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Record Audio and Video from Easy to the Nth Digital Degree of Advanced

Updated on January 25, 2015

ProTools HD system with D-Command

Kings Gambit Records, Control Room A-1
Kings Gambit Records, Control Room A-1 | Source

Easy and low budget devices.

Technology has made it easy for anyone to photograph, record audio and video and even upload instantly to the web. Smart phones have amazing, micro technology that offers on-the-go access to capturing, editing, storing and sharing multi-media in standard definition all the way to full 1080 HD. If you're looking for easy, personal, low budget and convenient ways to capture audio and video, my first suggestion is a smart phone and start researching the how-to guides of your new device.

Going to the next level beyond the smart phone is the Handycam and the basic multi-track digital recorder. This is a major market and it's filled with different brands by the hundreds that all have similar features. The lower the cost of the device means more basic features and as you go up in price you find more and more features until you get to the blank check devices that may take you a few years of study in a university to learn to use the technology in that device. I like to suggest devices that I have used over the years because that's what work's for me. You can look at what I'm suggesting and find many different brands with similar functions and compare them on your own. My first choice for Handycams is Sony. I'll cover a few of the models that I'm very familiar with later but moving on to multi-track recorders my first suggestion is the KORG and Tascam machines because you can find them relatively cheap and the these devices are mostly self contained DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) that do not require software or computer with an audio interface. These are very portable units that have internal hard drives, I/O panels, tracks, sends, aux. channels and a stereo Master Track. You can plug in microphones and instruments, record directly onto the available tracks, use internal algorithms to add sound effects, create sub-mixes, save your project to the Master and finally you can record it to a tape or burn an audio CD using a built-in cassette or CD drive.

Here is where I want to showcase some of the different models of devices, share there features, pros and cons, and places to find them. I will begin with the Sony cameras.

2 awesome Sony HD video cameras

2 awesome Sony HD video cameras on the green screen set of Dynamic Lights Productions.
2 awesome Sony HD video cameras on the green screen set of Dynamic Lights Productions. | Source

Sony Video Cameras that offer SD and HD recording.

The Sony HDR XR500 Handycam is my first pick for easy, lightweight, on-the-go recording with tons of great features and versatile accessaries. This is an older model Handycam and I still use it on a daily basis for it's super steady shot photo taking and auto adjustments in recording full 1920 X 1080 HD video. It is the super, steady shot clear image technology that prompts me to place this light weight cam on the Pro Am Camera Crane mounted to a Bescor motorized pan, tilt mount. I can use the external HD color monitor and remote controls to pan, tilt, zoom in and out and position the crane for awesome camera sweeps. Even in low light with steady motion filming this camera does an amazing job at capturing ultra crisp and focused footage. Older models like this one are still available on sites like eBay and Amazon at great prices for the low budget video maker. Take a look at the amazing brand new technology offered on sony.com. You can find something easy and light on the piggy bank for casual filming to Action Cams and on up to the Professional Grade 4K.

Brand New Products from SONY

SONY Action Cam.  HDR-AZ1VR/W
SONY Action Cam. HDR-AZ1VR/W | Source

SONY Professional

4K HANDYCAM CAMCORDER FDR-AX1
4K HANDYCAM CAMCORDER FDR-AX1 | Source

My first pick for the more Professional Grade SONY HD Film Making Camera is the HVR-HD1000U. Once again this is an older model and still available at some amazing prices on sites like eBay and Amazon. I have found this camera works at capturing wide angle footage while mounted to a tripod and filming on a camera dolly or a steady-cam mount. The mini DV tapes are easy to play back and bounce for editing and if you must put this on your shoulder with a shotgun microphone to do, on-the-go, location shoots, it is very light and easy to handle. Both SONY cameras offer I/O for AV, HDMI, full screen monitor connection, external microphone and headset. The handycam features an internal hard drive and a micro SD card slot for storing footage and the HVR - HD1000U records to mini DV cassette and has an SD slot for storing footage. Each model has dozens of user designated functions in the settings menu that can be selected on touch screens and saved. Changing the settings is just a simple touch or two away. Finally, I really like the fact that these cameras offer extended function running on rechargeable batteries and can be plugged into an AC source with the power supply cords when they're used in a stationary setting.

What is your experience with SONY HVR - HD1000U

Cast your vote for SONY HVR - HD1000U

KORG D3200 Digital Recorder and KORG M3 Midi Keyboard

KORG D3200 Digital Recorder and Korg M3 Midi Controller / Keyboard.
KORG D3200 Digital Recorder and Korg M3 Midi Controller / Keyboard. | Source

Earlier, I mentioned the fully self contained DAW or multi-track digital recorders. I want to show a few from the KORG family but on a side note, SONY also has very easy and affordable hand held devices for recording music. Now, let's look at KORG. My five star pick for multi-track machines is the KORG D3200, 32 track digital recorder. I've used this machine to record, mix, re-mix and burn large file sessions to CD that have been used for Mastering full albums for duplication / distribution. These projects are still being purchased as ON-DEMAND CDs and digital downloads on Amazon so I know this machine is an easy, affordable Workhorse for the mid range studio Engineer / Artist. This is only a general overview of the D3200 and it does not cover all the amazing internal bins of technology but I will include a link for you to go check it out for yourself.

KORG's D3200 32-Track Digital Recording Studio provides up to 32 tracks of simultaneous playback and up to 12 tracks of simultaneous analog recording, plus 2 via S/PDIF and 2 using the included interactive Session Drums which allows you to easily create a realistic and natural drum track for your entire song, simply by tweaking a few knobs. The D3200 provides 16- and 24-bit uncompressed 44.1 or 48kHz recording and playback. By taking advantage of the 8 virtual tracks provided for each track, you can record a total of up to 272 tracks. In 24-bit mode, the digital data passing through the fader and EQ is recorded onto the internal 80GB hard drive as 32-bit data, ensuring even higher recording and playback quality. The internal processor uses 64-bit precision (maximum 69-bit), delivering professional-level audio quality.

In the photo above, I have the D3200 connected via Midi to a KORG M3, full 88 key, midi-controller keyboard. The connection of these two machines means the sky is not a limit to what you can create as an artist. Beginner or Nth Advanced, you have the world at your fingertips!

Regardless of whether you budget for a multi-track recorder or a computer / software / audio interface platform to do your audio recording on, you are going to need other peripherals / hardware to get the job done. Things like microphones, cables, pre-amps, effects processors, instruments, head phones, sound monitors, and possibly an actual mixer or DAW control surface.

Microphones for Studio and Live Performance

Kings Gambit Recording Studio Microphones for Studio sound, video and live performance.
Kings Gambit Recording Studio Microphones for Studio sound, video and live performance. | Source

Video Filmed with SONY HVR - HD1000U, Audio Recorded with KORG D3200

From here on, you start getting to the point of linking together a system for capturing audio and video projects. What I referred to in the title as, "Nth digital degree of Advanced". A PC or MAC with software like ProTools and audio interface devices that all link together and allow you to plug in your peripherals and use either a software virtual mixer on your computer or a physical mixer / control surface. If you are ready to take a look at the major end of audio and video recording and scoring, I recommend AVID. I'm not going to go into teaching in this article, just leading the way for you to see what's in store when you decide to cross into the Nth Digital Degree.

Please feel free to comment and I look forward to seeing you in the Hubs. Thank you.

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