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ROLAND R-44 by Nigel Cooper ROLAND R-44 DIGITAL FIELD RECORDER Recording a concert pianist DVD production A t the tail end of last year, my production company, Generic Pool Productions, spent two days at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge, UK recording a DVD video production for internationally acclaimed concert pianist, Grace Francis. The video shoot itself was shot with a total of five cameras, two locked off, one operated by cameraman Oliver Horn in the balcony, the fourth operated on a glide-track alongside the piano by myself, and the fifth was a Polecam operated by John Gillan. But today, I’m going to be talking about the audio side of things and how it was recorded. Of course the audio could have been recorded onto one of the five camcorders, after all, the camcorders I used all record linear PCM 48 kHz audio, which is CD quality. However, there are many reasons for not recording audio to a video camcorder, especially on a job such as this where the audio quality is critical. One such reason is ‘pre-amps’. The pre-amps that are built into camcorders are typically not that great, even moderately expensive ones costing around £15,000. For serious audio acquisition these built-in pre-amps are simply not good enough. Camcorder pre-amps are typically built for moderate audio purposes such as ENG work and spoken word. For serious audio purposes such as music video, or concert performances we require something a little more focused and intended for the purpose. So for the DVD of the concert pianist I spent two days filming, I used a dedicated solid- state digital audio recorder, which has superior quality pre-amps built in, as well as all the relevant audio controls that I required to make 24 DVuser magazine fine adjustments to the pre-amps inputs and other various settings. During post-production I simply took the five video-camcorders tracks of both audio and video and stacked them up on the timeline in Final Cut Pro. I then added the dedicated audio track that I recorded using the audio field recorder and synced them all up using the PluralEyes plug-in from Singular Software for Final Cut Pro. Once they were all synced together, I deleted all the audio tracks that came with the video so that I was left with just the dedicated audio track and five video tracks. The PluralEyes software is a breeze to use; it is one simple mouse click. However, to use this software I had to set up all the video camcorders so that they actually recorded the performance too. The fact that the audio quality recorded to the camcorders was not