The Production Room was founded in 1995 as one of the first full time digital commercial recording facilties on the central coast of California. We started with 4 stereo tracks, 16 mb of ram and a 250 mb hard drive. A lot has happened since then. Today we're focusing on ways to serve clients who are creating web based media content. This includes strategic planning to integrate the benefits of traditional media, web design and IT solutions into new programs produced especially for on-line consumers. Join in the conversation. Throw rocks at glass houses. Share your vision of the future. This is the most progressive time in the media arts since Johannes Gutenburg invented movable type!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

La Belle Digital and Your Location Audio

Often lost in North America in the deluge of truly wonderful audio gear developed and sold by American audio brands is some truly handy gear from other parts of the world.

One fine bit of gear I picked up several years ago has become idespensable in my tool kit. The V2 VX Pocket sound card from Digigram (France) has been a lifesaver. It retails for about $400.00 US but I got mine on-line for a lot less. It's a fully equipped PC sound card that slips into a laptop PC and it allows me to plug my pro audio gear directly into my computer no matter where I am. I've found that a lot of interfaces offer overkill solutions for multitrack recording. This card fits my more simple need to plug 2 channel pro sound gear into a laptop.

We had a meeting of the Santa Barbara Indie Co-op at the Production Room to share tips on location audio with some independent film makers in SB. While we covered the basics, I wasn't able to point to some of the wonderful opportunities for capturing live audio direct to digital - and even previewing or editing on location.

With my laptop and a battery powered Behringer mixer (Germany) I can record high quality location audio with phantom powered mics directly into a digital file.

The difference between on camera mic plug-ins and consumer grade PC laptop audio cards is that the VX Pocket is configured with a "pigtail" of cords that allow you to plug inputs and outputs to and from the sound card at line level (pro) with XLR connectors directly to and from a mixer. It also allows a SPDIF digital in and out connection. This is really handy for interfacing with other digital gear.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am not a technical engineer. So audio gear that plugs together like a kids toy and delivers quality that passes muster in the main studio is my kind of gear.

When I'm on location in Canada, my studio consists of my laptop, the VXpocket Card, a Focusrite Platinum Mic Preamp, a main amp, some monitor speakers and my editing software. With that and an internet connection I have recorded audio for film, a PBS Documentary, broadcast TV and Radio Commercials, and on-line media.

For just a few dollars more than it takes to plug a location mic into a camera, Indie film makers can track high quality location audio into battery powered remote gear and get better sound to work with in post production. And you can even do some of your pre-production on location, which will save you time and money. Synching to picture could be an issue for some but by using 48k .AIFF files, you should be able to strip in the audio in Final Cut without too much trouble. Let me know your thoughts about that...

Please share your location audio problems and let us us help you with some tips that
may save your next post session. Our advice is free...and worth every penny!

And by the way...shouldn't you be subscribing to this blog?

1 comment:

Darryl Pearce said...

...wha? You didn't even provide a link to the IndieCo-op site?

~ ~ ~

Being buried in a cubicle in the bottom of the engineering department, I've been catching visual digital (10-year-old Sony supershot into Adobe Premiere). Because these are destined for Macromedia Flash, I down-sample the files something fierce. Alas, it's the only bits of video I do.

Do you have "wrangling" problems with file sizes? For example, just my *.avi files come to 526MB; trimmed and edited into a 1:32 video, it gets down to 2MB in Flash (but it's blurry).