Recording live rock/metal band

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by Rav33n, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. Rav33n

    Rav33n Guest

    extreme Noob needing advice. I need to record video and audio of a live rock/metal band performance.

    We have two camcorders and a laptop.

    What I want to know is, do you'll recommend taking an out from the mixer to the camcorder... or recording via the laptop.

    If you recommend camcorder, would like to know what equipment is needed to avoid busting the cam, since we already have ruined a camcorders sound by plugging in sound from a mixer direct.

    If laptop, any equipment and software that you'll recommend. The laptop has a line in

    try using explanations a noob will understand :p Thanks in advance! :)
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Ok. I'm pretty green with AV but this is my take. Please apply ample salt. I would record to laptop or other media capable of multitracking using a smpte mtc time code generator on one track. Once the video is edited generate new smpte for the edited video and sync the audio to video. I'm sure someone will come along soon and correct me and add a more logical solution.
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    Well, you CAN record the output of the mixer into the camcorder, BUT...
    You have to be VERY careful of the level you are sending from the mixer to the recorder! It is super-easy to overload the sensitive mic input stage of those camcorders, which results in a very nasty distortion. I have, incredibly, actually witnessed some halfway-decent live recordings done with a cam-mounted mic. I heard one with a nice Sony mic on a centrally-placed tripod-mounted camcorder. Anyway, do these camcorders have SMPTE?
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    OK, since I have ample experience doing what you want to do, I have a couple of suggestions.

    Unless your camcorder is like the Canon XL 1, which allows external line inputs on RCA connectors while the camera is operating, whereas most other consumer oriented camcorders that allow external audio input also frequently require an external video input simultaneously, I recommend against plugging anything from the mixing board into a camcorder 1/8" microphone input! That input has DC voltage generally on it and most PA boards don't offer a microphone level output much less any capabilities of blocking the DC voltage, so it's bad all-around.

    If you record directly into your laptop the other disadvantage will be, you will be recording at either 44.1kHz or 48kHz for DVD release, which is not exactly the sampling frequencies that video uses. You'll have much trouble trying to keep audio and video in sync that way. Video is based on 29.97 frames per second NTSC American Standard (erroneously referred to as 30 FPS which it was in black-and-white days). Therefore your 44.1kHz/48kHz is not exactly correct, albeit for a music video still doable.

    As the other poster indicated the need to use time code, this is not absolutely necessary either as all of the systems, camcorders, computers all have their own inherent/internal clocks with their own type of time code, which are based on quartz accuracy oscillators. It is more important if you're doing a longform production such as a documentary.

    Once you get picture and audio synchronized, they will generally hold for a while. If you are utilizing a PC and something like Adobe Premiere, you can get within 1 frame accuracy and generally it will hold sync for at least, anywhere from a few minutes to hours, which is more than adequate for a music video! This is also where a stand alone DVD recorder with a fixed camera for a wide shot and video reference source works much better. This way, the frame rates and sample frequencies will match much closer. Utilizing a program like Sony's Vegas 6, you can directly import the DVD, otherwise, with Adobe Premiere, you'll probably have to use another application to rip the DVD and convert the VOB files to AVI, MPEG or QuickTime. Then with your FireWire connection, you can ingest/digitize your other camcorder(s) (unless they are analog camcorders where you will need another converter) and have anywhere from a 2 to 3 camera shoot.

    These days there are numerous low-cost DVD recorders available. My Sony cost me almost $400! My CyberHome DVR1600 from Circuit City cost me $80 on sale (now $120 not on sale)!!! (This is not an advertisement for Circuit City, just something I stumbled upon one day and scarfed one up for my bedroom)

    A lot of folks love the Sony Vegas program because it's great for audio, CD mastering and video editing, etc. I still like and use Adobe Premiere 6.5 and now Premier Pro 1.5 for much of my video editing but find myself frequently exporting audio so that I can do more effective post on it because in that respect Premier sucks (that's why Adobe purchased Cool Edit and turned into Audition). Then you will want to export your production to MPEG 2 for use in a DVD authoring application such as Sony's DVD architect, Adobe Encore, etc..

    Hey look at chicken!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
    Jason McCulloch likes this.
  5. o2x

    o2x Active Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    What Camcorders are they?

    If they are half decent you shouldn't have any problems with a feed from the desk - although as Moonbaby states, you must be careful not to overload the camcorder. And for god sakes don't feed the outs from a powered mixer in there.

    I don't understand Remy's correlation with frame rate and sampling rate. 48k has been the standard for audio for video for a long time now. Besides this is only an issue if either sampling rate and/or frame rate is changed in editing. This is where things will go wrong. Most good video editing programs (and audio editors) will allow you to customise your input to your source material ie NTSC/48k or NTSC/32k whatever?

    If you record to a laptop with no timecode, you may have problems with sync. It may stay locked for hours as Remy states, but your sync might only last 2 mins - not good for a rock concert and will cause you major headaches.

