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Old March 26th, 2009, 06:02 AM   #1
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Microphone(s) help - please

Hi all, yet another mic question!
Camera XM2/GL2 - I'm used to filming out-doors - with on board mic. I have a project coming up (gotta diversify in this down turn/recession): a concert in a church: Church seats about 300, has carpet and a gallery but not too high a ceiling. Professional singers and children, musician accompanied piano/guitars/drums - all will be mic'd up and fed through sound mixer/desk. Due to nature of concert 2 cameras have to move around. I don't have any means of recording i.e. edirol etc. or wireless.

Question: should I rely on the camera mic(s)? or should I get a new mic for the camera? if the latter what do I buy? I have a Canon MA 300 which will take 2 x XLR. Will one mic do the job? Do I need 'stereo'? Budget: £300/$450. Been looking at RODE NTG-2 Sennhiser etc

I do my own editing Premiere Pro CS2
Any help please?
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Old March 26th, 2009, 09:05 AM   #2
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Will there be any stationary camera at all? If not, then you really do need to obtain a recorder that can capture the board output and/or the ambient sound from a fixed position. (Plus if there's no stationary camera how will you have full coverage visually?)
At any rate, for a church concert as you've described it, I'd personally use a small-diaphragm cardioid condenser or a pair of them in a fixed position not physically attached to a camera.
I would only use the mobile cameras' audio for a guide to sync up the footage, so the onboard mic would be sufficient for that. If I did specifically need to add a mic to the camera, I'd use a small-diaphragm hypercardioid condenser and a shockmount, not a shotgun which would likely have very odd sounding off-axis effects in a church.
If you have enough tape running time, I would just let the mobile cameras roll throughout even when moving around. That way you will only need to find rough sync once, or twice if you need to eventually change tapes.
If you don't want to do that, then you should set all the cameras' onboard clocks to match as closely as you can and then use software like SceneAlyser Live to capture the footage with file names that contain the time of day. That would at least guide your clip organization to within a few seconds of actual sync. It's much easier to just roll all cameras and then do a sync mark though.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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If everything is running through the board, I'd try and get a feed from the the live guys. Run that into a stationary camera, or if you really aren't going to have a master shot, an inexpensive little recorder like the Zoom H2 or the new H4n, then sync it up in post with the audio from the camera mics. You camera mics can then provide ambiance as they roam about while the board feed gives you clean sound from the stage.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 06:08 PM   #4
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That's a great camera. I used one on tour when I did a presentation for Canon all across the country. My advice would be to Get a BeachTek DXA-4P XLR adapter and some long XLR cables. Flip the switch for Line level input and adjust your levels on both the camera and on the BeachTek. BeachTek XLR adapters at DVcreators.net

You don't want the MA 300. One snag and it'll break off.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 08:41 PM   #5
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Since you say that the cameras have to roam, I guess they can't be tethered. Can one camera roam and the other be on sticks so you can get a feed from the board as the others suggest? If not, I'd suggest using the on-board mics and instead invest in a recorder that you can connect to the board and sync later. Make sure the camera operators know to never stop the tape (except to change them out of course), or it will be pain to sync later. Assuming there are no breaks in the footage, concerts like this are real easy to sync in post, so long as each camera has a decent reference track.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 07:06 AM   #6
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Moving around with just camera mics for a music video is a bad idea unless your expectations are very low. Sound manifests itself differently in a space. What sounds good at one position may sound like crap three feet further over. Even if it doesn't sound like crap, it may sound VERY different.

Two cameras roaming around are a guaranteed recipe for bad sound if you expect to use each camera's sound. If you edit from one camera's soundtrack to the other the difference will be very noticeable.

Camera mics preamps are not always very good in live sound situations. At some point the sound may get too loud to record. You simply can't turn the audio controls down far enough.

If the expectations are low, you'll probably be OK, and will later think, "Oh, THAT'S what he meant!"

Life is to learn. Enjoy.

Ty Ford

PS: In general, using just a board feed won't work either unless there are room mics up to catch the room. That's mixing for recording. Most of the time the mix is created for PA, so it reinforces the sound in the air with direct sound of whatever's coming through the board. Two VERY different tasks.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 09:15 AM   #7
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OK...a concert...professional singers...so sound might actually be a little important?

Life is to learn. Enjoy. -Ty Ford Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you living proof that tact is not dead on the internet. :-)

Seriously, this is a fairly challenging situation. If this is important to you ( gotta diversify in this down turn/recession ) it might be worthwhile to spend a little money to hire a (young, aspiring, CHEAP) sound guy to do the sound - who would likely have the gear it takes plus at least some experience.

