Which mic to hang? - Page 2 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 February 5th, 2015, 03:08 PM   #16
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Bidford on Avon United Kingdom
Posts: 58
Re: Which mic to hang?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
Since they're playing the show in traverse, and you have a limited selection of mics, I think you have only one choice. This is dictated by the fact that half the time the players are playing toward one side (stage left?) and half the time they are playing toward the other side (stage right?). If you put your mic (or mics) on one side of the stage only, then half the time the actors will be playing with their backs to the mic(s) and the recording will be really bad.

Given all the above, I would hang one mic on each side of the stage, roughly the same elevation as the heads of the cast. Do NOT mix the mics. Record each mic on a separate channel. Then, in post, switch between mics, always taking the mic which the speaking actors are facing. You will end up with a mono recording, but at least you won't have to deal with dialog that's muffled because the mic is behind the actor.

Distance will be difficult to predict. If you're too close to the stage, then as the actors walk up and down stage, their distance to the mic will change drastically, and the levels will change accordingly. You can somewhat fix this in post. OTOH, if you're too far from the stage, everything will become indistinct because of all the reflections from the hall. (Reflections probably will be quite bad, since the house will be empty, with no audience to absorb any of the sound.)

I think that, with luck, you might end up with something that is useful for archival purposes, to analyze actors' diction and expression, etc. I think there's little or no chance you will end up with anything that is really pleasing to listen to. The end result might be OK for family and friends to listen to, as a keepsake. I think it's unlikely that anybody would want to listen to the entire recording for its own sake. And you will have a lot of work to do in post, constantly switching back and forth between mics, and riding gain, as the actors play to one side of the stage and then the other and move up- and down-stage.

Good luck.
Thank you Greg. You make some very very good points. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. I had just started to realise the problem you pointed out about actors performing with their backs to me. Thanks again
Patrick Baldwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2015, 03:13 PM   #17
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Bidford on Avon United Kingdom
Posts: 58
Re: Which mic to hang?

The stage is so narrow that a camera on the other side will just see the other two cameras and also all the production desk garbage which I am planning to have behind me.
I think in the end I can get something they like but either way it will be a learning experience for everybody and the college appreciate that which is good
Best wishes. Patrick
Patrick Baldwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2015, 04:44 PM   #18
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,359
Re: Which mic to hang?

If you drape the front of the cameras, tripods, etc. with Duvatyne, and the cameramen wear black, they should be barely visible since they will be outside the range of the stage lighting. (I'm assuming this is a true dress rehearsal, and they're running the lighting cues by the book, not rehearsing under work lights.)

If you position two cameras on the side opposite the production desk, and they are separated by a reasonable distance (maybe 1/4 the width of the stage), then when they are following the action, at any given time they would not BOTH have the prod desk in frame, so just use the shot without the desk.

And unless the cameras are up on platforms, they will be shooting somewhat upward from horizontal if they are zoomed in on the key actors. That should help eliminate clutter from the frame.

Besides, we've already conceded that the audio is archival quality, not "DVD release" quality. Why not just accept the fact that you are also producing archival quality video, and occasionally you will see some of the house as well as the stage. (After all, that's what the audience sees in a Traverse production ... they are always seeing the other half of the audience on the other side of the stage.) Wouldn't it be better to see the front of the actor who's speaking, even if there is a bit of dark clutter in the BG, rather than just see the back of the actor? It seems to me you have unrealistic expectations about this production, and you are creating unrealistic constraints, and as a result you will end up with result that's needlessly limited.
Greg Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 5th, 2015, 04:55 PM   #19
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,682
Re: Which mic to hang?

+1 again Greg

That advice came from a guy that knows what Duvatyne and "show blacks" are! I would take it ;)

Patrick, he is telling you the truth as he sees it. We are a reasonably friendly crowd here at DVINFO. I see you have not been here for a long time, so welcome!

Steve
__________________
www.CorporateShow.com
Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2015, 03:14 AM   #20
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Bidford on Avon United Kingdom
Posts: 58
Re: Which mic to hang?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
If you drape the front of the cameras, tripods, etc. with Duvatyne, and the cameramen wear black, they should be barely visible since they will be outside the range of the stage lighting. (I'm assuming this is a true dress rehearsal, and they're running the lighting cues by the book, not rehearsing under work lights.)

