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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old May 21st, 2010, 12:16 PM   #16
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Location: Fremont, CA.
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this discussion really helps alot. i wish i had known about this a few months back. i just order the h4n and in reading this discussion i'll be buying a good number of cable adapters just in case the djs have different outs. luckily for me, i have 2 friends who are aspiring djs which help me alot. but i do agree with some folks here the number of djs i've dealt with in the past weren't exactly helpful or knowledgeable. thanks all for the info.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 08:48 AM   #17
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One DJ I've worked with a bit lately really knows his stuff and I've plugged into ihs board a few times, but many of them don't have a clue.

However I never expect them to have a spare line out. If they do, and they are kind enough to let me use it, then that's great, but I want to walk into a reception venue knowing that under any circumstances I can independantly get usable sound. This usually means a shotgun mic and a wireless on the lecturn. However, the wirelss has a tendancy to pick up and amplify any small bumps, knocks or nervous tapping on the lecturn. This weekend I am going to try placing the wireless lav on the speaker as Rickey suggested. I've thought about it before but for some reason it just feels like I'm using 'dirty' second hand sound - although I suppose the camera-mounted shotgun mic is too, so it can't be any worse than that!
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 06:07 PM   #18
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Don's right - carry a range of logical connectors and don't assume anything.

We find the only music the clients remember is what they chose for the first dance. We ask for a copy of exactly what they're giving the DJ and sync up the disk with the live material and seque to and from the disk in the mix.

With judicious cutting/syncing any dance music can be used to cover other general dancing.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 02:12 PM   #19
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All of the techniques here, from plugging into the DJ's system to relying solely on your own equipment and mic'ing the speaker are good techniques. I will say that regardless of your approach, the most important thing is that you monitor and adjust your levels. If you monitor your levels properly from your on-camera mics (I have a Canon A1 and also a Rode Videomic on my 5D) it is possible to get very good and clean-sounding audio.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to get not only the feed from the DJ, but also at least one source of room audio (with levels adjusted manually/properly) that you can mix with the feed from the DJ. Some of the most important moments at the reception are the crowd participation/noise/singing, which you won't get on the DJ feed. I just did a wedding where the entire groom's party broke out into singing along with the song being played for the son/mother dance. Without my on-camera mic recording the room at a good level, I wouldn't have gotten it and it would have been very disappointing to the bride/groom!

If you can get good at setting and maintaining levels during the reception with good room mics, you won't ever need to get the DJ feed, in my experience. The overall ambience of the room is recorded with the track, but in my experience this is preferable to the sterile feed from the DJ and is a better representation of what the people heard as it was happening.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 07:01 AM   #20
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This works ALL the time. Place a wireless handheld mic in front of the DJ's speakers. It's the final output. No need to worry about the mixer and other variables. What the bride and groom hears, is what I hear.
Chris Fig Productions
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Old June 8th, 2010, 11:36 AM   #21
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I have tried for several years to get a board feed but in the end it's too many variables for my taste. I use two Tascam Dr-100's angled at almost 45 degrees toward the tweeter. This will lower the "proximity effect" and give you less muddy (low mids) build-up. I put one on each speaker in the event that one of the speakers is blown. I set each at a slightly different level and remember they have hardware/analog limiters that form a safety net as well. Like Bill, an additional shotgun room source is a good call as well. This works for me.
Jon Bufkin
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Old June 8th, 2010, 03:09 PM   #22
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We have been using a Zoom H4n with success.
We plug a pair of Shure SM35 mics into the recorders XLR ports and mic the PA stack individually. One mic on woofer and one on tweeter.

We then make sure that the H4n's onboard mics are facing the crowd and use the onboard mics to record ambient crowd reaction. This turns out a nice 4 channel mix, which we sue as our master audio in post.

We used to use an Edirol R44 4-channel recorder in the same manner.
But, even though the R44 produces betetr audio (cleaner pre amps), the overall small size of the H4n is great. As everything can be mounted on one mic stand or clamped where needed.

I plug a small recorder sometimes into a board for backup audio.
But as a rule, I don't trust someone else (unless I know that they know their stuff) with my audio, as I like being in control of my productions.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 08:23 PM   #23
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Michael, have you tried using the Zoom's onboard mics to record the speaker sound while the device is actually on top of the speaker?

The reason I ask is that we used to use this method all the time with DVR's, and we just picked up a Zoom H4n a few months ago and planned to use it the same way. The problem is that the sound is all muddy (a lot in the lows and not much in the highs). We never had this problem with the DVR's, which by the way cost half as much as the Zoom. Go figure.

As for DJ's .. we NEVER attempt to hook up to a DJ. Too many opportunities to have the sound screwed up. Heck, we shot a corporate gig at the Taco Bell Arena and the sound tech there managed to screw up our line feed. Luckily we anticipated this possibility and had 3 other sound sources going. Don't rely on DJ's.
Black Label Films
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Old June 9th, 2010, 06:41 AM   #24
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What's most surprising about my setup of putting the handheld mic in front of the DJ speaker is that 99.9% of DJ's have absolutely no problem with me doing so, I guess because I'm leaving the guy alone who's in charge of the board. However, one DJ Company here in New York repeatedly asks me, "Can you tap into our board? Your mic is ruining our look". Meanwhile, their "look" is not terribly fancy, and I'm using a black mic stand, and black mic. With the lights off in the reception hall, my setup isn't doing much of anything to their work of art. Some DJ's just want full control, and aren't willing to recognize that we all work together.
Chris Fig Productions
Wedding Videographer
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