Connecting a Digital8 Cam to bar's sound board

Discussion in 'Pro Audio' started by muzician21, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. muzician21

    muzician21 Guest

    I may be video taping a friend's performance at a local country bar.
    Since it's a typical noisy cowboy/cowgirl type of place, we're thinking
    we should hook up my camcorder to the house sound board.

    Using a Sony Digital8 Camcorder, has an 1/8" mic-in jack, though I've
    never used it. Since the camera has onboard mics that record stereo, I
    assume the jack to be stereo as well. It also has one of these 3 into 1
    jacks on the side for analog audio and video input, but I'm guessing is
    strictly for use in VCR mode, and won't accept sound input in camcorder
    mode. Will fiddle with it further to confirm this.

    Going on the premise I'd be using the mic-in jack for taking external
    sound input, what issues do I need to be conscious of? Do these boards
    typically have some kind of auxilliary stereo output that can be routed
    out to something like this? I'm got penty of patch cords and size
    adapters since I assume the stuff on the board will be 1/4", but I'm
    concerned about impedance/compatibility issues with the in-house board,
    certainly don't want to fry my cam.

    Is it likely this consumer cam will accept input from this board as is,
    or might I need something between them? If more info is needed, I
    imagine I could find out the specifics of the board they have. I've got
    some time before this friend's gig there.

    This cam has no level meter, the sound is auto level, so I'd have to do
    some trial/error tape and playback while something is going on to make
    sure the levels aren't being overloaded. It has a headphone jack also,
    so maybe I could use that for level monitoring. Haven't used it yet.

    Thanks for all input.
     
    muzician21, Mar 10, 2006
    #1
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  2. muzician21

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Don't use it. Those things have AVC that cannot be disabled, and the
    inputs are unbalanced, have plug-in-power and are incredibly flaky.
    Go double-system.
    The board will have an XLR balanced output. If you absolutely HAVE to
    use the shitty camera audio, you will want to run it through an isolation
    transformer and then a DC blocking cap to get rid of the plug-in power.
    You will also need to pad it down a LOT, but since those cameras do not
    have trustworthy metering, it's basically a matter of cranking the pad
    down until you don't hear it clipping in the phones any more.

    Radio Shack sells a cable with a 40 dB pad and a blocking cap for just
    this application. Two RCAs on one end, 1/8" stereo jack on the other.
    Getting from the XLR to the RCAs is your job, although I would strongly,
    strongly recommend transformer isolation.

    Note also that the soundboard mix will not be balanced. It will be a
    mix of everything that _isn't_ naturally loud in the room and needs
    reinforcement. So there will be no drums in it, for instance. You can
    use an ambient mike on stage, run that to one channel, then run the PA
    to a second channel and mix the two in post. Or you can ask the PA guy
    to make you an audio-for-video mix from an aux buss. If he is busy he
    may not be willing, though.

    But really, really, you want to go double-system if there is any way.
    Yes, you NEED to be listening on the phones throughout. Not only listening
    for clipping but also for the inevitable AGC pumping. Problem is that the
    levels in most of these places is too high to do it properly with most
    phones.
    --scott
     
    Scott Dorsey, Mar 10, 2006
    #2
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  3. muzician21

    muzician21 Guest

    By "it", you mean the mic in jack?
    Yes, it's labeled "plug in power". I can't seem to put my hands on the
    manual at the moment, what is plug in power? Some kind of proprietary
    mic system?
    Can you elaborate? Translation "what does that mean.."
    Excellent info, though this is beginning to sound like a lot more of a
    PIA than I had anticipated just for making a memorabilia tape for my
    friend. Not sure what my alternative would be to avoid catching all the
    ambient house noise other than running the board directly to my cam.
    Okay, maybe sounding a little less like a PIA if there's something this
    simple out there already.
    Transformer isolation in the form of...some kind of a box that's made
    to do this?

    I happen to have a couple of mic pre's that have 1/4" line-in jacks in
    addition to XLR mic in's, I don't suppose these would be useful for
    this?
    I think he's got it on top of some pretty solid barrels that are all
    about the same height and...oh, that's not what you meant...(just
    inserting a little levity folks)
    Hmm...if something's not going to be in the outputs from the board,
    this is a problem. Just talking about having this cam on a tripod with
    whatever cords need to be run from the board, maybe with the attenuator
    or pad doohicky's your were referring to inline. I guess I'll just have
    to see how inclined toward helpfulness/knowledgeable this guy is going
    to be.

    Roger. As soon as I find out what exactly that entails. ;-)

    Thanks for the input.
     
    muzician21, Mar 10, 2006
    #3
  4. muzician21

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Or the camcorder. Go double-system. Honestly, you will not regret it.
    Yes, it's DC offset added to the signal pin on an unbalanced mike input,
    to power cheesy electret capsules. Makes for a real nightmare interfacing
    to normal electronics.
    You use a seperate recorder for the sound and the picture. You slate the
    takes so that you can synchronize the two together in post. You do not
    use the godawful sound electronics that were added to the camcorder as
    an afterthought, except perhaps as a guide track to make sure synchronization
    is correct.
    Some of the house noise is good. Some of it is bad. That's why you want
    both a board feed and an ambient house feed so you can mix the two.
    Yes. The PA guy may have 600:600 isolation boxes in the kit. Talk to
    him.
    No, the last thing you want is a mike preamp. You don't want any more
    gain! You already have 30 dB to 40 dB more gain than you want!
    Basically, everything depends on him.
    Could just involve borrowing a cheap MD recorder, running a PA mix into
    one channel and a stage ambient mike into the other. Hopefully you'd want
    something better than the cheap MD, but you take what you have.
    --scott
     
    Scott Dorsey, Mar 10, 2006
    #4
  5. muzician21

    muzician21 Guest

    Scott Dorsey wrote:

    Don't have a mini-disk, certainly not going to invest in one for this.
    With all the complications it seems like this might entail, since I
    think she's probably only doing one or two sets jeez, I might even just
    take a cassette tape deck I have with adjustable gain, run the board
    into that - shouldn't be a big trick, right? - then kludge it onto the
    video later with another deck I have that has adjustable speed, riding
    the speed adjust as it plays to match it to the video. I've done it
    before on other things with pretty decent results. As it starts to
    drift, nudge it just a hair. Once I get it matched up, the tape noise
    either wouldn't really matter or could be cleaned up simply enough with
    software and reattached with Virtualdub.