    Why not do both, you have two camcorders? Or why not even get a couple of HUUUUGE mic stands and some good quality condensers and place them as overheads slightly in front of the stage. If your camcorder has stereo ins then your sorted. Although don't forget that only use 1 source for the sound. If you do record into a camcorder the other one is just there to record picture - the sound is recorded on cam 2, but just serves as a means to sync.
  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    Many PA boards do offer a mono-summed output that can be switched to a -50dBm mic level (from +4), and there is also the inline attenuator route. But I was not aware of the presence of DC (do you mean they have phantom?)... Last week I saw/heard a camcordered Christian rock video and the videographer used one of those new Rode mics mounted on the tripod/camcorder. The PA was good, and the guy watched his levels into the camcorder, so the end result was very decent. It made a great demo,even. Certainly no slick production, but if what you're after is a good representation of a live performance, it might be the simplest way to get it down.
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    What I am saying is that sample rate for audio with video uses 44.056kHz and for the other 47.098kHz if memory is serving me correctly. These inconsistencies in sample rates are due to the NTSC standards of how color is processed and directly affects audio sample rate. It is often erroneously referred to as 44.1 and 48, close but no cigar.

    In a pinch and before using my recently purchased Sony DVD recorder, I would use a reasonable VHS hi-fi machine, with a fixed wide shot camera and taking a feed from the stereo out of the PA Board. Also make sure all of your camcorders microphones are running as you will need them for the synchronization source. In this kind of video we don't go by frame rates or time code, we go by the sound of the song. You'll know when things are in sync and you can also use the other 1 or 2 camcorders soundtracks to augment and fill-in some natural ambience along with the Board audio. A nice effective method. But understand, you will not be able to get them any closer than 1 frame which is 1 30th of a second, which could give you some bad delay slap. There are other methods of dealing with that in that you can remove or add the few extra samples of silence and then re-import back to your time line.

    The issue with DC voltage is the Jack for the microphone on the camcorder, designed to power the electret condenser microphones found on most camcorders. If you don't have a line level input, general rule of some would-be to use an in-line pad.

    You also want to make sure that your 1 or 2 other camcorders that are handheld, tripod mounted turn on at the beginning and are not turned off until the end. Stopping And starting your other camcorders will make life rather difficult when trying to synchronize everything. Then in your timeline, you can unlink the audio from the video, once synchronized and then start shopping out chunks of video to switch between cameras being careful not to slide the video within the timeline which would break synchronization. If you have the ability to turn on all thumbnails in your timelines do it. It's not as great as having multi-monitor playback but you'll definitely see all the picture/frames with greater detail as you zoom in time. You will then see all of your cameras simultaneously. You'll know where you want to cut and/or dissolve from one to the other.

    If you have further questions, don't hesitate to send me an e-mail to

    Roll camera!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  8. o2x

    o2x Active Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    Oooo well spotted (I always forget about NTSC and its oddball sampling rates)

    These figures are the pulldown rates (-0.1%) commonly used when film is tranferred to NTSC (it is different for PAL) and the difference between the 30fps b&w and 29.97 colour versions of NTSC (early Sony PCM recorders used the odd sample rate to avoid pulldown in transfer).

    I don't think this would be a problem as the software (Video or Audio) will automatically perform the pullup/pulldown anyway. It will only be a problem if you try to sync two sources with different clock rates i.e. 48k source to NTSC signal.
  9. SME

    SME Guest

    Sample rate for recorded audio for video IS 48K, always has been.

    HD video is a different story, were assuming they are using NTSC video camcorder.

    Sample rate for 24fps FILM would be recorded with a pull up of 48.048K, for instance on a DA88 at 30f sync.
    When the film is telecined, it is pulled down .1% to video speed, thus the DA88 would be then sync'd to 29.97 reference pulling the audio down to 48K for digital transfer.

    Been doing sound for video since 1989!!!
  10. SME

    SME Guest

    A relatively inexpensive way would be to use a Digidesign MBox or 002Rack
    feed the camera video output to the SPDIF input of these boxes, set Protools, or whatever program through the Digi coreaudio driver, to SPDIF sync, record at 48K. The video from the running camera will feed a proper sync signal.
    Getting the audio to lock back to picture without timecode for positional reference is another chapter.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Well, you can think what you want, I have been doing audio for television as long as you and we all call it 48kHz but it cannot be because of the NTSC color subcarrier and the associated frame rate of 29.97 frames per second. It is actually 47.997kilohertz sampling whether you realize it or not.

    Living in the land of TV
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  12. SME

    SME Guest

    Good thing you're not working for me!!!

    Do your homework:
  13. Rav33n

    Rav33n Guest

    wrote a long reply, browser crashed.. so ill summarise what I tried to say..

    1) I figure i need a beginners guide on how to get sound off the mixer/PA/deck (assuming all three refer to the board that handles all the mics and instruments) to the camcorder, without distortion. I read somewhere about a compressor or limiter? what say you'll?

    2) BUying a DVD recorder is unfortunately out of the question

    3) I have no mics to work with, so itll have to be an out from mixer to either laptop or cam

    4) I'll most probably record on laptop AND camcorder, just as backup. i get only one chance after all!

    5) This performance will probably be more than 2 hours long, so IM guessing timecode will be necesarry -
    6) didnt get much about the whole NTSC framerate and audip capture problems... what do i do to avoid sync probs?

