Camcorder Audio Settings for Editing in Final Cut

As discussed in the Section “Choosing Audio File Sample Rate and Bit Depth” on Page 212 in the Final Cut Express User Manual, Consumer mini-DV camcorders can record four channels of audio using 32 kHz/12-bit audio settings for sample rate and bit depth. After reading this, I checked my Panasonic PV-GS500 and sure enough, this is the default setting on that camcorder as well, i.e., all my previous footing was recorded with that setting.

According to the FCE user manual this setting is not recommended for most productions. It is better to use the standard 48 kHz/16-bit setting commonly used by DV, HDV, and DVD.

2008-07-13 Update: Putting it to use
It’s been long since I posted this, but two weeks ago I finally had a chance to make use of this tip. We went for our annual summer vacation, and I remembered to set my camcorder to 16 bit audio setting prior to recording. Since most of the recoding was city and landscapes it hardly makes a difference.

Now that I am importing into FCE for the first time, I had a hard time finding the right Easy Setup. Since I recoded in 16:9 I had to choose an anamorphic setting. I read that some time ago and don’t find it too intuitive. One has to know that anamorphic and widescreen are synonymous. But the problem came with the audio sample rate. You can either choose “DV anamorphic 32kHz” or “DV anamorphic”.

Here, the 32 KHz is commonly paired with the 12 bit audio, and 16 bit audio is sampled at 48 kHz. But where was the 48 kHz. Turns out, that the “DV anamorphic” is the 48 kHz setting. because this is considered the standard, the sample rate is not specifically mentioned. Again, not very intuitive.

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