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Old March 23rd, 2017, 02:40 AM   #1
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Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Hi all. I tried googling several hours, and came up with some info, but not really enough. I'm interested in creating a parabolic microphone, or "collector", primarily used for high school football videos. I am in context of creating a clone (won't be as good, but hopefully will work) of the Klover 26". I found a 32" dish online to start with. I looked at the Klover details as far as mics, and see that they use omni directional mics. Also learned that Countryman EMW mics will be a better bet?
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...icrophone.html

Also, from what I have been learning in the past week, I'm going to try and state the procedure for how I am going to record the event .If I am wrong, please feel free to correct me. My head is still kind of spinning from learning a lot of audio tech in the past week.

For the press Box: Plug a Tascam DR40 into the pa system, this way I can monitor the input level and set a safe level on a sound check.

For the Parabolic mic set up (with Assistant): Plug parabolic mic into the Tascam DR40 to control audio input and so my assistant can hear what it is picking up. A Rhode Wireless Film maker system will be joined with the Tascam DR40. I would then have the receiver on top of the camera, converted into one of the XLR connections. (Canon C100). I'm using wireless to prevent tripping hazards.

Thank-You guys and gals for your information here!
-Paul

Last edited by Paul Patterson; March 23rd, 2017 at 03:14 AM.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 03:09 AM   #2
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Best of luck. My experiment some years ago soon had me heading back to shotguns. The biggest problem was nothing to do with the dish - it was the pan and tilt system. I was using a re-purposed satellite dish with the mic at the feed point - as a mic for speech, it worked rather well, but it needed accurate aiming and that was my problem. Now I realise why some commercial systems use transparent dishes! My aluminium dish had to be forward mounted on the heavy duty tripod to clear the legs, and then I ended up with an extension going the other way that needed a gym weight to counterbalance it. This meant even more weight and I had to use an elderly Vinten TV head to be able to balance it out and be strong enough. I built sights at the side so I could see the way it actually pointed, but neither me or my colleagues could keep up with fast action. It was also prone to wind, solved fairly easily, It was far too big to transport easily, being 3ft diameter, and took up far more space than it deserved.

With careful aiming it was pretty good, once you remove the low frequencies - but now I use 4 spaced shotguns, in hairy covers on short stands. You don't get the same result, audio wise - less conversation and words, but with the dish, you got some wonderful clarity, but nothing else, so you still need general mics. The dish sound is a bit strange, as I'm sure you've found - on headphones it's a bit disturbing!

I wish you luck - we did a few outings and then scrapped it for practical purposes. Far too much effort.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 11:33 AM   #3
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Another probable issue is, most feeds from a PA system are Line level. The microphone from the dish (or other) is Mic level; All the external L& R inputs on the DR-40 are switched globally, so you can't have one mic and one line w/o some sort of external matching device... be it a pad or mixer..
FWIW, my usage of parabolic dishes (expensive pro models) were enlightening... but didn't sound very good. YMMV.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 12:03 PM   #4
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Not sure I am following how you intend to do this? If you are recording the venue audio (from the press box) on your DR40, how do you propose to also use the DR40 down on the sideline for the parabolic mic operator to hear what he is aiming at? Or do you have TWO DR40s? Or do you have a press feed down on the sideline?

If you are using wireless to feed the parabolic mic into your camera, why not just use another wireless to feed the venue audio? Recording to a separate recorder just forces you to do a lot more work in post-production editing.

I would use something like a Rolls PM50 so that the parabolic mic operator to hear what he is doing. We are assuming that you have a person down on the sideline actively aiming the parabolic mic.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 01:39 PM   #5
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

I would have 2 Tascam Dr40s. The reason for not havinng a wireless on the press box Tascam is distance. I think it may be too far for the signal to travel. I probably should just go with senheiser for strength? My assistant and I would be down on the field next to each other. So a 2 or 3 channel mixer would be needed to convert the signal coming from the tascan from the press box?Thank you for your help
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 02:40 PM   #6
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Patterson View Post
I think it may be too far for the signal to travel.
Unless your high-school team is playing in an Olympic stadium, that does NOT seems like a reasonable assumption. You should at least try it.

What are you doing for ambient (crowd) sound pickup? A tight pattern from the field and a direct connection to the venue system will leave you with a pretty dry sound track if you have no audience reaction.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 04:03 PM   #7
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Part of my recommendation depends on how long the recording must run on battery power, and/or if you have a battery-powered mixer or AC power at your camera position.

If I was doing this most simply but hopefully effectively, and the recording time was short enough for safe battery power, I would use two wireless systems feeding the camera like Richard recommended. One from the parabolic mic (or whatever you replace the parabolic with if it becomes impractical), and one from the pressbox feed.

For backup I would also record the pressbox feed in the pressbox using one of your DR-40's but hopefully not need it.

For ambient sound, I would mount your other DR-40 on a stand near your camera and put good wind protection on it. Slate it and the camera together occasionally both visually and with audio while the parabolic is nearby during a break in the action. Your mic operator would use a separate monitoring device like Richard also recommended.

