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Old December 21st, 2008, 04:52 PM   #1
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How did they record this?

Sorry if this link is not available outside the UK:
BBC iPlayer - The Story of Allegri's Miserere
but I would love to know how the audio for the performance at the end of this programme was recorded. Perhaps someone has the time to have a look/listen.

The piece is the Allegri Miserere with main choir on stage in the Jerwood hall at LSO St Lukes
(Classical Concerts - Orchestra - LSO - London Symphony Orchestra - LSO St Luke's- Jerwood Hall has a photo of the hall) and a solo quartet on the gallery to the left of the stage. The cameras can clearly be seen and the angles followed, but I couldn't see any sign of microphones. Is it possible that it was all done with a couple of mics (or a surround sound type array) hanging above the centre of the hall? There might be a suspension wire visible in this image at the top about 1/3 of the way across from the left.

I wish I'd seen it live - even the high quality iPlayer version has so many artifacts that it is very hard to see any detail in the darker areas.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 06:24 PM   #2
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I seem to be shut out from BBC TV iPlayer programs here in the upper left corner of the U.S.

However, from the still you provided, it is very common to mic the main group in this sort of situation with a spaced stereo pair that is flown. (A+B configuration). Very common in classical music, and, most halls that are regularly used for classical performance will have 2 or more mics permanently flown.

These mics can be as small as lav or as big as a small-diaphram condensor. Such mics tend to dissappear pretty easily.

Is that a second group of singers in the balcony? If so, they might well be miced separately.

It's also common to mic soloists with a Countryman E6i Earset microphone on a wireless bodypack.
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Old December 21st, 2008, 08:23 PM   #3
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Seth pretty much summed it up. There are 2 standard mic configs for classical performances. Could be orchestral or choral. You will often here them referring to the mics in an X/Y pair or a Decca Tree. With an X/Y pair you will have a pair of "pencil" mics designed for this kind of recording in a bracket (X/Y bracket) having the mics effectively pointing to the center with each tip one over top of the other. The idea is to eliminate phase cancellation by having the mic tips pointing towards the center and on the same plane. Rode makes an X/Y mic preconfigured. I believe the model number is NT4. Decca Trees are way to complex for this discussion. You can Google both and find some good info on it.

Seth mentions "flying in mics". They would not necessarily be done in an X/Y pattern but they would be set up so there is no phase cancellation and the imaging is suitable for acoustic ensemble recording.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 04:46 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. I'm familiar with Decca trees, X/Y, ORTF and M/S stereo setups and have both used them for recording and been recorded myself with them being a classical musician years ago. You might be right about the size of the mics - it's unusual not to see any sign of the audio gear in a concert recording like this. The gear the Beeb used when I last was involved was chunky enough, and there's usually plenty of mics to see in Prom (Albert Hall not Rydale High) recordings on telly here.

As I said, the solo quartet is in the gallery and I doubt very much they have been individually mic'd up Hollywood style with radios.The camera on the crane was flying about where I would have hung their mics.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 06:31 AM   #5
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I saw this too, and was knocked out by the music, although it was a lady singing the high C bit rather than a choir boy! I thought I saw a high, tiny pair suspended over the main choir but couldn't spot anything covering the singers in the gallery. Could it have been a Soundfield mic system being steered during the performance?
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 08:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Flowers View Post
I saw this too, and was knocked out by the music, although it was a lady singing the high C bit rather than a choir boy!
My thoughts entirely. This the one and only scenario where I prefer small boys to mature ladies no matter how well the latter control their vibrato. Apparently castrati are in short supply these days.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 03:56 PM   #7
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Thanks for the iPlayer link. I missed this on transmission (I've been so busy!) but found time and watched it just now. Absolutely loved it - magical.

Too bad the ex-colonials can't view iPlayer! ;-)
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 01:31 AM   #8
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I-Player

I've read that BBC Worldwide is trying to set up a version of I-Player accessible for the rest of the world. I read also that BBC Radio Four can be listened to world wide, via I-Player if you haven't got a long wave receiver: really, what more could one want?

Last edited by Nick Flowers; December 23rd, 2008 at 03:16 AM.
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