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In flight audio recording from drone
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MikeyDrone
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Hi there!


Did anyone successfully record in-flight audio/sound from the Phantom, or any other drone, WITHOUT the horrible sound from the props?

If the above is true, how did you do it?



2018-1-8
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BagoDJIoperator
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Flight distance : 693133 ft
United States
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Nope, the camera is too close the props, so you always have the prop noises.
2018-1-8
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Hellsgate
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Australia
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Not going to ever hear much from the altitude most people fly at anyway.
The only audio you can get is via the device you use connected to rc. This audio is stored on the cache files on your device not very good quality. So basically you can hear yourself and others talking but thats about it.
Some have mounted audio recording devices to their drones but the only noise you can hear is the sound of the props most of that noise can be taken out if you have some fancy audio editing gear/software but usually by doing so it distorts any other audio that is recorded to the point its not worth listening too.
I have seen one guy who hung a microphone about 2 - 3 mtrs below his drone this did work to a certain degree but the noise of the drone still over powers any audio that you actually want to hear.
2018-1-8
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MikeyDrone
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I just had a very successful test, but I had the Zoom H1 (stereo recording device) hanging about 7 meters down, and the noise from the propellers was very low.

BUT I did a stupid thing because I had the recording level set to AUTO, so it raised the recording levels when the drone got further away from the Zoom H1, meaning the record levels got too high.

Next time I will try with the Auto Recording Level function off.


Many people want to be able to record sounds from birds, cars, water (waves), boats, forrest etc. etc.
So if this is working, then it is the best option to go for to get good audio. Need more testing!

I will test some more and get back

2018-1-8
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Blue Ridge Big
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Here is an example of what I have done in the past... First I shot this sunset . After I landed, I recorded the ambient sounds of my location, using a Shure VP88 stereo microphone, through a Focusrite Red USB preamp, into my MacBook. I combined the audio and video in post production ...


2018-1-8
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MikeyDrone
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Blue Ridge Big  Posted at 2018-1-8 08:55
Here is an example of what I have done in the past... First I shot this sunset . After I landed, I recorded the ambient sounds of my location, using a Shure VP88 stereo microphone, through a Focusrite Red USB preamp, into my MacBook. I combined the audio and video in post production ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=915lSFtmWL8

Hi there!

It is a nice looking shot with good sound. Good job!


However, I did look at another video you've made "Sunset and sound part 3, at the beach", and here I see a problem with the audio recording, and post production. First of all the footage and the sound does not mix/sync very well.




For example, when you fly out over the water you can still here the voices of the people on the beach, loud and clear. If you had the stereo mics pointed a bit forward and tilted a few degrees and mounted under the drone (about 7 - 10 meters), the sound would be realistic when looking at the footage. It is just not the same to record audio not following the drone.

You may think this also could be fixed in post production by lowering the levels of the sound when the drone moves away from the beach, but this would also lower the sea noise overall, and that would be noticeable by the viewer.

If you for example fly the drone over a highway with a lot of cars, and there's a train passing by in the other direction on the side of the road, while a plane is flying high above the drone and the noise from the city you're flying towards will get closer and closer, you will find it a bit tricky to fix in post production. It is possible, sure, but I would rather record the stereo sound correctly and sync it in post production.

It is even harder to do stuff with stereo audio in post production if you for example fly the drone over a small crowd that are chatting while they do stuff that makes sound, like bouncing balls, dropping things etc.

I guess what I am saying is that the real sound captured during flight is more precise and correct than what one can do in post production, and that is why I want to capture that stereo sound from the drone flight.
2018-1-8
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MikeyDrone
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Sweden
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Gahhh, wanted to edit the post above but the 2 minute limit made that impossible (2 minutes???).... Come-on DJI... at least set the edit time limit to 5 minutes!

Anyway, there is of course cases when it is easier and also better to record audio before or after a flight, but it all depends on what one is filming. Your "sunset and sound part 2" is a great example of when this technique is good to use.

