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Old November 7th, 2010, 08:57 AM   #1
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Large Group Coverage

You'd think i'd learn not to ask questions here but here it goes.

Situation: HS stage with large transformer humming stage left. Leader and about 25 sudents sitting in a large circle on the floor.

Students talk in random order anf the circle is is probably 8ft radius.

Ideas? of course budget is unlimited!!
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Old November 7th, 2010, 09:27 AM   #2
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Put a lav on everyone and record to a portable pro tools rig!
Ha ha! (one of my clients is a private HS and their audio setup for theater rivals some pro rigs I've seen. They actually have 30 lav mics!)

Well, I have done one recording like that for the band Weezer. We had 20 college girls sitting in a circle chatting unscripted. We ended up with 5 omni mics to get complete coverage but it was in a studio with the room deadened down by gobos. We also multitracked so we could clean it up in post.

Key is choosing the right distance from the talent to mics. With a noisy untreated room, try to deaden it as much as you can. Moving blankets work great. The hum can be removed in post. I'd recommend finding a multitrack recorder and as many mics as the recorder will handle. Then clean up in post.
If you're limited to two mics, it's just never gonna sound good.
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Old November 7th, 2010, 10:31 AM   #3
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I would try to use Robert's suggestion of multiple omni's recorded on separate channels. a quick calc of 25 students +1 leader would put your circle somewhere around probably 13' diameter circle. If possible try to have no more than 4 students covered by each mic. That should get you close enough to the talent so that the hum isn't too loud.

Another way to go would be to barrow or rent a bunch of portable hand held recorders such as the Sony PDM-D50 or Zoom H4n types. The Zooms are probably the most used for low budget purposes because of their price but I mention the Sony because it has the best internal mics of the ones I used. I just did an interview in a busy restaurant where I placed my D50 on short Gorillapod on the table about 2.5' from the subject. This was a preinterview so I wasn't worried about getting great audio I just needed to record it to review later. After listening to it an playing with cleaning up the background noise it actually sounded pretty good. I also captured the video with a small palmcorder so I could study movements and expressions and when I put the two together it actually could be used as a casual interview segment.

Just remember to take room tone of the transformer humming away. And here's the important thing, take at least 30 seconds of tone from each location that your mics are placed at. The circle sounds large enough where you'll need to clean up each channel you record with separate tone.

Good luck,
Garrett
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Old November 7th, 2010, 10:55 AM   #4
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If you can ask the leader to tell the group to raise their hands before they talk then you could probably cover the group well with two boom operators on wireless booms. I've done this before and it has worked great. You could also have two wireless hand held mics that are passed around assumming you don't mind seeing the mics in the shot.
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Old November 7th, 2010, 07:27 PM   #5
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Andy

What would be a good wireless mic setup - could you give me a couple of good mics and the wireless system that'd back it up?
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Old November 7th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #6
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Are you asking about the wireless boom mics or the wireless hand held mics. Which would work better for your situation? In either case you could use a plug on transmitter to attach to the hand held mic or to the end of the boom pole. You said your budget is unlimited or did you mean limited? Without knowing your budget and if this is an investment that you will use a lot in the future it would be hard to recommend anything. You could think about renting what you need.

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Old November 7th, 2010, 09:55 PM   #7
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Definitely and investment - Was looking at the Sennhieser G3 system but it's confusing to look at all the configurations on B&H. Have you got to but one of those sets for each wireless mic?
Can my existing wired lavs work with the wireless.
I've always got way more questions than answers.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 04:14 AM   #8
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Each wireless mic requires a transmitter-receiver pair operating on a different frequency from that of the other mics in use. The different frequencys for the various kits offered by vendors such as B&H are so you can choose a frequency range that is relatively free of other radio services in your area that could interfere with the mic. Once again, your best guidance is to talk to a local vendor of professional audio gear such as Trew Audio there in Nashville and they can tell you what frequency range is best suited for your area and what ranges to avoid because of the presence of interfereing transmissions like cabs or paging services, etc. Also, the Sennheiser web site has a "frequency finder" utility where you can plug in your location and get an idea of the frequencies to go for. http://www.sennheiserusa.com/findfrequency/

Your existing lavs probably will be able to work just fine with a variety of wireless transmitters but they may need to have their connectors rewired or replaced as different manufacturers use different schemes. Depends on how your mics are wired now, and what make and model of transmitter you want to connect to.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 08:04 AM   #9
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Thanks Steve,

Great advice as usual. I'll try to get by there to check them out this week.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 08:18 AM   #10
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I would add that micing the leader with a lav on channel 1 and then booming or hand held micing the rest of the group on channel 2 is what I would do.

Andy
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Old November 8th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #11
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<dumb question>These wireless units.....do they have a receiver that can receive two channels simultaneously?</dumb question>

Such that I could feed the two channels into my Zoom H4n's two XLR inputs?
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Old November 8th, 2010, 11:22 AM   #12
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There are a few units out there that can handle 2 channels. Audio Technica (that's what I use) Lectrosonics has one (big money) Azden has a couple (not exactly highly thought of but cheap)

The AT unit, series 1800 can handle 2 body paks with lavs or 2 plugins or 1 of each and can of course you can also use just 1 unit. I've been using the system for 2 or 3 years and am very happy with it. You can control the levels of each channel on the receiver and if need be you can mix the 2 channels into one so if you have say 2 XLR inputs into your camera you could run 3 mics to it. The 2 thru the 1800 receiver by mixing thereby only using 1 XLR input into the camera and then run an on camera mic to the other XLR input of the camera. I did this once or twice when the job changed at the last minute and I didn't have my mixer.

I think for the money the AT unit is great but te stock mics aren't exactly the best. You can get a couple of AT 899s or Countryman EMWs (shelved response) for under a couple of hundred each. You will certainly notice the difference.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 01:34 PM   #13
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When you're investigating the AT units keep in mind that some of the 1800-series are traditional single-channel receivers (even though they may come in a kit with two different types of transmitters) and some are the twin-channel-in-one-box receiver systems. You'll have to look in detail at the descriptions, as well as the frequency blocks they come in to work best in your local area.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 03:42 PM   #14
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Another way to go:

Just a thought- bring in a number of Sanken CUB-1 microphones. If you space them right, you should be able to do 3 people per mic. Run them to a Dougan Automixer- output to camera. Not cheap with the rentals, but you'll get a good sound. A lav on the leader would probably also be a good idea- routed to its own channel.

--Ben
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Old November 8th, 2010, 05:46 PM   #15
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The 1800 series comes in 3 flavors;
1821 dual channel receiver with 2 body paks (#1801)
1822 dual channel receiver with 2 plug in transmitters (#1802)
1823 dual channel receiver with 1 body pak and 1 plug in transmitter (#1801/1802)

The receiver is actually numbered 1820 but the body paks and/or plug in make it the 1821,22 or 23.

The single channel receiver can be had with 1 body pak or 1 plugin. Don't remember the designator number off the top of my head.

They both run on the same freqs; 655.500 to 680.375 OR 541.500 to 566.375
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