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Old 02-21-2010, 06:43 PM
lpa53 lpa53 is offline
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Default Zoom Q3 may be heading back to the store ...

I bought a Zoom Q3 last weekend after hearing good things about the audio quality and seeing some decently clear video on Youtube. I just recorded and uploaded this attempt and am extremely disappointed in both video and audio quality.

While it's true I may not know how to use it correctly, I've produced better videos with a borrowed camcorder that I also knew nothing about. It really shouldn't be all that difficult to get something you can actually hear.

When I looked at Q3 videos before buying I did find one that had extremely low sound as does mine but most were fine. I did a take with the Q3's mics set higher but then the vocals were garbled in many spots (warbling almost), rendering the take useless. When I lowered the volume a bit it was clear but so quiet it's worthless.

On top of that the video quality is much lower than most Q3 posts I saw. Maybe this is just a bad unit. maybe there's a learning curve. But maybe it just ought to go back. Luckily, Best Buy gave me a 14 day return. For the same cost I could get an HD unit that takes an external mic.
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:14 PM
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Have you tried boosting the volume in the video with a program before uploading to Youtube? I always have to do that, it's kind of annoying.

But yeah, I think the HD unit and external mic is the way to go. With the Q3, you have to position it so that you can take a good video, but that might not be the best position for a good sound.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:49 AM
lpa53 lpa53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimplyLuo View Post
Have you tried boosting the volume in the video with a program before uploading to Youtube? I always have to do that, it's kind of annoying.

But yeah, I think the HD unit and external mic is the way to go. With the Q3, you have to position it so that you can take a good video, but that might not be the best position for a good sound.
What program do you use to boost the audio?
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:31 AM
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I record with an external microphone plugged into my camcorder, so after transferring the video to my computer I extract the audio with Adobe Premiere Pro. Any video editing program should do, I think
Then I take the audio and boost the volume in REAPER, and then put it back in the video in Premiere Pro

I like REAPER, Audacity should work as well
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:08 PM
lpa53 lpa53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimplyLuo View Post
I record with an external microphone plugged into my camcorder, so after transferring the video to my computer I extract the audio with Adobe Premiere Pro. Any video editing program should do, I think
Then I take the audio and boost the volume in REAPER, and then put it back in the video in Premiere Pro

I like REAPER, Audacity should work as well
Thanks for the tips. I've used both Audacity and Reaper. The cost of Adobe Premier is a beiot steep for me given my needs. Are there any freebie video editing programs that allow you to boost audio within the same program rather than having to extract and resynch it?

I do think I'm going to get a regular Camcorder and an external mic.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:18 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpa53 View Post
What program do you use to boost the audio?
Not that I'm recommending you should keep the Q3, I think you're better off switching to an HD cam like a Flip or Kodak Zi8, but ...

I did a couple of blog posts about Avidemux, free video editing software that can be used to extract audio and then resync it after tweaking.

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2009/...-and-wavosaur/

This post also demonstrates Wavosaur, a free audio editing program that can be used to adjust volume, apply EQ, and add effects. Other useful audio programs you can download include Audacity, Reaper, even Cool Edit which is still floating around in cyberspace.

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Old 02-22-2010, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
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What program do you use to boost the audio?
I use Audacity. Effects menu, "Normalize".
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
Not that I'm recommending you should keep the Q3, I think you're better off switching to an HD cam like a Flip or Kodak Zi8, but ...

I did a couple of blog posts about Avidemux, free video editing software that can be used to extract audio and then resync it after tweaking.

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/2009/...-and-wavosaur/

This post also demonstrates Wavosaur, a free audio editing program that can be used to adjust volume, apply EQ, and add effects. Other useful audio programs you can download include Audacity, Reaper, even Cool Edit which is still floating around in cyberspace.

Fran
Fran, I think you recommended Avidemux to me before and I have used it. However, my old laptop died and I've yet to load it on my new one. The last upgrade of it gave me fits though because the codecs didn't come with it and the installing instructions were rather weak. I was just hoping there'd be a way not to have to extract the sound and resynch it.

I'll see what I can come up with tonight.

The Kodak might be what I'll look into. What I did like about the Panasonic I'd borrowed from my office was that you could swivel the viewer around so you could see yourself to get centered correctly in the frame.
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:07 PM
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Well, with all the helpful suggestions I was able to get the audio to a decent level and I re-posted the video to Youtube here > I used Avidemux to extract the audio and Audacity to do the normalization. I thought to add some reverb but I always have trouble getting Audacity's Gverb add-in to do just what I want. Too many settings to understand! I'd just like a slider, thank you!

