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Old November 15th, 2007, 08:45 PM   #16
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The perfect solution if you have only one mic. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:33 PM   #17
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this is a focus group, not a feature production. 8 lavs is NUTS ! you will simply not be able to level and match them, and you will have plenty of phase problems. K.I.S.S, right ! 2 cardoids, maybe 3 should do. maybe a pair of well placed omni's.

now while you are talking about S/N ratio, don't forget every open mic will add its own self noise, channel noise, and room tone additively. 8 Lavs could be very noisy... and I've been there done that with a moron lazy sound guy & 14 open lavs. I was doing lighting on the gig and told him he needed to gate them and he whined " thats a lot of wire and gear"... well maybe it is, but what the @34@#! are you getting paid for! of course guess who gets blamed when the sound loudly picks up the sound of signing lights ( dimmed, T6 bulbs on cyc lights ) - of course the lighting guy gets blamed for a sound problem. with 14 open mics they added together in a very bad way. if they had been gated, no problem.

so that said, a cardoid to cover 2-3 people will be good. you should also try a pair of PZM mics on the table which might work better. just remember, its a focus group, not a big dollar feature, so don't over do it and come back with bad sound because didn't have a dedicated mixer person.

two boomed mics on C stands is also another possibility too, but table mounted PZM's may well work best.

another thing to keep in mind is phasing problems between the lavs if they sit close together. the other question is, in post will you have the time, patience and $ to duck all 7 mics down while only opening up the person speaking ? could be a really painful job to duck all those channels.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:48 PM   #18
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No, it's not nuts. Especially if the client wants it a certain way.

The guys from Tylenol's agancy were in town this past summer shooting a focus group...film style. One camera, all medium and up close. I boomed it. Two days of shooting six to eight gals on L shaped couches.

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Ty
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Old November 16th, 2007, 01:53 AM   #19
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You just said it Ty. You BOOMED it.

Best scenario. 2 booms.

And yes, 8 lavs for a focus group is nutty. (Ty, don't play Devil's Advocate) Though the saying goes, the client is always right, we all know that's not always the case.

Having done these before. My bet is they're filming these sessions for internal use.

Steve, you're right on the money with your comments. There's no table though. They're just sitting in a circle.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 02:20 AM   #20
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Hi Anna,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna Harmon View Post
8 wireless mics sounds insane. If you have room in your budget for that, you have room for a 2nd person.
We're using wired lav mics. They're only £2.50 per day each. I'm not in charge of the budget - I gave the client a selection of quotes and they wanted to go for the cheapest option. Hence it's my job to deliver the best quality at the low price.

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If you're doing camera how are you going to monitor and troubleshoot sound?
It is possible to listen critically while operating the camera - I've done it before but I completely agree it's not ideal. Mics falling off or becoming twisted in clothing sounds quite conspicuous though and grabs your attention, even if you're concentrating on framing a shot. I have warned the client that if a lav mic falls off or becomes displaced then I'll have to jump in and quickly correct it. This project isn't going to be broadcast - it is for internal use.

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And out of curiosity, which hard disk recorder are you using?
Korg D888.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 04:34 AM   #21
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Quote:
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...We're using wired lav mics. They're only 2.50 per day each. I'm not in charge of the budget - I gave the client a selection of quotes and they wanted to go for the cheapest option. Hence it's my job to deliver the best quality at the low price.

...
Of course they did. Don't ever quote a client for any setup options that won't do the job properly. If your professional judgment knows it will require 2 booms or whatever to do the job right, don't ever suggest options that are cheaper just because they're cheaper. :)
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Old November 16th, 2007, 05:38 AM   #22
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Quote:
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You just said it Ty. You BOOMED it.

Best scenario. 2 booms.

And yes, 8 lavs for a focus group is nutty. (Ty, don't play Devil's Advocate) Though the saying goes, the client is always right, we all know that's not always the case.

Having done these before. My bet is they're filming these sessions for internal use.

Steve, you're right on the money with your comments. There's no table though. They're just sitting in a circle.
Well that's a nightmare for video. You can't shoot that with only one camera. And it pretty much means you have to use lavs unless you have studio booms because regular booms and boom ops will be in the shot.

Yes, on my shoot maybe two booms and two cameras if we had them, but we didn't and, besides IIRC, the original poster siad he was a one-person operation, so a boom op is out.

And in the shoot I was on, the client didn't want a continuous stream so we could stop, set up and roll. The shooting scenario (panelists) suggests a "Meet The Press" style where continuous video is used. Again, you really need 2-3 cameras to do that and that makes multiple booms problematic because they need to be out of the shot and that gets more difficult with every camera you add.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old November 16th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #23
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Lavs are fine for this.When mixed properly in post all phasing issues can be sorted pretty well by volume graphing or fader moves. Just like any tv show. As long as levels are ok (24bit will help), then eq and compression can be added in post.

You can fuss to much. Trick is to get it right first time and then go with it.
Even if one mic packs in you will still bring them in on another most likely.

Only one mic will be up at any time due to the multi track so background noise wont (hiss) wont be too bad.

