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Old April 28th, 2009, 08:51 AM   #16
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I still have my two original Radio Shack PZM's, plus a Crown PZM and two Crown hypercardioid boundary mics as well as several in cardioid and omni from Audio-Technica.
They all work well for boundary purposes, but I think the close proximity to the noisy table activities would be more of a problem than with properly located boom mics.
Since you're renting, then you can use premium boom mics like Schoeps.
I also have the Shure FP-410 and while it too does a good job of auto-mixing in the right circumstances, I think if you have too many mics too close to each other, coupled with the noises of the table and eating, the mixer would keep most of the mics up all the time.
Let us know what you decide to do and what the final results are.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 02:40 PM   #17
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PZM and boundary mics seem like the best bet for coverage, but I don't know if they are practical, at least not if they are on the table. There is going to be way too much noise there from glasses, clinking plates, people moving stuff around, and stuff like that. Mouth noises are going to be a problem with lavs too. I vote for a couple of cardiods on stands.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 08:32 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
Since you're renting, then you can use premium boom mics like Schoeps.
I also have the Shure FP-410 and while it too does a good job of auto-mixing in the right circumstances, I think if you have too many mics too close to each other, coupled with the noises of the table and eating, the mixer would keep most of the mics up all the time.
Let us know what you decide to do and what the final results are.
I have done more than a few wild roundtables with food and have been continued to be impressed by how well the automix does but jay is correct that sometimes it gets confused but rarely does it open all the mics except when everyone is talking at once. It is more likely confused by a fan or airconditioner at one end of the set than by everyone making noise all at the same time. Remember even though it is auto mixing you can still turn down a mic which is adding noise but not content. Also mic placement is helpful. Try and keep to the 3 to 1 rule so the distance between the mic on one person is closer than three times that distance to the next person to avoid phasing issues.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 03:50 PM   #19
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Well having seen the video it would seem even clearer now that my initial answer is the way to go.
One thing to bear in mind if you are shooting multi camera is a live mixer will need a picture cut to mix to if you want the emphasis on who is in shot i f there are two conversations going on at once. Obviously can't do that if you don't have a live vision mix as with hard wired studio cameras. I assume you are recording to separate cameras such as the Z1 for instance.
If you have 3 cameras locked together you get more audio tracks to use of course. But I assume that is too complicated and you are looking for a mono mix of chat.

Personally I would avoid boom mounted mic's in this situation as they need dedicated operators to follow the action and they add nothing but superfluous audio quality to the production. Good lav mic's will more than suffice and will pick up less cutlery noise.
As you have a budget you should hire a sound engineer and just find one who has the kit required. Say a couple of radio mics and the rest wired lav's. + a mixer... easy - job done. Would not even bother with the auto mixer. You need someone dedicated to wiring up the speakers and listening to the mix live so why not just mix it properly and by hand?
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Old April 29th, 2009, 09:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Tuffrey View Post
Good lav mic's will more than suffice and will pick up less cutlery noise.
As you have a budget you should hire a sound engineer and just find one who has the kit required. Say a couple of radio mics and the rest wired lav's. + a mixer... easy - job done. Would not even bother with the auto mixer. You need someone dedicated to wiring up the speakers and listening to the mix live so why not just mix it properly and by hand?
Have you been on a shoot with the FP-410 or something similar? Personally having done many of these things over the years with and without I find they are a great tool for this application. They are not to be confused with Auto gain, they never fall asleep and still can be controlled by the soundman. No sound man I know can act as fast as the machine consistently.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 06:15 PM   #21
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We are using 3 of them on a show I work on to feed a single fader as a reach too fader if someone speaks and we don't know who it is. Then we cross fade to that persons mic. We also iso all those mic's to 24 track. We have 22 people who cal out with out warning duriong the show.
However James says he has only six or seven speakers. How hard to mix is that? Just keep most the mic's at half mast and if you have a few slightly low level interjections so be it.
I've nothing against the auto mixer but it takes time to set up and has no discretion concerning who is the main voice. Sometimes one person is leading and the others are all laughing and commenting together. I would give the main speaker a good ten db over the others, maybe more. I call that mixing. It's not arbitrary which the auto mixer is.
If you are happy recording the show without monitoring the audio properly then the 8 channel auto mixer could really help if set up properly and if you don't mind every noise being given equal priority in the mix. But as you do need to pay close attention to the sound as it is recorded and as you do have let's say 7 personal mics to rig you also do need a sound man so why then have him and not have him mix the gig?
Personally I would not expect any camera man to deal with his duties well and look after that many mic's. This is a difficult sound job and requires a sound man to guarantee good sound. So why use an auto mixer?

