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Old May 24th, 2010, 10:15 AM   #1
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Audio mixing help.

I am trying to find the best way to mix audio at weddings and events and not sure which way to try first. I know much will be learned by trial and error, but hoping to gain as much knowledge as possible before hand.

My equipment.
Sony EX1r, Canon 1D IV, and 5DII
Sennheiser Me66/k6 shotgun
AT4053B mic
AT875R mic
Sennheiser MD 42 handheld mic
Sennheiser G3 Lav Mic
Sennheiser G2 100 Lav
Sony PMC D50 recorder
Zoom h4n
Sound Devices 302 field mixer


.

Say at a wedding, lav on groom and podium, Sony Ex1r at back of church.
I am thinking best way to capture audio would be to have both lavs and the AT4053B (on camera) run through the mixer, the lavs set to the L channel and the AT4053b set to right.

I normally have the mixer recording to both the camera and the sony pmc-d50 for backup.

Would you try it this way, or do something different.
I have even considered buying the H4N to record the ambient, and just record the Lavs on separate channels to the camera and Sony recorder.

Am I on the right track?
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Last edited by Denny Kyser; May 24th, 2010 at 01:18 PM.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 11:32 AM   #2
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I have the older AT4053a and it's a fine mic but in your case I will suggest some alternatives that will add up to the same cost and I think will give you greater utility. The AT4053 works best as an overhead boom mic and isn't as good as an on-camera mic or an ambient church mic.

At a wedding during the ceremony, I would suggest the AT4021 on a mic stand instead of the AT4053b for the camera's ambient-only track. It would run into the 302 mixer as you have planned. The current prices at B&H (after you load into your cart for the true price) is $250 for the AT4021 and $498 for the AT4053b.

For use as the on-camera run-and-gun mic with the Sony EX1R, I would suggest either the AT875R or the Rode NTG-1. They are available either plain or in a kit with cable and good shockmount for between $190 and $250.
In the case of the NTG-1 the kit only adds $0.95 over the plain mic. This used to be true with the AT875R but lately the price of the mic has gone down and the price of the kit has gone up. Plus your camera already has a mic mount.

In either case add a simple furry windscreen that slips over the original foam screen for the times you must be outside like the bride and groom departing. I just got one myself from B&H for $40.

If you are actively mixing the two lavs, then yes you can record them to the same channel. However if you aren't actively mixing them up and down, then I wouldn't risk putting them on the same recording channel.

I have an H4n and it's fine but not stellar. It works best when being fed by a good mixer or preamp.
For the relatively simple task of the ambient stereo recording only with its on-board mics, I might go with something less expensive like the Tascam DR-07 or DR-08 for $129 or $163. The only reason I might insist on the H4n for the ambient sound is that it does a good job of staying in sync over long recordings and would make a better backup to your Sony if for some reason you couldn't use that as your primary recorder. Normally the sync for ambient sound by itself isn't critical, but there will always be some ambient bleeding into your lavs and both tracks that contain ambient sound need to be timed correctly with each other if you must have them up full at the same time for some reason during your editing.

I would reserve your K6/ME66 for tasks that require a hot battery-powered mic, such as with your DSLR's.
With the proper cable, you can also use it with your Sennheiser belt-pack transmitters.
You could also sell your ME66 and buy either the ME64 to get wider coverage as a planted mic or the ME65 for handheld interviews if you plan to do that with guests and family members. Or if you did get the DR-07 instead of the H4n, you'd already have the $170 that the ME64 costs and you could also keep the ME66.

The Sound Devices 302 will be a great investment and a solid performer.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 12:22 PM   #3
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Jay what a great response and thank you.
I would much prefer the Lavs to be on separate channels and it sounds like they will pick up enough ambient (music, singing etc) for what I need.

I have only been using 1 lav, and hate it when the groom brushes the mic, or starts breathing heavy due to nervousness. I hate not having another source.
I also had the batteries go dead and I was sure I checked the status before putting it on the groom. Luckily it was a few minutes before the ceremony and I got them replace just in time, but have to say my backside was puckered up till I got it done.

Do I understand you that with two Lavs, I will get enough decent ambient, or do you feel the need for another mic/recording device to mix in the ambient of the ceremony.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
The ME65 for handheld interviews if you plan to do that with guests and family members.
The Sound Devices 302 will be a great investment and a solid performer.
I forgot that I have the Sennheiser MD 42 for interviews and am pretty happy with that.
I had the 302 mixer before but wanted to carry less gear and felt like the EX1r could handle the audio with out a mixer, which it probably can, but I can not. I need the mixer for control, much easier for me to made adjustments on that than on the camera, my clients were still happy with the audio, but I can tell a difference so adding it back into my workflow.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 01:02 PM   #5
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I definitely think you should have a reliable, full-volume ambient recording source on its own and independent of the lavs. Generally that means a wired mic in a location you can control and a separate recording channel.

There may be times when you need all lavs faded down completely, or you may have some technical problem with both lavs at the same time. Even if the wireless lavs are functioning perfectly, their ability to pickup ambient sound when set for nearby dialog levels is pretty low and can change as the wearers move around with the mic or near the mics if one is planted.

It's one of my personal rules for event work, that I always have an independent ambient recording mic and channel. I do this even if that means combining some music element to mono or mixing multiple lavs to one recording channel. It can save the whole project if (when) a problem arises.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 01:22 PM   #6
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Thanks again Jay, I updated my first post and included the mic you suggested for the run and gun mic,

I will use one of my portable recording devices to record the ambient, which of the mics listed would you suggest, I was thinking the ME66 on a stand. I did still get the AT4053B because I plan on doing some interviews in the studio and think this will be a great mic.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 01:52 PM   #7
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I would use the AT4053b (with bass roll-off switch engaged) for ambient over the ME66. I can hear the off-axis problems that can affect shotguns indoors on my ME66. The only problem I have with my AT4053a is its ability to pull in a lot of bass energy from the environment.

If the church has a powerful pipe organ, I might even use the MD42 for ambient with the expectation that I'd only get the pipe organ well-controlled and very little of voices.

The more recording channels you have available, the more choices you can make as long as your project doesn't get too complicated in editing.

In your future sit-down interview recording you should also test the AT875R versus the AT4053b. Depending on your recording space and the subject you won't know for sure which will sound better until you try them out or record them both simultaneously and work with the tracks later.
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Old May 25th, 2010, 04:45 PM   #8
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I wanted to make clear that I meant compare the AT875R with the AT4053b while both are boom mounted in the appropriate location over the talent, not with one mounted on-camera and the other on a boom.
Of course as a good lesson you can record them with one on-camera and one on a boom just to remind yourself never to use an on-camera mount as your primary mic if you have other alternatives!
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