If you position two cameras on the side opposite the production desk, and they are separated by a reasonable distance (maybe 1/4 the width of the stage), then when they are following the action, at any given time they would not BOTH have the prod desk in frame, so just use the shot without the desk.

And unless the cameras are up on platforms, they will be shooting somewhat upward from horizontal if they are zoomed in on the key actors. That should help eliminate clutter from the frame.

Besides, we've already conceded that the audio is archival quality, not "DVD release" quality. Why not just accept the fact that you are also producing archival quality video, and occasionally you will see some of the house as well as the stage. (After all, that's what the audience sees in a Traverse production ... they are always seeing the other half of the audience on the other side of the stage.) Wouldn't it be better to see the front of the actor who's speaking, even if there is a bit of dark clutter in the BG, rather than just see the back of the actor? It seems to me you have unrealistic expectations about this production, and you are creating unrealistic constraints, and as a result you will end up with result that's needlessly limited.
Hi Greg. Unfortunately this space is so small that there is always enough spill to light up the seating to some extent. I have photographed over 100 shows in this space and seeing the other side is always a problem which is easy for me to deal with in Photoshop. The other cameras would be seen no matter how I tried to hide them. I don't mind seeing a little bit of empty seats on one side but all the row of the production desk with lighting operator and stage manager on headphones with the glows from monitors lighting up their faces to my mind would look awful in the background and personally I think it better to avoid that. That production desk effectively runs at least half the width of the stage.
Until I get there I don't know about entrances and exits off stage. It may be possible to put one camera more at one end and keep it really tight. I'll just have to see. From my previous experience of this space I doubt that would work but I'm definitely going in there on the day with an open mind.

The cameras may be able to shoot up to the actors a little but the grid in this space is very very ugly with some low hanging fluorescent tubes that are the spaces work lights. They won't be on obviously but its all very visible in shots if you tilt up too much but I do like the idea of being slightly underneath them. The wall on the other side from the production desk will be black and clear of anything.

You may be right Greg that I have unrealistic expectations especially given the type of staging which probably couldn't be any more challenging but this is a test and everybody involves knows this so it will be considered with that in mind.
Thank you for all your advice. I really appreciate it.
Patrick Baldwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2015, 03:24 AM   #21
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Bidford on Avon United Kingdom
Posts: 58
Re: Which mic to hang?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
+1 again Greg

That advice came from a guy that knows what Duvatyne and "show blacks" are! I would take it ;)

Patrick, he is telling you the truth as he sees it. We are a reasonably friendly crowd here at DVINFO. I see you have not been here for a long time, so welcome!

Steve
Hi Steven. Yes I am very grateful and happy to get everybody's advice. I hope that comes across. I am constantly amazed at how generous this forum and dvxuser are with information. I have learnt so much I hope that I can help at some point.
My background is that I have worked in theatre for over thirty years as an actor, then as touring crew for an international ballet company and the last 20 years as a theatre photographer. Video is getting used more and more and I am getting increasingly involved in that side.

Thank you for the welcome Steve.
Best wishes. Patrick.
Patrick Baldwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2015, 06:11 AM   #22
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,359
Re: Which mic to hang?

Hi Steven,

Thanks for your kind words; and a "welcome" from me, as well. Since you mention your background as touring crew with a ballet company, I'll just mention that I was sound man for Joffrey Ballet on their 1974 U.S.S.R. tour. Lots of memories there, both joyful and painful. (Trust me: canvas-covered soviet army trucks are less than ideal for hauling theatrical sets and electrics during snowy season!)

I didn't realize your present space is so small and that your production desk is so big. Certainly you know the space better than I do. It sounds as if you are forced to shoot rather close and wide, which exacerbates the difficulties. If my suggestions are really unworkable in that space, then so be it. Like you, I had also pondered having one of the cameras at the (downstage) end of the platform. One dreams of having three remote PTZ cameras, fully draped in black, with only the lens visible from across the stage ... oh, well.

