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Old May 5th, 2008, 08:41 PM   #1
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Live Event Mixing

My experience is mainly in booming into a recorder on-set for dialog and sounds, and also editing, but not much mixing yet. I just got a gig mixing at a live parade this weekend. There are 2 mics setup apart from each other as it passes by, plus I have to mix in some speech from other mics.

Would I just keep the parade volume the same by basically crossfading as it pases by riding levels, and then just have a set level for the talking/commenting etc? Or another method..

If anyone has done this type of recording before pls advice any techniques.
Any feedback from someone more experienced at such a thing would be much appreciated!! :)
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Old May 5th, 2008, 10:58 PM   #2
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What are you mixing to? How many output channels? Are you just doing a recording or feeding a PA system as well?
Generally speaking I would just ride the levels of the two mikes for the parade passing, don't cross fade them. If you're doing a stereo mix this will be the foundation of the sound field. The parade mics should be panned hard left and right matching the perspective that the camera is seeing. Any vocal mics should be panned either center or close to center. Just dip the parade tracks if necessary to make room for the speaking parts. Just be sure you are in a good position or have sufficient video monitoring to see the events unfolding so you can be ready to make your fader moves. Your moves should be smooth and not overly extreme so the elements in the mix don't jump out at you abnormally. I've found its a good practice to try to put your finger on the fader of the next event before it unfolds. That way you don't have to look down at the board at the last instant and possibly miss fading up the person talking. Hope this helps!
Bernie
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Old May 5th, 2008, 11:07 PM   #3
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thanks Bernie, this helps alot. I believe to the camera after the mixer. I think there is 2 mics set at the 2 commentaries and 2 facing the parade. (maybe directionally following Im not sure) Most likely 2 channels out of mixer and into the cam, no pa.

So no crossfading as it passes, just move the faders down at once as it passes to keep the levels the same?

Thanks!!
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Old May 6th, 2008, 03:05 PM   #4
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thanks Bernie, this helps alot. I believe to the camera after the mixer. I think there is 2 mics set at the 2 commentaries and 2 facing the parade. (maybe directionally following Im not sure) Most likely 2 channels out of mixer and into the cam, no pa.

So no crossfading as it passes, just move the faders down at once as it passes to keep the levels the same?

Thanks!!
That's what I would recommend if you are working in stereo. If it gets too loud you can adjust as necessary. If you can gang the two faders it will help you smoothly fade the parade up or down as needed. As the parade moves through the sound field of the two mics you should get a good stereo image of it as it passes. You will want the parade mics to be fairly far apart (about six feet or so). I would keep the commentators mics open so you don't miss any ad libs. The dead side of the mics should be toward the parade. Think of it like a sporting event, say basketball. You always hear the sounds on the court (shoe squeeks, ball swishes, dribbling, ball on the backboard, players yelling etc. That puts the viewer into the venue when you see it at home. On top of the effects mix (equivalent to the parade going by) is the play by play and color announcers. Their mics are always open and have a compressor on them so you can always maximize their gain without worrying so much about levels. This is important because you want to be able to hear them well but you don't want to be too quiet on the sounds of the game. Something else to think about too are crowd mics. You will get a certain amount of crowd from the four mics you describe but probably not enough. If there is cheering and applause you will want a good stereo source for that too. Two more mics placed where they can pick up the crowd well. Panned hard left and right. Bring them up or down as a pair like the parade mics when necessary. The ultimate goal should be to make the viewer feel they are at the parade even though they are seeing it on television. The mix shouldn't call attention to itself, so you shouldn't hear the elements fading up and down. Don't forget wind protection for the mics. Nothing worse than wind bluster blowing up the low end of your mix.
Have fun!
Bernie
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Old May 6th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #5
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One more thought. Place your mics so individual instruments of the marching bands aren't blasting into them as they pass. Think of it as recording a band that happens to be moving.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 06:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bernie Beaudry View Post
... On top of the effects mix (equivalent to the parade going by) is the play by play and color announcers. Their mics are always open and have a compressor on them so you can always maximize their gain without worrying so much about levels. This is important because you want to be able to hear them well but you don't want to be too quiet on the sounds of the game...
Agreeing with Bernie, you gotta' have compression if you are doing an announce plus music bg mix to two channels. An alternative would be to forget stereo (but Bernie's made some real good suggestions on stereo...) and music mix to one channel and announce mix to the other.

