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Old August 20th, 2009, 04:09 PM   #1
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Good On Camera Mic For Live Concerts

Aloha all - long time reader first time poster. :) Gotta thank you for this board as it is a goldmine of info, I went months without having to ask a question.

Here goes! Primarily I shoot live, indoor concerts (a solo ukulele player with no vocals) with a capacity ranging from 300-1000. I shoot with a Canon XH-A1s and on camera Rode VideoMic. As a secondary sound track I use a Zoom H4 mounted on a tripod, which I place in more ideal spots in the venue.

Typically I am set up stationary in the back or middle of the venue, usually by the sound board. When I can, I get up close but not too often. Most of the video goes to the web or is used for promotion or archives. Nothing is sold.

I am looking to achieve better sound from the on camera mic. Being that the VideoMic is a shotgun, I kind of understand it's limitations for capturing decent acoustics. But not sure what is a better on camera solution, or why.

What would you suggest as a better on camera mic to upgrade to? Someone suggested the NTG-2 to me, but that is another shotgun. So I come to you with hope of a good suggestion.

Thank for any advice you can provide.

Last edited by Sylus Harrington; August 20th, 2009 at 07:18 PM.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 05:51 PM   #2
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I would use a good large diaphragm mic in omni setting. I would put it on a mic stand high above the camera, or with a long cable, put it in a more optimal spot between the PA speakers. All you are going to get is a clear representation of what it sounds like in the room but a bit of this blended with a board feed or your H4 recording may help give some reality to your video.
Or you could use a shotgun and aim it at a PA speaker and the stage.... but you'd be better off placing a mic in another hotspot rather than half way back the room.
It all depends on the room and the music style and how loud the audience is.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 05:56 PM   #3
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Concerts of what kind of music - rock, jazz, acoustic, chamber music, symphony orchestra? Different ensembles and musical styles will require different mic'ing strategies. One thing is probably certain - an on-camera mic is the least likely to give you the sound quality people have come to expect from broadcast concerts. From the camera position you have too much distance to the musicians and there's a lot of talking, coughing, giggling audience between you and them that will intrude into the music. Taking a feed from the board isn't a solution either because the mic'ing and mixing for live sound PA is quite different from what you'd do for recording. For example, drum kits are often loud enough that they're not even mic'ed at all so their representation in your recording will be far less apparent than what the audience hears, depending on bleed into the other performer's mic's to even be recorded at all. You best bet for many situations would prbably be to mic the hall rather than the band or taking a board feed. Put a stereo pair in the centre aisle back maybe 3 to 5 rows from the stage. At least consider that for a starting point and work from there - there's a whole art and science to mic'ing concerts for top quality sound that goes beyond a different mic.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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"Good On Camera Mic For Live Concerts"?

No such animal exists, never did, never will.

If you can't get the sound you need from either the sound board or micing the performers yourself, you ain't going to get it, period.

You'd be better off using the on board omni's and be done with it, unless the audience is so noisy even that won't work (that would have to be one heck of a noisy audience).

Why not get a feed from the sound board to the H4 and use the on boards for ambience?

Mix and match to taste, job done.


CS
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Old August 20th, 2009, 07:17 PM   #5
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I mainly shoot a solo ukulele player when on tour, no vocals. The musical style is a very mixed genre of rock, jazz, flamenco, classical, and more. The audience is typically dead silent during performance, but solid roaring cheers after each song.

I believe you have all answered my question. Either it's time to learn the next step, or just make the best of on board mic coupled with a feed from the sound board.

We actually have a KORG M1000 1bit recorder that we use to capture sound from the board. Suppose I could use that and the H4/OnBoard for ambiance and mix it all in.

Touring and traveling to a different venue each night make's it hard for a audio beginner like me to work a professional system on the fly. Would love to record a 4track some day...but that is definitely next level for me.

Thanks guys for your detailed responses. Much appreciated!
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Old August 20th, 2009, 08:07 PM   #6
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With practice, you can actually get very good sound from the on board mics on the XHA1, as well as the Videomic...
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Old August 20th, 2009, 08:36 PM   #7
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You will never get the presence of the instrument unless you can mic it close to the uke itself...similar to guitar, I'm guessing, a small-diameter condenser mike off the fingerboard aimed back to the sound hole is one good way...on a guitar they recommend the 12th fret (which is, as I understand it, a nodal point on the strings) .... a shotgun picks up reverbs and other noise from reflections, even if it manages to reduce noise from the sides, and can't pick up the tones as a close mic can do...if the performance is house mic'd, as you indicate, a feed from the house audio might work better for you if you get a clean line to the stage mics. You can use on-camera for room ambience and audience reaction, but that's not musical enough for the performance itself...my dos centavos / Battle Vaughan
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Old August 20th, 2009, 10:15 PM   #8
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If this is the same performance set-up each night, then you might want to get a good quality condenser mic specifically chosen for the Ukulele. Carry this with you on tour and insist that the venue's audio engineer use it. Taking a board feed would be better if you could get it direct from that mic channel to avoid any other open mics.. Or you could get a stagebox or D.I. that could split the Uke mic signal and send it to the house mix as well as to a wireless received at your camera, or into the H4.
Mix in a stereo room ambience and it could sound sweet.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 11:24 PM   #9
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Microphones are not magic receivers, they like a close proximity to your sound source to work best. If it was me I would set up a mic stand and a shotgun mic near the performer or an instrument mic that has a cord running to the camera. Any on camera mic will pick up minimal sound at best. Also you need to monitor levels with head phones while recording. You can use a $2,500 high end Sennheiser and if your not close it will sound just as bad as the VideoMic.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 02:23 AM   #10
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The uke is plugin direct to a D.I. - We don't mic the uke unless the artist unplugs for an encore...which is rare. Is it possible or desirable to take a line from the uke's D.I.? Maybe run that into the H4 or Korg MR1000? Product link: (Korg - Product Details)

Typically most songs are played seated with about 4 songs played standing/roaming. Roaming distance is as far as the analysis plus cable will allow...I think about 2 meters. It is the same set up for each show, each night.