Sure a boom will sound beter but as the original post said, he is by him self.
This does not need boom mic quality though and as Ty said, they would get in the way of shots anyway. That would really annoy the client and everyone else. Sound is best not noticed. No one likes it when one person is too preciouse. Horses for courses. This aint Hollywood, or Pinewood for that matter.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 09:28 AM   #24
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Quote:
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Don't ever quote a client for any setup options that won't do the job properly.
Er, I didn't. At least half the posters on this thread agree that my plan of using wired lavs and a multi-track recorder will deliver the REQUIRED LEVEL OF QUALITY. This isn't broadcast. It's low-budget corporate for in-house use. And, frankly, I'm optimistic that this setup has the potential to deliver sound that would actually be good enough for broadcast.

I've worked with this client countless times and they have always been impressed with the quality of video I've produced for them.

It's important to point out that this job requires lots of travelling and lots of staying in hotels... in other words, having an extra person along for the shoot would push the cost WAY up.

And, as Ty has said, boom ops would definitely get in the shots and that's not acceptable to this client. Even if I had more money, I would still consider sticking with using separate lavs for each subject (except I'd hire a sound recordist to look after the sound while we're filming).

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the other question is, in post will you have the time, patience and $ to duck all 7 mics down while only opening up the person speaking ? could be a really painful job to duck all those channels.
Well, that's a good question - it will take quite a while to mix (I'll be mixing it). But I costed up my time and compared that to hiring a boom op (+ large travel expenses + large hotel bills) and it works out cheaper for me to mix in post.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 03:04 PM   #25
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...8 lavs for a focus group is nutty.
I must admit that this comment has been playing on my mind all day and I'm keen to explore it a little more. Anna, why exactly do you think 8 wired lavs recording to an 8-track recorder for mixing in post is "nutty"? As far as I can remember, every talk show, quiz show or panel show I have ever seen on TV has used lav mics. The only time I've seen a boom on a panel show is when members of the audience speak... the panel always have lav mics. I've never seen a "real" focus group on TV but I expect that a panel show is the nearest thing in TV-land to a focus group... so, given that countless broadcasters are happy to use lavs on their panel shows, why shouldn't I use lavs on my little focus group?

Sure, on a major TV show there will be a crew of sound people, all watching for problems and ready to pounce. But, in my situation, it wont be a problem if I need to jump in and correct a mic every once in a while (I suspect my main problem will be quickly diagnosing which mic is causing the problem). I wont have any battery or RF issues to worry about because I'm using good old-fashioned copper to connect the mics to the recorder. And we'll have time at the start of the shoot to wire up all the people (which shouldn't take too long because we don't have to hide the mics). And I'm happy to spend the time mixing in post.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 04:31 PM   #26
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frankly , your camera has inputs for 2 mics and it is well enough.
just use sensitive omni condenser mic, each mounted on a small tripod (at knee level) in front of the guys.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 10:58 PM   #27
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Honestly I say nutty for the simple reason that it's an in-house project. And because you can get your sound just as clear and strong with 2 boom mics.

You mentioned using wired lavs which means you're running cables all over the place. It's a lot to deal with for something that can be so simple. And you're a one man show. If it's no big deal for you to run into frame to fix someone's lav, then why is it such a big deal to set up 2 c stands and boom in? It's a one camera operation, the chances of it coming into frame is unlikely.

I recall you mentioning how you don't mind doing so much in post but it's really not necessary. Think of this as your time being money. The time you spend in post you can be spending in production somewhere else.

And the having a sound person thing (not that I'm necessarily advocating it in this situation) being more expensive, I'm gonna call you out and say it's a matter of you trying to put more money in your pocket. If I offend you with that comment, so be it.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 11:22 PM   #28
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Anna makes some points here.

I'm confused by the setup description. The original post said semi-circle. Later someone said a complete circle.

It comes down to the expectations of the inhouse client, how far away the people will be sitting from each other and the acoustical qualities of the space.

If it's a "just so we can hear something" thing then throw up some mics and go for it.

If it needs to be tight and right, you have to do more.

Finally, if it is in-house, he's prolly not pocketing any money by not hiring a sound person.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old November 17th, 2007, 12:23 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
If it's a "just so we can hear something" thing then throw up some mics and go for it.

If it needs to be tight and right, you have to do more.
Ty, are you implying that booming wouldn't do a clean job? And if so, would you please elaborate? Minus the 8 wired/wireless lav option.

I would wire the moderator though.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 03:56 AM   #30
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Hi again,

Thanks loads for all the replies - discussing up-coming projects is really useful.

In terms of me pocketing more money. You're entirely right, I am pocketing more money by not using a sound recordist. But put it this way: if we were to use a sound recordist then I wouldn't make ANY money; all my profit would have to be spent on the sound recordist! And, as you said, time is money. This isn't a big-money gig.

Ty: the group will indeed be in a semicircle.

Regarding me jumping into frame to correct the mics: it shouldn't matter because I should be able to jump into frame between questions. The client isn't sure exactly how they wanted this project edited but it's almost certain that the final deliverable will be a bunch of 2-minute clips of the subjects discussing... i.e. I'll be able to cut round me jumping into shot.

Thanks again for all the discussion - this is great.
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