With the dynamic range of this sort of performance, you will need someone to ride gain, a heck of a good leveler, or both, or else you will either have overload or parts buried in noise.

No point in repeating what Ty Ford has pointed out.

But I love a challenge, so....

Let's see, budget $450. Hmmm.


$139.95 Samson C02 Condenser Microphone (pair)

$129.95 Peavey PV8 Mixer

$149.95 dbx 266XL Dual Compressor Gate

---------

$419.85

I'd really like two more mics but... $30.15 left. OK, so I look up an old deaf sound guy I know, get him drunk, and he agrees to sell me two of his old Shure SM57'S (workable in a pinch on almost anything). I can fix the 3db drop in high end from caked on cigarette smoke with a little EQ.

The compressor is set to 'over easy' mode and put between the mixer and camera, carefully calibrated. Output set to -10 for camera line level.

The two condensers go on the choir. Blumlein style, but slghtly wide - want a slight hole in the middle which will either be masked later by the instruments/soloists or can be panned in a bit if I misjudged.

The two dynamics are used for soloists and/or spot mics, OR as a stereo pair over the band if the live sound guy cannot give me what I want. Or one over the band (old Beatles style :-) ) and one soloist mic.

I ask the band sound guy to make two stereo cue mixes on his cue sends or groups. One of drums and bass, one of everthing else. Those are brought into the two stereo returns on the mixer.

All appropriately EQ'd and balanced. Sent out so the loudest levels crunch the compressor pretty well, but not enough to sound obvious.

All sent to one fixed camera. The other camera uses its onboard setup for backup/sync purposes. I offer the knowedge of where the best blow in town is, if the sound guy will let me also Y to his unused cassette deck for a backup. I don't really know, but I do know that at the end of the day, he'll only be concerned about loading out all his stuff, and will forget. ;-)

All properly calibrated in the sound check. Including playback off the camera for confirmation.

I could get a pretty decent sound this way.

For you to do so, plan on some practice. Dress rehearsals are nice. :-)

-Mike

Last edited by Mike Demmers; March 27th, 2009 at 09:46 AM.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 10:01 AM   #8
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Concert Sound Set up

I learned for various Dat Head web sites (They travel around and recorded the Grateful Dead Concerts) that a tall stand (2 stands if you want Stereo) with a good shotgun mounted, set back from the stage works the best. Raising the stand and mic up from the crowd removes it from any crowd noise and gives you the best concert sound. You will need to monitor your levels to avoid peaking. I would have a camera wired into the sound on a tripod and a second roving camera that can be matched up in editing. The problem I see you need to have someone with headphones monitoring the levels during the actual concert and not relying on a practice session for your levels.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 06:18 PM   #9
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Sound help!

You have all given me plenty to think about! Firstly though thank you, all posts are very useful, welcome and have given me food for thought.
As Mike Demingís noted, the sound is kinda critical, and my creative expertise is visual so I was losing sleep over this!
I took your advice and last night I did a dummy run at another concert with the same guy who'll be doing the sound. Sound was brilliant, feed sound on my tape didn't match the performance I'd heard with my own ears earlier. The taped sound recorded two vocalists well but the musicians and backing singers sound was poor - which correlates with what Ty has said. I deliberately just asked the sound guy to give me a feed, I didn't TELL him what I wanted. I'll have a chat with him when I see him next week.
I understand Marco's and Jay's point about Sync - I learned the hard way a while back with goodness knows how many start/stops - NEVER NEVER again - I visually grew older trying to sync it all (2 cameras stop/starts and one fixed rolling). But hey, thanks for the SceneAlyser tip.
Iím glad Mike said it was a challenging situation because I decided to have another meeting with the producer. Subsequently I reckon I will now get away with one camera fixed which means I can get a feed from the board.
At this point I'm kinda leaning toward a belt & braces approach: a) Using a recorder such as the Zoom H4n to record an ambient sound & with a feed from the sound guy into this recorder for a 4 way mix, or b) using the recorder on itís own and taking a feed from the board into the smaller Camera via a Beachtek DXA 2s and then bringing the two together in post. I can add in anything else from the roaming camera (XM2/GL2) if needed (oh, I wonít be switching it offÖ!).
Mike thanks for doing a costing for $450 I may just buy some of your recommended kit sometime.
The Zoom H4n costs a whopping $550 (delivered) in rip off Britain/Ireland so any thoughts on something else would be appreciated.
Thanks again folks and Iíll let you know how I get on!
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Old March 27th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Demmers View Post
Life is to learn. Enjoy. -Ty Ford Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you living proof that tact is not dead on the internet. :-)
-Mike
Mike,

Thanks for the hat tip.

