Mic into PC for V/O

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Peter Stedman
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Mic into PC for V/O

Postby Peter Stedman » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:58 am

After all my years, I’ve never had the need for recording audio through a mic connected to a PC. That need has now arisen. I’ve installed a screen capture programme to send a friend video tutorials on certain progs. Naturally the prog. mentioned recording the V/O through a mic on the PC. This is where I have began to scratch my head. I understand that many use a mic plugged into the USB port. I don’t have such a mic (or adaptor).

What I did to get around the problem was to place my camera close to hand and recorded the V/O to camera as I recorded the visuals with the capture prog on the screen. No problem at all I thought. However, putting the screen capture (no sound of course) onto my Premiere timeline and then my audio from the camera on the audio track all seemed fine to start with. But then the sound began to loose sync with the video as they appeared to be playing at slightly different speeds. I managed to salvage he job but recording direct to the PC is clearly the best answer.

My video editing machine was built by the sadly lamented DVC in Hove, so I can’t seek their advice now. (Don’t we all miss Ringo – where is he now?) The motherboard (With sound card??) has a mini jack for connecting a mic. I have several mics but with XLR connectors but DO have a suitable adaptor. 1st question – Which mic input do I use????

My main camera Sennheiser mic has facility for inserting a battery, but this facility has never been used as my camera supplies the power. 2nd question. If connecting this mic to the mic-in socket on the sound card - should it be battery powered or not? I can visualise me causing major damage to either the sound card or indeed the mic. I also have a Sennheiser tie clip mic (with appropriate transmitter) and this (without the trans) could be plugged into the sound card. Again I’m more than scared of just trying any of these options without some good advice.

If any kind person does reply, please try to keep it simple and not go into too much technical stuff that I won’t understand.
Thanks. Pete.

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TimStannard
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Re: Mic into PC for V/O

Postby TimStannard » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:21 pm

Peter,

I'm not sure what you mean by "which mic input do I use?" You said your motherboard (with sound card) has a mic input. Do you mean you have a separate sound card? If so, this is most likely what your PC is configured to use. But either is likely to work (although you may need to choose which input device to use, either in your audio recording software or Control Panel.)

Often when you plug a device in this will be detected and the system will make a guess at what you've plugged in and offer you the option to confirm or change it.

A mic input on a PC is unlikely to supply power at the level required for a mic which can be powered by a battery, so you will need a battery. Try it without first if you like. You are unlikely to cause damage to any unit trying any of your suggestions, but do all plugging in/switching on with the speakers set low so you can quickly unplug if you hear anything nasty.

To be honest, setting up recording onto a PC can be a real pain and I often spend ages fiddling at schools I work in where kids (or Windows updates) have inadvertently changed settings/drivers. Having said that, at home you'll probably only need to set this up once.

Personally I'd record into a digital recorder, exactly as you are doing (your camera is, of course, a digital recorder) and edit it together afterwards. Simply chop up the v/o and align each bit where it belongs on the timeline.

To my mind this is a vastly better way of working and much simpler (at the recording stage) than trying to speak and demonstrate at the same time. If you fluff a sentence (which you will) you simply re- record until you get it right. No pressure.

I usually record the voiceover in several parts (equivalent to a paragraph at a time) and several takes of each, then edit together the best sounding sentences/parts of sentences. Finally I cut the video to fit the voiceover (although if this is a tutorial in real-time you'll simply need to match the audio to the correct bit of the video)

I recommend recording in paragraphs rather than sentences, even if you are going to chop them up, as the voiceover will flow better.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

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John Roberts
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Re: Mic into PC for V/O

Postby John Roberts » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:06 pm

Hi Pete,

I was part way through a lengthy tome but got distracted, so Tim beat me too it!

I would add that the mic socket on the front of your PC should supply 'plug-in power' in the same way as your camcorder/camera does, so any microphone combination that works on your camera will work on your PC. Some of my microphones are battery powered and I've never had any issues plugging them into any equipment that supplies 'plug-in power' in combination with the microphone's built in battery, the worst you might experience is some 'DC' crackling (as we used to call it in the trade) when any adaptors are moved or twisted. As for which socket to use: there is usually only one 3.5mm 'input' socket on your PC, a further socket will most likely be for headphones and they should be marked with small icons.

