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Old October 4th, 2016, 01:34 PM   #1
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Microphone for recording a round table discussion

Hi,

I've been asked to record a round table discussion and I'm wondering what would be the best way to handle audio recording. The people participating do not want to have to pass a microphone around form person to person and I'm not capable of micing everyone. The only mic I have is a shotgun mic (other than a lav) and I was thinking of putting the mic on a boom pole and a stand and having it be sort of suspended in the middle over the table. The microphone I have is Sennheiser K6. It will be like 6-8 people at the table. What do you think of this set up? Is there a better way of handling this?

Thank you
Kathy
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Old October 4th, 2016, 02:29 PM   #2
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

" Is there a better way of handling this?"
- In lieu of lavalieres for the participants and only one boom mic being available, hire an experienced boom op. If an unskilled boom op is all that's available, a stand-mounted mic would be better IMO. If you can get hold of a cardioid capsule for the Sennheiser, it would yield a more even/wider pick-up.

Last edited by Rick Reineke; October 4th, 2016 at 03:17 PM. Reason: typo
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Old October 4th, 2016, 02:44 PM   #3
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
" Is there a better way of handling this?"
- In lieu of lavalieres for the participants and only one boom mic being available, hire an experienced boom op. If an unskilled boom op is all that's available, a stand-mounted mic would be better IMO. If you can get hold of a cardioid capture for the Sennheiser, it would yield a more even/wider pick-up.
Hi Rick,

Thanks, I didn't mean that there will be someone holding the mic. The mic will be on a stand.
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Old October 4th, 2016, 02:46 PM   #4
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

Just found out that I can get a hold of Sennheiser MKH 70 p48. How would that mic work for this situation?
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Old October 4th, 2016, 03:06 PM   #5
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

The MKH 70 is a premium mic, but it's a long shotgun and very directional.

Could you get an MKH 40 cardioid? That would be more suitable if you're limited to one mic on a fixed stand.

You could also add the Sennheiser ME64 cardioid capsule ($170) to go on your K6 power supply.

The room's acoustic properties are going to be critically important to this working with any degree of quality sound since you'll be micing most of the participants at a much greater than optimum distance.

Could you have one directional mic on an overhead stand aimed at the moderator if there is one?

Then a second wider mic on an overhead stand to cover the rest of the participants equidistantly?

How many cameras (and separate recording channels) will you shoot with and how will the people be arranged around the table?

In addition to the room needing to be very quiet and acoustically soft to reduce reverberance, you'll need as clean a mic, preamp and recorder as possible.

Each mic you use will need to be recorded to a separate channel, with that separation maintained into the editing process, where careful editing of each track can cut down on cross-talk between closer mics and distant mics depending on who is speaking at the time.
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Old October 4th, 2016, 03:08 PM   #6
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

A shotgun is the least effective mic for this type of situation UNLESS it's being aimed by someone for each Q&A that comes up. Being such a narrow pattern means that if two people are talking and they are only a few degrees apart, you're going to have a compromised capture. Omni mics are your friend here, and multiple mics placed every two people are really the better option (not best, but still better).

Renting mics and short mic stands might be the way to go, but you still need a mixer and someone manning the controls.

If this isn't in the budget, my recommendation is to put a small Zoom H1 or similar recorder between every two people and then in post you'll have to sync them and choose the strongest mic signal at the time. These recorders are small, cheap (about $100) and nearly idiot proof when set to auto.

Room acoustics is another factor. A well padded room (acoustically dead) will give you a cleaner sounding audio. A room that is already noisy, and where people are shuffling papers, sniffling, coughing, typing or having side conversations means you'll really be on your toes to get clean audio.
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Old October 4th, 2016, 04:13 PM   #7
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

We had a similar thread a couple of months back and my own experiences, and I think the general consensus was that a boundary layer/pressure zone mic would be best for this type of recording. It is what they are specifically designed for, being placed on a hard flat surface like a table to pick up all round with minimal room reflection.

If you google for them, you will find a number of manufacturers producing them, including Audio Technica and Crown. Prices vary considerably, but a mid priced one should do the job well. Always a very useful mic to keep in your bag for recording table discussions and meetings.

