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Old May 19th, 2006, 05:25 PM   #1
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Miking sketch show

A friend asked me to shoot his sketch show. It's in a small cabaret-like venue and the stage is also small. There are 3 performers, who will be mostly talking and moving around the stage. I will shoot 2 performances, going wide for the first and closer for the second. I'm shooting with a GL2. This is a small show with a very low budget, so I'm doing this at a discount, and I can't rent any equipement. I should be able to test my setup a few hours before the first performance.

My only doubts are about miking the performance. All I have is a Rode Videomic. I will be able to borrow another mike, but I can't be sure what it's going to be, but I think it's another shotgun.

I thought of doing the following:
- Rode Video Mic on camera, connected to the AUX input of my Beachtek DXA-4P (which sends it to the right channel I think).
- The other mike connected to the Beachtek's left channel through a long XLR cable.

But where should I put the second mike? In front of the stage? I don't know if I'll be able to get a mike stand, but I might just tape it to a tripod. Maybe I should hang the mic above the stage?

What's the best setup, considering the equipement that is available? Any specific tips?
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Old May 21st, 2006, 01:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Francois Robichaud
There are 3 performers, who will be mostly talking and moving around the stage. I will shoot 2 performances, going wide for the first and closer for the second. I'm shooting with a GL2.
Jean,
Aside from your mic questions, I would think you will have a lot of continuity problems with shooting the show as you described. Unless the actors do and say everything EXACTLY the same from the first to the second performance... same words, movement, timing, pauses for audience reaction etc., it will be very difficult to edit things together well. Two approaches come to mind...

1- Do it all on one show. Borrow another camera (even a consumer DV) to use as a wide camera and set it up at the back of the room and adjust the zoom to cover the entire "action area" of the stage. Run the audio to your GL-2 and use that for all the close-ups, audience reaction shots etc. Use a camera flash as a sync point in editing or just find a distinctive loud noise or actor movement to get sync.

2 - If you must, for some reason, do it with only 1 camera, make sure that the wide shots are so wide that you cannot easily detect lip movement. When you do the close-ups at the later show - make sure you run continuiously (no stopping) and use that audio track the one you use in the edit.

I think you will have a hard time making it work, but it is worth a try if you have no other options. If I were just a bit closer - I'd come up and give you a hand with my GL-2. Montreal is a great town.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 04:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean-Francois Robichaud
A friend asked me to shoot his sketch show. It's in a small cabaret-like venue and the stage is also small. There are 3 performers, who will be mostly talking and moving around the stage. I will shoot 2 performances, going wide for the first and closer for the second. I'm shooting with a GL2. This is a small show with a very low budget, so I'm doing this at a discount, and I can't rent any equipement. I should be able to test my setup a few hours before the first performance.

My only doubts are about miking the performance. All I have is a Rode Videomic. I will be able to borrow another mike, but I can't be sure what it's going to be, but I think it's another shotgun.

I thought of doing the following:
- Rode Video Mic on camera, connected to the AUX input of my Beachtek DXA-4P (which sends it to the right channel I think).
- The other mike connected to the Beachtek's left channel through a long XLR cable.

But where should I put the second mike? In front of the stage? I don't know if I'll be able to get a mike stand, but I might just tape it to a tripod. Maybe I should hang the mic above the stage?

What's the best setup, considering the equipment that is available? Any specific tips?

A mic stand is only about $25 at Long and McQuade, surely that's within your budget.

You need to find out for sure what the other mic is - until you do you can't even be sure it will even work at all with your Beachtek.

A major issue is that shotguns are going to prove difficult for this application. Setting aside the fact that shotguns usually produce a heavily coloured sound indoors, your immediate problem is that there's a relatively narrow sweet spot where they are most sensitive and their response falls off rapidly on either side of exactly in the direction they're aimed. As your performers move around the stage, they'll be spending more time off-mic than on unless you have someone to follow their movements with the mic mounted in some sort of pistol grip shock mount. No matter where you aim the mic, the performers are only going to be in that exact spot for a small part of the show.

Are they mic'ed for a house sound reinforcement system you can tie into? If not, is it possible to get hold of a couple of cardioids to put on stands on either side of the stage or a couple of omnis to fly over it? Or ideally, could you rent 3 wireless systems and mic each performer individually?
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Old May 21st, 2006, 11:46 PM   #4
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Jean-Francois,

If you can plug into the house system that would be great.

Otherwise, for that scenario I like to use a couple of mics at the front corners of the stage. I try to get them as high as possible and then point them slightly downwards towards the diagonal back corner. I usually use a couple of NT3s, but perhaps the venue has some in-house mics you can borrow. I've been able to borrow some C1000s from different establishments. The sound under those conditions isn't great, or even good, but it is "good enough".

You know the drill about shotguns indoors, but, whatever mics you have, that's what you have. I'd setup and hop up on stage to do a sound check, to see if it's acceptable for you.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 09:35 AM   #5
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Well I shot the first performance. There's no house sound reinforcement. The second mic I was supposed to get never got there. We managed to get another mic with 15 minutes to go, but then I realised that my Beachtek had a broken contact on the output: I could only get sound on the right channel output (and I had tested it a day earlier!). I could get the left channel back if I fiddled with the cable, but it wasn't stable, so I had to go with only one mic. As my Videomic was already in position (on a mic stand at the front-left corner of the stage, pointing slightly down, like Michael suggested) I didn't install the second one. The sound seemed good in my headphones, but I won't know for sure until I watch the tape. At least I know that the image looked great.

I'll try to have my Beachtek repaired in time for the second performance this Thursday, but I doubt I'll have the time. It's likely I'll have to use the same setup as on the first one, though I might use a different mike. The video won't be for distribution. It's more for archiving purposes, though parts of it will make it into a demo.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 07:37 AM   #6
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Sketch Show

Jean Francois

My sugestion would be be to use ( or hire in your case) a wireless lavalier system (eg Senn G2) and get the good audio from your talent and have another mic to capture the overall sound allthough not in MS Stereo but probably gooid enough fot your intended purposes ( I think..)
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