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Old October 1st, 2010, 08:29 PM   #1
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Microphone help Noisey Outside Location

I have 10 locations to shoot a quick group shout out. The groups will be 10-30 people standing in front (outside) of single story buildings with a floor to wall glass fronts.

On cue, the 10-30 people will shout out a welcome which will be a sentence or two long.
The shot will be framed around the group.

In front of most buildings is a parking lot with 2-6 rows of cars.
In front of the building/parking area is usually 4-5 lanes with lots of cars and a few trucks.

Run and Gun shooting, although I might get lucky and have 1 assistant

I have 2 lav/wireless mics but am not planning on using these.
I also have two small booms on tripods and also 1 head with 3 mic mounts.

Have a Sen 416, Rode NTG-2, and Rode NT3. I also have a zoom H4n and zoom H4. I sync up the audio in post.

In the past with situations with lots of road and car noise and the glass building, I've been underwhelmed by my audio.

Any ideas for mic placement (or other suggestions) to get better audio from this situation?

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Old October 1st, 2010, 10:45 PM   #2
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The secret will be to well rehearse the groups beforehand. Conduct the speech like a choir so they get the diction clear and all get in sync. If it's a rhythmic piece you could even use a metronome to count them in and take the metronome along with you.

Indoors set the cam up, use your NT3 and record and let them see themselves with the facial expressions you want. Also rearrange the group according to the mix of voices to get the sound and the look. You'll need a small amp and speakers.

On the noisy locations use your 416 and NTG-2 get them in as close as you can one each side of the group, and record double system with one mic on each track. It's going to sound very thin and you won't know till you get into post, so be prepared to record a couple of takes to use the audio only to build up the sound, or move to another quieter location rearrange how the group stands at the mics to build the sound .. and ADR it.

Cheers.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 08:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
...On the noisy locations use your 416 and NTG-2 get them in as close as you can one each side of the group, and record double system with one mic on each track. ...Cheers.
Hate to pick nits, but "double system" does not mean one mic to each track. Double system means the audio is recorded on a separate device from the picture with the picture and sound being sync'ed in post, ie, film-style shooting using a stand-alone recorder for the audio. The opposite is "single-system" where the audio is sent directly to the camera to be recorded with the video.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 08:30 PM   #4
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Will consider shooting the shout out in a quieter place and then cutting the audio over the outside shout out, but with the time we have and crew, it may make it difficult to get all the locations done in the planned time frame.

Since the shout outs are going to be edited after a quick talking head piece, I'm wondering if it would be better to do the shout out inside their budiling and during the talking head cut to a pan of the font of the building to get that in.

I'm guessing there is no easy way to get acceptable audio in such tough conditions other than to have about 20 wireless mics running through a mixer.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 09:20 PM   #5
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On the other hand, one could record one mic to each track of an off camera (ie double system) recorder.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 05:59 PM   #6
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Good luck with the group "matching" words, From past experience its virtually impossible to do even the simple line that people know like "Happy Birthday" from a group without it ending up a garbled mess on video.
It might be better to have one single voice doing the welcome sentence (on a radio lapel) and ending with the background group then saying a single word like "Welcome" or similar (on a directional mic)
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 07:23 PM   #7
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Yep that's quite a possibility Brian, using my method above, the op needs to be able to recognise in rehearsal the point where it's not going to work, double system or not. (thanks Jim and Steve :)

Too many multi-syllable words in the speeches will make group syncing difficult and upset the intelligibility. I'd look at that well beforehand and have some alternate versions ready in rehearsal including yours.

Another way to do this is by running auditions, selecting the best voices for a group sound and ADRing the whole job to pix in a sound studio .. another well used method. Multi-tracking it lets you hear exactly how it's sounding as you go along. Forget the fact it's studio acoustics versus the outdoor vision, it's done all the time in the adv world.

The op says he needs to get the location stuff done fast and this method lets him do it, just record a group guide track on the camera, forget how loud the traffic is, but record fx tracks in each location. A very common mistake to avoid is the location group guide track being said too fast, so in the studio the voices have no time to enunciate the words clearly.

So you have the added value of a post sound engineer to build the voices up by moving the voices around at the mics. mono or stereo. Well rehearsed should be all done in an hour.

Hey I did this for ad agencies for 30yrs. What you don't want is for the client to say Huh what did they say? then you have to redo it. Having it on multitrack gives you remixing or even revoicing, changing some sentences options. So also shoot some Broll type stuff to cut in and avoid sync points.

Cheers.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 07:55 PM   #8
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Maybe you need a band director waving a baton to keep them together - even then it would be tough unless they're really well trained.
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 08:29 PM   #9
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Yep Jim, I've done it for adv TV spots for a used car dealership with a some singers out of a mixed church choir as the spoken voices. Had to drop a couple with heavy ethnic accents but the others blended very well and were used to rehearsals and some recording.

Unfortunately amateurs usually pack it all into the first one or two takes then fall to bits.
The op should watch out for that.

Cheers.
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