Help me build the ultimate mobile recording studio.
June 2, 2010 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Help me build the best possible mobile video/audio recording set-up, for under $1,000.

We have a number of live events that we want to be able to record. In each case, the venue handles the PA system, microphones and mixing board (this is the board we'll be using).

I need to be able to capture audio and video at these events, as high a quality as possible at the lowest cost. For audio, I can set my laptop up near the board and capture with Audacity, I just need to know what kind of interface I should use to go from board to laptop (USB inputs?).

Then there's video. Need at least one really good camera, preferably two if they're reasonable, plus tripod(s). They should have decent zoom so that I can capture the presentations from a good angle in the audience. We don't need HD, just decent quality for online viewing. Want them to record to media card/hard drive, not tape. I'm thinking that I would sync up audio from the board with the video after the fact, unless there's a better way.

So, if I have a maximum of $1,000 to spend to make all of that happen (and would like to keep it as far below that as possible), what should I get? Keep in mind please that these events are in different geographic locations, so bonus points for solutions that are as compact as possible and travel well.
posted by jbickers to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
syncing video to audio after the fact can be a nightmare especially on longer recordings. Make sure you've got some sort of timecode sync, but I don't know if you can do that under a thousand
posted by CharlesV42 at 11:44 AM on June 2, 2010

i would vote for one or two used camcorders. one must have an input for an external mic. then feed the soundboard into one of your cameras.
posted by maulik at 12:50 PM on June 2, 2010

"syncing video to audio after the fact can be a nightmare especially on longer recordings. "

Boy, and how.

Assuming 29.97 fps (NTSC frame rate) video, make sure you record sampling in either 32K or 48K (rather than 44.1K) to minimize drift and ease your post sync endeavors. (or, as CharlesV24 points out, a master clock/sync signal amongst all the devices involved in the recording but that won't happen for under $1K)

32,000 or 48,000 sampling rate produces samples that are evenly divisible into the standard frame rate, so... no drift (or, at least far, far less drift than 44.1K).
posted by bz at 12:55 PM on June 2, 2010

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