audio recording equipment for presentation - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-23-2010, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I work at a university for a small group that creates educational and public outreach materials related to space science. Every other year, in summer, we hold a teacher workshop where teachers from around the country come to learn about new activities, projects, etc. that we have created to help them teach space science.

This year we would like to video tape the presentations and make them available online for other teachers to learn from and use. The budget for recording the workshops is not much.

We will be using three Zodak Zi8 pocket camcorders for video recording. However, I still need to find a solution for audio recording.

Here are the specs I think I need:

1.) It needs to be a wireless system that supports at least two lavalier (for presenters) and two handheld microphones (for audience questions) (although I realize I probably will have to get additional mics since most systems will only come with one or two mics.) that allows simultaneous recording from each device.

2.) The "receiver" needs to have two outputs, one to go into the maind video camera (regular 1/8" inputs) and another for headphones for the audio recorder to make sure that audio is being received properly.

I searched online but I am sort of clueless in this area. I appreciate any help anyone can provide me in finding an affordable system that meets my needs.

Kamal
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-24-2010, 05:59 AM
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Since you're on a budget, I suggest ditching the wireless idea. Simply put, you can't do wireless on the cheap. Every cheap wireless system I've seen had issues with static, poor sound quality, and noise from handling the mics that is amplified into the PA system.

It's hard to get a decent wireless system for less than $3-400 - each. But you can get good-quality wired mics like the Sennheiser E822S for as cheap as $40 ea. Send them to something like the Behringer 1204 mixer, which will have all the outputs you need.

Unless you intend to use this equipment on a regular basis, it might be a better alternative to rent the gear. Check your town for a pro audio company that has a rental department, or perhaps a guitar shop that also deals in pro audio equipment. Going that route your budget might even allow you to get wireless gear.

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Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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post #3 of 9 Old 02-24-2010, 09:26 AM
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As a pro in the AV rental and staging biz, I would suggest the following.

RENT the wireless mics. There are several with excellent quality and essentially zero noise. Lavalier or hand-held. These are used almost exclusively now in broadcast. Next you will need a small mixer. Most AV rental companies carry the Shure portable mixers the flagship for small jobs like this.

These mixers are excellent, quiet and extremely simple to operate and have all the connections you will need.

This setup is one of the most common in the AV industry and has been for years.
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-25-2010, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your input. I will definitely explore the options you suggested.

Wayne, when you say it is hard to get wireless system for less than $300, do you mean just the microphones?

I might be able to get my boss to spend upto a $1000 on the system, provided I can show that I have done sufficient research on the equipment. Given a thousand dollars are there complete (mics, mixer board) systems per my spec that meet this criteria? If not, I may have to go with rental equipment, at least for this summer's workshop.

We would like to do more of recording and putting the content online with future workshops so purchasing the equipment would be preferrable. But, this coming workshop will be the experiment that either proves or disproves that we have the technical know-how and tools within our existing group to continue doing this in the future. So, I am trying to learn as much as I can and I really appreciate you all helping me in this effort.


Kamal
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-25-2010, 03:38 PM
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Quote:


We would like to do more of recording and putting the content online with future workshops so purchasing the equipment would be preferrable. But, this coming workshop will be the experiment that either proves or disproves that we have the technical know-how and tools within our existing group to continue doing this in the future.

In that case, it might be wise to rent for this summer’s gig. That way you won’t be out $1000 if it all goes south.

Quote:


Wayne, when you say it is hard to get wireless system for less than $300, do you mean just the microphones?

Typically a receiver comes with a wireless mic. You might post a query on the Pro Sound Web’s LAB Lounge. Perhaps someone can make a recommendation for a decent-quality wireless system that I’m not aware of that's more affordable. They’re pretty nice and willing to help out newbies.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-26-2010, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for all the good advice.

Kamal
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-26-2010, 11:07 AM
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2 things:

After a quick search on the camera, you will probably have best results with the 720/60 mode.

You may also want to consider a budget for some other type of editing software as the included Arcsoft software looks rather limited.

Good luck.
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-26-2010, 04:57 PM
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I know that some high schools have Audio/Video departments, where they train the students to do technical theater and broadcasting. If a near-by school has something like this, maybe you could work-out an extra credit project. One local community collage has an audio studio set-up better than many commercial studios.

Kevin
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-02-2010, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Puckhead. You are right. Based on my research on the camera the 720p/60fps mode gives best results.

The Kodak Zi8 is a very nice pocket camera. You can find video reviews of it online. If you see/read something about a high-pitched noise with the built-in mic, that issue has been resolved with a firmware update.

I made this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_Os-M-WyEc) using a Zi8 and a cheap ($30, actually this was employee discount price, I don't remember what the retail price is), wired boom microphone (don't have brand/model with me now but will post if someone asks).

The media lab here does have video editing software so I am good on that end. They just don't have the type of mics I require.

Speedskater. That is indeed a very good idea. I had in the past approached the on-campus film classes but did not have very good luck with student interest or participation probably because it was extra-unpaid work they did not want. Oh well. But local AV depts are always a good resource to look into.
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