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Old May 29th, 2008, 11:51 AM   #1
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Reception audio - best practices

Hi everyone -

I'm hoping to get some ideas here. I have a Zoom H2 and two irivers with some GS lav mics.

I got the ceremony audio covered, but I'm not happy with the audio I'm capturing at the reception (specifically, the music).

I generally have the Zoom on top of the PA speaker - with a lav mic dangling in front of the tweeter. Speeches are coming out fine. However, I want to avoid patching into the DJ's board, because I'd like to have more control with the audio.

Is dangling the lav a good idea? Or is there something better? Do I need a better mic (I assume I do).

What do you guys do.

Thanks!
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Old May 29th, 2008, 12:18 PM   #2
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I would either place a mic the appropriate distance in front of the speaker...or you can go from board output, to a small mixer (that you would purchase), to the receiver/camera which will give you more control. Unfortunately I don't know one to recommend, but I'm sure someone can chime in.

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Old May 29th, 2008, 01:17 PM   #3
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The best audio I've received from receptions is the dangle in front of the speaker, but only after a port out from the mixer - if you have the 30 minutes to work that to perfection, your audio will be absolutely pristine.

Aside from capturing good audio, the only parts you really need, I feel, is the speaches. Attach a wireless lav to the groom and hope (or ask) that the toasters stay close, then add the client's legal, purchased music to a track.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 06:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Nick Avdienko View Post
Is dangling the lav a good idea? Or is there something better? Do I need a better mic (I assume I do).

What do you guys do.

Thanks!
Why are you using a lav mic with the H2 when it has 4 mic capsules built in?

Put the H2 in 4ch mode, set the side delimitter switch to "L", set the internal recording volume to about 95. I say 4ch mode because the front will get the DJ's speaker and the rear will get some good crowd noise - each on seperate tracks for you to blend in post.

Place the H2 about 8-12 inches from the speaker just catching a bit of the bass (position it mainly on the tweeter).

You'll have to watch the recording volume to make sure it doesn't clip. The H2 recording lights will "flash" when this happens.

All DJ's and their equipment, volume, etc are different. Again, just raise or lower the record volume until you find the "sweet" spot when the lights don't flash anymore. Start out with about 95.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 10:03 PM   #5
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the lav dangling in front of a DJs speaker IMO isn't really a great idea. First most DJs really pack on the volume, 2nd the lav isn't made to respond to that kind of pressure. 3rd, at that close distance I am surprised you're getting anything useful at all without major distortion.

I have tried many different solutions over the years. Here's the one that works for me and has for about the last 3 years.

I use an AKG 300/CK93 hyper capsule for my on camera mic. That get room ambience and the upper frequency levels. I use a Sennheiser E604 drum mic with my plugin transmitter on a mic stand about 4 to 6 inches from the speaker and down a bit from the center. I set the transmitter to minus 6db and the hyper to minus 10 (both settings on either on the transmitter or mic) and set my levels on the camera to record at about minus 20 so when the DJ YELLS into the mic it doesn't redline.
The audio I get from this setup is awesome and requires virtually no post work. Perhaps some LOWERING of the volume when the DJ really turns it up.

The drum mic is made to take the pressure and level that are produced by the loud music.
Works for me!

Don
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Old May 29th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #6
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I use a Sennheiser E604 drum mic with my plugin transmitter on a mic stand about 4 to 6 inches from the speaker and down a bit from the center. Don
Ditto here. That e604 is quite the critter for this task. I just mount it on a mic stand along with the H2 (for a continuous backup).

I gave up long ago trying to tap into sound boards. It's just too "hit and miss" for me as I only have about 3 minutes to set up before the B&G appear. It's really kind of nice knowing I'm not dependant on another vendor to do my job.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 09:08 AM   #7
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I am planning on using a direct box at tomorrows wedding and getting a line from the DJ, I have yet to try it, I picked up a RCA to 1/4 cord that will hopefully give me everything I need to connect to all DJ, had the XLR and 1/4 cords, just not the RCA.

I plan on using the line as one channel, the shotgun as the other and have my Sony PCM-D50 for interviews and backup of audio when possible.

