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>Also, do you recommend a microphone or does the VX-1000 have sufficient sound? I know that if there are a lot of background noises I need to use a mike. What specific mike do you recommend, brand, handheld or lapel? I need to go quality but as inexpensive as I can.

The VX's on board mic is the best camera mic I've ever had anything to do with. It is a stereo mic with 4 capsules (actually 4 microphones.) I don't know how it works, but even though it is a point source stereo arrangement (ie: the two pickup points for the stereo image are right next to ea. other instead of widely seperated) the stereo imaging is really good. For ambient sound, it's wonderful - better than any Betacam I've ever used (which had mono camera mics). If you use a wide angle lens and get in really close, you can even get away doing an interview with it if the ambient noise level is low. I have done this with success, though it's helpful to have Sound Forge with the noise reduction plugin to eliminate airconditioning noise - or crickets in my case. But for the most part, you will need a lav mic for interviews. A Sony ECM-77 would be my recomendation, but it will set you back about $250, I think. I tried to save some $ and bought an Audio Technica AT831b for about $150. Actually, the AT mic sounds a bit better to me than the Sony, but it is horrendously suseptible to wind noise. A really big problem. The Sony is not impervious, but is much better. A handheld Shure SM58 is amazingly impervious to wind. I have used one when it was blasting and it was okay. A little puff makes the AT sound like there is an earthquake going on. This is one of my big challenges - figuring out how to solve this problem. (Update 1/99: The fix is to use a foam windscreen made for a handheld mic. Wire tie it around the bottom to close up the big hole. It is a big ball on the subject's clothing, but does the job. Got the idea from the big ball windscreens I saw on headset mics worn by commentators for outdoor parade TV show.) We did some interviews this week using it in wind with success when the mic was taped w/gaffers to the inside of the interviewee's clothing. This might be the ticket. When you use this technique, you need to be sure the mic is taped securely to the clothing. If it rubs, it will be even worse than wind noise.

>Another question. I'm doing a wedding in April and my major concern is for sound. How would you make sure you were able to get the audio for the bride and groom?<

Best would be to put a radio mic on the groom or the preacher. Maybe you can borrow one from a church. However, it will probably be a big AC powered receiver, which will tie you down. Best rig is a portable receiver you can run on battery and put in a fanny pack or whatever. (with the Betacam we velcro it to the side, but on the VX-1000 there is no spot big enough for this that I have found anyway.) You could also rent a radio mic. You could put a hard wire lav on the preacher, maybe. Obviously you can't put one on the bride or groom since they will be moving around. You could also hide a mic in some flowers or whatever near where they will say vows etc. But this, again, will tie you down with a cable. You might just plug and unplug as necessary and stay put during the part you want to get good sound from them.

Another way is to put a radio transmitter on a line output form the PA system mixing board sending to a portable receiver on your camera. I've done this and it's very cool. You get the house mix no matter where you are shooting. This is the best way, but it requires a transmitter capable of taking a line in (in place of the usual mic) and a portable receiver. It also requires a house sound guy who does a decent job. If he messes up it messes you up.

Whatever you do, be sure to wear headphones and monitor what you're getting.

A low tech approach which does work is just use the camera mic and stand near a PA speaker when the sound is important. Again monitoring the headphones is important because sometimes when you're too close you'll pick up a lot of system noise from the PA amp, which are often very noisy.

The ideal solution would be to have everybody radio miced, an audience mic, instruments mics, etc. all feeding a Mackie mixer run by a good audio guy who is mixing just for the recording (as opposed to the PA which often requires a different mix because of the need to blend with ambient sound from a piano for example) feeding you via radio link. I have seen this done but have never personally had the luxury myself. But that would be the hot setup.

Well, there are some ideas. Hope that gets your mind going on the best approach for your situation. Gotta go.