$1000USD Recording Setup


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I'm looking to spend about $1000 on a portable recording setup that doesn't require a PC. It needs to be capable of capturing 2 channels, and outside that there aren't restrictions really. The intended use is for video making. I'm thinking about getting a pair of SM58s (maybe a shotgun instead?) and XLRs for them. A pair of ART Tube preamps (about $50), and a CD recorder. That comes out to about $860 off of Musicians Friend. I know there are better placed to order the equipment, I was just using them to get an estimate. Does anyone have any comments or suggestions?
What type of video? What situations? Unless it's just for people talking directly into them, the 58s are probably a very poor choice, but to know, and be able to recommend alternatives, we need a better idea of what exactly you're using them for.

Also, syncing video to a CD is going to be tough at times; you may want to consider spending more money on mics and other pre-recorder gear, and going direct into the camera, if the camera you intend to use makes that a viable option.

I don't know if it is an option with the camera. If it is I would certainly love to do that more. If that is the case a lapel or 2 may be possible. It is for a class called 'AV Edit' they have started at school this year. I'll have to find out if that is an option with that camera.

The intended use is hard to say. It could vary to about any kind of video. Perhaps a lapel and a shotgun are the best options? I understand there is no definate best for the variety of uses I am trying to get, but something that is pretty versitle would be nice.
The biggest question I have for you is what kind of camera will you be using? Typically, the more expensive the camera, the better the audio input options - both in terms of connections and circuitry. Cheaper cameras tend to offer 1/8" inputs and also have AGC (automatic gain control) circuitry, which can wreak havoc on a properly mixed audio input. Pro cameras, on the other hand, usually offer XLR (often times two) inputs, and probably won't have AGC, or will allow you to turn it off. This will be deciding factor as to how you proceed.

If you will be recording on a pro camera, I would simply send the signal directly from the preamps into the camera. You may not even need the preamps depending on the camera - some even offer +48V and a full range of gain.

If you will be recording onto a cheap camera, I would suggest taking the video from the camera and recording onto a DVD recorder or a good VCR. This will allow you to get good quality audio that is not mucked with by the camera's AGC circuitry.

With regard to mics, there are two real options that I see (unless it will be a newscast). The first is the purchase of a quality shotgun mic and the necessary boom equipment so that it can be suspended above the frame. Be sure to get a windscreen too, so that wind does not cause problems.

The second option is the purchase of a wireless mic system, preferably something equivalent or better than the Shure SLX series. Get the lapel option, and if the WL93 that it comes with is too big for your needs, invest in a smaller lapel mic that is more easily concealed. Finally, strongly consider hiding the mic in the hair so that it is not visible - it will make the video look more professional.

One thing to consider with lapel mics, however, is the possibility of phase cancellation if you have two actors face-to-face with both of their mics on. You will need to pay close attention to situations like this and if the actors get close to one another, turn off one mic. This won't be an issue of you use a mono shotgun mic.
I think you may be more onto things with a lapel and a shotgun for most documentary style work, as well as more "feature" type stuff. At a minimum, you'll want a handheld mount for it, although ideally a boom mount for it would do wonders (that gets pricier, since you really want a shock mount to avoid handling noise, and some sort of wind blocker if you're using it outdoors).

It's a bit tricky to learn good boom operating technique at first, but it's a great skill to learn if you want to work in film or video--the boom operator can make or break the sound of a shoot.

How much do they want for the cd recorder?
I bet you would do better with a local discount chain!
I second the thought on the AGC (make sure that the camera doesn't have it, or you can turn it off... this is probably one of the most important features of your camera)

The other issue that I haven't seen and yet is one of the most important purchases; is how you are going to transport all of this valuable equipment and how you are going to safely store it when not in use. A\V equipment is a prime target for bold thefts by school students, often these students are the very ones who use it the most. (I've seen this happen in multiple schools, and at every level from middle school through college)

So, after you've spend a considerable chunk of change on this equipment, how do you plan to make sure that the school's investment will be available for students to use for years to come?

Just something to consider adding to your budget!
the real question is if this setup will be stationary or be expected to move, because I would suggest that if you need to be mobile with the camera that you get a cart put the equipment on the cart get a power strip and plug everything in that and get an extension cord. Using that idea you can get a wired lav with a really long xlr cord and get a video transmitter. I've seen some good quality ones for a really cheap price.

If it stationary then just get a vcr (a hifi one at least) and plug everything into it. So from the camera plug the video into vcr video and audio (from soundboard or whatever you get) plug into vcr.
Well I've seen the camera now and I would say it does have AGC. I would do the VCR idea, but I need to be able to import it into a PC after it is filmed for editing, since this is an AV edit class. I don't think the computers have a DVD drive in them (some of the AV edit computers are 400mhz..I am curious as to how they plan on that working with Premier 6.0). I'm not sure if the computers have a capture card, if they do it would be one or two that have it. I guess that is the next thing to look into. If anyone has any ideas let me know.
external USB DVD drive?
It is a couple year old Canon geared to the consumer market. If it had XLR inputs I would be very suprised. I wouldn't expect a consumer camcorder to have XLR inputs.
Actually I know the XL1 doesn't have one. Adapters can be made so that XLR becomes RCA but it doesn't have XLR connections natively. I know as I used one once a week for about a year. Reguardless it doesn't help out too much. I'm beginning to think the best solution is to rip a CD and use a clapper board or something of the like in an attempt to line up the audio, I don't like that option however.
The XL1 is just used for IMAG at church. For most of the videos where audio is involved it is recorded separately, so it is a video camera and we really don't use for audio. I'm looking for a recording setup at school however. Sadly they don't use anything close to the GL or XL lines. I'm rather certain they have automatic gain control.
go to: http://www.beachtek.com/
for audio adaptors for the Canon cameras.
go to : http://www.trewaudio.com/
for packaged location audio for video gear (boom poles, shotguns, wireless lavs, field mixers and mixer harnesses etc...)

I personally reccomend the Sennhieser G2 wireless lavs for doc and news type interviews. For Boom work, (and generally better audio on "produced" work) I would reccomend the Sennhieser ME66 and ME64 mics with K6 power modules. The 66 is better out doors, and the 64 is better indoors.
For foley type work I would reccomend a Shure SM81.
These 4 mics will cover 90% of all Audio for video applications. If you need something extra, generaly you'll know in advance.

Hope this helps.

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