I by no means am saying my way is the way, I am trying to figure this out.

I will say that the audio from my second XH-A1 with only the stock mics has been used a few times when all else failed. Luckily it has only been a short piece of audio that has to be edited in, but was glad I had it.

I will agree with all the others that you never can have enough audio.

I am still amazed at all there is to video, if people only knew..

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Old May 30th, 2008, 10:13 AM   #8
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Ok, here's my easy way to capture audio at a reception.

First off I rarely go through the DJs board anymore, as most don't really know how their boards really work, or what feed I can get. Also they have control over yor sound. So if they accidentally turn down or worse, off your record out channel, then you're csrewed.

I prefer to be in total control of my picture and audio, whenever possible.

So first off don't use the 1/8 mic or line in, in the H2. It stinks, as the onboard internal pre amps are lousy and will get you in trouble. The H2 is bet used for its onboard mic (4 of em).

So that being said, place your H2 on a mic stand and set it to record in either 2 channel (stereo pair, record from front and back of the H2) or 4 channel (all individual capsules, record from front and back of the H2).

Set the H2 to record at least at 100, as the wiring is screwy in the unit and the built in ore amps. If you go lower than 100 it won't affect your audio in the least. So you have to rely on the external gain. Set this to L (low).

Set the H2 (recording at 100 and Gain to L (low) on a mic stand and place it slightly off center with the front of the H2 facing the PA stack (90 degree mic pickup) and the back of the H2 (120 degree mic pickup) facing the crowd.

If the H2 clips you will see the red led light blink (from both sides of the unit). but f you are clipping at 100 and L gain, then there's not much you can do, as lowering the record volume doesn't effect anything below 100 via the onboard pre amps.

Now you can also use the H2 and a wireless handheld mic, and mount them both on a mic stand, and record to your H2 and also send a wireless signal to your camera to use for backup/sync audio on tape.

Besides using the H2 and wireless handheld, I also may take a board feed, just in case, if ones available.

BTW, here's an old pic and setup of how you can use one mic stand and 2-3 devices at once. http://lvptools.blogspot.com/2008/03...are-bones.html

I use a similar setup for my R-44, except I use a (clamp on) music sheet holder and velcro to secure my R-44 to my mic stand. I cna setup and move this rig, anywhere I wish, as there is no cabling involved.

I recently purchased am Edirol R-44 (4 track Sd recorder), whcih rocks.
I mount the R-44 on a mic stand and run 2 Rode NT5 cardiod mics on a PA stack (one micing the tweeter, and one micing the Woofer). Then use either an At822 (stereo mic) fed into Channels 3-4 facing the crowd to record ambient music and crowd reaction. By doing this I get great live sounding audio, that is all perfectly synced on SD card. Then I upload the audio form the SD card to 4 channels of perfectly synced audio to be mixed with my video.

Now while the R-44 setup might be out of your reach for you. The H2 setup and wireless should work nicely and get you much better audio than using a lav. Which BTW, using lav mics for any loud situations is not recommended, as the mic capsule can't handle excessive SPL levels,a dn will always clip on you. Which as you probably know, when the H2 clips, it's totally unusable as it records a chirping sound which can't be fixed in post.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 11:35 AM   #9
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With the Zoom, I put the Gain on low - and I don't get much distortion - so for speeches and such, it's fine.

I had thought about putting the H2 on a mic stand in front of the PA (as described here), but I had two concerns. 1) will the DJ mind? 2) Worried about people dancing and knocking it over. Has this happened to anyone?
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nick Avdienko View Post
With the Zoom, I put the Gain on low - and I don't get much distortion - so for speeches and such, it's fine.

I had thought about putting the H2 on a mic stand in front of the PA (as described here), but I had two concerns. 1) will the DJ mind? 2) Worried about people dancing and knocking it over. Has this happened to anyone?
The answer is no and no.
Never had a DJ complain or even look at me funny.
And there were a few situations where I might have been worried about the mic stand getting knocked over (because PA stack was real close to dance floor), but had no issues either.