Have a mic mounted on the camera but not connected. If you have a total failure of one or both wireless feeds, plug that mic into the camera.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 04:17 PM   #8
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

I'm happy to hear the Rhode system might be able to handle it, I probably did over assume it. As far as the live audience, I was thinking of having 3 mics, all in front of the grand stands on the ground, evenly spaced out. The mics I was thinking of using are cardioid condenser microphones and then a mixer connected (on the ground too). Would it be best to have the pa directly hooked up to a wireless sent directly to the Mixer along with the 3 mics for the crowd (wired to the mixer), and parabolic mic having a wireless then sent to the mixer as well? So Pretty much having the mixer as a main hub, then having a wireless (A Y splitter to send both audio on seperate wireless units) to both cameras as one?I'm probably making things more difficult than they should be. I do like the idea of recording the pa announcer as a back up and using the second tascam for recording the crowd! I do have outlets available for power supply.Thank-You again for your help!
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 07:29 PM   #9
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Remember that any mixing you do from multiple sources down to a limited number of recording channels becomes permanent when it's recorded. Once it's mixed together you can't undo that.

Since you have two cameras, I would record the PA feed to channel one of both cameras. With one of them mounted close to the audio mixer so you don't have to use wireless.

Having the PA feed on both cameras makes it very easy to sync them later.

To reduce mixing of multiple sources, I'd put the parabolic on the second channel of the camera closest to the mixer.

I'd put any ambient mix onto the second channel of the second camera.

That way you have 2 identical PA feeds for sync and backup, a separate parabolic track and a separate ambient feed. You haven't permanently mixed anything that's critically important. If after the event, you don't like your live ambient mix you did with extra mics you could probably get by with the ambient recording you made with the second DR-40.

If you are sending the PA feed wirelessly to the audio mixer, I would use the first DR-40 to record it in the pressbox as a backup, it's too important a feed to lose and it probably won't sound good if you are forced to pick the PA up solely with your ambient mics.

I'm not familiar with the Rode system. Most of the other wireless systems (Sennheiser, Sony, Shure, Audio-Technica) have pretty good range outside with their UHF systems set to High transmitting power. Some of the 2.4gHz systems aren't designed to go as far. You'd have to test it, preferably at a game the week before so it's a realistic test in that RF environment.

Other considerations are the construction of the pressbox and its windows. If it's old-school industrial construction it might have wire mesh in the window glass and that would be a serious problem for transmitting wirelessly unless you can get the transmitter outside for example.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 11:35 PM   #10
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Erm, if I may stick my nose into a subject I'm not 100% comfortable with:

This scares the bejesus out of me:

Quote:
" I am in context of creating a clone (won't be as good, but hopefully will work) of the Klover 26". I found a 32" dish online to start with."
Do I take it we're, no, you're, attempting a CBS or SKY live event with a Sunday School budget?

Won't fly, can't fly. Period.

Unless you have done this 20+ times before and have ironed out every wrinkle, every glitch, every weak point and every "this will sink the entire bloody ship if we fuck up" event, don't even try it.

The Klover 26 was found way too impractical for stadium sports, which is why they developed the much smaller systems, a 32" would be utterly impossible, even for an experienced operator, which it is doubtful you have.

Do not attempt this.

Keep it (much) simpler or fall flat on your face.

Another question: Who's paying for all this?

If you're a multi - millionaire, good luck, you can probably afford all these little bells and whistles being suggested (the bit about trying to out engineer Klover says it all), if you're an ordinary shmuck like the rest of us, where's the revenue stream to pay for it?

This is college (er, high school?) football, nobody pays squat for coverage of that.

I may be becoming terminally cynical in my dotage, but this simply reeks of over-reach, pure and simple.

My two cents from a hardened campaigner.


CS
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Old March 24th, 2017, 08:34 AM   #11
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Getting quality amateur audio recording is not easy or cheap. There are a variety of on-line sources for moderate cost parabolic kits. Aiming and practice using are going to be key issues once a system is build. The Klover 16" might be a better model to emulate than 32". The size is more manageable, and the nominal effective range should be adequate for football.

In part it depends on your budget. Klover offers a 9" as well for camcorder mounting.

Wildtronics, LLC - professional parabolic microphones and more is one source of kits and parts. Their 22" might be interesting, and they offer an economical 11" as well.

I suspect a ref's whistle blown at the focal point would be pretty noticeable <G>.
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Old March 25th, 2017, 05:47 AM   #12
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Does this help - radio link from a shotgun on the touchline.
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Old March 25th, 2017, 06:33 AM   #13
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Videomaker ran a how-to-make-one article a few years ago:
https://www.videomaker.com/article/f...bolic-mic-dish
But I suspect the improvised things they used for reflectors were not very very good.

Shotgun mics basically reduce sound pick-up from the sides and back, But effective forward sensitivity is limited by their self-noise. Parabolics do offer real gain based on the dish size and do not have the inherent noise floor issue of shotgun mics. Accurate shape, positioning of the pick-up, and aiming is essential.
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Old March 29th, 2017, 10:26 PM   #14
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

In some cases parabolic mics are used in football primarily to pick up "sounds of the game action", not vocal audio. Everyone knows your not going to eves drop on the huddle.

So....if it was me I would skip the parabolic effort and expense. I would watch Bull Durham one more time to get ideas about how they faked baseball audio. I would prerecord a bunch of nasty sounding hits and other things and use those prerecorded stingers to blow away the audience. This is high school football we are talking about. It is not ESPN. Have some fun with it it!

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Old April 2nd, 2017, 07:14 AM   #15
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Re: Parabolic'ing a highschool football game. Am I doing this right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Palomaki View Post
Videomaker ran a how-to-make-one article a few years ago:
https://www.videomaker.com/article/f...bolic-mic-dish
The first photo in that article brings to mind the old saying: Garbage in, garbage out. Originally coined in regard to digital data, it applies to audio as well.
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