Multiple speakers, one video camera

Dec 10, 2013

We have a situation where we need to record a classroom training so we can start development for an elearning project. In the interest of space, we have only one video camera on a tripod in the room (canon vixia hf 520 (HD CMOS)). However, we may have at least 2 presenters. We have a lapel mic that they can trade off (sorry, don't know the brand as I don't have it here), but it is a little awkward. The mics are attached to the speaker and audio goes wirelessly to the receiver that is plugged into the camera. 

Ideally, we would like to have 2 mics that can go to one receiver. We have tried using one of those multi-plugs (Belkin RockStar 5-Way 3.5-mm Headphone Splitter) to see if we can do two wireless mics to the same receiver, but it did not work. I am equipment-challenged and online reviews are sometimes hard to figure out for me. Does anyone have a setup with one camera that easily records both people to the video camera? 

Special issue that makes using lapel mic important, as compared to just using the camera itself to record: Horrible HVAC noises in the area at the back of the room where the camera fits without making people trip. The lapel mic does a great job with making that less of an issue and the speaker comes through pretty clear. 

We also have a straight portable audio recorder in the room to potentially just grab audio - just in case. Audio is the most important, but we may want the video for something later, so would be great to have audio/video together in one file and not have to do the tedious manual matching with an external audio file. 

Please help if you have an answer! Thanks. 

7 Replies
DeLora Reardon

Thanks, great thought. I forgot to mention that we do have software to do that. We use Adobe Premiere primarily for video and you can do that well in there. I have done that many times, but find it frustrating to match audio with video sometimes. I think I get way too caught up in trying to get the lips to match "exactly" what the audio is saying. Kind of silly considering how many times on TV and even in movies that I see that not happening well, but it does bug me.

I am just being lazy in a way and want them to already be a matched pair! I am trying to solve with equipment first if possible, and will do it the other way if I have to. I know some people will just say "try to fit another camera in the room" as well. Traditionally, I try to have two cameras for point of view transitions to make it more interesting, but really not possible in this room! Too many students, too little space. 

David Anderson

Hi DeLora -

Rather than try two mics with one receiver, you could try using a mixer with two channel inputs to capture both mics. The mixer can then merge both audio feeds into a single output into the computer.

Most wireless mic receivers should have an output (xlr, 1/4, 1/8) that you can plug into a channel mixer. Just another possibility.

DeLora Reardon

Intriguing thought on the mixer David, will think about that one. I think our mics may not be too deluxe, so thinking that we may need to get another mic setup to get that to work. I will have to research that one and see if the receiver we do have would work that way. Do you have specific mics and mixers (brand/etc) that you have used to do this?  Does anyone else reading this have any specific models they use? 

Bob S

Hi DeLora,

David is spot on here (no surprise)...

Your particular camera has a single stereo mini plug input. The good news is that you can record two channels (ie two presenters) but you cannot simply dump two microphones into  "y-jack". Instead you need a mic mixer.

A good cheap one is from Azden... 

Then you can use a second wireless mic and be good to go.  If you need mic reccomendations.... on the value side look at AudioTechnica, Azden or Sony.  Higher end Sennheiser is king.

Hope this helps.

Steve Flowers

You might also want to consider a shotgun mic. This is a VERY directional microphone that records whatever it's pointed at. The downside is you'll have to continually update the direction of the mic if your speaker is moving around a lot. 

Another option, use a portable recorder or something like an iPhone or iPod touch. The microphones that ship with the iPhone are pretty fantastic. A speaker can slip this in their pocket after beginning to record and clip the microphone just as they would a lapel mic. Pull the audio off of the recorder / iPhone and sync up in your editor.

Steve Flowers

Here's a well reviewed budget shotgun mic:

I don't believe you'd want to throw all the way across the room as it does have a bit of a cone that loses focus with distance. Nice to have in your kit in any case if you can afford to grab one.

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