0

I'm in the process of planning indoor "roundtable" type web videos with anywhere from 2-6 participants, whose voices I need to record in one way or another.

I've already got a Zoom H5 with its X/Y mic, a Røde VideoMic, and a Samson C03U omnidirectional-capable USB mic. They're plenty enough for me to get started, but they need to be outside the visible frame and thus slightly too far from the speakers' mouths for optimal sound quality (and the table is actually rectangular rather than round, so speaker distances vary).

Going forward, if my budget permits it some day, I'm envisioning putting a lav mic on each participant and recording a separate audio track from everyone onto a Mac (in addition to using the gear I already have, for redundancy), which I will then synchronize with the video in Final Cut Pro X.

I googled hardware that could record up to six lav mics at a time, and discovered the very reasonably priced but very badly documented UMC1820 audio interface from Behringer.

Newbie questions:

  1. Using the UMC1820, I'm entirely reliant on the recording software for all functionality, apart from gain, pad and direct monitoring (all of which have physical controls on the front panel), right?
  2. How does the UMC1820 present itself to the Mac? As a single input device with multiple channels (i.e. a single row in Sys. Prefs -> Sound -> Input Devices) or as multiple input devices? The H5 in USB I/F mode did the former, so I'm assuming that's the case here, too, but what do I know...
  3. Is there a more streamlined Mac alternative for simply recording the lav mics into separate WAV files (while also monitoring the levels) than a full-fledged DAW like REAPER? My workflow is as follows:
    • record the tracks as separate WAV files
    • bring all WAV files (from the UMC1820 and the H5) to FCPX as separate audio tracks, sync them up with in-camera reference audio
    • edit the video
    • do the final mix either in FCPX or REAPER if necessary (using Vordio), depending on how much the recordings need work in post
  4. Whatever the answer to #3 is, is recording each mic to its own WAV file simultaneously trivially easy?
  5. 48kHz is the video realm standard, and I'll be recording 24bit/48kHz WAV on my Zoom H5. The UMC1820 is 24bit/96kHz. I'd imagine converting it to 48kHz won't be a problem, but what is the process for this, especially given the suggested workflow in question 3?

If I'm missing or neglecting to consider something obvious here, do tell. Feel free to suggest alternatives to the UMC1820 if you must, but they should be very near its price/features ratio to be considered. Other tips regarding my situation are also welcome.

1

1) you will need something to manage the inputs. I only know of software solutions. I use Logic.

2) I don't have experience with the UMC1820 but I have their XAir x18 and it's a single device with multiple channels, probably safe to assume the UMC is the same.

3) not that I'm aware of. Since it sounds like you'll want to do some sort of mixdown anyway, why bother trying to put something else into your workflow?

4) with something like Logic (I'd assume REAPER is similar), yes. VERY trivial.

5) I know Logic will convert when I import audio files of different rates so I'd look at either FCPX or REAPER to see if they will do this for you when you pull the files in.

lavaliers can be pretty problematic. sensitive to clothes & body movement and can change volume drastically with head movement. that's why most folks that need that type of functionality have gone to headworn mics. still a bit sensitive to certain body movements (like hands to the face) but much less so.

depending on the room environment (table & room acoustics mostly) you might fare better with a few boundary mics or even some nice condensers overhead. but hard to say for sure without knowing more of the particulars.

if you stay with lavaliers I'm guessing you'll want to modify your workflow and do a mixdown in your DAW prior to importing into FCPX to clean things up a bit. probably a good point to throw in some compression and volume automation. may even need to edit out mic bumps & plosives. (I'd probably doing this no matter what means I used to record so I could even things out a bit and add some plug-in processing)

  • Concerning the 96 kHz issue, I would assume that the audio interface and recording software can be setup at 48 kHz, you will therefore not need to do any file conversion before importing them into FCPX. – audionuma Jul 29 '16 at 6:38
  • 1
    It's also worth mentioning that if you record audio and video on two different devices that don't share a common clock, you will notice that they are slowly drifting one from the other. Depending on the length of your take, you might have to resync video and audio at several point (see video.stackexchange.com/questions/16666/… ) – audionuma Jul 29 '16 at 6:42
  • @audionuma Yeah that's a good point and I'm aware of it. I'll likely use PluralEyes with its drift correction to automate this, if it becomes an issue. – JK Laiho Jul 29 '16 at 7:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.