Wedding Service Mic. Strategy: Advice Sought at

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Old April 23rd, 2009, 02:01 PM   #1
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Wedding Service Mic. Strategy: Advice Sought

Hi All

I have my first ever wedding coming up Saturday. I'm doing it as a favour for the groom. My usual comfort zone is single camera interviews and vehicle mounting. Anyhow, I'm wondering if some kind soul could advise me on the best approach to the following scenario...

The wedding service takes place in a church with the folowing audio set-up;

The minister wears a lav. radio mic for the entire service
There is a second handheld radio mic used for the exchange of vows
There is a wired mic. on a lecturn that will be used for readings etc.
(I have the frequenciees of the two wireless systems)
All audio is fed through an amp and out through speakers placed around the church. The clarity from the system is pretty good. However, there is a faulty light very high up in the church that has an annoying Buzz. There is also a Choir in play some distance at the back of the church, no amplification.

My audio tools are as follows;
1x Sennheiser G2 Wireless system with Lav., Transmitter & Receiver
1x Sennheiser Handheld wireless mic/tranmitter and second G2 receiver
1x Rode NTG-G2
1x Rode Video-Mic

I'm shooting mainly on an EX1 with a Sony A1E HDV camera running as a wide (4x XLR channels in total).

So, best strategy?

I know a lot of wedding guys like to mic the groom for the vows and this was my first thought: Mic. the groom with wireless lav. then mic a speaker with my second wireless. However, I'm really toying with the possibility of using my two wireless receivers to pick up the two house wireless mics. This should give me excellent results but means that I'll have to rely on my Rode for ambient and, crucially, I wont have close coverage of the lecturn.

Any thoughts?

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Old April 23rd, 2009, 04:38 PM   #2
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Is it possible to use your two wireless receivers as you've suggested, picking up the two house transmitters, and then use your Rode shotgun at a reduced gain setting close-micing one of the loudspeakers and the Rode videomic as ambient? (I'm not familiar enough with your cameras' mic inputs to know if that's possible.) If you can only use one mic with your second camera, you could put the rode videomic near enough to a loudspeaker that it will pick up the mic from the lecturn but still be able to get ambient as well.
Can you test ahead of time? Do you have access to a Beachtek-type adapter for the second camera (or any adapter cable that could allow two mics if it only has a single stereo mini-jack?)
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 04:56 PM   #3
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Hi Jay

Thanks for your response.

Thinking about it a little since my post, I think that's my strategy.

I actually discovered a ECM NV1 mini shotgun mic that came with my A1 (I'd forgotten about it as I thought I'd lost it but discovered it recently tangled up in a set of jump Leads in the back of my wife's car - don't ask!).

Anyway, I'm thinking two house wireless mics into my main cam for monitoring, the ECM close miced on the speaker and the NTG 2 as atmos.

I'm just worried abut relying on the house system as it's out of my control. Cant test the full set-up before hand but I can sit outside tomorrow morning with a receiver tuned to their channels to make sure I have a clean signal.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 05:07 PM   #4
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If you do have enough time I would test out which mic sounds best in which role (loudspeaker versus ambient). Given the two mics will likely have very different character and response to off-axis sound, that will make a big difference in the final result.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 10:59 AM   #5
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I would certainly check your wireless plan beforehand. You didn't say that the house wireless was sennheiser. Just because your units have the same frequencies doesn't mean they will work with the house system. There are different ways to modulate a frequency, different approaches to processing/companding the audio between units, and your sennys by default require a pilot tone. I'm not saying that it won't work, just check it out before you get to shooting. If the house uses sennheiser then i would expect no problems.
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Old April 26th, 2009, 07:31 AM   #6
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hi Peter

It might be well worth your while checking with the guys on irishvideoforum. Some of them have probably shot in this particular church and might be in a good position to advice you re audio.

Just a thought!
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Old April 26th, 2009, 09:56 PM   #7
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I wouldn't rely on capturing house wireless signals... I would do it like this:

1. Main camera: on camera NTG-2 shotgun (1st ch.) + wireless lav on the groom & wireless receiver on cam (2nd ch.) (that is my main set up for 1-cam coverage).

2. Sony A1E: Wired Rode video mic (set as mono) or NV-1 pointed to the Choir in the back (Ch.1) and wireless handheld mic / receiver (ch. 2) into a loudspeaker... (or vice versa - wireless to the choir and wired to a speaker - depends on camera placement...)

Just my 2 cents...
Thank you.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 06:55 AM   #8
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Peter, is it possible to get a line feed from the church board? If so, I would record the main mix to a portable recorder. I think this would be a cleaner/better approach than trying to mic a cabinet. It's also safer than relying solely on wireless.

Good luck,

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Old April 30th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #9
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Relying on a good feed from the PA House Mixer is very scary. The same goes for a feed from the house wireless system.

Arriving early, I set up a wireless shotgun mic near where the vows are spoken and always have XLR mic cords on the standby incase I need to hard wire the mic due to static RF noise. Then I run a second or third mic as needed (for ambient sound). I haul twice the amount of mic cords, stands and other audio equipment to my wedding shoots just in case I need it.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 06:10 PM   #10
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It sounds like this venue is unusually attuned to getting sound with wireless. I'd be more inclined to trust a feed from the board from a place like this. I'd get a feed from the board using a separate recorder of some kind, and then back myself up with a separate wireless on the groom. The one thing you HAVE to get is those vows. I'm betting the officiant is going to balk at putting a second wireless on him, so you'll have to trust the audio from the board. Make sure you have a good camera mounted mic as yet another backup. If there's time, I'd mic the PA with your other handheld wireless just to be extra safe. Get a cheap mic stand with boom arm somewhere and stick the mic in the speaker. Practice first, so you know what gain staging to use on the Sennheiser. It won't sound the greatest in the best of circumstances, but this is a CYA application. If the sound is good from the PA, you got it, either from your secondary recorder or from the mic on the speaker, and if it's bad, everybody will know it anyway and won't blame you, because they couldn't hear the vows and ceremony live in the first place. I'm betting you'll get decent audio from both places, because this venue seems to have their system down pretty well. If you really want to go for art or something, mic that choir! That's practically a whole other post though. It would be a sweet present to the new couple.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:20 AM   #11
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Well, thanks for all the advice guys. In the end I did not have enough time/access to get the venue wireless set up so I went for;

Sennheiser Wireless Handheld on Mic Stand Pointed to Venue PA Speaker
Sennheiser Wireless Lav on Groom
Rode NTG2 On Camera for general atmos
3rd Camera shooting from choir balcony with inbuilt mic picking up organ/soloist

This worked pretty good, not as clean as I'd like as it was a big old church with lots of reflective marble surfaces so sound is somewhat boomy but still acceptable.

Only problem was with the venue handheld mic used during vows. It introduced some feedback. Even the lav on the groom picked this up somewhat. Interestingly, I was asked afterwards by the groom if his wearing the lav had been the cause of the problem. I assured him that it was impossible as that mic was completely seperate from the venue PA. Though I now see what weddin guys mean when they say they are always first to get the blame for sound problems.

Reception was a dream - they used a Sennheiser wireless handheld that I could pickup on my G2 receiver. Joy.

Thanks again. If ever doing this again, I think I'd need to invest in a couple of Zoom H4n or similar to catch cleaner sound from officiant and other reders/contributors.

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