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wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

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wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby preinagel » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:01 am

What's the easiest/cheapest way to get sound from an on-stage microphone into the mic input jack of my remotely positioned video camera, without running a wire?

Context: The goal is to take my own video recordings of live performances to get demos. The venues usually have mics and a soundboard, but no tech support for recording. I don't have roadies and I can't run tech while performing, so the solution needs to be simple and hands-off. The music is solo unaccompanied vocals (folk ballads); something made for stage acting would probably work fine.

I have a decent 4K video cam I can set up on a high tripod far enough away to take in the whole stage, to get adequate video for later editing/cropping. But the on-board camera mic picks up too much noise from people closer to the camera, so the sound quality is compromised. I also have an H4N Zoom for audio, which can be on the stage; but synchronizing a video to a separate audio file is more labor intensive than I'd prefer (unless there's a great tool that makes that easy?).

My video camera has a mic input jack. Is there a cost-effective way to get audio wirelessly into my camera's mic input? Not sure if I should look for a separate wireless mic, or something that can wirelessly transmit from my H4N or the venue's sound board outputs to a receiver at the remote camera.

Thanks
PR
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby MarkPAman » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:43 am

I've got a pretty similar set of equipment.

Before you get into spending money on new kit, I'd suggest you try to record the audio on the H4N - if it's only one vocal, then a simple desk output will probably quite good, (usually it's not with loud stuff on stage) though you may want to mix it with at camera's sound a little for a bit of room sound.

Set the H4N to the same sample rate as your camera uses, and they should stay in sync for the length of a set without any problems. At the start your set do something that gives you a good sync point though - maybe just one big clap? Should only take a minute or two the sync up well with the camera's audio, then lock the tracks together & you're good to start editing.
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby Wonks » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:34 am

Any Blutooth or Wi-Fi based device will add too much delay for synchronising the sound to the video, so you'd have to do some editing of the soundtrack to move it back in synch with the video. If you are going to do that, then you might as well do as Mark suggested and use your zoom.

A VHF or UHF transmitter receiver has almost no lag, but you'll be spending a lot of money for something decent (you'll be looking at in-ear sytems but without using an earpiece) and there's always the risk that the frequencies will clash with other UHF/VHF transmitter nearby if you get one that works in the licence-free bands. Otherwise you'll need to get a license - and that's more time and hassle.
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:12 pm

Welcome! :thumbup:

It depends on your Video Editor, but many now can self-sync to audio... Mine certainly can... makes it a piece of cake.

If you want to avoid going near the audio desk... and as a soundie I took a dim view of anyone approaching me shortly before a gig with a cable and saying, 'Can I have a feed, please?'... then the simplest way is probably to put a mic splitter on the stage mic and feed one side into a wireless transmitter. NB. I mean a proper 'mic splitter' and not and XLR Y-lead. Eg:

https://www.studiospares.com/Deals/Studiospares-Red-Series/Studiospares-RED506-Microphone-Splitter_458250.htm

The RodeLink Newshooter would fit that bill.

Or you could tape a small mic onto the stage mic... but that might cause problems if you're a shouty singer... for that check out the RodeLink Filmmaker or the (recommended) Rode Wireless GO. Note that the 'GO' comes without a separate mic....
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:15 pm

preinagel wrote:but synchronizing a video to a separate audio file is more labor intensive than I'd prefer (unless there's a great tool that makes that easy?).

This is very easy in Reaper. Just drag your video onto the timeline and then drag the audio onto the track below. Zoom in to a transient near the start and move the audio until it matches the same transient on the audio from the video. Click near the transient in the audio file and press Shift-W on the keyboard which will set a stretch marker. Then go to near the end and find another transient to match up. Press Shift-W again to set a stretch marker and then move the end stretch marker so that the transients match up on the audio and video. That's it (unless one of your devices has an unstable clock which will require setting a few more stretch markers).
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby preinagel » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:27 pm

Thanks everyone. Saved me from buying stuff that would not have helped.

yes, a lesson I've already learned - never hassle the soundboard dude before a gig! Will look into a mic splitter, that looks worth having even if it's just a 2nd input to zoom. Thnx for link.

