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Old December 10th, 2004, 12:02 PM   #1
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using "choir mics" for video

A local theatre company I'm a part of recently purchased four AT853Rx hanging choir mics to use for house sound during our performances (just to add a little extra volume to that coming directly off stage). I'm curious if anyone has any experience using these kinds of mics specifically for video (scenarios without a PA system or as direct substitutes for more common "video mics"). I could see the low profile of these mics being an advantage as they would seem very unobtrusive for things like weddings, even when mounted on a stand (and they're light enough that hanging them could be an option in some cases).

The ones we have still require phantom power, but so do a lot of the mics I've seen recommended on this board. Admittedly, the 853's aren't the best ones AT makes, but they're not bad, and the price was right. We're currently using the cardioid capsules (hyper- and super- are also available).

Any thoughts or general discussion? At this point I don't have a specific situation or use in mind -- 'just wondering if anyone's tried it.
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Old December 10th, 2004, 12:48 PM   #2
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Yes, they will work as you're imagining. Like any very-small-diaphragm mic in this price range, they have slightly higher self-noise than more expensive mics with slightly larger diaphragms.
That's usually their limiting factor in getting a good recording. But as you said, their unobtrusive size lets you place them closer and this can help make up the difference.
If you're trying to do both PA and video with these mics as primary pickup, you must have separate control for each destination. It takes lots more gain to get a useable recording signal than any PA system can tolerate without feedback.
The AT853a will run on either AA battery or phantom power, with a slight performance benefit with phantom.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 07:27 AM   #3
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I have a pair of them that I have used for the same application you are speaking of, theater. They work well, but remember they are sensitive and since they are usually mounted to hang down from above, they do pick up foot noise as the actors move about the stage.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 08:45 AM   #4
 
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Just as a caution as well, because they are so sensitive, when they are hanged, they're often hanged high up where there is lots of air movement from furnaces, airconditioning, and just general building changes. The audience doesn't really hear/notice that in a live environment, but when you get the tape back to the editing room, it's a whole different tiger. Run some tests before counting on these to be the best answer for your audio capture.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 09:01 AM   #5
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Spot (& others),
In a play situation like he is referring to, what do you think the best mic's/ mic arrangement would be?

Most of the plays I do, the actors and pit is mic'ed and I can take a feed through the sound board then suplement with a audience mic to capture reaction and room noise.

I have occasionally had to do small plays without the luxury of a board feed, using the 853s. Results have been ok at best. Any thoughts?
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Old December 13th, 2004, 01:18 PM   #6
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For our last show (the only one since we bought the mics), we used all four across the front of the stage. Listening to the tape now, I would agree that there are things in there I didn't hear during the show (shuffling from actors and some comb filtering between mics). Since we were in a school auditorium, we opted to place the mics on stands just off the edge of the stage (this was one case where we couldn't hang them -- nothing to hang from). I actually served as the light/sound engineer. I fed the audio from the board to my GL2 (set as a stationary wide shot) while another operator got closeups with his XL1.

By self-noise, are you referring to the background hiss heard whenever a mic is turned too loud (I'm not familiar with that specific term)?

I'm glad to hear that there are others out there using these mics. Mike, do you use a pair of 853's to get a stereo recording? For this show I just mixed to mono using the board. I was surprised how much audience sound (laughter) I picked up, even though they were "behind" the mics.
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Old December 13th, 2004, 01:43 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeremy Davidson : Mike, do you use a pair of 853's to get a stereo recording? For this show I just mixed to mono using the board. I was surprised how much audience sound (laughter) I picked up, even though they were "behind" the mics. -->>>

Since I do a 4 camera live mix, I try to "set it and forget it" with regard to sound. So I usually pan both to center and record a mono mix on 2 mic's. I'll occasionally set 2 different levels on the mics, and record them as left an right channels, then in post production, I can pick a channel that sounds best. You are right on the pick up of audience sound - they are quite sensitive.
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