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Old August 30th, 2010, 09:04 AM   #1
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challenging audio location

I need to shoot a walk-and-talk interview with someone on the main floor of an old library. If you look at the first two pictures on this page, you'll see the problem.

Tour

The main floor and dome are the bottom and top of the same space, and the reverb is horrible.

The interviewee and exhibits needs to be on-camera at various times in the same shot.

I can attach a lav as close to her mouth as possible, but is there anything else I can do to tame the echo?
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Old August 30th, 2010, 09:22 AM   #2
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If you were shooting a static shot, you could build a small sound treated area around the talent with sound blankets, tables turned on end, etc. just out of frame. But for a walk and talk, I think you are stuck with just using a lav, what else could be done? It is a large space.

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Old August 30th, 2010, 09:32 AM   #3
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I read something positive about this plug-in, but I haven't tried it yet:

De-Verb: Sound Performance Lab

I guess I"ll do a test shoot and see how bad it is.
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Old August 30th, 2010, 04:41 PM   #4
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The most effective thing you can do is increase the direct-to-ambient sound level ratio while recording. One good way is to use a "headset" mic which has an almost invisible "wand" over the ear and along one cheek. You see more and more people using this type of microphone on TV. It is much more effective than a traditional lav for maximizing the speech and minimizing the ambient noise levels. Do not assume that you can "fix it in post" unless you have done th experiment in the location and successfully reduced the ambient with your software tools.
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Old August 30th, 2010, 05:51 PM   #5
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Agree with the close-mic suggestions.

Check and see if someone in your area rents the Countryman E6 or the Countryman Isomax. Either will greatly increase the signal to noise ratio between the speech and any reverberant secondary sounds.

Oh, and coach the talent to remain relatively close together and talk quietly - like in a library. This is not the time for political speech projection!

Good luck
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Old August 30th, 2010, 09:26 PM   #6
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De-Verb is really intended for cleaning up individual instrument or drum tracks (ie crisping up a bass line by reducing the reverb until you get separation between the notes - think mud removal!)

Not sure if it would be up to the challenge of something like this or not. It wouldn't hurt to try it but I wouldn't get my hopes up too much.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 03:21 PM   #7
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I have had good resilts with

The Countryman E6 mic.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 03:35 PM   #8
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Mic them as close as possible, one mic for each if possible.

One thing that might help, but looks incredibly stupid during the shoot, is to have a pair of assistants right behind the camera carrying a padded moving blanket draped over a pole, held up high. The blanket kills a lot of the echo. The drawbacks are that it's another item to coordinate, and you have to be careful about seeing it reflected in shiny surfaces or throwing a shadow.

Make sure everybody (you, your assistants, and the talent) wear SOFT shoes, as the sound of footfalls will echo horribly, probably louder than their voices. You're (probably) not going to be shooting their feet, so sneakers or athletic shoes are fine. Hard soles or heels are definitely out.

Also, be careful about loose change or keys in their pockets.

Martin
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 05:23 AM   #9
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I already have a very good wired lav (Sanken COS-11).

I haven't found this product, but don't see why it couldn't exist: A headset mic assembly without the microphone itself. Just attach your own lav.

Anyone seen something like it?
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 07:24 AM   #10
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Nice looking library Phil. I'd just lav both up as normal and respectfully request they don't mumble.

A good dose of reverb is necessary to add to the atmosphere and it'll change as they move through each section of the building .. it should sound great.

Just as important is .. where are they going to walk and talk without running into a wall or losing you behind a bookshelf. Do it in sections and dry run 3 QandA before each take. Shoot your relevant cutaways right after each take while they figure out the next bit. Oh but you knew that :)

Cheers.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 10:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Fass View Post
I already have a very good wired lav (Sanken COS-11).

I haven't found this product, but don't see why it couldn't exist: A headset mic assembly without the microphone itself. Just attach your own lav.

Anyone seen something like it?
Sennheiser NB 2.
I bought one a number of years ago for an exercise-type show, I believe they're still available.
Not as low-profile as an E6 or DPA, but i'll work.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 10:32 AM   #12
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Excellent! Thank you.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 07:20 PM   #13
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Yes close mic with a lav, but keep in mind that it is just a big space. It's OK to have the audio reflect (no pun intended) accurately what the space is. As long as you can understand the subject it's not going to be a big deal. If I were going to ADR a scene in that space I would actually add big room reverb to make it seem realistic.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 07:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
Yes close mic with a lav, but keep in mind that it is just a big space. It's OK to have the audio reflect (no pun intended) accurately what the space is. As long as you can understand the subject it's not going to be a big deal. If I were going to ADR a scene in that space I would actually add big room reverb to make it seem realistic.
Yes, certainly. But it sure is nice to be able to control it during post vs. living with whatever you get from recording a very "wet" track.
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Old September 4th, 2010, 03:35 AM   #15
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People are going to talk about their memories of the library, and it should all have an "intimate" feel.

If I invested in a headset mic so it's less conspicuious in the shot, would the E6 be about as good as they get for the situation I have to record in?
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