I'll do a test run w zoom and cam separate and try synching them as some of you suggest. Never occurred to me to reduce sampling on zoom to match camera, I was stuck on seeing it as a production-quality audio recorder and always use 44.1/16bit mode.

I currently only have iMovie, but buying video editing sw may be a better investment than gear. Does Reaper have decent sound editing (noise/hum reduction, eq, reverb, compression)? If not I can always do that in cubase or even audacity, but integrated would be a plus.
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:23 pm

Ok; if you're getting a mic splitter then make sure the 'direct' out goes to the sound-desk and the buffered/transformer output is connected to your gear. That means the soundie will be happy that there's isolation between your gear and his so no danger of you screwing with his mix. :)
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:58 pm

preinagel wrote:I currently only have iMovie, but buying video editing sw may be a better investment than gear. Does Reaper have decent sound editing (noise/hum reduction, eq, reverb, compression)? If not I can always do that in cubase or even audacity, but integrated would be a plus.

Reaper is a digital audio workstation that also happens to do basic video editing. So it has all the standard eq, reverb, compression and all kinds of other effects. You can do noise reduction but it is fairly basic compared to something like Izotope's RX. It handles squeezing and stretching of audio very well and offers a choice of algorithms - if one doesn't work then try the alternatives until you find the best.

I wouldn't be surprised to find that you can do a similar thing in Cubase although I don't know whether you can edit and export video in Cubase.
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby AlecSp » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:01 pm

Bearing in mind that a long cable would be really cheap, and give you the best quality signal...

Whilst no engineer will welcome anyone rocking up and asking for a feed moments before the show, the right way is to request a feed well in advance. I'd always be happy to accommodate if I knew up front - as well as being able to tell you what kind of feed I'd be giving, to ensure you would be able to take it. Come equipped with adapters, and don't be a pain if the signal isn't working for you - but it's very likely it will.

Surely that's the easiest way of getting the best feed?
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:29 pm

AlecSp wrote:Bearing in mind that a long cable would be really cheap, and give you the best quality signal...

Whilst no engineer will welcome anyone rocking up and asking for a feed moments before the show, the right way is to request a feed well in advance. I'd always be happy to accommodate if I knew up front - as well as being able to tell you what kind of feed I'd be giving, to ensure you would be able to take it. Come equipped with adapters, and don't be a pain if the signal isn't working for you - but it's very likely it will.

Surely that's the easiest way of getting the best feed?

For sure... but the O/P did say:

"What's the easiest/cheapest way to get sound from an on-stage microphone into the mic input jack of my remotely positioned video camera, without running a wire? "

... and as for asking what sort of feed they want when I was contacted in advance I'd often get a response of this precision: "Dunno, but it's a little plug with two black rings on it."
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:43 pm

But here we are in a position to educate the OP on the correct way to describe the kind of feed he needs :thumbup:
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby MOF » Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:18 pm

Never occurred to me to reduce sampling on zoom to match camera, I was stuck on seeing it as a production-quality audio recorder and always use 44.1/16bit mode.
You’re not reducing the sample rate, you’re increasing it.
iMovie should be fine for synching the separate audio.
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby MOF » Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:27 pm

I currently only have iMovie, but buying video editing sw may be a better investment than gear. Does Reaper have decent sound editing (noise/hum reduction, eq, reverb, compression)? If not I can always do that in cubase or even audacity, but integrated would be a plus.
No need to buy more software, do all your work in Cubase on the songs/verbal adlibs without editing that audio and then export it to iMovie for synching and editing.
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby AlecSp » Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:10 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:For sure... but the O/P did say:
"What's the easiest/cheapest way to get sound from an on-stage microphone into the mic input jack of my remotely positioned video camera, without running a wire? "
He did indeed, but just because someone asks for something doesn't always mean it's the best way to achieve what they actually want. I've lost count of the number of people who want the perfect, cheap, high quality wireless link, when there really is nothing to stop them using a cheap, and much better, cable. Fair enough if the cable runs are a complete pig, but that's not the impression I got.