If you really wanted to you could boom the mic over or under the PA stack and then aim the Zoom recorder appropriately (hanging upside down from above like a boomed mic or right side up gong underneath the PA stack). If you needed to you could clamp on an extension arm to the PA stack and attach the H2 this way. There's always many ways to attack a problem. As long as you have the tools to do it and am able to think outside of the box when needed.

Either way for the spoken word or micing musicians (strings etc.) the H2 rocks. When micing a loud PA system, it has worked well. But there have been few instances where the unit just couldn't handle the volume being pumped through the PA system.

The H2 is good, but ain't great. But hey what do you expect for a $200 recorder.

This is why I have other units as well besides the H2 (Edirol R09, Marantz PMD620, Edirol R-44). Different units for different situations.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 02:02 PM   #11
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same as Michael. I've never had a DJ say anything about the mic in front of the speaker nor has it ever been knocked over. Came close a couple of times though.

Actually I think more DJs would prefer NOT to have you ask to plug in to their board. Some just don't know how and others are afraid you might do damage to the equipment while others are just plain uncooperative.

I prefer to control my own audio. Too many Djs just don't know how to run the board and think they need to run at level 11 when 7.5 will do.

Don
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Old May 30th, 2008, 03:09 PM   #12
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Now you can also use the H2 and a wireless handheld mic, and mount them both on a mic stand, and record to your H2 and also send a wireless signal to your camera to use for backup/sync audio on tape.
Thanks Michael - just went out and bought a mic stand. Will try this out.

You also said to mount a wireless mic. I have the Azden WMS-PRO Wireless Kit (not the greatest, but works for some things). How are these mics (both the handheld and lav)? If I had it next to the H2, would it be okay?
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Old May 30th, 2008, 03:32 PM   #13
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Thanks Michael - just went out and bought a mic stand. Will try this out.

You also said to mount a wireless mic. I have the Azden WMS-PRO Wireless Kit (not the greatest, but works for some things). How are these mics (both the handheld and lav)? If I had it next to the H2, would it be okay?
Nick, I can't say that I'm too familiar with the Azden wireless. I do know that they are a lower end middle of the road type unit.

I work with a Samson Micro 32 UHF wireless system (not the best but works very well for me as well), and have never really had any serious issues with the units.

If I had it to do all over again, I would have gotten Sennheiser units, as the Samson's don't have the best construction.

Since the Samson is UHF I have many different frequencies in which I can select if needed.

The Azden WMS-PRO system that you mentioned is VHF, which can have problems as you only have two selectable frequencies. So if their occupied, you're out of luck.

I would recommend looking into another wireless (UHF based), just for reliability and usability standpoint. Or else forget about wireless entirely and focus your efforts on recording your audio digitally via audio recorders (with built in mics, lavs, and external line or mic feeds). PS: If you go with audio recorders, do yourself a favor and don't skimp (ie iRivers), as they wil come back and bite you in the a** eventually. And remember, get the equipment that best suits your working style, not someone else's. As there is NO perfect recorder. There are expensive and inexpensive ones that can suit your needs. Just choose wisely for what's best for you in the long run (think the long haul not just for now) not short term.

Because for a live event, you get no second takes.
If you miss it or mess up the audio, your screwed. Audio is such an important part of video (in my opinion even more important than the actual video content). The reason being that video is easier to fix in post than audio is. A bad video with great audio will be perceived as good video. Good video with poor audio will be perceived as poor video. People just don't consciously perceive what they hear, in which is translated to their subconscious, visually. Sounds strange but true. What good is it for the bride and groom to see their video, but not be able to hear the vows.

This is what separates the professionals from the Uncle Charlie's of the world.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #14
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With the Zoom, I put the Gain on low - and I don't get much distortion - so for speeches and such, it's fine.
It does, "ok". That's as far as I'll go. That low setting will "muffle" the sound a bit so I always add just small dash of treble in post.

The recording I get from the Senn e604 drum mic is still 10x better.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 11:40 PM   #15
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It does, "ok". That's as far as I'll go. That low setting will "muffle" the sound a bit so I always add just small dash of treble in post.

The recording I get from the Senn e604 drum mic is still 10x better.
I've been hearing alot about the e604. Can you connect it to the H2 or an iriver?
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