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Old March 1st, 2009, 09:17 PM   #1
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A bit of an urgent question about dealing with a noisy room

Greetings,

First, I appologize if this has already been asked and answered and I appreciate any help you can give me with this.

I just got a gig to shoot a conversation in a room that is fairly large, relatively low ceilings, and has a low rumble of computers and hardware leaking in from another room. It isn't too loud, but it is noticeable.

I can't change the room, they insist I do it there.

So, I have wireless mics (seinnheiser MKE2 attached), an AT 4073a, and an AT 897.

None are perfect, but they aren't TOO bad. But I don't like it. Since this is going to be broadcast live, I can't run a noise reduction in post.

Are there any recomendations for a mic that does a REALLY good job of reducing low frequency noise and is directional (doesn't have to be extreme). Or, some other mic I can plug into the Seinheiser G2's that I have? Or, since I can go from a mixer to the camera, is there anything inline I can put in that will remove the rumble? It is extremely steady.

I have to have, in my hands, a solution by Wednesday night for a first thing Thursday shoot. There are no good stores where I am at that carry anything I can try.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and the people will be sitting pretty close to eachother so onemic could coneivably pick them up.

Thank you again.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 09:56 PM   #2
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Put the lavs as close as possible to the mouths of the speakers but not under the chin.

Actually Sennheiser makes a headband that you can clip a lav into to turn it into a headworn mic. That would work well.

As to the AC rumble, you need to cut low frequencies. Any mixer, even a simple little Mackie 1202 or similar would have bass rolloff controls that would help.

Good luck.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 11:26 PM   #3
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I'd do it all wireless if possible. Can you throw sound blankets over the computers? Turn any of them off? Use sound blankets to dampen the noise from the entire room?
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 04:58 AM   #4
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Are you presently planning on taking the mics directly to the camera or are you going through a mixer?

For a directional mic in that room a hypercardioid would be preferred to a line-gradient mic like the two you mentioned. Any chance of renting one for the day?

I also favour the idea of a lav on each person speaking. Doesn't have to be wireless unless you need the mobility.

To cut low-frequency noise leaking in from outside, you need a mixer with good hi-pass filters. Mics go to mixer, mixer feeds camera. Again, any chance of renting an SD 302 or 442 for the day if you don't have one?
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 06:29 AM   #5
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Thank you so much for the suggestions. I just noticed that I actually have a Mackie 1202. I will try to figure it out so that I can turn the low frequency rumble off. I can use the Seinhiessers to plug into the Mackie and then have the Mackie try to filter out the rumble. Hmm. Would turning the wind cut on in camera also help?

I'm thinking that if I have the mics sensitivity tuned down, have it fairly close to the mouth, feeding into the Mackie then out into the camera, this might work somewhat tollerably.

As for blankets, I actually have about 300 square feet of noise dampening blankets. Unfortuantely, the budget for this is pretty small and I'm not able to actually hire enough people to do that along with every other thing that has to be done in a short time frame.

Another question, would I be better off using MKE4 mics to input into the G2's for this, or do you think the MKE2's will work?

Steve, what is the SD302 or 442? A little more info and I can see if that can be rented. Do you think it would be significanly better than the Mackie?

Thank you all very, very much for your help and advice.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 06:48 AM   #6
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Ohh, you mean the sound devices mixer. No, I do not have access to one.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 08:17 AM   #7
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You should try to identify exactly where and what piece of equipment is causing the noise and see if you can turn it off or dampen it. If you hear a rumble I doubt that is coming from a computer. Rumble or low frequency noise often comes from an air handler (ventilation system) If the HVAC is the problem see if you can have maintenance for the building turn off the HVAC to the room you are in or neighboring room.

Also try orienting the talent so that their bodies are acting as an acoustical block from the noise. Have the lav mics facing away from the noise.

If you are micing multiple people then I would ride the gains if you can. Try to following the conversation and duck mics of those not speaking. This will help on noise and reduce potential phase cancellation.