Would the roaming songs lose pickup by the condenser mic on stage?

If I setup the mic on stage, would it be better to run the line in to camera or H4 or Korg? Rather than send it to the house board first?

Ideally I would like to free up the H4 for ambient placement in the venue as I never really know where I can set up the video and tripod. Often, its in the back of the venue so the ambient pick up can be poor.

For obtaining better room ambiance on camera, I should look into a stereo mic rather than the RodeVM which is a shot gun. Maybe the RodeSVM? Not sure on that one. Ill look into that....and look into a good condenser known to work well with the uke.

Man, thanks guys! I feel a lot better about getting my feet wet now. This is stimulating discussion, thanks for sharing your knowledge with me.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 04:53 PM   #11
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Hi again...................

Sylus,

Just so we all know exactly what's happening here, is this always the same artist for the entire show, or a series of same taking turns?

If it's the former (which I'm kinda assuming from what you've already said) why not get yourself a wireless system (Sennheiser EW100 G3, say) with an extra reciever, to give you two complete transmit/ recieve units.

[The only reason for the extra reciever is that the systems come with two transmitters and one reciever, stupid, but that's it. You never know when that other wireless link will be a life saver. Oh, and whatever additional mic's you're thinking of getting - always, always, always get self powered/ dual powered. You never know when you're going to run into the one vital piece of kit that doesn't provide phantom.]

Put a Velcro strap around the head of the instrument and clip the lav to it, pointing back down the neck. Get the artiste to wear the bodypack transmitter. That's the uke nailed, but good.

Doesn't matter where he/ she goes, the sound goes with 'em.

If they're capable of going "walkabout" in a 4 metre diameter, the other mic (don't use a shotgun!) placement is a bit of a gamble. Your best bet is on a stand directly in front of their chair as "up close and personal" as you can manage.

Gonna go down the gurgler as soon as they wander off, but that's where the on instrument unit comes into it's own.

So, that's two channels (into either the Korg or H4 on stage, take your pick).

Get another stereo feed from the sound board into the other recorder, that's 4 channels.

Use the on camera stereo mics for a bit of ambience and that's 6.

If you can't stitch a pretty good soundtrack together with that lot, you ain't trying.


CS
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Old August 21st, 2009, 06:45 PM   #12
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My take on this is, don't over think it. Take a feed from the DI (assuming the XLR output is taken for FOH sound, either use a Y-splitter to turn the single output to two OR see if there is a 1/4" line output --NOT the instrument level pass through -- that you can adapt to your recorder) and use a medium diaphragm condenser high above camera position to get room ambiance (ie. APPLAUSE). I ASSUME from your posts that you are somehow "welcome" enough to do little things like this.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 07:17 PM   #13
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Yes it's the same artist each night, but in different venues. I travel with the tour. The only limitations we have depend on the venue for the night. Most often we have free reign and a few hours between sound check and on stage. So plenty of time to set things up and check levels.

The wireless sounds like a great idea and would cover the roaming issues. Ill definitely have to look into that. And it sounds like we have enough equipment to achieve a 6 track setup, just need a few good quality mics. Ill have to work on setting it up and adjusting levels at the various recording points.

Making use of the medium diaphragm high above the camera to get good ambiance sounds awesome.

Another question comes up. I would have three recording points; On stage mic, soundboard mic, and on camera mic. How important is it to have the level's match for these three sources while recording? I know they can be mixed in post to suit.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 07:36 PM   #14
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Phasing is going to be much more of an issue than anything else. If all of a sudden things sound "thin" when combined, one or more mics/sources is out of phase.
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Old August 26th, 2009, 08:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylus Harrington View Post
Aloha all - long time reader first time poster. :) Gotta thank you for this board as it is a goldmine of info, I went months without having to ask a question.

Here goes! Primarily I shoot live, indoor concerts (a solo ukulele player with no vocals) with a capacity ranging from 300-1000. I shoot with a Canon XH-A1s and on camera Rode VideoMic. As a secondary sound track I use a Zoom H4 mounted on a tripod, which I place in more ideal spots in the venue.

Typically I am set up stationary in the back or middle of the venue, usually by the sound board. When I can, I get up close but not too often. Most of the video goes to the web or is used for promotion or archives. Nothing is sold.

I am looking to achieve better sound from the on camera mic. Being that the VideoMic is a shotgun, I kind of understand it's limitations for capturing decent acoustics. But not sure what is a better on camera solution, or why.

What would you suggest as a better on camera mic to upgrade to? Someone suggested the NTG-2 to me, but that is another shotgun. So I come to you with hope of a good suggestion.

Thank for any advice you can provide.
I would suggest the Audio Technica AT822 Stereo Mike. I have a lot of mikes, but that one is the most versatile and sounds great.

http://www.google.com/products?q=at8...N&hl=en&tab=wf

That is if you can find one anymore.

John
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