Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording 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 November 11th, 2017, 03:38 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Canton, MI
Posts: 90
Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

I'm starting to experiment with indoor orchestra recording and outdoor marching band recording. I discovered my pair of interview mic were easy over whelmed with sound levels of both types of performance. I have upgraded to a match set of Rode NT5.

For the indoor recording is in a theater I can place mic where I need to but I don't want to place the mic stands on the stage because I video the performance also and there in the shot. Would it be okay to mount the mics in the balcony, where I shoot from? it's maybe 40' to 50' feet from the Orchestra. This is the best location I can think of that I can still keep the mic's about 6' to 10' apart, for decent stereo separation.

For outdoor I can place the mic stand much closer, at field level, but what should the mic spacing be if the band is moving all over the field?

Any suggestions?

Thanks KPO
Kevin O'Connor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2017, 03:56 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,115
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

In short - no, it's too far, and the results will feature too much of the auditorium sound - especially if the audience clap or worse, cheer!. If you have the camera in the the balcony, then if you've already shot some stuff there you'll know what the sound is like. If you want stereo, then ideally the best balance will be above the conductors head, because that's where he or she balances the sections. You will get a recording - it will just be coloured. The venue will control if the colouration is pleasant or nasty. You may be able to mount something from a lighting bar? It will be a bit more upstage than ideal, but could work better.

Mic technique is tricky. Co-incident mic techniques are my preference, usually X/Y, although sometimes I'll go M/S. Spaced techniques like A/B sound much bigger and stereo separation is huge - but often suffers from a lack of sensitivity in the middle - so anyone upstage centre will be weak - so maybe a third mic you can experiment with in the studio.

Recording audio with a natural acoustic is VERY hard to get right. If you mix in your balcony mics, distance creates time alignment issues too - and a video editor's frame shift is not enough, meaning a proper audio editor will be needed.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2017, 04:26 PM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Canton, MI
Posts: 90
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

This good feedback, thanks (pardon the pun). I can place the mic's on stage, it's not a big issue for video. I can cut in between the mic stands. Everything I researched so far describes the same ideal set up you mentioned. But the mic spacing seems to be an experiment, I only have equipment for A-B setup and the spacing is recommended around 12". I guess I only need one stand for this.

What about mic angle in a A-B setup? I'm guessing a 90 degree setup where one mic points over the top of the other. I read this is base on the arrangement of the musicians.

Thanks KPO.
Kevin O'Connor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2017, 05:29 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA
Posts: 676
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin O'Connor View Post
I'm starting to experiment with indoor orchestra recording and outdoor marching band recording. I discovered my pair of interview mic were easy over whelmed with sound levels of both types of performance. I have upgraded to a match set of Rode NT5.
These are cardioids, yes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin O'Connor View Post
For the indoor recording is in a theater I can place mic where I need to but I don't want to place the mic stands on the stage because I video the performance also and there in the shot. Would it be okay to mount the mics in the balcony, where I shoot from? it's maybe 40' to 50' feet from the Orchestra. This is the best location I can think of that I can still keep the mic's about 6' to 10' apart, for decent stereo separation.
Nope. Well, I'm assuming you want something better than your camera's internal mics will pick up. If you do want better, you're not going to get it from the balcony. And if you do want stereo, you aren't going to get it from 6 or 10 foot spacing. At that huge spacing, what you get is "multiple mono".

Recording audio of acoustical music is far more difficult than video. You won't believe that now, because you haven't done it. But if you continue down this road, you'll learn what I'm talking about.

To get you started, you'll need a book. One of the better ones out currently is Richard King's Recording Orchestra. This is about as concise an answer as can be given to your question -- it's way more complicated than can be answered in a thread on a forum. There is much to be learned.

But for now, suffice it to say that cardioids aren't typically used in AB, AB is mostly for omnis. Cards do well in ORTF. They'll also work in well in NOS.

Here's an interactive tool you might find useful also. Shows you visually how the various main arrays work. It's no substitute for using your ears, but it does implement the correct math.
Bruce Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2017, 06:18 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,255
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

Coincident microphones are going to be a more forgiving, accessible and reliable method than others, and behave better when you don't have many choices for distance from the orchestra.

For a first recording project, your NT5s in X/Y, placed on a single stand or flown above the conductor's head are a great start. Flown mics are a very clean look, if you can pull it off. In either case, you need a good rig, commonly called a stereo microphone bar. Be sure to get one that matches the thread size of your mic clips and stand, 5/8" for most but not all in the U.S. 3/8" is the other common size. You can also get adapters, but, easier to buy the right one from the start.