However, like Tim I would encourage recording your voiceover on something other than your PC. I also have a screen recorder installed and once this was set up to record audio from the PC I found the sound quality to be truly awful - mainly down to the compression the screen recorder used. I have always, as Tim suggests, used a separate audio recorder - usually my trusty Tascam DR-05 - to record any voiceovers I make when recording from the screen, although I have recently purchased a Tascam DR-60/II which will allow me to record the audio from my PC as well a voiceover microphone, because that unit can record 4 audio tracks simultaneously.

I cut the audio in a similar way to Tim's suggestion (they never stay in sync - do they?) but I always find it useful to record a voiceover simultaneously and use it as a prompt or guide, especially if the tutorial is a lengthy one or mistakes are made when selecting or altering things on screen. Trying to edit a visual-only tutorial without any kind of audio guide can be a nightmare so it helps enormously if one can vocalise what is actually happening on screen or point out where any corrections are made, such as "Scrap that bit, I made a mistake so I'll repeat from 'point X' again."

Good luck, Pete :D
"My vision often exceeds my capabilities" (me, 2015)
My views are purely my own and don't necessarily reflect those of any body I might represent :P

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Peter Stedman
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Re: Mic into PC for V/O

Postby Peter Stedman » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:14 pm

Thanks Tim and John for your very comprehensive replies. I had just written my reply to Tim when I found your comments John so my reply is to you both with many thanks. Tim writes: I'm not sure what you mean by "which mic input do I use?" You said your motherboard (with sound card) has a mic input. Do you mean you have a separate sound card? If so, this is most likely what your PC is configured to use. But either is likely to work (although you may need to choose which input device to use, either in your audio recording software or Control Panel.)

On the back of my PC I can see the many inputs to an Ivybridge GAZ77X-D£H Motherboard (The PC is a MATROX equipped kit and is splendid and good old DVC were always so helpful with any queries I had. But I understand nothing on this!) but there are the usual 3.5mm jack sockets for mic and speakers etc. If I knew how to post an illustration in this forum I could do this as I have a colour photo. I have found a good hand mic with a standard 1/4in plug but I can’t find the adaptor to convert to 3.5mm. (Never can find something when you want it!)

I’ve had a look at the audio section on the PC but to be honest that also is more than confusing with so many sections and sub-sections.

However, you recommend doing what I have already done - use the camera. Record the audio to camera and split it up on the time-line to suit. I do it this way with all my voice-overs. I’ve always done it this way for many years and I note your advice re doing a paragraph at a time, which I always do for my recordings, finding this very satisfactory.

Therefore I will forget recording direct to PC etc. Thanks both for taking the trouble to reply, I will now experiment a little more.

Even more thank for the advice. Pete

tom hardwick
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Re: Mic into PC for V/O

Postby tom hardwick » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:02 am

Another way is to simply record into a digital audio recorder and import that wav or MP3 file, that way you don't have to screen out the sound of the PC's fans. If you need to watch the film while you're doing your v/o you can at least be some way from the noisy pc itself.

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Peter Stedman
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Re: Mic into PC for V/O

Postby Peter Stedman » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:42 am

Thanks for the tip Tom. Duly absorbed.
Pete.

Roy1
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Re: Mic into PC for V/O

Postby Roy1 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:00 pm

Hi. Pete. Before I learnt how to do complicated sound. I used to record a voice over onto the camera using a normal mini tape cassette. I then captured this onto the timeline of Adobe premiere pro. and matched the sound to the picture This was very easy to do, and as the PC was switched off whilst the recording took place, there was no unwanted noise. Just saying. Happy new year to all.

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TimStannard
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Re: Mic into PC for V/O

Postby TimStannard » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:28 pm

tom hardwick wrote:Another way is to simply record into a digital audio recorder

Isn't that what John and I both recommended? Or is there something subtly different about what you're suggesting?
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

tom hardwick
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Re: Mic into PC for V/O

Postby tom hardwick » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:33 pm

No, no subtle differences at all. Just great minds thinking alike :)

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TimStannard
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Re: Mic into PC for V/O

Postby TimStannard » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:48 pm

You just put it more succinctly, Tom!
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it


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