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Old January 26th, 2009, 11:35 AM   #1
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How would you improve the sound?

Here's the situation. I'm about to show you clips from YouTube of a comedy troupe at a small theatre in Austin, Texas. I've been using a Rode Videomic mounted on the camera (an HG20 or HG10) to record the sound; I'd like to know if we can get some better options.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rCCMYbhstw

There are some complications; above the theatre is a video rental place; people walk on the floors, and their footsteps can clearly be heard below - not just on the tape, but also in the theatre. This means that it's probably a bad idea to mount shotguns either to the ceiling or to the floor, pointing up.

You can hear it here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vutDwB1RxqE

Secondly, the filming cannot interfere with the stage show, so complicated long setup times (like giving every player wireless lavs) is out of the question.

What microphone(s?) would you use, and where would you place it?
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Old January 26th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #2
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You know, that's not bad audio, all things considered. If there's time, I'd try and hang a couple of cardiods directly over the stage. Failing that, at least try and get your mic closer. How about putting the Videomic on a stand right in front of the stage, and as high up as you can get it without interfering? For the noise from the footsteps (of the cast), see if you can't get the actors to choose quieter shoes or put pads on the bottom of their shoes. There are special pads you can get that stick to the bottom of the shoes and make their steps quieter. Never used them, so I can't recommend a source. Depending on the size of the stage, and again, if there's time, you might be able to throw a carpet remnant down to quiet their footsteps. That won't help with the footsteps from overhead, obviously, but nothing will, really. Wireless is really your best option, but that's apparently not feasible.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 07:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
You know, that's not bad audio, all things considered. If there's time, I'd try and hang a couple of cardiods directly over the stage. Failing that, at least try and get your mic closer. How about putting the Videomic on a stand right in front of the stage, and as high up as you can get it without interfering? For the noise from the footsteps (of the cast), see if you can't get the actors to choose quieter shoes or put pads on the bottom of their shoes. There are special pads you can get that stick to the bottom of the shoes and make their steps quieter. Never used them, so I can't recommend a source. Depending on the size of the stage, and again, if there's time, you might be able to throw a carpet remnant down to quiet their footsteps. That won't help with the footsteps from overhead, obviously, but nothing will, really. Wireless is really your best option, but that's apparently not feasible.
The cardioids would work, I think. Hang one on the left, one on the right, dangle em (wouldn't even need a shock mount) with XLR cables heading into a beachtek...

So, what cardioids would you recommend?
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Old January 27th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #4
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Was thinking about making audio purchases soon. Need a new shotgun as well.

Do you know of any cheap-but good cardioids in XLR?
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Old January 27th, 2009, 07:52 PM   #5
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Choir mics would probably be your cheapest solution. They're designed to be used this way. I wouldn't know what to recommend though.

For an all-purpose cardiod, I really like the AKG Blueline CK91. A pair of them would run you about $1000. It's a capsule system, so you could get the hypercardiod caps eventually. They are very versatile mics, and would be good have around in general, especially if you ever want to get into stereo recording. AKG makes a figure eight capsule and they have other cool accessories too, like a swivel mount and active cable and so on. The AT4051 is also supposed to be good, and is similarly priced. Both require phantom power.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 12:22 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
Choir mics would probably be your cheapest solution. They're designed to be used this way. I wouldn't know what to recommend though.

For an all-purpose cardiod, I really like the AKG Blueline CK91. A pair of them would run you about $1000. It's a capsule system, so you could get the hypercardiod caps eventually. They are very versatile mics, and would be good have around in general, especially if you ever want to get into stereo recording. AKG makes a figure eight capsule and they have other cool accessories too, like a swivel mount and active cable and so on. The AT4051 is also supposed to be good, and is similarly priced. Both require phantom power.
$1000 is way out of my budget - it might be worth it if the theatre was located somewhere less noisy.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 05:46 AM   #7
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$1000 is way out of my budget - it might be worth it if the theatre was located somewhere less noisy.
I have a pair of Audio Technica 3031 small-diaphram cardioids that are nice sounding mics. They ran about $250 apiece as I recall.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 07:56 AM   #8
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The AT3031's are good, I have 3 of them. They have very low noise, a flat frequency response and good sensitivity. They're listed as discontinued on the Audio-Technica website but they're still available online for $169 each. AT has been replacing models with improved versions a lot over the past couple of years. I'm not sure if the direct replacement is listed yet, but the new AT4021 cardioid looks nice too. Available for $249 online, but I haven't seen any reviews yet.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #9
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What about these? Haven't used them, but they're cheap. The key would be to hang them as low as possible. If the mics aren't closer to the actor's mouths than you can get from a mic at the foot of the stage would be, it's probably not worth it.

Electro Voice | RE-90H - Hanging Choir Microphone | 17473112

CAD | CM100 Overhead Choir Microphone (White) | CM100W | B&H

Astatic | AS900 Overhead Cardioid Condenser Choir | 900 | B&H
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Old January 28th, 2009, 08:54 AM   #10
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One thing to remember if you are going to do this, is that it will add some work in post. You will want to fade up and down between the mics so you rarely hear the two of them together. As small as that stage is (it might even be small enough for a single mic overhead), both mics will capture the same speaker and you'll get extra reverb.

Last edited by Marco Leavitt; January 28th, 2009 at 11:36 AM.
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