    - understood, will do.

    does this mean i won't have sync probs?

    Panasonic NV-DS65
    Sony DCR HC20E

    I might take you up on that offer... :)
  14. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    OK, if you don't have the money for a cheap DVD recorder, you don't have the money to work with time code. If you do not have money for the previous two items, forget about the compressor/limiter. You can do that in software if you're recording levels are reasonable.

    Take a stereo line level output from the PA mixer to the line input on your laptop. Mackie mixers generally have a pair of RCA outputs for recording purposes which are low level line sources and not as hot as the XLR +4 DB studio feeds. Avoid those if possible when you are plugging into low level consumer line inputs. If all your laptop has is a microphone input, you're basically screwed, it will be horrendously overloaded! You would need a line to microphone level adapter. I'm not even sure if Radio Shaft has those in doubt whether you're music store will have anything like that. If you have no way to take a line level signal, use a VHS hi-fi video recorder instead. You will need to give it some kind of video source input however as most analog video recorders will not function properly without the clocking from the video source.

    To make things easier to sync up in your nonlinear video editing software, once you start your camcorders, only stop them to change tapes. Do not start and stop them with each and every song as it will make synchronization that much more difficult to do. If the show is 2 hours long I'm sure the band will take some kind of a break and it is at that point that you would stop the camcorders and change tapes.

    Because none of your recording equipment is locked to each other, synchronization achieved at the beginning, may drift. It may require you to resynchronize periodically your camcorder footage rule out your editing process. If you are editing video on a clone PC, it works best if you're using Windows XP Pro or Windows 2000 Pro and the NTFS file system. If you are using Macintosh or Windows 98, those file systems only allow from 2 to 4GB which is no more than 9 minutes at full resolution and really makes ingest into the computer a drag unless your software automatically rolls over to new files at each 2 or 4GB brick wall or, with NTFS and 2000 Pro or XP Pro, you can capture for hours to an almost unlimited size file. I like working that way and that is why I continue to use Adobe Premiere with Windows XP Pro NTFS in what is sometimes referred to as open DML .

    You may get lucky if the mixture has a microphone level output and you're plugging into a microphone level input.

    So good luck and let me know how it turns out. Drop a line to me if you need any further help?

    Keep your other eye open when you're dancing with your camcorder so as not to bash into other people.

    Dumpster diver
    Ms. Remy Ann David
    yes I know that's not very ladylike
  15. Rav33n

    Rav33n Guest

    alright! thanks loads...

    will be getting a chance to practice twice before the big event, so will let you know how they go.

  16. Rav33n

    Rav33n Guest

    So we had a go at recording sound, and things went pretty well. Had two laptops, one with a line in and one wit only a mic input, as backup.

    I haven't had a chance to check the line in laptop recording yet, but the mic in recording sounds decent - a bit bassy in parts but mostly ok.

    A few questions....

    1) In the recording, all the instruments are heard fine, but vocals are really faint. Since the mixer is not controlled by me and wont be changed even if requested... how do I get a decent voice recording?

    What I was thinking I could do is, buy/hire a 4 channel mixer or something similar and get outputs from the main house mixer for each instrument/mic onstage and plug into the channels in the 4 channel mixer. and give an output from the 4 channel mixer to the laptop. This way if the vocals are lacking i can easily increase volume using my mixer. What do you'll think?

    2) I used Audacity on both laptops to record sound. Audacity shows the oscilloscope type graph as sound is recorded... so I'm thinking having only the bass drum beat reach the limits of the graph is good - what I want to know is a general picture of how the sound recordings should look with decent volume and no distortion.

    For those who got lost in my explanation, this is what im talking about ->

  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Now you're getting into the complexities of live music mix for video. When I do live music recording for video, I use an onstage transformer isolated splitter and run multitrack and a live 2 track reference. For instance, I did that for the live Yolanda Adams in Washington DC recording that was going to be released both on CD and for video. I supply them with the multitrack tapes which they remixed for the CDs but like my live 2 track referents mix on the video enough that they released the video with my mix. I usually hate and output from the PA boards as it's never really adequate for video. If you can take a multitrack feed off of the PA board, you might see if you can use the subgroups so that you have a subgroup for vocals. A subgroup for percussion. A subgroup for the other instruments. Then you would be cooking with gas! You may also want to try to use the live audio coming off of your other camcorders and mixing that with the PA mix? I always use the audio from the camcorders to synchronize my video together. I find I like taking some of the camcorders audio and gives you a more live feel. You might find more vocals on the camcorders??

    Not dropping frames
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  18. Rav33n

    Rav33n Guest

    hmm, got a little lost there. mind explaining again for the layman :)?

    ok im gonna take a stab at understanding this - there will be two mixers... main house mixer and a smaller 4-6 channel mixer for myself. multiple channels/tracks (all drum pickups etc) from the main mixer are output to one channel in the smaller mixer.. etc. then from the smaller mixer, one main out is given to the laptop line in.

    Yes, will have to do that. the camcorder audio is pretty decent and can be mixed in.


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