OK, so here's my problem:

I snuck myself into our Ninjutsu club's sporting event as the "photographer" - I have to video the event using my consumer Canon HF10 camcorder, and I'll have to produce a DVD of the event.

Now, I have also videoed the previous event, and have detected a problem with recording the instructor's speech:

The process is that the instructor demonstrates a technique, and then everyone practices the technique. The instructor then walks around, correcting mistakes. During the demos there is little problem: Everyone is (mostly) quite and the instructor wears a mike (connected to a little box worn at belt level) transmitting to an amplifying system (at least he did during the last event). So there’s no problem there.

However, when the instructor moves around he turns off the mike (because obviously he needn’t be heard all across the mat). It’s tough to run after him with the camera and the tripod, because people are spread all over the mat. Moreover, when he says the interesting things, people gather around him listening (and speaking). Also people around me go on training, which may get quite noisy. So I can't get a clear recording of the instructor and we miss the best parts, the corrections people could really learn from.

So, what I need is some way to capture what he’s saying while he's far from the camera. Any suggestions?

Points to consider:

  1. This is Ninjutsu, so the instructor is moving around and is active, especially when doing the class demos. However, as he’s the one doing the throws etc., and considering he’s already “wired” to the amplifying system’s mike, he’s not overly active.
  2. It’s a hobby. I’m not going to be paid – so expenses should be not too high.
  3. The result should be merged as a soundtrack to the video.
  4. The camera has no genlock.
  5. I’m much more “into” it than the instructor is. It’s a little like the cat and the bell, so it needs to be as little a hassle as possible.


  • 2
    Is it possible/reasonable to get him to wear a second mic that is on all the time and run the output to either the camera or a field recorder? Dec 7, 2011 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


Simple solution is for you to get all your audio from the PA mixer, and for when the instructor does his walkabout, just turn down or mute the signal to the speakers instead of muting the mic.

This way you keep the same audio signal throughout for your recording, so no messing about with other microphones.

  • My sentiments exactly
    – Joe Stavitsky
    Dec 9, 2011 at 15:52
  • I selected to have the instructor wear a small MP3 stand alone recorder (like a USB Stick). I like you solution, but it turns out this weekend event isn't supposed to have no PA mixer and no speakers :(
    – user3187
    Dec 15, 2011 at 16:26
  • This was a very painful failure! The WE809 recorder I purchased recorded with terrible screeching noise, so I attached my iRiver to the instructor which was OK for about 5 minutes and then went into Hold for some reason and stopped recording. :(
    – user3187
    Dec 18, 2011 at 16:57

take signal out of the PA into the camera. If you talk more about the PA I can be more specific.

  • The problem seems to be with getting good audio when the mic is off and therefore no signal is going to the PA. Dec 7, 2011 at 20:48
  • Yes, this would be a big problem. Solution is to lower the mixer fader of the relevant mic channel to zero and route the mic channel to an aux out for recording.
    – Joe Stavitsky
    Dec 7, 2011 at 21:08
  • Surely there is a mechanism for adjusting the volume of the PA monitors without cutting off the microphone input and/or secondary output channel..
    – horatio
    Dec 7, 2011 at 21:16
  • sure, it's called an aux send
    – Joe Stavitsky
    Dec 7, 2011 at 21:20

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