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  1. Member
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    Feb 2017
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    Hi all,
    I have a half decent all be it old video camera that gives decent images, the sound though is lousy. Annoyingly it has no way to plug in a mic.
    I'm making a series of short work related films, all quite basic. Mainly they involve people sitting at a table talking. I've decided to try and record the audio separately and try to sync this to the picture. I have the software to do it and have been told it's fiddly but not too hard.
    I'm after an audio recorder and a microphone to plug into it. Originally I was thinking I could use my iphone as a recorder but from what I've read online this doesn't seem possible.
    Could anyone recommend a mic that will pick up 3 or 4 people sitting at a table and a method to record?
    I'm hoping to keep things as cheap as possible but have no idea how much these sort of things cost.
    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thanks, Ed
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  2. Syncing remote audio to a video track is really quite simple - especially after you have tried it once or twice!
    Make sure you have a good audio 'clapperboard' sound at the start of the recording - one that clearly records a 'sharp' sound onto all audio tracks (i.e the video camera audio as well as your new remotely recorded audio tracks). try and let the camera and recorders continue to run, and create a single unedited take if that's possible

    Then extract the audio from the video (you can use free programs like Pazera to do that) and then replace the whole video audio track with your new audio - in an audio editor - before you edit the video...... That way you'll only need a single 'reference' point.

    Trying to get good dialogue recording of several several people sat round a table using one microphone can be a bit of a challenge.... in high background noise or 'echoey' room situation you'll find it hard to get good results, using that approach.

    You may have noticed that whenever you see this type of set up on TV, each speaker will be wearing their own tie clip (lavalier) mic on their lapel (or tie!). That technique follows the golden rule of good dialogue recording -- getting a mic close to each source of speech..

    To do that on a budget, I would buy...

    4 of these mics:

    2 of these recorders:

    and 2 of these splitter cables:

    That would give you 4 independent 'close miked' audio channels for around 120 in total.

    As those recorders come with an integral mono omni directional microphone, you could first buy one on its own - (and maybe one tie clip mic?) -- and check out just how much difference you find between 'close miking' using the tie clip - and 'table top' miking using the recorder on its own.

    If you prefer the tie clip approach, buy the rest of the kit ... if not, the omni directional mic in the cheap recorder should do what you need. (The internal mics on those recorders aren't too bad.)

    To give you an idea on the kind of quality you might expect from one of these units, I've attached a couple of short audio clips - recorded simultaneously.

    One recording made with a high quality Sony M10 PCM recorder, fitted with a Shure SM58 mic (probably the most famous mic in the world!).

    And simultaneously, a second copy made with a Sony ICDPX333 and a tie clip type electret capsule . (Almost identical to the mic capsule fitted in the tie clip mic I've suggested above).

    Obviously the M10/SM58 recording is better, but the cheaper mic and recorder give a pretty good account of themselves, I think?.....
    Image Attached Files
    Last edited by pippas; 9th Feb 2017 at 03:06. Reason: typos
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  3. Member
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    Feb 2017
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    Hi Pippas,
    Thank you so much for you advice. You've been amazing and given me far more than I was expecting. Really kind of you to take the time to write that out.
    I was considering using lavalier mics but thought it would be too expensive but the mics you have suggested would be perfect.
    I will definitely go for a couple of those for myself and the main person I am talking too.
    Here's a couple of videos I have had shot previously to give an example of what I am doing:
    These were shot professionally but I am now looking to shoot a few cheaper videos by myself.
    So the lavalier mics would be perfect for myself and who ever I am talking to. I would though like to pick up sound from everyone else at the table (hopefully applause etc) which may just be a couple of people or it may be up to 10 people. This is why I was thinking of using one overall mic to pick up the general sound from everyone else at the table.
    Would this work?
    If so what mic would be best?
    Thanks, Ed
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  4. To do what you want you are really going to need at least 3 audio channels - ideally 4. The Sony ICDPX333 recorder I linked to has a single internal mono microphone, but is in fact a stereo recorder - it has 2 independent audio channels.

    By connecting 2 microphones to the recorder using the splitter cable I suggested, you will get 2 separate mono mic channels.. which are ideal for dialogue. (You really don't need stereo recordings for speech).

    You might prefer to make a stereo recording for your ambient channels (background sounds, applause etc)? Again you could try out the tie clip mics I suggested as ambient mics as well?.... They are omnidirectional so should perform well for that task.

    By using the same kit I suggested above, you would have one recorder fitted with 2 tie clip mics - so that each speaker is 'close miked'...

    The second recorder could also be fitted with 2 similar mics - although in this case they would probably be mounted in the centre of the group. (You'd probably need to find something suitable to attached the mic clips to on the table?).

    Alternatively, you could buy a cheapish stereo table top mike just for ambient. Something like this perhaps?... (I've not actually tried that model myself)

    The idea of using additional tie clip(s) for 'ambient' is both cheap - and would give you he chance to check out whether it works well enough by using the mics bought for your first recorder, to check the ambient recording idea as well.

    What is pretty certain is that using a table top mic for recording everything will not produce speech results like the video clips you linked to.....You do need to 'close mic' for that 'intimate' effect.

    OK, you might ask.... why not just buy a cheap audio mixer, and record all the mics to a single stereo recorder?

    2 reasons....

    Electret tie clip mics need a small DC voltage applied to them - known as 'plug in power' (PIP). This is provided automatically from the mic inputs on the recorders, but is rare on cheap mic mixers.... So you'd need to use either dynamic tie clip mics (quite rare) or separate battery boxes for each mic (a pain).

    Secondly, by using 2 recorders - and the camera audio - all 'synced' by a clapperboard reference will give you 5 independent audio channels to mix after the event in an audio editor. So you could adjust all the relative mic levels, at your leisure, as part of your editing.

    That is 2 x close miked principle speakers - a stereo ambient recording - and a reference video camera audio track (which of course you would set to 'zero' level in the final mix).

    Using this approach means you could buy a single recorder - and 2 tie clip mics - to try everything out, before you decide whether to go for the second recorder and addition cheap tie clip mics - or a stereo tabletop mic for your separate ambient recordings....
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  5. Member
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    Thanks again. You have been amazing. I've ordered a recorder and a couple of the tie clips and will see what happens.
    I'll update on how it works out.
    Thanks so much.
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