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Old November 22nd, 2012, 03:21 PM   #1
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PZMs vs. Stereo pair

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Last edited by Roy Sallows; November 22nd, 2012 at 10:43 PM. Reason: Through with this forum
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 04:34 PM   #2
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

What does "DV drama" mean? Is this a dedicated video shoot, or is it a video documentary of a public performance? One camera? Multiple cameras? Dedicated sound crew? A great many critical details are not revealed here.

The phrase "two or more PZM's mounted for coverage to get consistently good sound" just seems hilarious to me. PZM microphones have NO magical properties of getting "consistently good sound". They are a one-trick pony that have been dramatically over-sold into all sorts of completely inappropriate applications. They are typically (as in this proposed application) too far away to give first-class sound. NO microphone can compensate for the inverse-square law. You cannot violate the laws of acoustic physics.

IMHO, NEITHER PZM nor ANY stereo pair will get you "good to great" coverage of dramatic dialog from several actors.

"There are no shortcuts in sound. Only audible compromises."
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 09:11 PM   #3
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

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Last edited by Roy Sallows; November 22nd, 2012 at 10:44 PM. Reason: Bye... oh, and thanks for all the 'help',
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 09:26 PM   #4
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

There is no way to get 'consistent coverage over a wide area' of 2 to 5 characters moving around over a wide area without using lavs or booms ... no way. As Richard said, you simply can't violate the laws of physics and if one character is 5 feet from the mic while the other is 10 feet ... and ignoring that neither one is going have usable sound at those distances ... the far character's level will only be 1/4 that of the near ... and there goes 'consistent' out the window. Plus the tools are going to be as loud as the voices ... so much for intelligibility. I don't know which of the two options you mention would be worse but neither one is going to be any good. If you have as many as 5 speaking characters in the scene at once, IMHO your best bet is a radio lav on each one.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 04:53 AM   #5
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

Slap a rode video mic on the camera or even better get one of those new genius LED lights with mic's built in!

Next Question from the troll at the back of the room, speak up as we can't hear or see you!
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 05:14 AM   #6
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

The person who asks a question and then actually listens to the answer he receives demonstrates a truly rare talent.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 09:44 AM   #7
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

I guess Roy didn't like the answers or suggestions...
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 03:36 PM   #8
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

How would they set up a PA system for a repertory production in a theatre? I know 'actors' pride themselves on their ability to 'project' but they are going to need some help in a big theatre. I can absolutely remember being in such an environment and noticing a clear change on quality as the cast move about on the stage, so they were not individually mic'd.

Just thinking there are parellels with the OP's question.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 04:45 PM   #9
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

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Originally Posted by Trevor Dennis View Post
How would they set up a PA system for a repertory production in a theatre? I know 'actors' pride themselves on their ability to 'project' but they are going to need some help in a big theatre. I can absolutely remember being in such an environment and noticing a clear change on quality as the cast move about on the stage, so they were not individually mic'd.

Just thinking there are parellels with the OP's question.
Radio mics with the capsule well hidden are often used these days. Mics like the Countryman B6 are so small they can be woven into the hairline or a wig, hidden in a glasses frame, fastened under the bill of a cap, etc.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 04:50 PM   #10
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

Obviously I can't see the original question, but guessing on what it was, it's common, and in pro theatre, almost standard practice to use boundary mics on the stage edge, because they are the most suitable and certainly the most effective method of giving coverage to a large area. Not PZMs because their rear pickup is unwanted, but PCCs are very useful tools. Offering a video guy a feed from these will produce better results than any attempt to use a shotgun at a distance. Indeed, the most common mic has been the PCC 160 from Crown. Now this is unavailable the original designer sells a new and updated product.
Bartlett Microphones floor mics and instrument mics - stage floor mics

People who don't know better often try 2,3 or 5 shotguns across the stage front. My first shows doing theatre sound were done this way. I had the mics, I bought some good elastic suspensions, and put short shotguns across the stage front. As the people moved left and right, their levels would go up and down quite horribly, and worse still there was serious comb filtering going on producing a kind of swooshy, thin sound at times. Boundary mics work much better. They overlap much better, and are the preferred mic for theatre work where radio mics are not possible. The thing with acting is that they should be able to project, proper actors can, but when it comes to amateurs, or any kind of musical, if they are upstage then they won't be heard. For a straight play, on a typical stage depth, boundaries can provide pretty good sound, IF the actors can act.