You're right, it does sound like an extremely challenging space. If you are used to shooting stills in this space, then retouching to make them look "picture perfect," I can understand your instinctive desire to have "Beeb quality" videos of the performance. Keep an open mind, and good luck with it!
Greg Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2015, 06:48 AM   #23
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Bidford on Avon United Kingdom
Posts: 58
Re: Which mic to hang?

Thanks Greg. I worked for English National Ballet for years and then shot stills for them for years. I'm trying to think if I ever worked on Joffrey at Sadlers Wells in London. I don't think I did. Memoery is a bit hazy now. It would have been mid eighties. Its hard enough touring shows in proper semis/artics never mind in Soviet era military trucks. I was told that a long time ago Opera and ballet in Britain at least used to be toured on the train. Imagine all the loads and unloads onto trucks at either end. No thanks.

I'm sure this video is going to be very challenging but I've got to see what I can achieve. I have another one in May which is proscenium arch but miked up with wireless so I'll have a whole new set of challenges there.

Thank you ever so much for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it. If its worth it I may come back and post a link to it and then duck for cover:-)

Thanks again.
Best wishes. Patrick.
Patrick Baldwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2015, 08:35 AM   #24
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 4,298
Re: Which mic to hang?

Perhaps consider setting up all four mics, spaced to cover the full stage. the omin perhaps midstage, and the band on the back side of one of the cardioids (to reduce its apparent volume). if you can get a 4-track recorder (e.g., TASCAM DR-70D, one channel for each mic) that would be great. Use the warm-up time before the run-through to set levels to avoid clipping, use the limiter. And have fun mixing in post.

And be sure to record full audio for each show. Mixing separate takes mid number may or may not be problematic. Lip sync being a potential major issue, but even that can be time-warped in post to being "close enough" for many purposes
__________________
dpalomaki@dspalomaki.com
Don Palomaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2015, 10:22 AM   #25
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Bidford on Avon United Kingdom
Posts: 58
Re: Which mic to hang?

Many thanks Don. I have run out of time to source more equipment such as a DR70D as the show is this coming Monday. I do have a Sound Devices 552 which has a built in recorder so along with the 722 I do effectively have four tracks although the dynamic range of the 552 isn't as good as the 722 but I'm sure I wouldn't notice. I confess though I am very new to this having done three shows before pretty successfully but only using a Zoom H4n and a single hanging mic. The staging of all of these was very straight forward and didn't present these challenges. So all this equipment is new to me so setting all this up with four mics in the time I have with my pretty basic knowledge and experience would probably be enough to panic me:-) Definitely in the future I will consider these options though. I am going to record the first show as you suggest if only to get information about levels. I cannot monitor it during the first one because I will be shooting stills but I will definitely be monitoring the second.
Thank you very much for all your help. I really appreciate it.
Best wishes. Patrick.
Patrick Baldwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7th, 2015, 05:23 AM   #26
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
Re: Which mic to hang?

I spend virtually all my video time tin theatre, and have done for years. A few thing leap out of this production and ring very big 'Danger, Will Robinson' bells.

First question is - what is the purpose of the video?
To provide evidence for grading/
Archive purposes?
Promotion?
Sell-through?

Musical theatre in traverse is fraught with problems of all kinds - the killer problem is lighting, because to light faces from both sides mean they will also hit the lenses of your cameras, unless you get them up high, and look down. Blocking in traverse, with students inevitably means real blocking of sight lines. With traverse, there is no fixed 'playing point' - the actors are effectively playing to themselves, not an audience. Your sound is going to be pretty awful. with them attempting to play multiple directions, they will not be heard, unless the venue has amazing acoustics or they are all miked up. What are you going to do if the music is too loud, which it probably will be. Real musicians or tracks? This kind of show takes real planning for the video.

You may also want to consider covering your rear too - remember that if they are doing a proper musical, rather than a self-derived performance, that the license they have taken out will specifically ban any audio or video recording, it's a contract condition, and if you don't work for them, and are in effect, a contractor, then it could be you who takes the flack if somebody in all innocence puts it on youtube! This happens quite often. The usual solution is for you to email (for evidence) them asking a few general questions and just ask them if they've cleared the copyright.

