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Old August 2nd, 2011, 01:01 PM   #16
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Re: Front of stage mic?

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Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
I've shot a few plays, both musical and non-musical. I use 4 mics (actually 3 - 1 stereo and 2 mono), however if I could only use one, it would be a stereo, set at the front center lip of the stage, pointed towards the heads of the actors.

I use and live my Rode NT-4 right in the center. It picked up a good portion of the center of the stage. But there is often a lot going on at the sides too. So I have either the Rode NT3 (not NTG-3) on the sides, or possibly the NT5 (or55), which has the same capsule as the NT-4.

Because stage managers are usually babies that need to control everything, they usually want the mics invisible. That's why they are at the lip of the stage, or a few inches higher. And I put black felt in them to hide them. I don't like that most rode mics are silver.

Anyway, with my 4 mic array (or 3 mic if you count stereo as one) I have found I capture the stage fairly well. I'm sure there are better placements, but in reality all I've been aloud to do is put stuff right in front of the stage.

Please be careful here.

Your phrase "Because stage managers are usually babies that need to control everything..."
ignores the fact that that is PRECISELY the JOB a stage manager is hired to do.

A stage manager is essentially the CONDUCTOR of the backstage cast and crew. They don't write the music, nor play it. But they MUST coordinate it and create an organized environment where everyone can do their work effectively.

Your assertion is as hollow as saying - "Doctors are usually babies that need to try to heal everyone..."

Respecting the roles of others, is, after all, the first step in earning respect for your own role.

For what it's worth.
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 01:35 PM   #17
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Re: Front of stage mic?

I agree with Bill, although certainly there are some percentage of stage managers that exhibit behavior that would get you banned from most professions...

But my respect for their position is why I always ask them (the stage manager always seems to be the nearest person in authority) if they really intended to have one or more of their PCC-160's facing into the audience rather than toward the stage when I'm putting my own front of stage mics in place.

A look of surprise, and then slow realization usually crosses their face as they come to understand why the audio from that side of the stage has been so bad for practice and dress rehearsals...
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Old August 2nd, 2011, 01:48 PM   #18
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Re: Front of stage mic?

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Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
By "barrier" mics, do you mean the same as "boundary" mics? And if so, how is that different from a PZM? I thought PZM was just Crown's trademark name for a boundary mic.
I'm used to seeing a "plate" mic such as Crown's PZM 30D referred to as a PZM while a boundary mic (not barrier, which is a mic technique... my bad!) has (in my world) referred to a mic like the AT U851RO.
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Old September 14th, 2013, 08:46 PM   #19
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Re: Front of stage mic?

Just to clarify, I designed the PCC-160 at Crown, the TM-125 at Bartlett Microphones, and the Stage Floor Mic at Bartlett Audio. All are stage-floor mics, boundary mics with a supercardioid polar pattern. The Crown PZM is a boundary mic with an omnidirectional polar pattern.

If mics that are spaced apart on the floor are mixed to mono, that can result in some comb filtering when the actor's sound reaches two mics at different times and is fairly equal in level at both mics (less than 9 dB difference). But if those same mics are recorded and reproduced in stereo, you get stereo imaging instead of comb filtering. That's one way to prevent comb filtering with spaced mics.

Each boundary mic is designed to prevents the comb filtering that would occur if the mic were above the stage floor, as on a desk stand. Direct sound from an actor, and the delayed sound reflection off the floor, combine at the mic to create phase interference and comb filtering -- unless the mic capsule is right next to the boundary and is small enough so any phase interference occurs above the audio range.

So there are two possible causes of comb filtering: comb filtering due to phase interference between two mics, and comb filtering due to phase interference between direct and reflected sound at a single microphone.

Hope this helps,

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Old May 27th, 2014, 03:14 PM   #20
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Re: Front of stage mic?

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Originally Posted by Abraham Texidor Sr. View Post
I like to use a Crown PZM mic. They work really well for me because it a small very intimate play house. I combine this with a good shotgun mic and it does the trick.
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Old May 27th, 2014, 03:25 PM   #21
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Re: Front of stage mic?

Thread necromancy alert!

If the floor is wood, and has a bit of bounce, and the boundary mic placed on it, then yes, you can often hear the thumping. However a thin bit of foam works pretty well to decouple the bottom plate from the floor.
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Old May 27th, 2014, 04:14 PM   #22
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Re: Front of stage mic?

Rather than PZM mics, I would suggest a directional boundary mic. The one I usually go for is the Sanken CUB-1. You'll never have a stage person complain about looks because it is very small and difficult to see (the element is only about an inch or so across and perhaps half an inch high). They are more expensive than the PCC 160 by a fair amount, but it will also sound a whole lot better. For a situation like this, I usually place 3-4 of them across the front of the stage. That way there is good coverage, you don't get lots of audience or pit noise and you don't upset the folks that are running the show.

http://www.sanken-mic.com/en/product....cfm/1.1005000

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Old May 27th, 2014, 05:21 PM   #23
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Re: Front of stage mic?