I believe the wind cut filter on the camera would be for the camera mic. If this is LIVE why are you sending audio to the camera?
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 10:25 AM   #8
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The Mackie 1202 VLZ has a low cut switch on each of the first 4 mic/line inputs as well as separate controls for low/mid/high EQ on those inputs too. That should give you enough control to reduce the low-end rumble sufficiently.
As mentioned, keep the lav mics positioned correctly. If the two participants will cheat towards each other during the conversation, and you're attaching the lav to a jacket, keep each lav on the appropriate side so they aren't turning away from their mic. Centered on a tie or buttoned shirt is usually well balanced if they are also turning to the camera.
Make sure the output trim from the receivers and the input trim of the Mackie mic or line inputs are well matched.
Also make sure the Mackie output is well matched to your camera (or other devices) input.
The XLR out from the Mackie 1202 VLZ can be set for Line or Mic, but the Mic level is only down 30db and is therefore very hot for most mic inputs. It's best to use Line level if all the devices can handle it.
There are a number of ways to route the outputs to maintain separation between the two people for recording and later post-production, while simultaneously sending a centered combination of the two out "live". But that gets into more complexity.
Just remember that the pan controls on a small Mackie mixer are designed to give constant loudness. So a signal that's panned fully to one side will be 6db hotter than if it's panned to the Center. Therefore you should decide how you want the signals panned before you set the levels and if you change your mind later you have to compensate for that.
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Old March 2nd, 2009, 12:12 PM   #9
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Thank you again for the input.

It is going live but has to go through the camera to use this particular piece of technology. It is really unfortunate but not much I can do about it.

The reason I can't turn off the sound is it is a bank of SPARK servers. Not an option to take down there entire company for the morning. If only this was a Saturday.

I'm going to try it with the 1202. It is into a JVC Pro HD camera so hopefully if I set the inputs on the camera to line there won't be a problem.

I should get access while the crew is setting up the lights etc. for at least two hours to play and tweak it.

Thank you all again very much for the input, I really appreciate it. I think using the mackie is a wonderful idea. I will also pay close attention to how I have the subjects arranged.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 10:57 AM   #10
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Hi Guys,

Thank you all again for you very helpful advise.

I cannot change the room and I'm doing another recording tomorrow. I need to get better audio. I used the Seinnheiser ME2's the last time and it work ok, nothing great. I will be able to clean up the audio in post this time, but I'd love to get a cleaner sample. I'm thinking we will use the ME2's again but since I have two more tracks of audio, can anyone recomend another mic, it can be mounted on a boom, that I could pick up at a place like Guitar Center that would do a better job? It is for 2 people sitting close together.

Thank you again!
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Old March 26th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #11
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In a noisy environment I don't think you'll get more isolation than with lavs, but if you want to try then there are candidates listed at Guitar Center. The AT3031 is very clean, with good sensitivity, low noise and a very flat frequency response. If nothing else you may get a recording that your noise reduction software can work on more reliably versus the lavs, but you'll definitely pick up more of the room with a stand-mounted cardioid unless it's very close to them.
Since you have two channels, why not two additional mics on two stands to get them as close as possible? I don't know much about the lower-priced mics or stereo pairs listed at GC, but I'm sure they will have higher noise and usually lower sensitivity than the AT3031, so that will compound the problem. If you have a lower budget I'd go with one AT3031 versus two cheaper mics most of the time in this situation if the two people do sit very close together.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 03:12 PM   #12
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Countryman's ISOMAX headsets might be a solution, if you're okay with the mics being visible.

ISOMAX Headset Microphone - Countryman Associates, Inc.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #13
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Noisy Room- Use Lavs and keep your gain down

I agree, Use lav mics and keep them close to the talent. Try and move as far as you can from the noise. I shoot interviews at trade shows (it doesn't get much louder) and the lavaliere mics are the only option. Keep your gains to a minimum and use headphones to monitor your audio levels.

I always show up to a shoot with a backup to the wireless system by bringing spare XLR cables that I can hardwire to the lavaliers, just in case I get RF hits on my wireless units.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 04:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Block View Post
Countryman's ISOMAX headsets might be a solution, if you're okay with the mics being visible.

ISOMAX Headset Microphone - Countryman Associates, Inc.
I was going to recommend the same thing. Except the E6i version. If you'd like to try one out, I'll loan you mine. It's wired for the Sennheiser G2 and is tan. It really goes away on medium shots. Here's a shot where you can see it Video
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