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Old October 4th, 2016, 04:14 PM   #8
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

I do not have a control of the room. It's not acoustically dead. I have to make the best out of what it is. There will be a main speaker, who will be wearing a lav mic as he will give a 20min presentation and then there will be a discussion at the table. I can only record 2 separate channels. There will be 2 cameras one shooting continuously (wide shot) and the other will be just doing close ups (b-roll) on the participants.
I also have 1 zoom recorder but I'm not sure if this will be any helpful here
There will be 13 people.
I could buy the ME64 capsule.
I was just told that this is going to be a casual/informal conversation with people having a drink and talking so I should not worry about the room being perfectly quiet etc. I just want to make sure I get a decent recording of everyone. Can I accomplish this with one K6 with ME64 capsule?
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Old October 4th, 2016, 04:16 PM   #9
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
We had a similar thread a couple of months back and my own experiences, and I think the general consensus was that a boundary layer/pressure zone mic would be best for this type of recording. It is what they are specifically designed for, being placed on a hard flat surface like a table to pick up all round with minimal room reflection.

If you google for them, you will find a number of manufacturers producing them, including Audio Technica and Crown. Prices vary considerably, but a mid priced one should do the job well. Always a very useful mic to keep in your bag for recording table discussions and meetings.

Roger
I don't want to put the mic on a table, can I suspend it over the table?
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Old October 4th, 2016, 04:37 PM   #10
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
We had a similar thread a couple of months back and my own experiences, and I think the general consensus was that a boundary layer/pressure zone mic would be best for this type of recording. It is what they are specifically designed for, being placed on a hard flat surface like a table to pick up all round with minimal room reflection.

If you google for them, you will find a number of manufacturers producing them, including Audio Technica and Crown. Prices vary considerably, but a mid priced one should do the job well. Always a very useful mic to keep in your bag for recording table discussions and meetings.

Roger
How about 2 of these mics? One on each end of the table?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._Boundary.html
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Old October 4th, 2016, 04:50 PM   #11
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

The Shure boundary mics are extremely good and one at each end of the table would give good coverage. They need to be on a flat surface for best results, but are quite incospicuous compared with conventional mics and of course don't require any sort of stand. You coiuld record directly to camera, to a sound recorder, or take the feeds to a transmitter.

Roger
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Old October 4th, 2016, 06:07 PM   #12
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
The Shure boundary mics are extremely good and one at each end of the table would give good coverage. They need to be on a flat surface for best results, but are quite incospicuous compared with conventional mics and of course don't require any sort of stand. You coiuld record directly to camera, to a sound recorder, or take the feeds to a transmitter.

Roger
thank you, I'm going to order these microphones now
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Old October 4th, 2016, 06:13 PM   #13
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

I'm just wondering whether it makes sense to mic the person who is going to do a short presentation separately or just let these pics pick up his voice so everything sounds relatively the same.
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Old October 4th, 2016, 07:09 PM   #14
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

Always separate the tracks when you record them. If an open mic starts picking up lots of noise and you're mixing it with the presenter, there is no way to separate them in post.
The boundary mics are a good start, you'll probably want to use at least two and record them to a portable mixer/recorder like the Zoom H6. Not much different at that point from using multiple Zoom H1's, as you'll have work to do in post to pick the best audio track. Leaving them all open means you pick up random noises in addition to the signal that you want to keep.

If you're dealing with 2 tracks on your camera, devote one to the presentation, the 2nd one to one of the boundary microphones, and you can use a zoom on the opposite site of the room (mixing in post as needed). Adding 2 more Zoom H1's is still cheaper than adding 1 boundary microphone.

I did this exact same thing just last week, and the Zoom had better signal than the boundary mic (which still picks up much of the table noise/thumping, etc.). I would recommend a bit of rubber padding like a mouse-pad under any boundary mic, which will help to isolate those thumps.
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Old October 4th, 2016, 07:24 PM   #15
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Re: Microphone for recording a round table discussion

I've got an old Shure ST6000 conferencing unit that has 6 mic inputs. It's able to focus on only one mic at a time (based on volume I guess). Maybe some system like that can be rented.
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