The new Edirol R-4 Pro portable audio recorder lets us record four channels of high-quality, 16-bit 48kHz digital audio through individual timecode in and out terminals on the recorder and a camera.
STEP 1: Set timecode out on the CANON XH G1
Set the camera’s timecode switch to out. The XH G1′s internal timecode is sent out from this timecode terminal as a standard LTC timing signal. Even if you set the SDI Output to on, the timecode will still be output through the timecode terminal, in addition to being embedded within the SDI signal.
STEP 2: Connect timecode terminals
Connect one end of a BNC cable to the timecode terminal of the XH G1 and the other end of the BNC cable to the timecode terminal of the R-4 Pro. Make sure your BNC cable is long enough to enable unfettered movement while shooting.
STEP 3: Set your timecode settings
Connect the AC adapter cable to the R-4 Pro and power it on. Press the System button on top of the R-4 Pro to enter the System Menu. Using the bottom cursor button next to the scroll wheel, cursor down to the #6 Timecode selection and press enter. Next, select #1 Setup and press enter. Highlight the Mode setting and using the scroll wheel, select the Ext setting. This lets the R-4 Pro accept and sync to external timecode.
Cursor down to the Frame Rate setting and, using the scroll wheel, select 29.97D, if you are shooting 60i video, or 24 if shooting 24p video.
STEP 4: Set your record settings
Again in the System Menu, use the bottom cursor button next to the scroll wheel and cursor down to the #1 Recording Setup selection and hit enter.
- For Input Select, Choose Analog
- For Rec Freq., choose 48kHz
- For Rec Bit, choose 16bit
- For Rec Mode, choose StereoX2 (a good choice when inputting two stereo sound sources)
- For Pre Recording, choose Off (audio is synchronized to the video camcorder)
Cursor down to Limiter Link and select 1+2/3+4 with the scroll wheel.
STEP 5: Set input connections on the R-4 Pro
We’ll assume you’re connecting a stereo condenser microphone to channel 1 (left) and channel 2 (right), taking a stereo line level feed from the house sound mixer and inputting that into channel 3 (left) and channel 4 (right). On the Phantom Power control section, on top of the unit, turn channels 1 and 2 on and turn channels 3 and 4 off. If your mic doesn’t require phantom power to be provided by the R-4 Pro, set both switches to off. Finally, connect the sound source output cables into the respective XLR inputs on the R-4 Pro.
STEP 6: Set input levels, limiting and start recording
You’ll want to monitor the incoming audio signal and visually monitor incoming source levels. To do this, press the Pause and Rec buttons at the same time to enter Record Standby Mode.
Next, adjust the preamp sensitivity level for each input by first turning the outer Sens knob all the way to the left. This is where you set the preamp sensitivity from +4 Line level to -60 Mic level sensitivity. Setting the Sens knob all the way to the left sets the input preamp sensitivity to +4dB Line level. Moving the Sens knob gradually to the right increases the input sensitivity of the preamp until you reach the maximum -60dB MIC level, which is all the way to the right.
Next, fine-tune the input volume level for each input with the center Level knob. The middle position on this knob is 0dB.
If you want to minimize distortions with the Limiter, turn on the Limiter switch (also on top of R-4 Pro). You can’t activate the Limiter circuit unless this switch is on. You are now ready to begin recording.
Daniel and Donald Berube
noisybrain. Productions, LLC
Daniel and Donald Berube are founders of noisybrain. Productions, a collaborative, full-service production facility based in surburban Boston. Both have more than two decades worth of production and editing credits on public and network television. Daniel is an Apple Certified Trainer and founder of the Boston Final Cut Pro User Group. Donald is a DP who works with a range of SD and HD acquisition formats.
DANIEL AND DONALD SAY KEEP IN MIND…
Many of the digital camcorders in use today will give you decent two-channel audio recording in the field, but when the job calls for more than two channels of audio capture, most digital camcorders can’t do it without a reduction in audio quality. We like the new Edirol R-4 Pro portable audio recorder because it lets us record four channels of high-quality, 16-bit 48kHz digital audio through individual timecode in and out terminals on the recorder and a camera. We’ll show how to sync up the R-4 Pro to the outgoing timecode signal coming from the timecode out terminal of the new Canon XH G1 HDV camcorder.
Let’s assume you want to record a concert performance with a high-quality stereo microphone in combination with a stereo line feed from the house sound mixing console. The Canon XH G1 camcorder can’t record more than two channels of audio at a time. Even in 12-bit mode, only audio channels 1 and 2 are available for recording. The higher-end XL H1 camcorder can, however, record four individual channels of audio in 12-bit mode, but these are recorded at a reduced 32-bit sampling rate. This time around, we’ll take advantage of the Edirol R-4 Pro and maintain a high-quality sampling rate in our recording by using 16 bits for each channel.
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