Audition Videos, Devices
11 year old is auditioning for summer programs. I have always used iPhone
(8+). I have looked at various Zoom cameras online. I would prefer something that does not demand editing besides length. The iPhone is alright, not sure what the other kids would be doing at her level (in terms of quality production). Looking at the junior sessions of places like IU Summer String, Greenwood, Luzerne.
Looking for best sound. I know the response will be record separately
but I’m close to crossing the line to “Geezer” and busy in my own self employed studio work. So resistant to learn melding the music and video together. Thanks.
One option is to just pay someone. It will cost less than good equipment and the time you save is worth it. At least price it out. That said, the video and audio on a point and shoot camera should be sufficient enough for what you are looking for, you could also ask the program what they prefer.
I agree with the advice to hire a professional rather than invest in your own equipment.
I think that the Zoom Q4n does a good job of capturing the audio. My teacher prefers the camera placed roughly where the second row of the audience is, so you hear more of the direct sound of the instrument without a lot of reverb from the room. (Of course, many people like more reverb, and the Zoom will capture reverb just fine, but I deliberately place the camera at a distance to avoid the reverb).
I want to echo Mary Ellen on the subject of video. My community orchestra allows video submissions for our competition. For violinists, I want to see the whole body, or at least knees up, and for the violin to be audible without distortion, and the camera should be tripod-mounted and not hand-held to ensure it is kept rock steady, but other than that, quality doesn't really matter. Oh yes -- if shooting from an iPhone, make sure that the video isn't mirrored!
I have always hired someone to do it for me, but I would in any case recommend against using an iPhone recording for an audition video (for details on the Zoom, Lydia's post is great). The video is alright, but iPhones are not great at recording audio. I use it to self-record when I practice, as the audio is acceptable, but it does not register subtle dynamic differences and the audio quality can add a little edge, depriving the sound of some warmth. I agree that you can tell how well someone plays from any type of recording, but it's one of those things (i.e. recording with an iPhone) that will not help your child, and it could hurt them. If I'm listening to 150 audition videos, I don't have the time to account for audio quality in judging applicants. I simply have to go with what sounds the best based on the material I've been sent. I think the Zoom is great, but I would recommend recording in a professional studio or hiring someone to do it for you, especially if you have never done this before.
I've had the good fortune to have my concerto performances with orchestra professionally recorded, onto a CD, as part of my orchestra's standard archiving of every concert. That's given me the opportunity to hear, over multiple occasions, what the delta in audio quality between that and my camera's raw file is.
Thanks everyone! Lydia, perfect as it’s Mozart 5, among others, we are recording!
Any thoughts about Q2 4K or Q8? Seems mostly what is on Amazon.
And Lydia, no music studio, I am a artist/craftsman and work in a studio.
I think there are decent mics you can plug into an iPhone that will have a similar benefit as a dedicated Zoom camera. Also, if you have access to a good sounding hall, that will give a better result than recording at your house.
For the programs you mentioned, I think iPhone video and sound would be perfectly acceptable. They're all moderately competitive programs but not so competitive that the difference in video quality will make any great significance.
Susan, are you using same model zoom as Lydia?
Yes, the Q4n. But I haven't figured out how to get the video as nice as hers. Edited to add -- just looked and her video quality is similar to ours. I remembered it being better. Here's a recent video taken with it on a tripod, no mike, no editing. https://youtu.be/J9TD9hwqAoA
Lighting, distance and focus makes a difference in video quality. Those two videos are shot in dim lighting. I think the videos in brighter conditions are sharper. And those use auto focus and a camera lens that has not been cleaned in ages.
The Q4n is preferable to all other Zoom camera for music, afaik, if you don't want to use a separate audio device. It can handle higher decibel levels than the Q2n without distortion. (I'm not sure if the microphone was improved when Zoom released the Q2n-4k.)
Just don't get the Zoom Q2. I bought one for a recording project a few months ago (Just a Suzuki teacher training audition video), and I found the sound and video no better than my iPhone and I have a cheap iPhone SE (the video was actually considerably worse).
Thanks for sharing the vid, Susan. Your son is impressive! He’s 14?
And I have heard those who said hire a professional.
Yes, he is 14, 9th grade. :) Thanks for the compliments.
"I’m close to crossing the line to “Geezer”...
One thing about doing a pro video is that then you've got a nice pro video of your daughter -- regardless of the ulterior purpose.
I became a dad at 48, and have an 11 year old so you can do the math.....
I'd recommend getting a microphone for the iPhone.
So, I am trying first vids with Q4. Teacher says she finds recordings “nasally”.
Difficult to get the mice to stay still! Mics.
How far away are you? It doesn't sound as good up close. Also make sure to set the room mode correctly -- we usually use Concert Hall. And make sure that the feature that changes the volume automatically is off or you will not get dynamics. I can't remember exactly what it is called...something like Auto Gain maybe?
Set the camera about 6 to 10 feet back from the violinist. I use the HD1080/32fps setting, the max audio setting, room lighting set to Auto, and Auto Gain set to Solo. I put the microphones in the X/Y position.
Thanks very helpful.
On thought, I will also note that I typically set the camera at a relatively low height -- using the standard Amazon Basics tripod, I pull out the lower legs of the tripod, but not the upper and I don't crank up the height. The distance back is generally just about perfect for framing my upper body at that height.
Moved further from daughter, turned off auto gain and set
It's all a balance. Ideally, you'd have 2 mics - one right on top of your daughter and one further away. However, with one mic, I'd recommend averaging that distance. If you are too close, you lose a lot of warmth and reverb (i.e. what the room gives you). Too far, and you lose clarity, articulation, and many small details. If you're doing it yourself, I'd definitely recommend experimenting with different positions throughout the room.