For your beach video, in post production, to be realistic you would need four microphone sources. You should have had one mic pointed from the sea to the beach, or pointed along the beach (people overall sound captured), and one mic pointed towards the sea (waves sound captured), but you would also need a mic pointed away from the beach towards the land (over land audio capture), and at last you should have had a mic away from the waves pointed out over the sea from a boat or something (sea noise capture). If all this had been done you would have had the correct sources for audio post production for the beach video. It is just a whole lot of work and it would be better to be able to capture the sound directly from the flight, right?
2018-1-8
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Matthew Dobrski
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I've seen and heard about many crazy ideas, but this one is truly a gem ... You'll never, ever get quality soundtrack recorded this way! Never, simply no way ... Motor noise aside, wind is your main enemy here. Carrying recording device + at least 5m long cable with gun type microphone and furry windshield will tax your flying time heavily. Moreover, this configuration is nothing else but asking for trouble:
1. the pendulum effect may (and will) throw your drone off balance.
2. you'll anchor the bird on any obstacle (branches, wires etc.) sooner than later.

Think twice, and again twice before any further attempt! You'll be much, much better adding commercially available sounds in post. Even better, record the sound simultaneously with wind-protected microphones on tripod located close to the object, later adding space (reverb) effect as the drone moves around.  
EDIT (April 2018)
Just to save your time wasted on reading this thread any further, the project went belly up as I predicted. OP never show up with promised results of recordings.
2018-1-8
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MikeyDrone
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Matthew Dobrski Posted at 2018-1-8 17:33
I've seen and heard about many crazy ideas, but this one is truly a gem  ... You'll never, ever get quality soundtrack recorded this way! Never, simply no way ... Motor noise aside, wind is your main enemy here. Carrying recording device + at least 5m long cable with gun type microphone and furry windshield will tax your flying time heavily. This configuration is nothing else but asking for trouble: an pendulum effect may (and will) throw your drone off balance, you'll anchor the bird on any obstacle (branches, wires etc.) sooner than later. Think twice, and again twice before any further attempt! You'll be much, much better adding commercially available sounds in post.

Hello Matthew!

First I should mention that I am a sound/mixing/mastering/recording engineer.


The "obstacles":
Haha, well, I can agree to the obstacles being a possible problem, but this just takes some flight planning, which should always be done carefully anyway, so no problems here.

The "wind noise":
If there is a little bit of wind noise, then that is just the reality which is actually not bad in all situations as long as it is at a low level and not puffy-sounding (good quality wind sounds). This one is totally controllable, already fixed and no problems with that.

The "weight":
My stereo recording device "Zoom H1" weighs below 100 grams and I actually want some more weight to the end of the line, or a very thin and heavier line, or maybe even weights on the line spread along the line (best option), keeping it more straight.

The "gun type microphone":
I don't want to use the gun type microphone, because I won't need one.

The "throwing drone off balance"
It will not happen because I won't carry enough of weight for that to happen. It has already been tested in flight without any problems.

The "5 meter long cable":
I won't use a 5 meter long cable since the "Zoom H1" runs on one tiny battery and recording to a micro-SD card onboard, in stereo. Check it out!




I have thought about this more than twice, and that is why I am now testing the idea, but at a controlled and professional level.

I will get back with the test results, I promise
2018-1-8
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MikeyDrone
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I forgot to mention:

The absolute biggest problem I have is that the stereo recording device "Zoom H1" WILL spin a bit in the air, making the STEREO recording not correct. This can be fixed, but it will take some more work like creating parts for the recording device and maybe for the drone. But this will be a later problem to deal with
2018-1-8
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Matthew Dobrski
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MikeyDrone Posted at 2018-1-8 18:13
Hello Matthew!

First I should mention that I am a sound/mixing/mastering/recording engineer.

Good luck than, and keep us posted!
2018-1-8
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Matthew Dobrski
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MikeyDrone Posted at 2018-1-8 18:13
Hello Matthew!

First I should mention that I am a sound/mixing/mastering/recording engineer.

Mikey, been there, did that! This recorder utilize condenser capsules, sensitive to pressure variables made by a bee flying by! I'll never use this device outdoor on a tripod and without good furry shield, not to mention on moving drone ...
2018-1-8
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MikeyDrone
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Matthew Dobrski Posted at 2018-1-8 19:55
Mikey, been there, did that! This recorder utilize condenser capsules, sensitive to pressure variables made by a bee flying by! I'll never use this device outdoor on a tripod and without good furry shield, not to mention on moving drone ...

