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Suggestions for mixing AV sound


I’m a sound engineer (volunteer) for a church.  We have a Mackie SR32-4 VLZ PRO board.  We have a miniDV camera that we record the services on for over-the-air broadcasts from a local TV station.  Our current setup (NOT engineered by myself) involves taking two aux sends (I assume they were attempting a stereo feed) and sending them to some sort of matching box that then inputs directly into the camera.  All the channels are preset to a specific level on those two aux sends and a mark on the two send’s master knobs is the supposed sweet spot for the camera.  While this may work for the sermon part of the service, worship and other portions sound horrible because there is no active mixing of those sends.

My thoughts are to come off one of the sub mixes or even the main mix and feed the camera sound.  I’m looking for some suggestions that are going to provide a good, consistent, representation of what is actually being mixed by the sound board.  If requires additional hardware to do it right, I’m all ears.  

StJohn Gill II:
Anything straight off the desk is not goign to give you an accurate representation of what is going on in the room - especially if it is a small room. In most rooms, but especially smaller rooms, what the congregation is hearing a mixture of noise from the stage plus what you add to it - if you record right off the desk all you are hearing is what you are adding to the mix - fine for sermons, terrible for music.

I would suggest getting a couple of good condensors , maybe hung/mounted from the roof into a 3-way balun (i assume this is what you mean by matching box - mic inputs with level control and a mini-jack output to the camera?) along with a feed from the mix.

if you get a balun with headphone capablities, get the person operating the camera to listen in and adjust the mix of desk vs room until it is just right - you might want to gt them started during sound check. If you use this method i would also suggest that during the sermon you turn off the room mics so that you get clean vocals from the desk.

if you want consistant sound you might want to mix it loud at the balun and find a way of putting in a compressor whcih mixes it back down to anacceptable level - that way when you go from music (which would be heavily compressed) to just vocals (only slightly compressed) the overall volume would be comprable and not significantly quieter.

This is only theory/thought from a guy who works on both video and audio in the pro and church arenas - i haven't actually tried it, so if you can borrow the gear, give it a go before you invest.

Rob Warren:
Why not actively mix them?
Use some headphones and monitor the mix on those aux feeds.
Other thing would be to make sure the aux sends are post fader.
This will allow you to use the fader mix as a start and then just
use the aux knobs to enhance and compensate for the room.
i.e. if your drums are loud in the room and you have the faders down
more because of it then obviously on those channels you will turn up
the aux knob to boost the signal going to tape.  

It won't be perfect but it would be better.

Rob's suggestion is exactly how we record the service (mono though, we only use Aux. 6, post fade, from our Mackie SR32-4). If you look at our Aux 6 row you would see drums "up", a few instruments that aren't using "in ear monitors" down etc.

I check the Aux 6 mix periodically through the service with a good set of headphones and tweak as needed. We record services to a VCR for video and an Alesis MasterLink for audio.

Once you get a good mix dialed in, there aren't many changes through the service.

Roy Richards:
We use Aux 6 to a mono record feed as well, Post Fader. Your post is exactly right. Once you figure out which channels need a boost, it is fairly simple after that.


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