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Audio is one the most important but least appreciated aspects of filmmaking. Your audience will notice if you don't put the same care and attention you pay to your visuals into your audio. In this how-to course, Anthony Q. Artis walks through many of the most common audio recording scenarios. Think of it like an audio "cookbook" with step-by-step
recipes for situations like conference panels, stage shows, and narrative dialog scenes. Anthony also shows you how to set up mixers, wireless mics, and booms, and make sure your camera is correctly set up to capture audio. He wraps up with troubleshooting tips covering a range of issues, from wind noise to echoes, and shows how to fix the problems you can't solve on set in post production.
Now when you're recording a live musical event, the first thing that's very important that you do is show up early. Make sure you get set up, hook up all of your equipment. A big concern with these type of events are buzzes and hums, weird audio things, your line levels may not match. If there's going to be a problem when you're shooting an event chances are, 80% are greater as far as I am concerned, that it's going to be an audio problem. So you don't want to show up 10 minutes before a show and hook everything up only to discover that you have a crazy buzz or something else going on that you can't correct, so that's the first thing.
Engineer just showed up, the musical guy setting up inside, and we went to go plug in and we discovered, for whatever reason, the signal coming out is not working properly going into our camera, so we're getting a lot of buzz. The only thing he's got out is a little quarter inch to XLR and it's not really working for us. So we're going to have to improvise, and now we're going to go ahead and mic the speakers and we're going to use a shotgun mic on the camera. So between the two of them we should still be able to get good audio before this event starts. When the band is rehearsing I want to be all set up.
While they're rehearsing I'm setting my levels. One thing to keep in mind about rehearsals and live events is that bands, just like actors, often tend to rehearse at this level and perform at that level. So, during rehearsal you're roughing them out, and when they do that first number, that's when you're going to keep a careful eye on your levels. But once you've done that, pretty much the main thing you're looking out for during the performance is making sure that your audio doesn't over modulate or get too loud, rumbly and distorted. This is a particular problem, because when you're shooting live music there are speakers, the venue's really loud, so even though I have my professional over the ear head phones, it's often very difficult to tell the audio quality coming through the headphones versus all the loud audio that's spilling in through the headphones.
So it's very important that you also watch the levels on your camera at all times. If your camera or mixer that you're using has a limiter, I highly recommend that you use it because it's going to help prevent your audio from over-modulating when you're recording these events. Other than that, the only other practical thing to look out for, is make sure you're not too close to people that might be yelling things that might be picked up on your microphone or anything like that. And make sure people don't bump your camera and pick up other camera noise. But beyond that, if you just keep a careful eye on your levels, you should be able to get a good, clean, audio performance of any musical stage act.
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