Well, Matthew, that's what the level input settings are for, so again, no problems there!

About sound pressure, maybe drums will convince you what kind of pressure levels the Zoom H1 can take


2018-1-9
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MikeyDrone
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Matthew Dobrski Posted at 2018-1-8 19:40
Good luck than, and keep us posted!

Thanks, I will.
2018-1-9
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KedDK
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I would prefer Motor, Rotor and Wind noise over what we get as is - Nothing.
2018-1-9
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Blue Ridge Big
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MikeyDrone Posted at 2018-1-8 16:45
Hi there!

It is a nice looking shot with good sound. Good job!

Thanks Mikey!
2018-1-9
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Blue Ridge Big
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MikeyDrone Posted at 2018-1-8 17:16
Gahhh, wanted to edit the post above but the 2 minute limit made that impossible (2 minutes???).... Come-on DJI... at least set the edit time limit to 5 minutes!

Anyway, there is of course cases when it is easier and also better to record audio before or after a flight, but it all depends on what one is filming. Your "sunset and sound part 2" is a great example of when this technique is good to use.

My setup for the beach video was not as nice as the sunset 2 video. I recorded about 5 minutes of audio with my phone laying on the beach, and looped it to fit the length of my video. Props to you for noticing the difference. Most people don't pay that much attention!
2018-1-9
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Hazy Jay
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MikeyDrone Posted at 2018-1-8 18:13
Hello Matthew!

First I should mention that I am a sound/mixing/mastering/recording engineer.

I just want to add something on weight. I watched a video the other day of a guy lifting a 1lb weight and then a 3lb weight with his p4p. Whilst the 3lb weight did create a lot more prop noise and effort he still raised it quite high. 3lbs is 1.36kg so the lifting of a 100g microphone is going to be almost effortless
2018-1-9
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Hazy Jay
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Matthew Dobrski Posted at 2018-1-8 19:55
Mikey, been there, did that! This recorder utilize condenser capsules, sensitive to pressure variables made by a bee flying by! I'll never use this device outdoor on a tripod and without good furry shield, not to mention on moving drone ...

Condenser mics are used for high pressure environments. That's why vocal mics have condensers in them and drum mics and more. They have either a small diaphragm or a large diaphragm depending on what they are to be used for.

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/types-of-microphones/ may help you understand mics a bit better
2018-1-9
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Blue Ridge Big
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MikeyDrone Posted at 2018-1-8 18:13
Hello Matthew!

First I should mention that I am a sound/mixing/mastering/recording engineer.

Ah Mikey, I am also a professional audio engineer, for over 35 years now. Live and studio sound. I started flying drones a few years ago as a way to occupy my down time on the road...
In a perfect world DJI would make a quiet drone for us, with a really nice stereo mic built in. Until that happens, it is up to folks like us to come up with a better way.
Most of my videos involve nature and scenery, and I long for a better way to capture the sound while in flight as well. I have considered using the zoom recorder, but had not thought about mounting it on the aircraft.
Have you tried playing with the phasing at all in post? I am just wondering what kind of results one would get by making a copy of the audio file, low and high passing it to just have the noisiest frequency range of the drone, and then laying it back over the original, but out of phase.....
2018-1-9
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MikeyDrone
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Blue Ridge Big  Posted at 2018-1-9 06:36
Ah Mikey, I am also a professional audio engineer, for over 35 years now. Live and studio sound. I started flying drones a few years ago as a way to occupy my down time on the road...
In a perfect world DJI would make a quiet drone for us, with a really nice stereo mic built in. Until that happens, it is up to folks like us to come up with a better way.
Most of my videos involve nature and scenery, and I long for a better way to capture the sound while in flight as well. I have considered using the zoom recorder, but had not thought about mounting it on the aircraft.

Well, how nice!!! Hello engineer!

Ah, you want to try to cancel out the noise, ey?

Well, I have not tried that. I am still focusing on being able to record the sound from the flight as good as possible, and when that happen, eh, if it will happen... then I will look at post processing. There's sure much that can be done in post production.

I live in Sweden (not Norway), and now it is a bit cold outside with wind, so I am doing som preparation work indoors for now. I did add weights to the line today, about one weight every .5 meters. That will be interesting to see the effect of.

