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Old January 3rd, 2008, 12:12 AM   #1
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How would you Mic this?

Situation:
A classroom with a teacher on a riser giving a lecture. Teacher will speak into Beta 58 into a Sound Devices MixPre to a Tascam HDP2 CF recorder. At certain points the students are invited to discuss and ask questions. I want to record the discussion part on channel 2 of the Tascam for use in post. I do not want to use a boom or pass around a HH wireless. I am think a hyper on a stand would work but am not sure which one is best. It is OK if the voices sound distant, but they must be clearlty audible. Budget around 500 dollars.
Suggestions Please.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 09:05 AM   #2
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I recently worked on a similar set-up, and I went with a wireless handheld mic that was passed around in the audience. It worked great, nice clean, upfront sound.

You just have to make sure that everyone who is going to speak in the audience actually waits until they receive the microphone before they start speaking. We made an announcement about this before the meeting started, and it helped with that.

Another thing I would do. If this is only a one camera shoot, and you have a little extra time after the lecture, I would have the students in the audience re-ask their questions so you can get close-up cut aways of them, to give the illusion that there are two cameras there. It will make your editor happy!
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 02:57 PM   #3
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Thanks John. I agree that the wireless handheld works very well. I recently used that technique with great results.

In my problem case, I am recording questions of a somewhat personal nature so I want the audience mic to disappear somewhat. I just can't decide if I should use a Cardioid or Hypercardioid in front of the riser or a omni placed out in the group.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 09:51 PM   #4
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Hmmm...two replies and one has been deleted. Guess I will Google it. Thanks.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 10:46 PM   #5
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A lot will depend on how live the room is, distance from the mic to the back row and if the questions are personal, what voice level they use.

Try and position some room dividers from the library as dampers at the sides; don't face them at each other, aim them slightly zig zag fashion down the room. And see if you can use 2 hypers, one at the front, the other half way down the audience.

Another consideration, before the show starts is it possible to find all the questioners and seat 'em in the one area.

I've done this, that's when you find out folk are too reluctant/embarrassed/scared to ask questions. Solution, you manufacture some, start well before tape time.
Cheers.

Last edited by Allan Black; January 3rd, 2008 at 11:18 PM.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 11:02 PM   #6
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What they all said.

Wireless handheld passed around, wait for the questioner to get the mic before the question is asked.

Actually, pass both mics through the mixing board and to the PA system so that everybody in the room can hear too, and take your feed from the mixer on one, and maybe a live room feed on two for some ambience and in case the mic doesn't get passed around fast enough.

Room dividers and pre-selecting the questioners is also a darned good idea.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 11:24 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input guys. The group is small. Only about 15 students. I am still hung up on the hyper vs. cardioid. It is my understanding that the hyper advantage is to isolate one voice and eliminate background noise. But hypers don't really have a longer 'reach' do they? I only have one additional input into the Mixpre, so I will have to use one microphone. If the students are spread out in a standard class room setting, would I be better with a single cardioid? Or, is this an case where I will just have to experiment to see what works best?

Last week, on another project, I used a wireless hand held passed around and I agree it is the best audio. In this case the producer does not what to do that and is aware that the sound will suffer. I just need to figure out the best alternative.

Again, I really appreciate your input.
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Old January 3rd, 2008, 11:54 PM   #8
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you didn't say it was that small a group. can you ceiling mount to get closer ? another option is to hang a couple of lavs from the ceiling which can be held in place with tape

if you can only use ONE mic, it should be a cardoid in the middle. if you are lucky they will sit in a arc so that they are fairly equidistant from the mic. the trick will be how far close or away it should be.

anything you can do to kill bounce will be a good thing too. a couple of sound blankets, or even regular ones hung on the walls can help reduce slap if placed well. I've used those cheap heavy mexican ones to dress up bare walls and help kill some bounce.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 11:44 AM   #9
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If you must record questions at a distance indoors, then I would use a small-diaphram, cardioid condenser with low self-noise and good sensitivity, probably an AT3031. I would use a good stand and a shockmount like an AT8415 or something similar and I would install the thin foam screen that comes with the mic. Anything you can do to decrease rumble, air currents, air conditioner noise, fluorescent light noise, etc. will help.
Fortunately it's a small group and the distance won't be large, but as others have suggested, anything to reduce the liveliness of the room will help too.
This mic, bought new, along with a shockmount, mic stand and high-quality cables will be well under your budget.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 09:52 PM   #10
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Thanks Jay and Steve. That is the specific information I am looking for.

And thanks again to all who replied.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 09:04 AM   #11
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Assuming you have an 8' ceiling. Clip an omni lav to the ceiling at the center of the students. Omnis, when attached to a flat plane like a ceiling are hemispherical in pattern. ('cause there ain't nothin' behind them but ceiling.)

You may still have to ride gain to get eveyone, but you'll get them.

You can hear my omnis in a classroom setting. Look in the IPS folder for the Q&A files on my online archive. These are processed in post to sound LOUD. I have three omni on the ceiling to catch questions in this 20' x 40' room.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 5th, 2008, 12:30 PM   #12
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Ty,

Great examples on your site. That is pretty much the quality I am going for. I think will will try an omni, also. Thanks for putting this stuff on-line, I have learned a lot.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 02:44 PM   #13
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I just clipped the lav to the dropped ceiling grid and gtaped the cables.

No problem. Not pretty, but it gets the job done.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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