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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 20th, 2008, 08:42 AM   #1
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Wedding audio during ceremony

What ideas do people have for getting clear audio during vows and speeches recorded well. Will a Rode NTG1 do the job on camera, or is it essential to have a lapel mic in use?
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Old November 20th, 2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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You're really going to want to have some kind of lapel mic. Using any kind of mic on camera is going to be very iffy...especially since you'll run into different restrictions on where you can be. Sometimes you could be close enough to pick up the vows but that wouldn't happen very often. You don't necessarily need to go buy a full wireless sytem if you're on a tight budget though. I have 2 wireless sytems but when I need to mic another individual or podium, I use Olympus voice recorders with the lapel mic. These are fairly cheap and would be much for getting those vows than any on camera mic. my 2 cents!

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Old November 20th, 2008, 09:02 AM   #3
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The voice recorders are a god-send. I've been using them for a few months now to mic the officiant and have been considering picking another 2 or 3 up to mic strategic areas like the podium. It really depends on what kind of churches you shoot in. Most protestant churches in the US have decent sound systems you can plug into with some type of recorder, I use an old MiniDisc player when possible, but I've been shooting in a lot more Catholic churches lately and for whatever reason these guys don't really believe in sound boards that are accessible in any way shape or form, hence the need for more mics. Getting good audio for all the sources is harder than getting good shots IMO.

For speeches, it might be a good idea to get a wireless handheld mic that works with your current wireless lapel system. Most people understand to hold the mic to their mouth when they have that more traditional mic in their hand and they seem to understand how to pass it around better than when handling a lapel mic and transmitter pack.

If you're more than a few feet away, the cheap shotgun mics wont do you much good for vows. They do make your camera look nicer though. I'd go either wireless or voice recorder on the groom in that situation. If money is an issue, and it is for most of us, get two voice recorders, one for the groom, and one for the officiant. You'll still come out about $300 ahead of buying one of the cheaper wireless systems, the only problem would be that you have to sync the audio in post.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 09:12 AM   #4
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would I get away with one lapel mic on the groom to pick up the bride also???
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Old November 20th, 2008, 09:16 AM   #5
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would I get away with one lapel mic on the groom to pick up the bride also???
Easily. Not sure how you'd hide a mic on the bride anyway.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #6
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would I get away with one lapel mic on the groom to pick up the bride also???
I use a iriver for that, they are so surprisingly good that it's easy to catch the brides voice as well, you do have to boost gain in post considerably but it's relative noise free. At least miles ahead of what my onboard camera mic can catch.

Secondly I use a zoom h4 but a zoom h2 will do equally fine, I place this one nearby a loudspeaker, they are so easy to use and you only have to pay attention to the gain that's easy to check as you can read the sound levels in a small window on the side.

the h2 is actually a better choice as it's very small and it can be transformed into a wireless interview microphone, complete with a handle and (don't know the name for it) a windprotector that can be placed over the microphone.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 09:34 AM   #7
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I use a iriver for that, they are so surprisingly good that it's easy to catch the brides voice as well, you do have to boost gain in post considerably but it's relative noise free. At least miles ahead of what my onboard camera mic can catch.

Secondly I use a zoom h4 but a zoom h2 will do equally fine, I place this one nearby a loudspeaker, they are so easy to use and you only have to pay attention to the gain that's easy to check as you can read the sound levels in a small window on the side.

the h2 is actually a better choice as it's very small and it can be transformed into a wireless interview microphone, complete with a handle and (don't know the name for it) a windprotector that can be placed over the microphone.
The only problem I have with the loudspeaker technique is that often times the audio coming out of them is distorted and all around ugly sounding, again I've found this to be true more so in Catholic churches. It's a sure way to get sound from the venue, but maybe not the cleanest. It all depends on the quality of the venue's system and how well it's dialed in. I've learned not to rely on someone else getting me clean audio.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 10:59 AM   #8
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Any kind of on board mic will not get the audio qith any kind of quality if at all.
A shogun on the camera is only good for a couple of feet and since most times you can't be that close it's a no-go.
Personally I use a lav on the groom and a lav on the lectern. I also use a shotgun on my 2nd camera which DOES do a nice job of getting the music but that's also picked up from my 2 lavs. I don't even use the hypercaroid on my #1 camera as it pick up all the sounds of the guests. Babys crying, the kneelers falling coughing etc. I use an AT dual channel system with 2 Countryman EMW lavs on my #1 camera so I can monitor the audio and an AT897 on my 2nd camera for the music. My post production time on audio has dropped considerably.
Regardless of what gear you use you really need to mic the groom. That will get the groom, the bride and the officiant when he's in front of them. About the only time my stuff is a bit weak is a Catholic ceremony when the priest is behind the Communion table and he's anywhere from 8 to 10 feet away from the groom witht the mic but since most of them wear some sort of mic to the churches PA system I generally get that from one of the mics at least well enough to be able to sweeten it in post.
Works for me, YMMV.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 12:37 PM   #9
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Don has it covered pretty well. I had similar issues with Priests not wanting a 2nd mic on them (thinking it would cause feedback, or interference). Not wanting to argue with them, I carry an iRiver in my pocket and explain to them that its not transmitting anything (no possibility of feedback or interference). That has worked with most of them to their satisfaction.
1) wireless on groom / officient
2) mp3 recorder for either
3) mp3 recorder for musicians or audio board (Zoom H2 or Olympus LS-10)
4) on-camera mic for 2nd channel audio (clapping/ambient)