By adding weights spread out on the line from the drone to the recording device, I no longer have to worry about the line getting caught in the propellers when I land the drone It will also make sure the line is straight at take-off.

I needed the weight anyway since the recorder weigh almost nothing.
2018-1-9
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solentlife
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KedDK Posted at 2018-1-9 00:21
I would prefer Motor, Rotor and Wind noise over what we get as is - Nothing.

True - silence is deafening ! Makes you feel you've gone deaf.

I think best is the addition of suitable music. Trouble is some music is downright awful !

I follow one guy who is French. He makes excellent videos with GoPro .... and then adds music. Well - he calls it music ! It is really loud and unbearable - so I have to literally mute the speakers. I like Mozart through to heavy rock ... but some is just terrible !

Nigel
2018-1-9
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Matthew Dobrski
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Hazy Jay Posted at 2018-1-9 06:29
Condenser mics are used for high pressure environments. That's why vocal mics have condensers in them and drum mics and more. They have either a small diaphragm or a large diaphragm depending on what they are to be used for.

https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/types-of-microphones/ may help you understand mics a bit better

By pressure variables I mean wind blows. Condenser (capacitor) microphone capsules are much more sensitive to these than dynamic microphones (moving coil microphones). That's why virtually all condenser mics used for vocal recordings need to be protected with plosives-absorbing screen on front.

Said that, all of these cheap handheld stereo recording devices employs small capacitor capsules, particularly sensitive to even the most delicate wind breeze. Once I was trying to get decent outdoor nature recordings with much more advanced Zoom H4 and a windscreen ... An butterfly passed by few inches away, creating a rumble of wind turbulence in my headphones. How anybody would be able to avoid such turbulences with microphone below a drone belly? It escapes my comprehension ...

On the other hand, some 50 years ago I didn't know a thing about audio recordings and microphones. I remember my attempt to record the sound of idling boat engine with submerged Shure SM58 mic ...
2018-1-9
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Hazy Jay
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Wowsers. I work with psychedelic guys that would have loved that effect (whilst it worked) ;)
2018-1-9
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MikeyDrone
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"By pressure variables I mean wind blows. Condenser (capacitor) microphone capsules are much more sensitive to these than dynamic microphones (moving coil microphones). That's why virtually all condenser mics used for vocal recordings need to be protected with plosives-absorbing screen on front. "


That's all true, Matthew, and just like a screen in front of the microphone in a controlled studio environment, it is fully possible to do this in the air, but not with a pop-screen. There are other ways of doing it
2018-1-9
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Matthew Dobrski
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MikeyDrone Posted at 2018-1-9 16:38
"By pressure variables I mean wind blows. Condenser (capacitor) microphone capsules are much more sensitive to these than dynamic microphones (moving coil microphones). That's why virtually all condenser mics used for vocal recordings need to be protected with plosives-absorbing screen on front. "

Alright, alright, enough talking! Let's hear the results, I want to learn new stuff ...
2018-1-9
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RedHotPoker
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It's too bad there aren't any RCA audio input plugs on the drone.
image.jpeg


RedHotPoker
2018-1-9
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MikeyDrone
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Matthew Dobrski Posted at 2018-1-9 18:47
Alright, alright, enough talking! Let's hear the results, I want to learn new stuff  ...

Agree!

Yesterday it was -8 c. and wind. I want to be able to move my fingers to fly my p4p

As soon as I have results, I will post it here
2018-1-10
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Matthew Dobrski
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MikeyDrone Posted at 2018-1-10 15:26
Agree!

Yesterday it was -8 c. and wind. I want to be able to move my fingers to fly my p4p

Ah, looking for an excuse ? I have -31C coming tonight, how about that?...
2018-1-10
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dorbot
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you could use a second microphone to record prop noise and a set of speakers to provide an anti phase sound..........
2018-1-10
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BearDrone
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Good luck on your efforts. I'm not sure what this will yield, however. Most of the time, we are above the audible environment that we are filming. I guess if you fly low enough you could record the sounds of waves crashing as you fly over the surf. I don't know. I kind of like putting music to the video of flight motion. Like a movie's soundtrack, you can create the mood and emotion you want to convey for that particular scene.

