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What audio/video equipment is needed to support internet lessons on the student's end?

Dirk

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What do you drumming instructors recommend for audio/video setup on the student's end in support of internet lessons? I assume these are Zoom or similar calls. Is just a computer with audio & video perfectly adequate or is a more sophisticated audio-video equipment configuration necessary or well worth the expense from your perspectives?

Thanks much,
John
 

drums1225

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At a bare minimum, the student can get away with a built-in webcam on a laptop, or an external webcam on a desktop, but that's far from desirable. The sound you hear as an instructor will likely be awful, bordering on unbearable, unless the student has a decent webcam and/or mic. All the student needs to hear you clearly is a pair of headphones or earbuds, so if you can tolerate the awful sound quality coming from the student, the student's experience will be fine.

If a student is willing/able to make a small investment, I recommend the Zoom Q2n4k which has a webcam mode and decent stereo mics with adjustable (or automatic) gain.

At the beginning of the lockdown, when
there were no webcams available for sale anywhere, I thought to grab one before the rest of the world caught on. I mostly used it for the camera while using the audio from my Behringer XR18 digital mixer/interface with all my drums, instruments, and voice miked. The sound my students heard was pretty high quality. The reverse was rarely true, though I had one student whose dad (a friend of mine) eventually set up an interface and a few mics and that was decent.

I can tell you that mobile devices are pretty much unusable for Zoom lessons because you can't defeat the noise reduction. Phones and tablets consider anything other than voices to be "noise", so the drums or any musical tones will be very severely "gated", if not completely muted. I've tried many ways to make it work for one student whose computer wasn't working, but just couldn't.
 

multijd

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I second the zoom video recorder. I just plugged mine in with a usb cable and was good to go.
 

Dirk

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At a bare minimum, the student can get away with a built-in webcam on a laptop, or an external webcam on a desktop, but that's far from desirable. The sound you hear as an instructor will likely be awful, bordering on unbearable, unless the student has a decent webcam and/or mic. All the student needs to hear you clearly is a pair of headphones or earbuds, so if you can tolerate the awful sound quality coming from the student, the student's experience will be fine.

If a student is willing/able to make a small investment, I recommend the Zoom Q2n4k which has a webcam mode and decent stereo mics with adjustable (or automatic) gain.

At the beginning of the lockdown, when
there were no webcams available for sale anywhere, I thought to grab one before the rest of the world caught on. I mostly used it for the camera while using the audio from my Behringer XR18 digital mixer/interface with all my drums, instruments, and voice miked. The sound my students heard was pretty high quality. The reverse was rarely true, though I had one student whose dad (a friend of mine) eventually set up an interface and a few mics and that was decent.

I can tell you that mobile devices are pretty much unusable for Zoom lessons because you can't defeat the noise reduction. Phones and tablets consider anything other than voices to be "noise", so the drums or any musical tones will be very severely "gated", if not completely muted. I've tried many ways to make it work for one student whose computer wasn't working, but just couldn't.
Thank you! That gets me pointed in the right direction.

Are multiple cameras necessary or worthwhile in order to show the instructor what's going on with the fingers hands or feet? Can one camera mounted on a quickly adjustable stand offer the same detail; and is it worthwhile to have a local video monitor so the student can see if the camera's aim & focus is optimal? I'm not trying to gratuitously spend $ but if I go down this route it would seem worthwhile to do what's necessary to get the instructor as close to being in the same room as possible.

Thanks again. I'm off to bang on the drums; Stick Control, page 8.
 

Griener

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Yes, the Zoom Q2n4k is a great tool for online teaching.
Basically, you can connect it to any laptop and get started.

Since your student should be able to see what you are doing, the setup on both sides would be as follows:

1.) a laptop next to the drum set where both you and the student can look comfortably.
2.) Zoom Q2n4k on a tripod so you can see everything clearly. You can easily re-position the zoom, depending on the stand, if needed.
3.) A long cable to connect zoom and laptop (in my case: Q2n4k>Micro-USB>USB>Laptop).
4.) Good headphones to hear each other well.
5.) An online confewrence app like Zoom. Better would be an app specifically programmed for online music lessons like https://sirius.video/en/

Then you can get started right away.
 

drums1225

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Multiple cameras are not necessary, especially for a student. Keep it simple, keep costs to what's strictly necessary. For drum lessons, I plug the Zoom into my laptop (my desktop is across the room) and monitor right on the laptop screen.

What I do, as an instructor, is mount my Zoom camera on a Stage Ninja clamp (see below) and I clamp it to the post of a floor lamp, just above and behind my left shoulder. It gives the student a clear view of me and my whole kit, and if I need to zoom in or focus on something in particular, I can easily bend the gooseneck and/or zoom the camera in, but generally, I don't end up moving it very much.

I used a tripod for most of the shutdown and only got the Stage Ninja toward the end, just before everyone started coming back into the studio. Immediately, I wished I had it the whole time because it made my life so much easier and got rid of some (but not nearly enough) of the clutter around the kit. I also have video lighting (not necessary, but helpful), so there were a ton of stands all over the place. I intend to mount everything on the ceiling, but intentions and actions tend to be 2 different things with me, and when it comes to pro-jects I tend to pro-crastinate.



Good luck! I can never seem to get past the first page of Stick Control, haha! Everything you need is right there!
 

Dirk

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Thanks everybody; I'm moving in that direction.

The first step is trenching for an ethernet cable out to the workshop where my little practice studio is set up; wireless just won't cut it. It's not a Herculean task but it doesn't seem to self-make! Today's rain ought to help me with the axe and pick.

The video camera looks perfect and I'll dig that clever little goose-neck fixture.

Cheers!
 

Dirk

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I re-read the responses to my post and I need to set the context straight; I'm a student, not an instructor. Am I right that that the Zoom video/audio cam + Stage Ninja would be suitable for my end of things? I now have decent wireless out to the shop/studio and will soon get some on-line lessons.

All that said: What's a thumbnail sketch of how you hook this stuff up; I'm computer and IT competent but haven't seen how one sets up an optimal and economical rig of this sort; I'm also a Linux guy (Ubuntu) on my computers....so if the laptop is part of the system then I might have some integration challenges. Just trying to get a picture of the hardware that's typically used and which piece of equipment does what; like is the laptop needed to manage the Zoom call and Zoom cam, pump the audio to my instructor, whatever...that sort of thing. I just don't know the general arrangement if this gear.

Thanks for the help.
 


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