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Old November 26th, 2007, 10:20 AM   #1
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Recording Drama with limited mixer setup

(Note I've also posted this at dv.com to maximise feedback)
Hi Guys,
Just wanted to verify my methodology for a short I'm about to film.

Heres my kit:

Canon XH A1
2*Sony UWP C1's lavs
1*Audio Technica AT897
1 boom pole
1 Marenus Mixer (4 balanced MIC inputs) with option of either line or mic output of the stereo mix.

I was going to have the 2 sony lavs plugged up to the mixer along with the boom and mix accordingly with the mix going to one of the canon's1 xlr inputs. The mixer is effectively acting as my pre-amp with a line level feed going to the canon. My issue was about the lack of individual feeds to seperate channels limited of course by my mixers single output as opposed to multiple mono outputs. IS there a better way of achieving seperate clean channels?
The film in question only features 2 actors so I could ask them not to overlap too much thus giving me a fairly clean audio situation but I don't like limiting their peformances because I haven't sorted my kit out.
I've considered using boom recorder on my macbook pro but would require some kind of mixable firewire control surface with fairly decent faders that can take a line feed.
What would you do in my position?

Thank you
Matt
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Old November 26th, 2007, 11:22 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Mullins View Post
(Note I've also posted this at dv.com to maximise feedback)
Hi Guys,
Just wanted to verify my methodology for a short I'm about to film.

Heres my kit:

Canon XH A1
2*Sony UWP C1's lavs
1*Audio Technica AT897
1 boom pole
1 Marenus Mixer (4 balanced MIC inputs) with option of either line or mic output of the stereo mix.

I was going to have the 2 sony lavs plugged up to the mixer along with the boom and mix accordingly with the mix going to one of the canon's1 xlr inputs. The mixer is effectively acting as my pre-amp with a line level feed going to the canon. My issue was about the lack of individual feeds to seperate channels limited of course by my mixers single output as opposed to multiple mono outputs. IS there a better way of achieving seperate clean channels?
The film in question only features 2 actors so I could ask them not to overlap too much thus giving me a fairly clean audio situation but I don't like limiting their peformances because I haven't sorted my kit out.
I've considered using boom recorder on my macbook pro but would require some kind of mixable firewire control surface with fairly decent faders that can take a line feed.
What would you do in my position?

Thank you
Matt
aActually having them pause a beat so they don't step on each other's lines is a very common directorial technique and one that experienced film/TV actors should be comfortable with. During post you remove the pauses and can even overlap the lines as needed for dramatic effect.

Why record all three channels? If you have a lav for each actor, forget the shotgun and record 2 iso channels, put one actor on channel 1 and the other on channel 2, positioning them in the final mix during post. OR forget the lavs and cover the scene with the shotgun - of course that requires a boom operator who can swing the mic to follow the dialog.. Even if you use a multichannel recorder like BoomRecorder or a SD744, dialog mixing on location is a perilous art and you'd be better served by dedicating a track to each mic in isolation and making mix and pan decisions at leisure in the edit room.
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Old November 26th, 2007, 01:30 PM   #3
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Firstly,
relying on lavs alone is not the path to wisdom, but they are useful, thus the use of a boom.
Second,
My boom op is not the best so the lavs give him some backup if he misses dialogue.
Third,
I want to mix my levels necessitating the mixer, which as mentioned before is restricted to one output. However Jay Rose over on DV.com has mentioned I could pan to left and right to preserve the independent channels. Anybody know if this is possible with the A1?

Thanks
Matt
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Old November 26th, 2007, 01:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Mullins View Post
Firstly,
relying on lavs alone is not the path to wisdom, but they are useful, thus the use of a boom.
Second,
My boom op is not the best so the lavs give him some backup if he misses dialogue.
Third,
I want to mix my levels necessitating the mixer, which as mentioned before is restricted to one output. However Jay Rose over on DV.com has mentioned I could pan to left and right to preserve the independent channels. Anybody know if this is possible with the A1?

Thanks
Matt
Oh I wasn't suggesting not use the mixer, far from it! Just suggesting that you not attempt to actually mix the mics with each other in the field. Use the mixer to gain its better preamps, level controls, limiters, etc, but keep each mic isolated to its own channel - send lav 1 to the left stereo channel and lav 2 to the right or as Jay suggested send the boom to the left channel and the 2 lavs mixed together to the right (some problems with doing that as someone will need to ride them during shooting as you shouldn't have two mics that close to each other open at once) rather than trying to setup the actual stereo mix during shooting. If each mic is recorded separately then you can make decisions as to which should be louder for best dramatic effect, etc, during post.

I've been looking for info on your mixer on the Web and can't find anything - googling "Marenus" doesn't turn up any audio manufacturers or brands, Are you saying it has 4 mic inputs and 1 mono output or does it have 1 2-channel stereo output?
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Old November 26th, 2007, 01:57 PM   #5
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With you now Steve. Actually it has 3 inputs and one stereo output. I was mistaken thinking it has 4 inputs. I haven't used it much. It's a marenius though I know they are not well known, it does seems to be well built. I need to research all of this a little more.

Matt
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Old November 26th, 2007, 07:01 PM   #6
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This might help with more info about the mixer
http://www.marenius.se/indexeng.htm
It's a Swedish company.

I would second Steve's suggestion.
Send your mics through your mixer.
Then pan left or right as is needed to keep the mics seperate.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 04:22 AM   #7
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Thanks Hsien Yong,
Yeah that's the mixer. Mines the mm3100 mono mixer, which pretty much means I can't pan left and right for seperate channels. Unfortunate that. Looks like I might take the laptop route for a one of. Time to dust off that clapper board.

Matt
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Old November 27th, 2007, 06:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Mullins View Post
Thanks Hsien Yong,
Yeah that's the mixer. Mines the mm3100 mono mixer, which pretty much means I can't pan left and right for seperate channels. Unfortunate that. Looks like I might take the laptop route for a one of. Time to dust off that clapper board.

Matt
Ooof - using the mono mixer is going to present a really tricky situation. If you try to mix the boom and both lavs together you're mixing three copies of the same sound with slightly differing arrival times at their mics due to the different distances. This means the waveforms are going to be shifted slightly with respect to each other and that will probably lead to all sorts of unpredictable phasing and comb filtering effects when mixed.
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