Mike Stranks wrote:... and as for asking what sort of feed they want when I was contacted in advance I'd often get a response of this precision: "Dunno, but it's a little plug with two black rings on it."
Agreed, but that's why you have the conversation early - either to sort things out, or to allow the engineer to realise that you haven't a clue what you're talking about. Either way, value is delivered by advancing the show. :-)
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby CS70 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:11 pm

preinagel wrote: synchronizing a video to a separate audio file is more labor intensive than I'd prefer (unless there's a great tool that makes that easy?).

Hm, why do you think so? I do that all the time and it's super quick. I routinely sync 3-4 cameras and have a connected rig would make it way too complex and expensive.

If you have the camera audio of a performance and an external recording, you look for transients, align roughly (typically using the waveforms) and then zoom in near a transient and use that for fine alignment. Then you play the audios together and listen for any trace of phasing, or better yet, you mute the camera audio and you look at the video and external audio together to see how it looks (which also takes care of any delay due to the distance between the recording kit and the cameras). Takes 2 minutes max.

If you remember to clap your hands a couple times before the recording, you'll have a couple of perfect transients for alignment (that's why the clapper exists in cinema). But in normal situations there's plenty of transients to align anyways.

The only caveat is that - depending on your video workstation - you want to do that in a draft mode and without heavy effects to avoid that slow video playback trick you in thinking you are out of alignment. Generally it's the first thing to do after creating proxies and placing the clip in a track, but really it's not time consuming at all.
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby preinagel » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:12 pm

Thanks for all the ideas.

To flesh out the context first - as a performer what I would like to be doing for the hour before a show is warming up and getting into the head space of my performance in the green room, while my roadies and the local tech crew figure out all the tech. But my reality is I am usually my own roadie, carrying all the gear I'll need through airports etc, and setting it up myself right before I go on. I can do tech, but it's a different side of my brain from singing; I find that it's hard for me to concentrate on tech pre-show, either the tech or the show suffers. So my goal is to come up with a portable, simple solution that's the same every time, so it's routine for me - quick and easy enough that can set it up without even breaking my trance. Sticking a videocam on a tripod and walking away works, but the audio is poor due to bad mic placement. Improving the audio with minimal added setup-complexity or added weight/bulk to carry is the real goal.

So as the OP, here's my take away so far:

(1) "synching isn't hard" option: Just record with my zoom from onstage; bringing a *proper* mic splitter so I can feed their mic into the zoom in addition to its onboard xy mics. Record the video from the floor with camera's onboard mics. Remember to clap during sound check. Mix it later, lots of options and tips above.

(2) "wires are best" option: email the sound tech person a week in advance and ask if I could have an audio feed cable run to a spot (probably in the middle of the audience) where I can set up my camera tripod. Ask what kind of connector, so I'm sure to have the right adapter. If they can't/won't run cables or don't know what I'm talking about (some venues the "sound guy" is really just the barista), consider bringing my own cables and gaffer tape to run a wire myself, whether a feed from the board or a splitter from the mic.

(3) "wireless is a bad idea": convinced. (but thanks to those who engaged my original question)

One more question regarding matching the sampling rate of my zoom to the camera for later synching: the audio sampling rate of the camera is not stated anywhere in KHz units. It's a Panasonic HC-VX870 and the audio spec is "AVCHD: Dolby Audio (5.1ch / 2ch)" and the mic spec is "5.1ch Surround, Zoom, Focus and Stereo Microphone". Would this be 48KHz?
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby CS70 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:49 pm

preinagel wrote:It's a Panasonic HC-VX870 and the audio spec is "AVCHD: Dolby Audio (5.1ch / 2ch)" and the mic spec is "5.1ch Surround, Zoom, Focus and Stereo Microphone". Would this be 48KHz?

