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Old November 1st, 2004, 10:03 PM   #1
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Mic for picking up Cheers

Hey There. I film a lot of Football and Sports games, I have an awesome mic and camera set up for my commentators, color analysts and reporters, but I could really use a mic to pick up the cheering and chants of the crowds. Im guessing a shotgun mic will be best for this application, but Im not sure. Any input on a lower-priced XLR Mic for my needs? Thanks!
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Old November 1st, 2004, 10:49 PM   #2
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Do you want a general roar or do you want to hear specific voices?

I'd probably send someone out in the seats with a separate audio recorder and an omni microphone. Probably not a dynamic though. Have them wear headphones and watch the meters.

Might be interesting to record the sound binaurally if you want to spend the money. You know, a pair of microphones set into an acoustically accurate dummy head.

It really depends on what you want out of the recording.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 11:09 PM   #3
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Well my scenario is that im in a press box, above all the stands. I can hang a mic over the side of the box, and capture the 'roar' of the crowds. Should I spend the money on a nice shotgun mic, (Possibly the Azden SGM-1x), or just use 2 Shure SM63's with a Line Volume Slider.

Im thinking if I just direct the 2 Shure mics I have at the crowd, then when theres not much cheering I can slide the bar down. When theres a big play, I'll simply push up the bar to get more volume.

Will this approach work or should I just spend the cash on a Shotgun Mic?

Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 08:51 AM   #4
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Tell us a few more details about your setup. Are you currently just running your mics into the camera? And which camera are you using? What kind of mics do you use with your commentators?
There are several mics I could recommend for pickup of the crowd, but I want to hear more about your existing equipment.
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 10:32 AM   #5
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Okay. Im running a GL1 with a BeachTek DXA-4P. Ive got 1 XLR Audio Y-Splitter, so in Theroy I have 3 XLR Connections. (One note about the XLR Y-Splitter, I havent used this before in any of my shoots, will it harm the quality or casue problems? The link to the splitter is below if you need to look at it) I will have 2 Shure VP64A's (One for my commentator, one for my Color-Guy)

What I need is a mic, weither it be shotgun, supercardioid, Etc, to pick up the "Enviroment Noise" at the high-school athletic games that I film. The Enviroment Noise im talking about is mainly the Cheering Roar of the crowd, of the Boo's of a bad call or play.

Heres a link to the audio Y-Splitter I'm planning on using: http://www.audiolines.com/cgi-bin/dj.cgi?detail=yes&template=&exact_match=yes&product=yxlrm-2xlrf

Hope this helps. Thanks again.
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 12:48 PM   #6
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Ok, good info so far. A couple of additional questions.
Do you normally run your BeachTek in mono so that both commentators are "centered" or do you run it in stereo so that you can edit their audio separately?

If you use your Y combiner cable, just remember that it will eliminate your ability to control the relative volume of the two mics plugged into it and it also eliminates your ability to separately edit these mics later. If you attempt to use a low-cost volume slider on one of the mics plugged into the combiner, then you could affect the balanced signal from the mics. I'd definitely test that ahead of time to see if it causes problems or works to your satisfaction.

What you really need for this is a small 4 mic-input mixer to go along with your BeachTek. This will give you the ability to smoothly control the levels of all mics and maintain high-quality balanced connections. It would also give you better metering and headphone monitoring. These mixers are available from $80 to $400.
You mentioned you already have SM63 mics in addition to the VP64's that the commentators use. I'm assuming the windows are closed where the commentators are? The VP64's are about twice as sensitive as the SM63's, so if the windows aren't closed, then hanging an SM63 out the window probably won't gain much over what's already being picked up by the commentator mics. If the windows are closed, then I'd use an SM63 as a first experiment and hear what you get. This probably won't have much definitition, but it would pick up the roar.
Normally you'd set the crowd mic at a level so that a loud roar will pick up moderately under the commentators and that quiet passages would be very low. Then you'd just leave this alone and let the natural flow of the crowd control the background noise just as the commentators tailor their response to the action of the game. Often the stadium PA announcer has the most recognizable sound that will be picked up by a "crowd" mic.
If you do decide to buy an additional mic for this, then I'd recommend a battery-powered condenser or a high-output dynamic, either omni, cardioid (or stereo if you want to spend more). Directional mics like shotguns don't work that well in these situations because they can give such an odd response to the wide crowd noise and the echoes from the stadium.
Some possible candidates: Audio Technica ATM-10a omni, currently on sale from $99 to $110. ATM-31a cardioid, currently about $130. AT804 dynamic omni, about $85. AKG D770 dynamic cardioid, clearance priced at a 3-pack for $100. Sennheiser e835 dynamic cardioid, about $100 each, or 3 for $200.
You'll also need to use a windscreen. Dynamic omni mics are the least sensitive to wind and moisture, but you'd still want to have a thick foam screen on the mic. This would be very true with condenser mics, especially if you get a stereo mic. Condenser mics will generally have better definition in their sound, but they are sensitive to the weather.
You'll also need to monitor closely with headphones. As you add mics, especially if you are mixing them together and can't fix it later, then you must have confidence in what you're mixing.
Hope this helps and good luck.
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 03:28 PM   #7
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Great, thanks for the info. Heres my plan...

