How is this orchestral concert miked? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 18th, 2012, 10:17 AM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,430
How is this orchestral concert miked?


At 4:43 there is an aerial technocrane shot. All the first chair violins looks like they have a Sanken lavalier clipped on the bridge, yet there are no cables. There is a good shot of the violins at 9:37. Are they wireless? The violas and basses have lots of cables on the ground, so I'm assuming every instrument has a mic? I see a mic on a stand for every double bass.

This orchestra and choir had 1,200 people performing. How did they get the sound so clean while keeping the mics almost invisible? This stereo recording is amazing. How big is their audio mixer?
Warren Kawamoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,177
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

Just in the first 30 seconds before the music even started I saw many microphones. Very nicely integrated to be almost invisible. Like the Schoeps range of very thin tubes. I see multiple cables running up between the chairs in the 1st Violin section. I see a mic right next to the first-chair music stand. In addition to the mic clipped on to his instrument. This kind of close-micing, in addition to the complexity of just sourcing that many mics, stands, cables, desk inputs, etc, also makes mixing a huge chore even if you can track everything when you don't have to do it live.

In addition to the crane, I also see remote-control video cameras hidden among the orchestra players. And a human camera operator up at the back of the orchestra. And "relay-conductors" for the sections of the chorus too far left and right form center stage. Wow. That looked like a $1M production with a good orchestra and chorus that large, and miked the way it was, and large, really bright projection, etc, etc.
Richard Crowley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2012, 11:48 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 150
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

There are a ton of mics out there- and they are all close.

On the strings, it looks like there are either Audio Technica AT35 clip-on mics or DPA 4099s. There are a combination of condensers and dynamics elsewhere on the winds and percussion and condensers on the choir. And LOTS of reverb in the mix.

These days, large consoles aren't an issue to come by- Digico, Soundcraft, Avid and others have pretty readily available consoles that run 96 or more channels. Those clip-on mics take little enough power that you can easily mult mics into fewer channels (DPA even makes a box that allows you to put something like 6 or 8 of their compact mics on one input channel).

And when you are used to working with forces like this, it isn't that big of a deal to mix a lot of channels. You use your VCAs in the console and things will fall into place. All you need is a good sound check.

--Ben
__________________
Benjamin Maas • Fifth Circle Audio • Signal Hill, CA
http://www.fifthcircle.com
Benjamin Maas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2012, 12:26 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,384
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

I see lots of mics and cables on the strings. With that many instruments on stage, it's not surprising they close miked the strings. For most other instrument groups I bet they are group miked.

When I worked with Decca on a large scale orchestral project, I was surprised to learn they really aim to use nothing but the main array of mics (gorgeous M50's) They still close miked strings and used other mics to cover groups like the trumpets or woodwinds. All the close mics were run into a large console and fed directly to individual tracks of a digital recorder. The master pair and "reinforcement" from the individual mics were mixed on-site to Decca's custom built stereo digital recorder. Then, if the mix was good, there was no further work needed. If something was out of whack, they could go into the multitrack and tweak just that section which would get edited back into the master. Pretty neat way of working.

This looks very similar to me.
__________________
A7RII, C100, 1Dx, 5Dmk3, 70D, Kessler goodies, Adobe, Pro Tools and more!
Robert Turchick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2012, 01:57 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,123
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

We should remember that Decca were one of the firms who pioneered stereo recording. They're also the only record company who actually have a stereo technique named after them. I don't think that multi-mic techniques have any real value in a recording of this kind, apart from being able to offer post-production assistance if required. with something as expensive as this in musician/singer terms, a multitrack backup is pretty well essential.Direct to stereo recording is an art all to itself, and needs very different techniques and even better ears!
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2012, 01:58 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 1,843
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

"All you need is a good sound check"
Yeah.. as long as one has the mixing chops to begin with. What a mess an inexperienced mixer would make with all those mics.
Rick Reineke is online now   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2012, 02:04 PM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,384
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
"All you need is a good sound check"
Yeah.. as long as one has the mixing chops to begin with. What a mess an inexperienced mixer would make with all those mics.
Even a seasoned engineer could make a mess of all those mics. All the more reason to think the close mics were not the essential part of this mix. It sounded very open and natural on my monitors.

No matter what the truth is, this is a great recording of an epic performance!
__________________
A7RII, C100, 1Dx, 5Dmk3, 70D, Kessler goodies, Adobe, Pro Tools and more!
Robert Turchick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2012, 06:43 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,430
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

I've never seen an orchestra recorded that way. Was that technique something new? I always thought orchestras were recorded with microphones above the instruments, or hanging from the ceiling. In the last video, nothing was hanging, everything was from below or on short hidden stands. I'm more used to seeing something like this traditional setup with the London Symphony (same composer, different orchestra) where the stands and microphones are highly visible.
Warren Kawamoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2012, 07:32 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 1,384
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