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Originally Posted by Benjamin Maas View Post
...For a situation like this, I usually place 3-4 of them across the front of the stage. That way there is good coverage, you don't get lots of audience or pit noise and you don't upset the folks that are running the show...
Just curious - have you been recording 3 or 4 boundary mics to separate channels, with some care to only have one hot in your post mix, or just mix to one channel during recording?
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Old May 28th, 2014, 07:58 AM   #24
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Re: Front of stage mic?

I've pretty well tried all sorts of systems over the years, and now use odd numbers of boundaries - never evens, because most directors block their shows with important stuff centre, or stage left or right in quite distinct areas. So with a modest width, centre, left and right spaced evenly are in common useful positions. If the stage is extra wide - which for me means more than 8m, in pros width, I up it to 5 mics. Comb filtering can be a problem, but I try not to bring up two mics to the same level, with the actors the same distance from each - this seems to be the worst instance. If the Director's blocking has accidentally made a position bad, I'll usually ask to see if it can be changes, just a few feet being enough. Boundaries work so well, that I give the lions share of gain to the centre mic, with the other mixed in lower - this gives a more natural sound, and the only time I bring up the outer ones would be if they were really the only solution, and then it would be a gradual increase to try to hide the perspective change in the sound. For recordings and live sound, I try to NOT do changes in the balance, it is very difficult to hide.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 10:37 PM   #25
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Re: Front of stage mic?

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Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
I'll suggest that barrier mics will work better than PZMs ...
A "PZM" microphone IS a "barrier" microphone. The terminology is "a distinction without a difference".

I remember when they first came out as commercial products. They were "over-promoted" into un-numbered inappropriate applications and people thought they were the new "miracle cure-all". Of course most of us know better now with several decades of hindsight. But newbies continue coming along and "discovering" them and reading the historic hype.
To paraphrase "Scotty" on the Starship Enterprise "ye cannae change the laws of [acoustic] physics!" The inverse square law doesn't care whether you are using a barrier/PZM or shotgun or whatever. Distant micing is always a low-budget kludge substitute for proper micing of dramatic presentations. But if iis all you've got, then good luck, you'll need it.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 11:45 PM   #26
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Re: Front of stage mic?

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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Just curious - have you been recording 3 or 4 boundary mics to separate channels, with some care to only have one hot in your post mix, or just mix to one channel during recording?
Depends on the gig. I've I'm mixing sound for a show, then I'm following the action with one mic hotter than the others. Keeps the "slop" to a minimum and the dialog/singing/whatever cleaner. If I'm shooting a well, then I'll usually just multitrack and deal with it as a mix in post.

When I do large-scale operas, the concept is the same, but I'll use Schoeps cardiod mics on desk stands with a very transparent preamp (so I can get enough "reach" out of the mics). I'll also plant mics around the set and/or put other mics inside the proscenium to capture more distant or ensemble situations. Sometimes those mics will be either hypercardiod or shotguns.

--Ben
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Old May 30th, 2014, 09:14 AM   #27
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Re: Front of stage mic?

Mr. Mass illustrates an important condition here. Historically, operas were/are performed by people trained to project out into the audience without electronic aid. That makes them much more suitable for distant micing than a typical amateur or semi-pro dramatic presentation.
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Old May 30th, 2014, 10:46 AM   #28
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Re: Front of stage mic?

Indeed, and a common snag with amateurs is the Director's tendency to block shows with the younger better looking ones at the front and the older more, er, lived in people at the back - when the kids might have really awful voices and the best singers are the ones the furthest away. There always seems to be one person with a very loud, distinctive and quite out of tune voice nearest the mics!
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Old June 1st, 2014, 04:59 PM   #29
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Re: Front of stage mic?

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Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Mr. Mass illustrates an important condition here. Historically, operas were/are performed by people trained to project out into the audience without electronic aid. That makes them much more suitable for distant micing than a typical amateur or semi-pro dramatic presentation.
Yes, of course...

However the concepts are the same regardless of the training of the performer. Using an array across the front of the stage. The array captures a combination of near as well as far voices. Then planting microphones elsewhere as needed- there's no shortage of places a mic can be hidden in a stage production. Of course, we are with this entering the realm where you should probably have a dedicated sound person to do a sound design for the shoot as it will quickly become more than just a couple of plant mics will be able to cover.

It is a scalable concept and can work in a number of different ways to fit a production size/budget and expertise. My original post spoke to that a bit more. I find the Sanken CUB01 tends to have better reach and a clearer sound than a PCC160. PZM mics are great for what they are and can have a use, but I wouldn't put them at the edge of the stage because the hemispherical pickup won't be doing you many favors.

--Ben
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