I'll shoot in stereo, since the 2 commentators mics dont need different line levels, I'll use the Y Adaptor in XLR Port 1 of my BeechTek device.

In port 2 of the device, I'll hook up a Sennheiser e835, with a good windscreen (Any recomendations on one?)

Ill set the audio level of the 2 Commentators mics at the Standard "7" while keeping the e835 at, per say "4".

When the crowd really starts to roar and cheer, I'll fade up the volume on the e835 to, lets say "5 or 6" (Or whatever sounds good on the studio monitors)

Just want to make sure that the Sennheiser e835 is a good mic to buy. I will also be using this mic to shoot a small band performance, and the mic will be set to pick up one of many things. (Drums, Gutair, Sax, Possibly Vocals)

Is this also a good one for that type of application as well?

Thanks again.
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 05:24 PM   #8
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I can't remember, does the GL-1 have manual audio levels or only auto? If it has manual levels, then I think you'd get a better recording by running your passive BeachTek hotter at 9 or 10 (maybe 8 at the lowest since you're sending two mics into one channel) and adjusting your camera levels down a little.
If the camera has auto only controls, then you would probably need to keep the BeachTek lower as needed to get the best behavior out of the auto camera circuit.
However, I think it really is important to establish a level for the crowd mic and then leave it essentially alone. You might want to occasionally raise it on the separate channel to better catch something specific, but you're really not going to want to have to constantly ride this. It should represent the natural rise and fall of the crowd reactions and it shouldn't overpower your commentators.
I think the e835 is very good for a dynamic vocal type mic. I know Mike Rehmus had a bad experience with a wireless version of it once, but I think there must have been something wrong with that unit. I find the regular wired version to be very low in handling noise despite being very sensitive for a dynamic mic. However, for the other activities you describe like recording the band performance, I think a battery-powered condenser like the ATM-31a would give a better recording.
It's a toss-up. You couldn't go too far wrong with either mic, but they both have strengths and weaknesses.
As for a windscreen, Radio Shack had a fairly thick and deep foam one that I have used. Their stock and model variations change though, I know sometimes they only have the much thinner indoor type foams that are similar to the generic models from online and local music stores. If your pressbox is pretty high up, you might consider a FatCat furry screen. It's $50 from Trew Audio, which isn't cheap, but it will do a better job of stopping wind.
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 06:49 PM   #9
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Yeah, The GL1 controls are manual (Its only time now until my manager lets me take up some of the bigger, Sony shoulder-brick cameras)

Until then, I'll pick up one of these a835s and see what I can do. Thanks again for your help! Im sure I'll be comming back for a few questions ;)
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Old November 3rd, 2004, 11:26 AM   #10
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At network broadcast events (football) they use shotgun mics for the crowd noise. If you want to follow their lead get the shotgun.

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Old November 3rd, 2004, 11:48 AM   #11
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They often do isolate a shotgun mic with each camera in order to get a better relationship between the background audio and what that particular camera is pointing at. The switching of these mics is controlled automatically by a link with the video switcher.
For the general crowd though, often a shotgun is too problematic for this type of venue and either a wider pickup pattern is used or a very expensive shotgun with better off-axis response is carefully positioned and tested.
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