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Old May 22nd, 2014, 08:40 PM   #1
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Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Hi everyone.

Having a brain freeze today.

Is this a reasonable way to set up a 2 mic interview:

Lav/mic on both interviewer and interviewee. Keep the 3-1 rule in mind.

Run each mic into it's own input on mixer.

Pan one person to the left and the other to the right. Left and right Output to DSLR

Edit dialog of each accordingly

Sound good?

And let's say you had a third person miced, would you pan that input to the center?
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Old May 22nd, 2014, 09:24 PM   #2
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Some questions:
What mixer will you be using?
Do you have access to an extra audio recorder or recorders in addition to the dSLR?
How will you interface the mixer to the dSLR audio input?
How will you monitor the audio from the dSLR?
Will anyone be actively operating the mixer as the interviewees speak?
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Old May 22nd, 2014, 09:47 PM   #3
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Hi Jay,

Thanks for responding.

I'll be using my Shure FP33 mixer.

I have not decided whether to do a double system, I do have an older Marantz recorder.

Obviously I need to slate each time I start/stop.

Mixer line out to Nikon D800 mini in. I've had real good results with that. Single person crew so I'll be monitoring through camera, or mixer if that is what is recommended.

Wondering about those settings though.

Thanks.

Jonathan
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Old May 22nd, 2014, 10:48 PM   #4
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

It's good you have all that covered.

And your plan for two people is correct.

It's adding the third person that makes the real difference in this situation.

Your mixer only has two output channels, so unless your Marantz recorder has a decent XLR mic input on its own, you'll have to mix two of the people to one channel.

I wouldn't pan center the third person, that runs the risk of damaging the sound on both tracks. I would decide based on the plan for their interaction, how they are positioned and who is the softest talker.
I would put the quietest participant on their own channel, their mic gain will be set the most sensitive. The two loudest people mixed together, and if possible separated by the largest distance. The two loudest talkers will have their mic gains at a lower level for correct recording. This will reduce their off-mic pickup, but you will have to monitor very closely with good, isolated headphones to know if this is sufficient to prevent very hollow sounding audio. A very soft and non-reverberant space will help too.
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 12:15 AM   #5
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Practice,Practice,Practice,Practice,Practice,Practice,Practice,Practice,Practice,Practice,Practice.
Before you go out, get familiar with the gear. Being on site and then having to think things out is not good for you, the job or client.
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 05:42 AM   #6
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
...
Mixer line out to Nikon D800 mini in. I've had real good results with that. Single person crew so I'll be monitoring through camera, or mixer if that is what is recommended....
Careful you don't overload the camera's inputs. The mixer is outputting a line level but the camera's external input is expecting a much weaker mic level. Unless you use a pad in the line to drop the levels you'll overdrive the input.
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 11:58 AM   #7
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Jay thanks for all that.

Brian, yes indeed, practice. I've actually got a pretty good handle on my rig, just lost track of the basic settings.

Steve, I've had really good results with the D800 going from the mixer to camera. I use the tone generator to get levels for mixer and camera in sync.

Thanks.

JL
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Jonathan,
Using the FP 33 I think Jay is correct about adding a third person by mixing two of the mics to one track. Interviewer on 1 track and interviewees on the other track might be the way I would go if the interviewer is very active and the questions are going to be used in the edit. You can often bring up the level of the person who is answering and turn down the other person as needed. This is where the 3 to 1 rule really can come into play. If you are mixing onto one track I like to leave both mics open a bit so the noise floor is consistent when one person is talking and doesn't change too much when the other starts talking. Having the matching mics in this case is very helpful.
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 12:53 PM   #9
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Great advice Daniel. Thanks.

I've just done some more testing with the D800-fp33-Rode NT3 combo.

Output set to line on mixer sounds good. Mic level way to hot (did that for about 1/30th of a second!!!!)

I was concerned because I could hear a hiss coming monitor with headphones from the camera.

However the hiss was not present on the audio when transferred to the computer.

Jonathan
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 06:11 PM   #10
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
J...

Steve, I've had really good results with the D800 going from the mixer to camera. I use the tone generator to get levels for mixer and camera in sync.
...

JL
And I spaced out momentarily, mistakenly thinking your mixer only offered line-level outputs. They are, in fact, mic/line switchable. If you insure they are set to mic level output you should be good to go with the D800.
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 07:10 PM   #11
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Jonathan, I think you meant the other way around. Mic level output from the mixer is much lower and would match with your dSLR's input. Line level output from the mixer is much more powerful.

If this is a sit-down interview where AC power can be used, I personally would take steps to record the third participant on their own independent recording channel using your Marantz and a small additional mixer.

If the Marantz doesn't have a good XLR mic-level input that can take one of your mics directly, then I would purchase, rent or borrow a small table-top audio mixer to allow the Marantz to become your third and forth independent audio recording channels.

The third channel would be for your third participant. The fourth channel could be either a backup of your most important camera participant, or a guide track containing both of the participants being recorded on your dSLR.

Using this guide track would give you a complete sync reference between the camera and the Marantz. You wouldn't have to rely on a slate clap, which could be minutes away from the good material on the timeline. You could immediately and confidently drive any section of the recordings into sync if you have a guide track on the Marantz recorder's spare 4th channel. In addition, this would make the Marantz recording a complete and easily portable audio-only reference of everything that was said. This is helpful if you have a lot of material to wade through or need to send it to someone else.
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 08:34 PM   #12
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Jay,

You are correct. I just checked output settings on mixer and they are set to mic.
Line was not right.

JL

And thanks for all the info about third person. Fortunately the project I maybe involved in only has two people, but the time will come when there will be more.
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 08:59 PM   #13
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Re: Mixer setting for 2 person interview

Yes, if just two people then you are all set with the equipment you have.

Be prepared in post-production for the time it may take to checkerboard the audio edit if your steps such as the 3 to 1 rule are insufficient to reduce the crosstalk between mics.
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