BTW, in case anyone's looking for VO talent, I just finished updating my VO demos. The new versions are here: Ty Ford VO and On Camera Demos

Regards,


Ty Ford
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Old March 27th, 2009, 10:16 PM   #11
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The Zoom H4n costs a whopping $550 (delivered) in rip off Britain/Ireland so any thoughts on something else would be appreciated.

The zoom is specifically designed to put a lot of functionality into a very small space. You are paying a premium for that. I like the zoom, am considering buying one. But it is not what I would want to use for THIS situation, where the compactness is no advantage, and fiddling with its menus and limitations would be annoying.

Compare, for example, how much closer to your actual needs and budget for this project something like this might be:

Fostex MR16HD 16-Track Digital Recorder - $399.95

Welcome to Fostex USA

There you get actual, individual faders - very important when the pressure is on - and generally better ergonomics overall. (Unfortunately it is 44.1 KHz only, no 48 KHz. So you might have to make one analog transfer - NO CRIME. Just an example, not a recommendation...)

In this situation, more cheap mics close to the sources will sound better than fewer, expensive mics further away.

The live sound guy is mixing for the combination of live and reinforced sound, which is not what you want.

Even if you had your own dedicated audio guy mixing just for you, there is still a potential problem, in that what he hears will still be a combination of loud live sound, and what he is trying to mix. I would have trouble in that situation.

In the end, what I would want is something like 8 mics, a mixer, and an 8 track recorder. That way I could get in close, but do the actual mix afterward, when I could actually hear what I was doing.

If it were a one off gig I would just rent.

If more were expected, I might just use something like this:

MOTU.com - Traveler-mk3 ($800 or so)

since I have a laptop. (This handles sync, too)

For this situation for good results I think more mics, and some sort of mixer will get you further no matter what you can get from the sound guy. With the H4n the MOST inputs of any kind you can handle is 4. That limits you to just maybe two mics and two channels from the sound guy.

Even something like this (These little Mackies are great values):

Mackie 1202-VLZ3 $299.99

Has 12 inputs which would allow for 4 mics plus 8 individual line inputs from the sound guy, allowing you complete control of your mix. This is cheaper than the H4n. No recording, but you are going to camera anyway to keep sync. Better mic preamps, too.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 12:45 AM   #12
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Mike,

Thanks for the hat tip.
And in truth you deserve more than an offhanded compliment from me. I have learned a great deal from you over the last few years here about an area of audio work I was only slightly familiar with.

Thank you for your willingness to share.

I have spent most of my professional audio life in a studio, dealing with long hours, unrealistic producers, impossible demands.

You, and your bretheren that also do audio for picture, not only have all the same problems to deal with, but must do so after walking halfway up Mount Everest, hanging over the edge of a cliff, putting up with some moron running a generator, the US Air Force running exercises directly over head, and rain running down your face.

My hat is not tipped for you. It is off.

I do confess to wondering about your sanity at times, though. :-)

-Mike
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Old March 28th, 2009, 08:21 AM   #13
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Oops! wrong name & free professional sound advice

Astounding advice! - and to think you kept giving it free despite me getting your name wrong! (Demings:Demmers)
Before you read any further please sit down! The Mackie is $440, Fostex is $775, the Motu $980 although it looks like I could get from B&h in NYC cheaper! - even with the post & imports tax.
I've checked how much it would cost to fly you(Delta, Skymiles for me) from Portland to Dublin (Ireland) via Atlanta: $800 return - coach mind you not 1st...! It might just be cheaper to do that and you can get some sightseeing of Ireland too!
Seriously I'm glad I posted this question 16 days before the gig. Any more ideas/thoughts - just keep them coming. Cheers
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Old March 28th, 2009, 08:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mike Demmers View Post
I do confess to wondering about your sanity at times, though. :-)
-Mike
Sanity is highly over-rated. What little I have is too small to wonder about. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old March 28th, 2009, 08:53 AM   #15
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Cheaper Zoom H4n?

I've found an outfit on web: Zoom4U.co.uk selling the Zoom H4n for £229 ($330). Only problem is I never heard of them.
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