Your weakest link at that point would be wireless mic quality...so make sure its a good unit...don't scrimp here.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 12:42 PM   #10
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As a kinda side note, has anyone actually had their mics interfere with the house mics? I've never had it happen, not once.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 12:46 PM   #11
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I also use a shotgun on my 2nd camera which DOES do a nice job of getting the music...
Don, is your 2nd camera unmanned on a tripod? Where do you usually place it? I have 2 cameras but I've never used an unmanned one in fear it could be damaged or stolen behind my back... Also, ceremonies may be longer than 1 hr; since I am a 1-camera man, I would not have a chance to switch tapes in the 2nd one - I have enough trouble to do it in my main camera (I try to do it during communion). Do you start/stop your second one remotely? What is your 2-camera technique? Too many questions...
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Old November 20th, 2008, 04:41 PM   #12
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Definitely small recorder/iRiver with a lav mic on the groom.

Last wedding (outdoor) priest didn't turn his mic on... generally an audio disaster with lots of wind. Groom mic (iRiver/Giant Squid combo) picked up everything perfectly (lucky me, his back was to the wind most of the time!!), the video was better than actually being there. On camera mics were virtually useless for anything other than ambiance, and I used a couple Sony Bluetooth mics on my CX12's as an experiment for the altar/arbor area - they did very well actually, and I'll use that same approach again.


SHOOTING MULTICAM
Unless you're doing an unusual wedding, you should be able to keep an eye on your unmanned cams - set them up before the ceremony, pick them up right after. If you're shooting something longer than 1 hour, try to pick a slow spot to swap tape on each camera... Start BOTH (or ALL, if you shoot more) cameras a couple minutes before the ceremony starts, try to get a shot with a flash or something visually noticeable in it with all cams "seeing" that event, so sync is easy in post, let 'em run till tape runs out (or tape swap if needed, boy am I glad I went tapeless...), or stop once ceremony ends.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 05:11 PM   #13
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yeah, unmanned and on a tripod. PLacement depends. Some venues and officiants let me put in on the altar or just off to one side, some don't. Sometimes it has to go into the balconey. In any case I try to frame the best shot I can and thenuse a remote to fire it off just before the processional starts. Most ceremonies don't run more than an hour but many are very close and frankly by the time it gets to the hour point, I really don't care about that footage anymore. What i mean is the couple is usually getting ready to step off the altar so there isn't a shot anyway.
As for tape changes, I do my main camera during Communion of the masses.I may have about 10 or 15 minutes left on the tape but IMO tape is the cheapest commodity we have so I don't care about burning 15 minutes. I would rather do that than run out just at the kiss and walkout.
As for theft, I guess I work in pretty good areas as I've never had a problem. I don't do a whole lot in the city of Chicago most in the suburbs and frankly a lot of times I'm in the same place 3 or more times a year so I think about theft but don't worry about it. For example this year I was in one church 9 times. The priest even tried to convert me ;-)
The times I DO change tapes in my 2nd camera is for Greek ceremonies. They do run long and not only is the camera on the altar but so am I. Actually I go back and forth between the 2 cameras. Lots of exercise.

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Old November 20th, 2008, 05:13 PM   #14
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The only problem I have with the loudspeaker technique is that often times the audio coming out of them is distorted and all around ugly sounding,
Sound quality from the loudspeakers is in Belgian churches quite good, never had a problem with distortion. I even seen priests wearing wireless mics instead of using a microphone (as a part of their own church sound system) so it looks their investing in their audio quality :) I only have to watch the zoom audio levels carefully as the sound level from the speakers can be quite loud sometimes and then it can distort in the zoom if I don't set the gain to medium.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 05:23 PM   #15
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As a kinda side note, has anyone actually had their mics interfere with the house mics? I've never had it happen, not once.
Well, I've been using DVR's for like 3 or 4 years now, and I've seen the house mics go nuts many times even though my DVR's don't transmit anything. Had I been using a wireless system, I'm sure the blame would have come down on me. So I wouldn't be surprised if much of the time that a house system is suffering problems, it has NOTHING to do with the videographer's mics.
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