    But I'll explore the things you've mentioned. I appreciate your taking
    the time.
     
    muzician21, Mar 10, 2006
    #5
  6. muzician21

    Scott Dorsey Guest

    Cassette deck won't keep speed accurately enough... back in the seventies
    folks tried running cassettes wild and it was no fun at all. How about
    a laptop with an audio interface? Or how about asking the sound guy to
    do all the hard stuff and send you a file?
    --scott
     
    Scott Dorsey, Mar 10, 2006
    #6
  7. muzician21

    Scubajam Guest

    You have some great responses to your ?? Still, for just recording
    for a friend it seems a simple solution is best. I'd recommend

    1) have the sound board tech make a recording for you. That's by far
    the easiest. You can synch in post, if not by varying audio, use a
    program to adjust the video speed and just tweak it 1% or 3% to get
    back in synch. No one will notice such a small video speed adjustment
    in post. Sometimes better to adjust video instead of audio, just work
    in small sections, readjust total length during vocal pause so there's
    no gaps in the video.

    or

    2) I've had good luck for non critical sound working with a zoom
    shotgun mike. They make them fairly cheap (I used ebay) for the Sony.
    Point it at a speaker and leave it on shotgun, otherwise it varies the
    pattern with your zoom. Your levels are probably much too high,
    however, for even this option. There are mikes at less than $100 that
    cut out the ambient noise on the sides. Still, without a level
    adjustment capability, that's tough. Just be sure you get the mike
    connection that matches your camera. Sony has used a couple different
    shoe connectors. The Sony mikes use this instead of a cord to mic
    input.

    or

    3) Borrow a different camera. I've used 3 different Digital8 cameras,
    now shoot a Sony HD (HVR A1U) with XLR inputs. Find one with XLR
    inputs and adjust level to suit. If you can do this, have someone else
    use your Digital8 as a 2nd camera unit. Now you can get 2 angles and
    really wow her with your results!! Use tripods!

    Jim McG
    Washington State
     
    Scubajam, Mar 10, 2006
    #7
  8. If you want to sync, better use a digital audio recorder.
    You could also try to use the Digital8 camcorder as just a camera, and
    feed the video signal to a DVD recorder, together with the audio from the
    sound from the mixer. That gives a nice synced AV recording.
     
    Chel van Gennip, Mar 10, 2006
    #8
  9. muzician21

    tymish Guest

    My Suggestions if you don't want a bunch of complication and spending
    $$$.

    A) Find a spot in the room where it sounds best and put up one of those
    plug in power stereo mics connected to the camera. At least this way
    the audio won't change when you move the camera and you have some
    control.

    B) Just go with the built in mics and don't move the camera too much or
    too fast.

    Straight board mixes never sound right. You'll need an independent mix
    with a room mic added so it's easier to find a good spot in the room
    and go for it. A spot where the majority of the audio is the performace
    and room/audience noise is minimal.
     
    tymish, Mar 10, 2006
    #9
  10. muzician21

    muzician21 Guest

    I appreciate the input, but in this joint it's not like I'll have a
    bunch of options. I taped her once before and it was a chore just to
    find *any* place to park the cam/tripod, it's elbow to elbow people,
    very popular country bar. I made the mistake of putting it on a table
    which was on the dance floor, which takes up half the room. It bounced
    like crazy.

    Hopefully, I'll be able to park the cam in a centrally located spot
    near the board as a "friend of the band", even if I'm not plugged in.
     
    muzician21, Mar 11, 2006
    #10
  11. muzician21

    J. Clarke Guest

    Do you have a clamp mount of any kind? If not you might want to consider
    getting one--gives you options beyond a tripod that can be very convenient
    when floor space is at a premium. Take a look at a Bogen/Manfrodo 2929 and
    the associated 2915 Super Clamp and next time you're in the bar see if you
    can find a place where you could mount the camera using that combination
    and I think you'll be surprised at the number of options you see.
     
    J. Clarke, Mar 11, 2006
    #11
  12. muzician21

    Krazy Kanuck Guest

    Actually, I've had some success with this also using a D8 camcorder with
    auto-gain....What you have to do is run an adaptor from your mic-in jack on
    the camcorder (1/8") to the headphone out jack on the mixer board.....Make
    sure that the level for the headphones out is barely on.....ie: Very low or
    else you'll get a lot of very distorted overdriven audio.....Bring some
    closed ear headphones to listen directly from your camcorder jack to make
    sure that your sound isn't being overloaded. If you plan on doing this on a
    regular basis, you're well advised to get a Beachtek or similar XLR adapter
    box which will have various conectors, and volume controls to be able to
    handle a balanced input.
    Len

    --
    .....Order the "Accordion Evolution" documentary of the Las Vegas
    International Accordion Convention from my website:
    http://users.accesscomm.ca/limbery/
    ....Del Sur Al Norte...Regina Sk. Canada Latin and South American Folk dance
    band:
    www.DelSurAlNorte.com
     
    Krazy Kanuck, Mar 11, 2006
    #12
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