimately licensed their music from a reputable company.
How can they tell the difference between a recording you have paid licensing fees for versus a random copy? They cannot. I have gone out of my way to use licensed music on my own online videos but …
I have a video on Youtube of a U.S. Civil War Battle re-enactment. The battled ended with a performance of Taps, which was written jointly by a private and a General in 1862 during the U.S. Civil War. Instead of using the recording I made at the battle field, which was interrupted by a public address system, I used a performance by the United States Army, obtained from a U.S. Army web site that says the recording is in the public domain and available for any use.
First, Youtube flagged my video saying that Sony Music had a copyright objection to my video. I contested their copyright claim and thankfully, Sony Music promptly agreed with me and let me continue to use the video.
But then another company that specializes in rights management issues made a claim, without saying even what it was claiming. I tracked down their company, their web site, and their formal process for contesting their copyright claim. I filled out all the forms, noting the only music is that of the US Army’s performance of Taps, a song written in 1862 for which this publisher did not have a copyright – but this company never even bothered to reply. To this day, that video remains banned in Germany even though it does not have any copyrighted material in it.
This is troubling since various law and treaty proposals (not yet passed) would give ultimate take down authority to rights holders to accuse anyone of copyright violation and with out any due process, your work could be taken down, and there is no recourse nor penalties for false accusations. And this is pretty much what exists on Youtube today.
The following video was recorded using an XH-A1 and two on camera mounted long shot gun AT-835b microphones. This was not an ideal way to mount the microphones but it definitely performed “good enough”. When the camera and mics are a long ways from the field, there is not as much stereo channel separation as you might expect.
But the stereo mics add a depth to the sound that was missing when using a single shot gun mic. Why use a shot gun mic? The shot gun mic definitely records higher quality audio than the on camera mic and helps to reduce crowd noise.
The following is the performance of the Mt. Spokane High School Wildcats Marching Band at the 2011 Puget Sound Festival of Bands in Everett, Wa. MSHS band performed an original composition and this is posted on Youtube at the request of and with the permission of the band director.
Here is a photo of my set up for the recording. The two shot gun mics are above the camera. Output from the HDV camera is sent over a long Firewire cable to a Mac notebook computer, where the video stream is recorded direct to disk using QuickTime Pro. By recording direct to disk, the videos are immediately ready for conversion to MPEG4 without any time spent on import.
Guide to 3D and Drones
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