I use the GH4 and GH5 and they're 48KHz, I would definitely guess that's the one as it's normal for video.
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:41 am

Wireless is not a bad idea..... and it's much, much more preferable than trying to run a cable through an audience. In fact, any reputable venue will not let you do that however 'securely' it's fastened to the floor.

As a soundie and a video-guy I'd encourage you to look again at the Rode products I mentioned if you still need to get a feed direct to the camera. If you're going to record all sound 'off camera' and sync later then you won't need them.

(... and just to be clear, this is not theoretical on my part. I use wireless-to-camera frequently. Never had a problem yet. BUT you must keep to the specified range-limits, treating the stated maximum range with a degree of caution. And, of course, test before 'live' use...)
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby preinagel » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:43 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Wireless is not a bad idea..... and it's much, much more preferable than trying to run a cable through an audience. In fact, any reputable venue will not let you do that however 'securely' it's fastened to the floor.
If I'm performing there, you can be sure it's not a reputable venue.

Mike Stranks wrote:As a soundie and a video-guy I'd encourage you to look again at the Rode products I mentioned if you still need to get a feed direct to the camera. If you're going to record all sound 'off camera' and sync later then you won't need them.
Good information... I kind of missed that lead, I thought it was additional recommendations for a mic splitter. Checking out the Rode wireless now. Can you comment on the issues Wonks mentions, which had dissuaded me? Not true, or not this model, or depends on context, or ?

Wonks wrote:Any Blutooth or Wi-Fi based device will add too much delay for synchronising the sound to the video, so you'd have to do some editing of the soundtrack to move it back in synch with the video. If you are going to do that, then you might as well do as Mark suggested and use your zoom.

A VHF or UHF transmitter receiver has almost no lag, but you'll be spending a lot of money for something decent (you'll be looking at in-ear sytems but without using an earpiece) and there's always the risk that the frequencies will clash with other UHF/VHF transmitter nearby if you get one that works in the licence-free bands. Otherwise you'll need to get a license - and that's more time and hassle.

I see that the Rode is affordable, and online review/demos seem pretty good. If I were to use it for the on-camera sound it failed for some reason, I can still synch the off-camera sound later. Wireless feels much lighter to me than cables, less fuss to set up. And on-camera sound (wire or wireless) gives me an option to stream live. I just don't want to go down a route that would be plagued by unacceptable delay, signal dropping or interference issues.

Thanks again for all the pro help, everyone. I am definitely NOT a soundie. I'd prefer to hire a pro if I had that option. But this is folk music, folks. I lose money on every gig, but make it up in volume ;)
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Re: wireless mic input to video cam, on a budget?

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:12 pm

The two Rode systems are using the 2.4GHz band and that introduces some latency into the transmission chain - ie the sound is very slightly delayed en route from the transmitter input to the receiver output.

The Wireless GO has a latency of 4ms if I recall correctly and the Filmmaker is a few ms greater. I'm currently using kit of the 'Filmmaker' family and have never found it to be an issue - and nor has anyone else I know who uses it. I'm probably going to get a WirelessGo in due course as colleagues are well pleased with it. Videos I've seen using the Wireless Go show no evidence of audio lag compared to the video.

Incidentally, I came across this: a few days ago https://www.pinknoise-systems.co.uk/audio-technica-1702-system-10-camera-mount-wireless-system-b-stock.html It might be of interest. Of course, it would mean you'd then have two mics - one for FOH and one for video - which may not suite.

PinkNoise are an excellent company; I have no qualms recommending them as a supplier.

and finally... do make sure that what you're buying is legal to use in the country in which you're based. I won't bore you with a list of permissible frequencies, but come back if you need to know. Much kit available via Amazon or EBay is illegal to use in the UK.
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