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Old April 9th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #1
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How would you mic a Tupperware party scene?

Hi all. . .

Let's say you are in a large room, about 20 by 20, and you've got 15 people in the room sitting all around the room. You need some long shots showing the room and the people talking rapid-fire in different positions in the room.

How would you mic that? Put a sensitive mic hung in the center of the ceiling? Buy 15 lavs and a humongous mixer? What?

Thanks so much.

Stephen
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Old April 9th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #2
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perhaps use a couple of shotguns on booms over the majority of talent 1 to either side (out of frame of course) OR maybe a few PMZs might work.

Don
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Old April 9th, 2007, 08:02 PM   #3
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tupperware

Um, drill holes in some of the more popular tupperware bowls and stick a lav mic and a spy cam in the bottom for an interesting pov. Sorry....couldn't resist.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 12:46 AM   #4
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Depends on what you're trying to come out with.

If you just want general babble for a VO background, general micing is fine.

If you want to pull out particular voices you MUST mic those voices separately.

If everyone's talking, your ONLY hope of clean sound is to get a mic MUCH closer to the person you want to iso than everyone else. That typically means a lav. (or better yet, a micro boom element like a Countryman E6)

1 inch from the primary voice verses a few feet from everyone else and you've suddently got a usable signal to noise ratio.

Outside of that, a cocktail party thing is the WORST situation you'll face in sound isolation. The NOISE (party chatter) is guaranteed to be in the same frequency spectrum (mixed human voices) as the SIGNAL you want to record.

Yikes.

It's like mixing two colors of paint to get a third, then wanting one of your original colors back. Can't be done.

In fact, not even a GREAT boom mic can help you much in this situation.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #5
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I guess it depends on what you're looking for. If you just want the babble of the party, you can hide a wireless omni lav near the center of the party, and let 'er roll. If you need certain voices to be understood, just mic that talent.

Please, tell us more.

Mark
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Old April 10th, 2007, 09:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Stephen Pruitt View Post
Hi all. . .

Let's say you are in a large room, about 20 by 20, and you've got 15 people in the room sitting all around the room. You need some long shots showing the room and the people talking rapid-fire in different positions in the room.

How would you mic that? Put a sensitive mic hung in the center of the ceiling? Buy 15 lavs and a humongous mixer? What?

Thanks so much.

Stephen
First of all, is this an ENG style doco shoot where you don't control the action and you have to get it in one take or is it a scripted production where you can cover the party in multiple setups getting establishing shots, close-ups, etc? If the latter you don't even try to mic the whole group except for the establishing shots where you're recording background conversation buzz. You don't try to mic characters for dialog in these shots but instead capture the general audio ambience. When you're shooting the closeups and need to get dialog, you have the principals in the shot do their lines while everyone else in the background mimes their converation silently. You mix the party's background ambience and the dialog from separate stems to construct the final scene in post.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 02:08 PM   #7
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In a scripted production, for a scene like this, you'd typically only mic the speakers in their close-ups and have everyone else mime their conversations. The walla would be recorded later in an environment where you had better control, and mix everything together in post to create that tupperware party atmosphere. I have seen an alternative approach to this for a party scene that had a dozen speaking parts. Each of the speakers got a wireless mic that ran to an isolated track just for that speaker. They recorded the full dozen tracks for every take and then sorted it out in post.

On a completely unrelated topic (except that it has to do with Tupperware), there's a very funny play running off-Broadway in NYC called "Sealed for Freshness". It's all about a 1968 Tupperware Party.
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Old April 10th, 2007, 10:59 PM   #8
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Thanks for the tips.

I'm thinking I'm going to have to buy about eight Countryman B6 mics!

Okay, let's take Whit Stillman's brilliant indie film, Metropolitan. Most of that movie is just a sequence of Tupperware scenes (sans the Tupperware). Almost all of the shots are wide and show a number of people talking. There appears to be almost no room for a boom and I'm certain he didn't have much money for wireless lavs. I'd love to know how he got the sound track for those (utterly brilliant) conversations.

Stephen
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Old April 10th, 2007, 11:45 PM   #9
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I looked it up the film came out in '90 so it was made in 88ish or earlier. It was probably recorded onto nogra or dat so I think it would be fair to rule out multitracking. We've got it easy today. It's one thing to look at film processing costs and be thankful for video but you tend to forget about how much fun it is to manually sync sound on a flatbed, thanks again video. I would agree with the earlier poster, only the subject speaks everyone else is faking it. ADR would be another possibility, in a noisy environment it's generally easier to do ADR than it is to have the entire production waiting on a clean audio take. Good Luck.
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Old April 11th, 2007, 07:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Stephen Pruitt View Post
Thanks for the tips.

I'm thinking I'm going to have to buy about eight Countryman B6 mics!

Okay, let's take Whit Stillman's brilliant indie film, Metropolitan. Most of that movie is just a sequence of Tupperware scenes (sans the Tupperware). Almost all of the shots are wide and show a number of people talking. There appears to be almost no room for a boom and I'm certain he didn't have much money for wireless lavs. I'd love to know how he got the sound track for those (utterly brilliant) conversations.

Stephen
Well that's different. That's a movie. Cast member can be directed when to talk and when to shut up to let the people talking be heard. That doesn't happen at a tupperwear party.

All those episodes of Friends with coffee shop scenes. Every background player in the shop is pantomiming. If they were talking, the scene would be a mess.

Regards,

Ty
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Old April 11th, 2007, 01:42 PM   #11
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Exactly right, Ty. AND you know who's going to be talking when. So you can do that whole thing with probably two wireless mics :-)
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