#MusicPhotography: Blog #014 Expensive Purchase Alert!

December 04, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Firstly, I just want to start off by saying "I have an awesome wife!" - That's it, it's out there, I said it.

Probably one of the most unique ways of starting off my blog today, but, with good reason. I've been editing the videos I've captured at a few gigs I've also photographed, and one of the major issues I've tried desperately to tackle was audio.

Let's face it, if you're going to attempt to film bands performing, the key thing you have to get right is the sound. It goes without saying! The problem I've been experiencing is that with all the various cameras I use to film with, none of them can handle a drummer going full pelt.

That's not the only issue, the audience. They insist on talking and laughing and clinking their beers, and just generally ruining the whole video recording process, why can't they sit in silent reverence to appreciate the gig? Ban them, ban them all I say... I'm joking obviously, it is what it is, bands typically play in pubs.

I've tried plugging into the soundboard, with varying degrees of success, well, no success if I'm being honest. One attempt was totally blown out by the electric guitar, another by being plugged into an in-port so I recorded nothing but static, which I didn't find out about until the next day. So yeah, something drastic has to be done.

There's been a spell where I've actually not needed anything, not wanted anything, not even casually browsed for things to spend money on. That was until this week. I just had to solve this audio crisis, it was driving me insane.

Here comes the wife to the rescue!

She says I have a habit of 'planting the seed' when it comes to wanting 'stuff', but in this case, she fully understood my plight. Since she started coming to gigs and festivals with me, she now has a higher appreciation of what an artist/band goes through to produce good quality music. She's picking out the various skills musicians perform for their fans through with their craft, and she absolutely loves it. The last gig we were at was in Derry's Nerve Centre watching Rosborough perform, and he was amazing.

I've done my best this week to find the most functional and best quality recording device that won't make me sweat clicking on the buy it button. It has to come out of the family budget, with the understanding that any returns on investment will obviously be ploughed back into the coffers.

So, tonight, she gave me the green light to buy a new Zoom H4n Pro, 4 Channel Sound Recorder. It features the same high performance, low-noise mic preamps as their acclaimed Zoom H5 and H6 Handy Recorders, with recording and playback at resolutions up to 24-bit/96 kHz. The improved noise floor (-120 dBu EIN) captures audio at lower volumes with less noise and fewer artefacts.

It's basically recording 4 different things at once, but on individual tracks so I can pull what I need from the audio when I need it. I was also talking to a recording engineer tonight about this device, and he said I wasn't to forget about that ambient noise that the audience throws out, as it's an important element from a live event, that you, the viewer, also hear that there's an audience in there too, so I've to factor that into the edits, not that you wouldn't notice anyway, as they have this annoying habit of walking in-front of the camera to go get a drink or relieve themselves of earlier drinks.

The small form factor is really going to help in transportation too, as I'm positive I can squeeze it into my main vlog camera bag beside the JVC camera I'm using.

Zoom H4n ProXLR InputDirect sound deck feeds Zoom H4n ProBlue Digital DisplayThe H4n Pro isn't just improved, it's superior in every way. With advanced X/Y microphones, incredibly natural-sounding preamps, and a super-low noise floor, you can record everything from the Indy 500 to the fluttering of a hummingbird with extraordinary realism. Zoom H4n ProStereo Mics

Anyway, now that this is on its way to me, and I should have it early next week, I'm even more excited about being out and about, not only photographing bands but also filming them at the same time. Even if I just manage to get one song from each act, I'd be happy with that.

As I've said already, the editing has been ongoing this week, as I want to clear the 'to-do' list on that front now, so I can then focus on getting that all important family holiday video done, as there's an opportunity hidden away in there that I'm keen to exploit early next year.

Check out my YouTube Channel to see my new playlist 'Open Mic Nights', where you'll see amazing talent from the likes of Sean O'Hagan from a band called 'The Pragmatix' singing songs like this amazing tune:

Hopefully, from now on, the audio will be much much better. So watch this space!

P.S. Thank you again Mrs Mark - You're awesome!

 


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