The video is still lousy but, after reading Fran's articles (thanks) I realized it's probably due to my using the digital zoom on the Q3 instead of moving it closer.

With the Q3 it looks like you have to find just the right combination of distance to get what you want in the frame and the Q3's audio input level. It would take some tweaking but could be done and I think I'll give it another try before taking it back.

I still probably would like to be able to see myself in the viewer when I'm in position rather than guess what the camera's seeing.

My latest computer problem is that now I can't get Facebook to show an image of the video when I post it on the Wall. Maybe I have to wait for processing or something. It does work with my other Youtube vids. Weird.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:57 PM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
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Hi Paul.....


I really need to pay more attention to this section. A lot of the stuff that's here used to be in other sections that I visit more regularly. Part of the problem is Youtube's bitrate thing as well. It's weird. I've uploaded stuff (using external mic. to record with) that came out sounding good on Youtube and other stuff that was horrendous. It's a finicky thing with file formats and audio codecs on there. Just out of curiosity I wonder how your file would sound and look on Virb. Likely far better, although not the volume for sharing that you get on Youtube. In case you're curious it's free to join. Not recommending you switch sights. Virb can be a pain sometimes. Just wondering how that vid would sound. Sorry the Zoom isn't working as well as expected.

My Virb videos FWIW...... http://virb.com/ryanl/videos
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:58 AM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpa53 View Post
... What I did like about the Panasonic I'd borrowed from my office was that you could swivel the viewer around so you could see yourself to get centered correctly in the frame.
I agree that this is a tremendously helpful feature for us self-shooters.

There is an inexpensive cam with an audio input that has this feature, but it has not gotten great reviews for its performance, the Aiptek Action-HD GVS.

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Old 02-23-2010, 02:26 PM
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you may want to do a test shoot. this is what i do anyway with my kodak zi8. i get everything set up and set the camera on record, go sit in the chair with your guitar and play for a few seconds. stop the camera and play back the video. that will let you know where you are in the camera's lens. i then just delete the test and do the real video.
hope this helps.
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:16 PM
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Sorry, wrong post!
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Last edited by napman; 02-23-2010 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 02-23-2010, 10:04 PM
lpa53 lpa53 is offline
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I think I'm getting the hang of the Q3 and here's my latest video where you can judge.

muscmp your comment was dead on. I did do a test shoot first to make sure my head and the headstock weren't cut off.

When reading a post about the Kodak Zi8 on Fran's blog, I realized that the Q3's digital zoom must degrade the resolution just as does that of the Zi8. For someone wanting a versatile video camera, this is definitely a bad thing, but I guess the Q3 folks aimed at a narrow niche of people wanting to film pretty static stuff with good audio. The lens's wide angle allowed me to get the shot I did with setting the unit on a stand only 44" from the edge of the chair. That turned out to be OK for the audio, too, which was set on the unit at a bit less than midpoint (whatever that setting means).

I've got the Q3 video set at MP3 320bps. Can anyone tell me what the diff is between that and the PCM 44.1Hz 24 bit is? Obviously I'm and audio no-nothing - I just play, sing and hope!

I'm still wondering is I'll keep it, though. Using the same speakers, I listened to my older Youtube of "Only a Dream in Rio" and am not sure if that sound isn't better. It was done with the internal mic on a Panasonic camcorder. There's more background noise but there also seems to be more bass and not just in the guitar. Or am I just imagining things?
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Last edited by lpa53; 02-24-2010 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:54 AM
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A high bit rate MP3 (320 is very high) will sound the same as a 44.1 wave given a good codec, and take up less space. If you're going to edit the file before uploading, a .WAV file is a better choice because it won't require transcoding (decompressing and recompressing).

Some container formats do not allow uncompressed audio like .WAV. I'm not sure how YouTube reacts.

I thought the audio from the Panny camcorder exhibited more distortion than the Q3 clip, but with every variable different it's pretty hard to make a useful judgement. I didn't hear more bass in the camcorder clip either.

I think the big win offered by the Q3, having seen your samples, is the lack of AGC on the audio. It's basically universal on camera mics, and it's a noise and distortion generator. To me, the Q3 audio adds to the clip, makes it work, while the camcorder audio is a distraction and undercuts the performance.

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Last edited by Fran Guidry; 02-24-2010 at 03:07 AM.
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