That's just my personal opinion and to me it is pretty much the only option. Look at the you tube of Bert Reynolds and friends.. turns out there are no booms, just personal/lav mics. It looks like a live vision mix too with sound mixer working to picture cut as it happens. Could be wrong about that though.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 06:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by James Binder View Post
My initial thought was to use 7 wireless mics back to a mixer and then into the camera. After thinking about it though, Im wondering how much chewing, lip smacking and swallowing sounds that would pick up? Not good on close shots of important discussion where someone off-camera would be chewing loudly.

One moderator will lead the discussion the rest will chime in as the discussion ensues. I anticipate lots of back and forth discussion with some cross-talk.
Exactly the reason to mix it manually.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 09:40 PM   #23
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I've also done many shoots with the Shure auto mixer and it really doesn't take that much time to set up. Its one knob per channel and has two parallel mono outs. You can still do a mix of sorts if needed. There are a couple of reasons to use an auto mixer over manually mixing it.
If the line of sight is bad and there isn't sufficient video monitoring an auto mixer could be a life saver. Also if the room is very noisey the background would be louder if all the mics had to be half up to avoid missing an interjection. I don't think incidental eating noises would be that much of a problem. It it was an issue that mic could be temporarily lowered.
Be sure there is a good tablecloth and heavy utensils to keep clinking to a minimum.
For sure a qualified sound person should be on the job. That is a good number of mics to deal with, and you don't just set and forget the automixer if you want top results. I would run the output of the auto mixer into another mixer and from there out to all the cameras. That way you can have the main speaker on his own channel at full level all the time and the rest of the group on the other channel submixed by the auto mixer. Another option would be to rent a multi track recorder and put each mic on its own track and mix it in post.
Whatever route you choose good luck! It looks like a fun ideal!
Bernie
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 06:15 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by James Binder View Post
Orin, Andy, Jay –

Thanks for the great feedback.

Here’s some more info I should have included.

The video of the dinner discussion is documentary in style and will happen in real time while shooting two (or three) cameras. One will be wide, one fixed on the moderator (seated in the center) and one roving back and forth (close) depending on who’s talking.
You need to iso everyone. Get something like BoomRecorder where you can record each track separately, then fix it in post. Either that or get a really good sound person to mix it live to 2-track.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old May 4th, 2009, 03:12 PM   #25
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Thanks guys for all of the excellent feedback. Lots of great info here. If I can afford it in my budget, I may hire and affordable production sound mixer for the day (with mic package) and let him do his thing. If I'm going to do it myself, I'll probably go the boom mic route with two well placed mics overhead.

Just to toss it out there -- In the NYC, how much should I expect to pay a production sound mixer for the day (with gear, mixer, mics, recording back to camera and hard disk)? (in at 9am - out by 5pm)
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Old May 4th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #26
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James,
This is where it can get complicated but which gear etc. If you pay the Soundman $450 for labor how much gear do you expect him to provide in your list with transportation and parking. Are you talking hardwire Lavs, Wireless? Harddrive recorder for how many tracks? Lots of different ways to skin a cat to hit a budget number. As a for instance the Shure FP-410 package with 7 wired lavs would rent for about $225 per day. HTH
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