Strongly agreeing with Paul & Bruce, the balcony is no place for orchestra mics, though it can be a great place to record ambience and applause. Do experiment with mixing in a little of your camera mic in post...
__________________
30 years of pro media production. Vegas user since 1.0. Webcaster since 1997. Freelancer since 2000. College instructor since 2001.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2017, 10:43 PM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Canton, MI
Posts: 90
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

Wow I guess I have opened a can or worms here. I was researching what ORTF means and found some great instructional material like (Visualization of ORTF Stereo Microphone System mic angle 110 spacing 17 cm equivalence system - Array with two microphones Time of arrical difference mic - Stereo recording angle SRA time difference level difference mic orchestra angle degrees visu) , this helps a lot.

I'll check out the other reading material also.

Thanks for the instruction, KPO.
Kevin O'Connor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2017, 11:21 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 943
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

Kevin - good to see someone coming in here with an audio question like this as I’ve been doing a lot of research trying to raise my audio bar, but in a slightly different setup.

With regard to the orchestra mic setup question, these guys above are heads and shoulders above anything I can contribute but I’d like to comment about the mic placement being in the shoot.

There are a couple videos I’ve seen that were shot with a mic placed like others have said, over the head of the conductor. In one case it was with a 100+ string orchestra and the other with the Seattle Girls Choir.

In the case of the string orchestra, they were on the stage and the mic stand was on the auditorium floor about four feet below the stage, and it was really tall, guessing about 12 feet. The tripod stand had what looked to me to be rather skinny. The videographer had a cable that ran from it to the rear of the theater (it was a big one). Don’t know if it went to a recorder or to the videographer’s cam and he was in the balcony.

The Seattle Girls Choir is in a different large auditorium and the mic is similarly placed - but don’t remember if it was on the stage or the floor in front.

With regard to the mic setup, my take is the stand and the mic is so small compared to the whole stage that it is not all that noticeable, more like a thin black line. Bottom line, if the people in charge don’t mind a mic setup like that then I’d go for it. Have no idea what they were using for the mic setup but the next time I’ll be asking questions.

One thing I’d do differently, though, is avoid a long cable run and just run it to a good Wi-Fi capable recorder at the base of the tripod. I’m using a Tascam DR-44WL with an iPhone and the setup has worked really well but only based on two gigs so far, but there are more in the pipeline. I’m currently working on recitals, solo and small group live performances, and the like. There’s a lot to learn.

Last edited by John Nantz; November 11th, 2017 at 11:23 PM. Reason: Sp: think > thin
John Nantz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2017, 11:43 PM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Canton, MI
Posts: 90
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

Yes this is a very interesting task, recording a large band / orchestra, I had no idea it was so technical. I've only done talking head recordings or watched the sound guys on set do their thing. I want to avoid the long runs of XLR cables but I guess the pro's like to avoid WiFi. I've seen a setup in the same theater I'm recording in that sounds like the one you saw at the girls choir concert. He used all XLR cable also.

I think I discovered that Sennheiser offers a EW-300-G3 kit with a SKP-300 plug-on and a EW-100 receiver. The SKP-300 will give me the phantom power and if Sennheiser offers it in a kit with EW-100 receivers then I can use the EW-100 receivers I already have. This solves my problem.

Next concern, how far does the WiFi reach with the EW-100-G3 system? What is the range?

Thanks, KPO.
Kevin O'Connor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2017, 07:57 AM   #9
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 4,286
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

How all depends on your budget, and the end users expectations. What it takes to produce "acceptable" recordings of high school ensembles for parent viewing/listening is far less than say, production for a TV network holiday special concert. Researching the available literature is a good start. BTW, the Shure web site has a number of white papers/publications on recording too.

Also, for performances involving material not in the public domain (e.g., recent Broadway shows, from Disney films), be aware there may be copyright issues if selling video. The high schools may have performance rights, but they might not extend to cover video sales. I have heard that in some areas they have stopped sale of performance videos at marching band competitions for this reason. Something you would have to discuss with the band directors.

Considering the simple grade/middle/high school performances scenario:
For high school marching band half time performances I use cardioid mics place on the center of the running track at the 40 yard lines (the band is large, over 200 players plus the pit) so they use most of the field. I've used wireless systems to get the sound to the camcorder on the press box roof. Over the years they have included Shure LX series, AT1800 series (with plug-on transmitters), Shure FP series, and I may try the Rode Newscaster series in the future. The mics I've used have included Sure Beta 58 elements in the LX (rugged), AKG C1000s, AT 2035, and AT AE5100 but there are many other possibilities that can work OK. The NT5 should work OK. (Different ears prefer the sound from different mics.)

You will likely need "dead cats" (the furry wind noise filters) on the mics in outdoor settings to suppress wind gusts. The foam filters are next to useless. While using wired mics should give better sound, the wireless saves managing cables and having someone manning a recorder near the mics and attempting sound sync later. Cardioid pattern is essential to reduce crowd noise pickup (many people at a game are not interested in the marching band performance). Note that placing the mics close to the pit causes their sounds to dominate. And be prepared for the possibility of rain

For indoor performances I typically use a moderate cost single point stereo (AT 825 <discontinued>) place a bit behind the conductor on a high stand (10' or so). I use a black stand, or put black gaffers tape on an shiny stand so it is not as obvious in video. By the way, video of stage band/orchestra performances can be boring unless you have a lot of close ups of performers as they play, meaning you need several cameras in the shoot for a good result, perhaps one fixed wide shot with audio, and one or more doing close ups.