Mic wise - I'd use PCCs all around the playing area, because flown mics often perform more like omni, and feature lots of feet, and little voice, as nobody projects upwards. If you are hoping for a set and forget audio system, I suspect you'll be a bit disappointed.

I think you'll probably end up with something that may well serve an evidence function, but you are going to struggle with the audio - especially when people sing. With amateur performers the range of ability and performance rarely compliments promenade, traverse or in-the-round.

From the video perspective, cameras on both sides also cut together horribly because of the constant crossing the line shift between left and right directions. There's little you can do about it, but it's uncomfortable to watch.

It will be fun, and a 'learning experience'. The teachers have picked something very unusual. After all, the pro's very rarely do musical theatre in this format because it's just nothing but trouble, from every technical perspective.

Just a thought? They don't have a recording studio do they? If so, could they record multitrack stems you could then sort out in post and dub over.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7th, 2015, 06:49 AM   #27
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Bidford on Avon United Kingdom
Posts: 58
Re: Which mic to hang?

Hi Paul. Thanks for responding.
The purpose of the video is a test to see what can be achieved over and above a single locked camera with a mic on top. Ideally it could be an archive and used as promotion.
Given that it is traverse mostly this is going to be a test in damage limitation. I realise its about the worst possible scenario to video.

The space is very small so I'm sure we will hear everybody but clearly not in any quality fashion.
It is a live unamplified foursome at one end of the traverse. One instrument is a grand piano I understand. All the content is original so their are no rights issues.
They are MA musical theatre students. Their stuff is never videoed in any meaningful manner hence this experiment.
Their singing will be up to it I'm sure of that.

Unfortunately I don't have any pzm mics and the gig is this coming Monday so impossible to rent anything.
I am stuck with basically my two Octavas with whatever capsule I put on. I guess given what you said it won't make any difference whether its an omni or cardioid capsule?

Regarding crossing the line, I agree and I'm not entirely sure that I will have cameras on both sides. Mondays gig is basically probably going to be a wash out so I think I might as well test other things camera and audio wise while I'm doing it so that when the next test comes round in May I have a bit more experience. Having said that the May test is pros arch and wireless mics so very different and probably mean taking a feed from the sound desk. I'll worry about that in May!

As you say it will be a learning experience which is how I'm looking at it now.

A recording studio is out of the question for this particular test.

There has been a lot of talk about PZMs. I'm assuming a PCC is the same thing. It sounds like a few of those would be a very worthwhile investment if this develops. Would you have a recomendation?

Bear in mind my equipment right now is a Sound Devices 552 mixer and a Sound Devices 722 recorder so at the moment I would be limited to 5 inputs. I'm not sure this would ever go far enough to justify more outlay in that direction but who knows!
I really appreciate the time you have taken to respond Paul. Many thanks. Patrick.
Patrick Baldwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7th, 2015, 10:23 AM   #28
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 1,844
Re: Which mic to hang?

"There has been a lot of talk about PZMs. I'm assuming a PCC is the same thing."
Sort of.. PZM, (Pressure Zone Microphone) is a trademarked name by Crown, for their line of boundary type plate mics.
I once used a pair of Crown PCC-160s taped to the underside of a grand piano's lid which absolutely had to be closed for sight lines. Sounded pretty good.
photo: UCC Synod 24, Minneaplis, MN
Rick Reineke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7th, 2015, 10:51 AM   #29
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Bidford on Avon United Kingdom
Posts: 58
Re: Which mic to hang?

Thanks for clarifying that Rick. Much appreciated. Nice tape job on the piano!
Regards. Patrick.
Patrick Baldwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7th, 2015, 05:09 PM   #30
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
Re: Which mic to hang?

PZMs are omni above the horizontal plane, whereas PCCs, are cardioids - the most common still being the Crown series. The designer Bruce Bartlett makes a number himself now. Damn good devices.

Flown cardioid mics can be aimed, with bits of wire to create the angle, but the cables often take a day or two to stretch out and up till then rotate as the cable settles. Hanging them downwards just creates an omni pattern below, with the null up towards the ceiling.

Small scale musical theatre with just a piano may well be doable without too much grief, but absolutely NOT on the camera. The last thing you want is the balance changing as you pan left to right.
Paul R Johnson 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 09:43 PM.


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