But you probably wouldn't be making that choice yourself - if it's live to broadcast then there is no "later" for the vox/music mix, and follow B's suggestions. If live to tape then the director should be telling you whether to mix or go iso.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie Beaudry View Post
One more thought. Place your mics so individual instruments of the marching bands aren't blasting into them as they pass. Think of it as recording a band that happens to be moving.
This is just plain hard. The brass will be loudest. The flutes will be quiet... one way to deal is to have 6+ mics distributed over a block or so for the bands, then keep track of loud band sections like trumpets, and dip the corresponding mics - then you roll that dip along the block.

It is *very* helpful to know the primary camera positions. You need good micing at the positions to match the shots. If you're on com with the director to the cam ops you can get his/her ready cues and know what camera is next.

And also find out from the director or talent whether they plan to do features like "and here's the Washington High School Marching Ensemble - let's listen to them".
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Old May 6th, 2008, 06:23 PM   #7
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good advice. thnks heaps.

The crowd mic'ing and instrument recording considerations are prime ideas.


cheers

Last edited by Chris Sweet; May 7th, 2008 at 03:16 AM.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 03:10 AM   #8
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just 1 more question.. would a compressor on the band mics help keep em level? And if so, would I monitor the final mix w the compressor audible in my headphones?
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Old May 7th, 2008, 08:32 AM   #9
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just 1 more question.. would a compressor on the band mics help keep em level? And if so, would I monitor the final mix w the compressor audible in my headphones?
You could use a compressor to do that but a peak limiter would be more what you need. Too much compression will narrow the dynamic range of the music and suck the life out of it. If you do use a compressor/limiter be sure its a stereo model (if you're working in stereo) and the channels are linked. Start out very conservatively with your settings till you have a good idea of the volume you're dealing with. Controlling the levels of the bands shouldn't be that big of a deal. They will be loud but by the time the first one goes by you should be in the ball park. By all means you should be monitoring your overall mix out to the cameras so you can hear what everything in the chain is doing to the mix. The biggest challenge will be to get the ratio of commentators to parade sound/crowd sound correct as quickly as possible. If you're separating the announcers and music onto two mono tracks then not so much an issue. You will have no rehearsal obviously so you have to be quick and accurate with whatever you do. Be sure and use headphones that give you really good isolation so you can hear your mix accurately in spite of the loud ambient sound at the location. Get as much of the gear together a day or so in advance so you can make sure you have everything you need and how it should be set up. Let us know how this goes. It should be fun above all because parades are fun and your sound and camera work should translate that to the viewer at home.
Bernie
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Old May 7th, 2008, 11:02 AM   #10
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Very rare to mix for live-to-broadcast on headphones. You've not shared much about the circumstances & approach & market for this project.

Usually a parade is going to be mixed on speakers in a remote truck. 2nd choice would be for you to set up in a room that's acoustically isolated from what's going on in the parade and mix on speakers.

Doing a music/announce mix live on headphones is a problem because cans will tend to overemphasize the announce, meaning that the folks at home will hear less of the announce than you want them to.

Live to tape - it's a different deal if you are recording music and announce iso to two channels for later mix (on speakers), and headphones can be fine for that.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 11:25 AM   #11
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Very rare to mix for live-to-broadcast on headphones. You've not shared much about the circumstances & approach & market for this project.

Usually a parade is going to be mixed on speakers in a remote truck. 2nd choice would be for you to set up in a room that's acoustically isolated from what's going on in the parade and mix on speakers.

Doing a music/announce mix live on headphones is a problem because cans will tend to overemphasize the announce, meaning that the folks at home will hear less of the announce than you want them to.

Live to tape - it's a different deal if you are recording music and announce iso to two channels for later mix (on speakers), and headphones can be fine for that.
You're absolutely right. I was envisioning a scenario that was more like a location shoot where there is no truck and its set up outside near the action. Hopefully there is a truck or an isolated room as you describe. If not, headphones would be better than speakers.
Bernie
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Old May 16th, 2008, 11:57 AM   #12
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thanks for all the help guys. Was mixed down to 2 mono tracks in a truck and was a breeze. Cheers
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