From the Mailbag: Event Audio for Video

Sep 12, 2017

People reach out to Snap Synapse for all sorts of things all the time. We recently received a message from a former workshop attendee looking for recommendations on how to capture decent quality audio from a live event for a video recording of that event:

Thanks for the recommendation on the light kit.  Got it on Amazon and I now have 2 girls that want to do makeup videos for you tube. Now what have I done???? 😉

I've been asked to shoot some video for work and need a recommendation for a way to capture sound in an open meeting room.  We are doing a "shark tank" like presentation session in front of about 200-300 people in a conference space.  The presenters will have lapel mics to broadcast to the speakers in the room, but I don't have a way to get the sound directly off the lapel mics.  Is there a mic I can attach to my hot shoe and plug into the camera?  Thinking less than $200.  Thanks. - Don

You can ask us questions like this anytime. Chances are that, like Don, you’ll get a response like this one back within the day:

Hi Don!

Sorry we can’t help with the parental YouTube concerns, but sound we can talk about 😉 Actually, we did something just like this last week. 

The best way is to get a “feed from the board” — that is to plug an audio recorder into the output so that you’re receiving the same signal that is getting sent to the speakers in the room. Usually this will be either a pair of RCA plugs (“tape out”) or a 1/4” ones (“line out”). Though sometimes it might be XLR (“mic out”) or these days a USB. 

Point being that recording the sound of the panelists inside the room will never be as good as getting the sound of the panelists that’s being sent throughout the room. So tap into that if at all possible. It doesn’t have to be recorded onto a video device, you could even get an adapter and plug in your phone. In the last year or so, I have most often used my iPad for this. Then I can sync up the sound with the video (typically from several cameras) later. Remember that what is good for the camera is generally bad for the mic, and vise versa. Their needs are just different, especially when it comes to proximity.

That said, if all this isn’t possible for whatever reason you can just position a camera in front of or directly underneath a speaker. This is probably what you were asking about: ($150)

Point the mic at the speaker and get it physically as close as you can without the audio distorting. Also be conscious about the camera handling noise (fingers fumbling) and breathing sounds (breathe normally, just don’t breathe loudly or on the mic). And this microphone takes a 9v battery, so make sure that’s got some charge.

Hope that helps, and good luck!

All the best,  
Sam Rogers 
Snap Synapse

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