Guarantee there were mics hanging. Part of the gig when I did live performance orchestral recording was keepin the sight lines of the audience clean. Cables were black, mics were black. We kept it simple by hanging a pair of KM84 omnis using the 3-1 rule which put the mics about 10' behind the conductor about 30' apart and about 18' above the stage floor. It was virtually impossible to see the setup unless you knew where to look.
These days, I would go for Sanken, Countryman, AT or Shure hanging mics (depending on budget) which aren't much bigger than a lav and use very lightweight, thin cable. I've seen them in many performance halls and unless you are an audio geek like me you'd never know they were there.
__________________
A7RII, C100, 1Dx, 5Dmk3, 70D, Kessler goodies, Adobe, Pro Tools and more!
Robert Turchick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18th, 2012, 09:57 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,177
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
I've never seen an orchestra recorded that way. Was that technique something new? I always thought orchestras were recorded with microphones above the instruments, or hanging from the ceiling.
That is NOT a video of a "recording". That is a video of a live performance that happened to be broadcast / recorded. Clearly the emphasis was to keep the hardware visibility at a minimum. No legitimate recording professional would make that kind of setup their first choice. It was a major compromise and a significantly more expensive and more difficult way of "recording" an orchestra / chorus.
Richard Crowley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 19th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 289
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

Wow, its not often I watch an entire 2hr youtube video...

as far as a big mixer goes...i occasionally sit behind a Calrec Apollo desk that has 144 faders, with 12 layers of assignments. it has over 600 inputs available (128 analog, 128 2ch aes, 4 64ch MADI) and is capable of being expanded to 8096 inputs. pretty cool, eh?
__________________
Broadcast Audio Mixer / Owner - www.MambaFiber.com
Greg Bellotte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 19th, 2012, 10:22 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 203
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

I've only ever been involved in one big-time orchestral recording, so please take my response here with one VERY large grain of salt.

My impression is that "purist" classical recording is done primarily with a stereo pair, with maybe a couple of mics on the flanks and possibly a spot mic or two for soloists. Orchestras for Hollywood sound tracks are generally recorded with the multi-mic technique. This allows for a bigger "in you face" sound and manipulation for placing in a sound track. I think a lot of people have become used to that sound, so maybe that's why they would choose it for broadcast.

The one recording I was involved with was not for a film, but for an album by an opera singer. The orchestra that performed it was one that primarily records film sound tracks, and it was recorded with multiple mics. I don't remember if every violin had a mic, but there definitely were lots of mics throughout the whole orchestra. Of course, for all I know, on the final CD they may have used mostly the main stereo pair and the other mics were just for a little support where needed.

This video does look like quite the production. Tons of set up, level setting and rehearsal I would suspect.

Rob
Rob Neidig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 19th, 2012, 12:39 PM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,123
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

Using what we can see and hear as the only clue - the space is so vast, that to get the correct (read as conventional ambient recording technique) sound, the mics would have had to be a fair way away, and this distance would also colour the sound - as well as introducing delays that would be difficult to deal with in the studio. As every violin and viola has a mic, I'd suggest everything is close miked - the sound of the piano is certainly NOT the traditional sound of a concert grand playing with a soloist - very much a studio sound of close miking. To be fair the size of the venue and the number of performers and musicians means we're talking hundreds of sound sources. Normally, when an orchestral concert has important inner parts played on quieter instruments then a spot mic is used, but it takes careful treatment to make the aural placement of the spot mic in the sound cape match it's location in the two or three mic main system. Having spent far too much time attempting to get this right, I cannot imagine doing it for hundreds of sources. If I had to do this myself, I think my plan would be for one mixer to deal with each section, getting a left right stereo balance on a section. Ideally one mix of 1st violins, another of 2nd, violas and cellos, basses - meaning perhaps 5 sub mixes just for strings - then doing the same for woodwind and percussion. Then these submixes in twin track stereo would be mixed for overall balance panning the left rights to much narrower left to right physical positions. A mammoth task. A stereo pair overhead in the grid amongst the lighting would give you a huge sound - BUT it would be very room heavy, and a bit loose. It would also have a lot of audience and equipment noise, and quite likely to be so uncontrolled as to be unusable. How many coughs sneezes and hubbub to ruin the audio track. Individual mics would make the noise in the room manageable, but it's a phenomenal job.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 20th, 2012, 05:36 AM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 112
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

Very impressive --bit over the top, production wise, for my taste --sort of like André Rieu on steroids! -- but a remarkable technical feat.
I'm thinking that the concept was to cover everything -- preferably at least twice! --and then deal with whatever sources you then have, as required.
How much of the 'mix' was used as part of the concert itself --either for the audience, or for performer monitors - it's difficult to know of course. But there was clearly plenty of 'source' material for the DVD mix!
It is very impressive --even if the music itself is a bit 'slushy'!
Roger Shore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 20th, 2012, 07:35 AM   #15
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,940
Re: How is this orchestral concert miked?

Usual way for such concerts is to have a decca tree in the auditorium and then also have spot mic's on sections or individual instruments.

The audience applause at the start is not good as it is too wide and it sounds like just two mic's either side of the auditorium leaving nothing in the middle.

I can see sennheiser 421's on the timpani and no doubt there may be some individual spot mic's on violin's etc but the overall aircon rumble makes me think there is more of a decca tree being used, the piano has spot mics but I also think that a fair amount of the sound has been post produced with a certain amount of digital reverb added.

I did a similar smaller scale concert by Taro Hakase for the anniversary of the japanese tsunami and we had DPA spot mics on the soloists and two AKG 414's on the main ensemble it was all mixed with some digital reverb to add space.

Basically the more mic's you have open the more noise and problems you may have so a base stereo set-up with spot mics to feature soloists is usually the norm for such things, the BBC use calrec soundfield mic's a lot as well in the Albert Hall.
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:01 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network