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Workshop

Review the questions and answers in this section to try to sharpen your audio-acquisition and Premiere audio-editing skills. Also, take a few moments to tackle my short quiz and the exercises.

Q&A

Q1:When I videotape indoors, my audio has a “tin can” quality. What's going on?
A1: This happens for one of two reasons. The simplest reason is that the mic is too far from your subject and you're in a room with reflective surfaces such as flat walls and an uncarpeted floor. Move the mic closer. The other is more complicated and involves what audio engineers call the “3-to-1 rule.” If you use more than one mic for several speakers, as in a panel discussion, you need to place the mics three times as far apart as they are to the speakers. That is, if a mic is two feet from a panelist, the next mic should be at least six feet away from the first mic. Otherwise, they pick up audio at about the same time, cancel each other out, and create that “tin can” sound.
Q2:I bought professional-quality mics but I can barely hear them in my headset and later when I listen to my tape. Why?
A2: Unlike with professional camcorders, there are no mic standards for consumer and prosumer camcorders. If you read your camcorder's spec sheet, you probably won't see anything about the mic input, whether it's stereo or mono, and whether it needs external amplification. If you're using a low-impedance mic, such as a professional handheld mic with a cable longer than 20 feet, you probably will need a transformer for most camcorders. That should resolve your low-volume problem. If you're using an unpowered condenser mic, such as a shotgun, you will need “phantom power,” either from a mixer or a portable phantom-power adapter.


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