As you have noted, there are a lot of technical things to consider, but the bottom like ends up being - whether or not the customer (it might just be you or the neighbor kids parent) happy with what you produce.
__________________
dpalomaki@dspalomaki.com
Don Palomaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2017, 08:17 AM   #10
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 4,286
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

I can't speak to the EW100 G3 but:
Typical wireless mic range is limited by the allowable power of the transmitter and the receiver quality. Typical figures are up to about 100 yards clear line of sight in a electrically clean environment.

Near by transmitters (and even TV transmitters miles away), radio spectrum crowding, and nearby metal structures/objects can reduce this, some times substantially and not always predictably.
__________________
dpalomaki@dspalomaki.com
Don Palomaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2017, 09:17 AM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA
Posts: 676
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
One thing Id do differently, though, is avoid a long cable run and just run it to a good Wi-Fi capable recorder at the base of the tripod.
I advise against this. The name of this particular game is sound quality. No wireless system, no matter how expensive, can equal a simple XLR cable for sound quality. Which is why the people who make a living recording orchestras on location own a lot of XLR cables, but no radios.

The length of run of XLR cables basically doesn't matter. People make 1000' runs all the time -- that's what this technology is designed for. You can even make long runs of Ethernet cable using boxes like this. To use something like this, you run XLRs from the mics down the stand to the floor to one of these boxes. Then you plug in your ethernet cable, make your run, and terminate into another box on the other end. Then short XLR cables to your recorder.
Bruce Watson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2017, 09:28 AM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 1,224
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

Good info here. Without derailing, what would be a good solution for indoor (concert hall) concert band recording if the client is absolutely against a centrally located stand behind the director? Two stands to either side?
__________________
Nate Haustein PXW-FS5 / iMac i7 / FCPX
www.flightcreativemedia.com
Nate Haustein is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2017, 10:35 AM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 1,837
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

There are some very small full range mics available from DPA, Schoeps, ect. that would be just about invisible.
I would not use any kind of wireless, unless it's for start/stop, level adj,
Balanced mic cable runs can be quite long w/o any audible issues. at least 300+ feet, and 4x that for line level. Of course decent cables would be wanted. I would recommend the star-quad type, but a standard single pair would probably be sufficient .
Rick Reineke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2017, 11:03 AM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,525
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

The common audio problem of event videographers in theaters is that you don’t have access/permission/time/equipment to properly place mics. In house techs have access to areas that you don’t and can get around blocking the audience view by hanging mics from the ceiling. Of course it’s easiest if the venue mics it then you get a board feed.

If I have to mic it myself then my goal is to try to cover as large of an area of the stage and reduce picking up audience noise. Usually the only place available is directly in front of the stage. Two mics on stands 15 feet apart and maybe a boundary mic in the center. There are many venues that don’t have the floor space in front of the stage for you to put mic stands without the risk of audience tripping on them. It goes without out saying you need to clear any setup in advance.

In the end you need to decide how much you want to make their problems yours.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; November 12th, 2017 at 11:59 AM.
Pete Cofrancesco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 12th, 2017, 02:27 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 943
Re: Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording

Bruce - re:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
I advise against this. The name of this particular game is sound quality.
For good sound quality I'd prefer to run the mic audio signal direct to an external recorder and the Tascam DR-44WL has dual XLR inputs (plus two safety tracks) and can provide phantom power. Cam specifications for audio typically don't elaborate very much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
No wireless system, no matter how expensive, can equal a simple XLR cable for sound quality. Which is why the people who make a living recording orchestras on location own a lot of XLR cables, but no radios.
The Tascam is not a wireless recorder.

There are several advantages to using a recorder near the mic, one of them being a short Mogami will work fine so one doesn't have to string a lot of cable, especially when early arrivals are walking around. Personally, I do not like my cables being walked on because of the potential for damage. In an auditorium situation where a cable might be run from the stage to the rear of the building, depending on how it is set up, there is the potential for a cable to get trampled on. With a recorder taped to the mic tripod it makes for a really easy, clean, and neat setup. That's why I mentioned the Wi-Fi capability and it's a personal preference so "your mileage may vary."

The other thing I liked about the Tascam was the ability to remotely stop and start the recording between clips as it makes for easier syncing in post. Less effort to find which clip to match the audio with.

Picture of Tascam with Sennheiser ME-66:
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...-img_4379.jpg?
Attached Thumbnails
Recomended Mic Placement for Orchestra Recording-img_2387-2_8.jpg  

Last edited by John Nantz; November 12th, 2017 at 02:33 PM. Reason: Added: Picture of Tascam w/ME-66
John Nantz 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 10:06 PM.


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