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How do I record videos with decent sound?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Unregistered, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Hey guys, I'm hoping you can answer a question that I've had for a long time.

    I play the violin, and I like video recording myself; it helps me correct my posture and I can critique my sound. However, I only have a midrange camera and the sound quality is less than desirable. So what's the best way to take video and also have good sound? Do I need to use a separate method of recording, such as with a microphone, and then sync the audio to the video? If you guys could help me out I'd be extremely grateful.
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Moderator Resource Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Does your "midrange camera" have an input for an external mic? Lots of cameras have a 1/8" TRS mic in that would enable you get a good mic (or two) and an interface that plugs directly into your camera. Also, syncing audio and video on anything less than professional grade (SMPTE timecode driven) cameras with a separate audio recorder is a lot more challenging than most people would ever believe.

    Make/model of camera?

    Do you have any audio gear to work with, or work around as the case may be?
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    I would be tempted to use something like a Rode NT4 microphone on a separate stand for this. The NT4 can be powered from an internal battery and comes with a minijack cable for connection to things like domestic-standard video cameras. You would need to experiment with not only microphone position in relation to you as a player but also to find a place within your recording room to give you an acceptable sound without excessive reflections off the floor, walls and ceiling.

    Be aware that the audio inputs of most cameras at this level use automatic gain control as standard. See if you can disable this, as it is not what you want for classical music recording.
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I bought a Rode Stereo Videomic for my consumer video camera and it helped the audio immensely. The NT4 the Boswell suggests is a much better all around mic, but the videomic will mount on many cameras, so you don't need an extra stand. If it is exclusively for video the videomic might be a better choice.
  5. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Standing right behind you!
    Almost anything is better than on-camera sound. I'm a degreed film maker with several films to my credit. No, you haven't heard of any of them. LOL!

    If your camera has a mic input, then get a stereo mic for it. I've used a Sony stereo mic for choral concerts and gotten wonderful sound. But, I was in a good theater, too.

    OTOH, if you have something like an SM57, get an adapter and plug in the mic input.

    Is your camera missing a mic input? Well, shucks. Is it a digital camera? And do you have a digital sound recorder or DAW? If so, then for single songs, syncing them up isn't too much of a hassle. You need to make a signal at the beginning to sync both with. That's what "clappers" are for. You SEE the clapper hit and you HEAR the sound it makes, and sync them both. That system was used in Hollywood for decades without any "real" sync ability. With all things being digital, there won't be too much "drift" to throw things off. Do each song separately and edit them together later.
  6. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    First of all, I forgot I was talking to the pros so midrange is exaggerating. I guess low low range would be more appropriate. I have one of these: Amazon.com: Sony DCR-DVD650 DVD Camcorder: Camera & Photo
    So no line in for a mic or anything like that.

    It looks like it might be too hard to get good audio+video, and I can settle for just audio.

    The only equipment I have worth mentioning is a high end gaming laptop with usb ports and audio in/out.

    Aaaaand my budget is only about $100. Yeah, I'm not looking for professional grade audio, just something I could upload to youtube without being embarrassed.

    I was thinking of just buying a cheap condenser mic but then realized that I don't have anything to plug it into for recording. I was thinking of buying a usb mic, like this one: Nady USB-1C USB Condenser Microphone and more Condenser Microphones at GuitarCenter.com.

    Bad idea?
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Moderator Resource Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    I have a feeling that by the time you get the camera to a distance that frames the shot he wants, he's too far away to get an intimate violin sound. We've found one of the challenges in getting a violin sound that a violinist likes on tape (or 1's & 0's) is finding something that approximates the sound as they hear it with their ear just inches from the body and bow. (without completely giving up the perspective of the audience / observer)

    If the OP isn't afraid to spend $500, the NT4 would be an excellent suggestion, for the reasons Boswell has given. Above average sound, decent stereo image, built-in battery capability, and stereo mini plug cable included means no additional interface is needed to record straight to 90% of cameras. And Boswell rightly recommends disabling the ALC/AGC settings - that's extremely important, if we ever hear back from the OP.

    [Sorry, got sidetracked for a while before I could finish and I missed your reply until mine posted. I see the Rode is out of budget and your camera doesn't have an input] - $100 is going to be a tall order, even for just audio.

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