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Old March 26th, 2003, 08:31 PM   #1
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Advice needed for cheaparse audio solution.

Hi all. I'll be videoing a conference in April and producing a couple of videos/dvds of the weekend and need some help with the audio as it's driving me nuts trying to think of a solution. Here's my situation.

- Area is small and conference is very informal with maybe 80 people or so attending.

- I'm the only person doing the video - no assistant

- Currently have, Camera and ME66.

- Not being paid, and all costs coming out of my own pocket.

- Most workshops will be single person ones, but there will be a couple where there will be about 3 speakers sharing the time.

- Multi speaker talks aren't panel talks, they'll just sit in chairs and stand when they're talking. They may move around a little, handing out materials, or writing on a whiteboard.

- Can't boom cause the workshops have got to be unobtrusive and relaxed

- I realise with all these limitations I can't to a top notch pro job, but that's ok, it doesn't have to look like a hollywood production.

Now, my thinking, given all these restraints, is to place 1 or 2 mics on low stands, pointing up into the area where the speakers will be.

Would this setup work, and if so what microphones should I use? Would my me66 be good for that or should I get some cheaper omni mics (stage style?) and place them on the stands.

If I need a few mics, I'll need a mixer so any advice on a cheap mixer is appreciated too.

Will just 1 mic be enough? The setting is intimate and not spread over a large area. I imagine all speakers will be within a 3m space.

I was going to buy one wireless mic for talks with single speakers, but maybe if I can get something for the multispeaker workshops then I can just use that. At least the sound will be consistent.

I can buy a little bit of gear, but don't want to spend large sums on gear that I might only once - therefore stuff that I can use again for reporting/doccos/short films would be fine for me to buy.


Any help is much appreciated as this is a nightmare, given all the constraints with money and not knowing all the variables.

It's about 3 weeks away and I want to get this sorted so I can concentrate on planning the creative side of it.


Cheers
Aaron
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Old March 27th, 2003, 08:08 AM   #2
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Aaron, I didn't want you to think that no one was thinking about your problem. I just haven't thought of the best answer yet. =)
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Old March 27th, 2003, 09:07 AM   #3
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Aaron,

Sounds like something simliar to some of the events I have done.

I use a Behringer Mixer 1605 (145.00)

I also have two Sony ECM 44-B Lavaliers (150.00 Each) which I tape to the microphone pedestals.

I have not tried using my ME66/K6 in this situation.

The set up with the cheaper omni's sounds like it will work very well. Pick up some stands from Radio Shack or electronics store, which reminds me, I need to do.

How far away are your subjects? You might be able to get away with mounting the Sennheiser ME66/K6 on your camera. Its a great mike and sensitive enough. If you go that route, there is a (shock)mount you can buy to diminish any noise generated by your camera. This method will also save you time because you don't have to lay any XLR cable, taping it down, etc.

I am unfamiliar with the wireless mikes.

I hope this helped in some fashion.

Cheers!

Derrick
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Old March 27th, 2003, 03:21 PM   #4
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First, Brian, thanks for trying! haha ;)


Derrick, thanks for the advice.

The subjects will be a reasonable distance from the camera (5-6 metres I'm guessing) so I'm happy to wire the mic on a stand.

When you say :

"I also have two Sony ECM 44-B Lavaliers (150.00 Each) which I tape to the microphone pedestals."

You mean the microphone stands, or di you usually have a podium?


How do you find handling the camera, and the mixer at the same time, are you generally able to cope? Oh and do you mix with just 2 mics or only when you have more?

I'm thinking I'll need a wireless lav at some later poiint, so I might get an Sennheiser Evolution 100 and use that in conjunction with my me66, although they are different types of mics. Do you think the differences in sound will be that noticable? (With one being a directional, and one an omni)

Cheers
Aaron
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Old March 28th, 2003, 08:21 AM   #5
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I wired the microphones to the their stands.

Regarding, the mixer and the camera. Since my subjects were stationary for the most part and spoke , I patched the microphones into the mixer (Mixer to the camera), as soon as they were speaking, I made adjustments to loss/gain slide switches and focused only on the camera. (Unless I heard something weird/static/ or otherwise.) The camera was relatively stationary also. Just back and forth pans once and a while, if that. Static situation. You could go out and get a cup of coffee and come back in an hour...

FYI - - A friend of mine was using his XL1S camera with AC current, plugged into the wall, and the mixer. There was a static charge the knocked out his audio. Canon didn't know what happened, nor did he. He switched to battery power and all was well. Hasn't happened since.

I don't know anything about that particular wireless lav or any others. There was a thread some time ago on this site that discussed the frequencies, i.e. UHF/VHF and debated which was the better. I would seek that out. The set up sounds like it would work well and keep you clear of laying XLR cables. Which is a royal pain in the arse. The simpler the better.

Do a practice test... Set it all up for a run through.

I hope this helped...

Cheers!

Derrick
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Old March 28th, 2003, 03:51 PM   #6
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Thanks Derrick. If I only use 2 mics then I will just go to my XLR adapter and use that to get the audio right balance. Save some $$ on the mixer for later ;)

It's also quite possible I'll move the camera during the workshops, so that I get some variation in the positioning, assuming there are long enough pauses for me to do so...maybe between speakers would be a good time.

I need the wireless for something else I'm doing in about 2 months time, so I'll just get it now and use it at the conference.

Thanks again
Aaron
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