If you have the budget for radios, great - BUT you need a very good sound op, and this doesn't mean the guy who is good at rock and roll - running radios takes real skill in a very different area. I have 3 people who work for me reasonably regularly - and the best one for balancing pop/rock is the worst for musical theatre. A different skill set and needing a fully marked up script. Constant fader riding, and lots of muting. A new sound op is quite capable of letting everyone hear somebody in the toilet, simply by forgetting to notice somebody went off and they forgot to mute the channel.

Sorry if this reply is not what the missing question asked. Many forums have a time lock on editing posts, making tantrums less damaging as people cannot remove their text.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 12:15 AM   #11
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

It was me that introduced the theatre tangent, but only because I thought it might help the OP. I had t smile at the radio mic in the toilet comment. I don't know if it ever got mentioned in this forum, but we had a huge scandal here in New Zealand recently, when a freelance news camera man ‘inadvertently’ left a live radio mic on a table where Prime Minister John Key, was having an ‘off the record’ conversation with an MP who has constantly sailed close to the wind in the short time he has held his position.

Key bullies HoS on ‘cup of tea’ recording The Standard
Infamous Teapot Tapes Uploaded To Youtube - Police Seek Teapot Witnesses | Scoop News

It seems unlikely that the mic was not only live, but recording by accident, but nigh on every day is a slow news day in New Zealand.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 06:02 AM   #12
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Obviously I can't see the original question, but guessing on what it was, it's common, and in pro theatre, almost standard practice to use boundary mics on the stage edge...
The OP was trying to mic the set of a 3-camera TV shoot consisting of 3 to 5 people who are at varying distances from the cameras, moving about the set while delivering dialog and using power tools.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 11:57 PM   #13
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

Hi Trevor - second the concern about radio mics in the toilet - based on the experience of having been the guy wearing the mic.

I was presenting to a 600 person audience in Sydney a few years back and thought I had best make a stop before my time slot - forgetting that I'd already been mic'ed up

Got a great rousing burst of applause and rude comments when I made my appearance. I'm sure the folks in NZ would have been kinder:<))
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Old November 25th, 2012, 06:14 AM   #14
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

It happens a lot when proficient live sound ops who perhaps only do music, get given radio to mind. Entrances and exits are the critical times, and the wise sound op NEVER trusts a message on comms that somebody is ready - very often people waiting to make entrances could be chatting, talking to themselves, or even having a row with somebody - let alone in the toilet. So prodding the PFL/Solo and hearing the right voice in the wrong place is a good indicator that 'now' isn't the time to raise the fader. You also learn to turn a deaf ear to what you hear - very difficult if they're actually pointing out how bad the sound man is, but to your face being friendly!



If the OP was trying to capture moving people and power tools - I'd be the first to laugh at the idea of any form of distant mic setup. Radios, are the only solution unless real booms are available - as in Fischer/Mole types, and they're not exactly common or cheap.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 09:40 AM   #15
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Re: PZMs vs. Stereo pair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
...

If the OP was trying to capture moving people and power tools - I'd be the first to laugh at the idea of any form of distant mic setup. Radios, are the only solution unless real booms are available - as in Fischer/Mole types, and they're not exactly common or cheap.
Yep, I think he was planning a conventional studio TV programme 3-camera shoot (a la 'Home Improvement', 'Saturday Night Live', 'Big Bang Theory', etc) but forgetting (or perhaps he never realized) the fact that those are usually done on a soundstage environment with an open-topped set where 'real' booms can follow the characters by working over the top of the set. Too bad he left in a huff over being told his idea for coverage was unworkable.
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