I'll be interested to see what you come up with and how you use it in your footage.
2018-1-10
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MikeyDrone
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Matthew Dobrski Posted at 2018-1-10 16:21
Ah, looking for an excuse ? I have -31C coming tonight, how about that?...

Ah, a comedian  

Haha, you just have to wait.
2018-1-11
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MikeyDrone
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BearDrone Posted at 2018-1-10 19:17
Good luck on your efforts. I'm not sure what this will yield, however. Most of the time, we are above the audible environment that we are filming. I guess if you fly low enough you could record the sounds of waves crashing as you fly over the surf. I don't know. I kind of like putting music to the video of flight motion. Like a movie's soundtrack, you can create the mood and emotion you want to convey for that particular scene.

I'll be interested to see what you come up with and how you use it in your footage.

Thanks!

Yes, as I wrote in an earlier post, it all depends on the flight and what one will shoot, and in most cases, as it seems, it will do just fine with post production, like adding music and sound effects of high quality, because as you wrote; most people are flying high in the sky.

But there are some times when at least I want to be able to record stereo sound from the flight, and I'll bet a few more drone owners would like that if it can be done with high quality sound, no propeller or wind noise. It doesn't hurt to have audio recorded in flight from the drone than what one might record from the ground. Even if there's a little, tiny bit of propeller sound it might be useable in post production.

It is always better with more data than what's needed, and that goes for all media (think about it)
2018-1-11
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jkw
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Blue Ridge Big  Posted at 2018-1-8 08:55
Here is an example of what I have done in the past... First I shot this sunset . After I landed, I recorded the ambient sounds of my location, using a Shure VP88 stereo microphone, through a Focusrite Red USB preamp, into my MacBook. I combined the audio and video in post production ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=915lSFtmWL8

I love all the sounds of nature, you must be very quiet!
2018-1-11
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Blue Ridge Big
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jkw Posted at 2018-1-11 07:56
I love all the sounds of nature, you must be very quiet!

I am fortunate enough to live in a "neighborhood" where the closest house is over 1/2 mile away in either direction. Plus we have very little vehicle traffic. If you listen close enough, you can hear a truck, and an ATV during the video. They were several miles away.
2018-1-13
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Blue Ridge Big
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dorbot Posted at 2018-1-10 18:08
you could use a second microphone to record prop noise and a set of speakers to provide an anti phase sound..........

I am thinking that some experimentation with phasing might get good results. Maybe a stereo mic pointing at what the camera sees, plus a single mic pointing at the drone, thrown out of phase in relation to the stereo mics. I want to try it with wireless lavalier mics attached to the drone, but Mikey is on to a good thing with the zoom recorder as well.
2018-1-13
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AgnesEvan
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Record system audio from your MacBook

Generally speaking, if you'd like to record system audio, here is the best tool Audio Capture for Mac, which can help you record any audio from your system with zero quality loss. Such as Apple Music, Spotify, Audible audiobook, YouTube audios, etc.
2018-10-18
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Norton35
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AgnesEvan Posted at 2018-10-18 04:48
Generally speaking, if you'd like to record system audio, here is the best tool Audio Capture for Mac, which can help you record any audio from your system with zero quality loss. Such as Apple Music, Spotify, Audible audiobook, YouTube audios, etc.

It's very interesting how so many people in this thread claim to be professional sound recordists and then say they record in stereo! I've yet to meet an audio professional who doesn't record in mono ... one channel per mic. Any stereo effects are created in post production; how else could you create a proper sound stage?
2018-10-18
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Geebax
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Norton35 Posted at 2018-10-18 11:56
It's very interesting how so many people in this thread claim to be professional sound recordists and then say they record in stereo! I've yet to meet an audio professional who doesn't record in mono ... one channel per mic. Any stereo effects are created in post production; how else could you create a proper sound stage?

Probably because most people who talk about recording in Stereo are doing just that, one channel per microphone. That's the way most pro recording devices are now configured.
2018-10-18
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Mark Weiss
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If a company with advanced sound research technology put their minds to it, it may be possible in five years to design a drone with on board audio and DSP noise cancelling that works effectively. The silicon with that kind of horsepower does not exist in a low power consumption device as yet, but in five years, it could.
2018-10-18
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