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

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Old October 8th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #1
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Audio Redundancy for Weddings Set Up Help

I want to know how you set up your audio so you don't lose the vows. personally I think that delivering a bad audio is unacceptable if they pay you for quality.

So I thought of this question below:

I got a new g3 wireless system, and Im thinkin of connecting the lav to a Y cable and split them to
1. the wireless transmitter (goes to receiver/ h4n wirelessly)
2. and the H1.
So, the groom will have to carry in his pocket H1and the wireless transmitter.

I was wondering if someone has done this before. Also, if yes, what cable do I need to do this?

Bay Area Wedding
Sigmund Reboquio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2010, 06:32 PM   #2
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Sigmund, you might do better asking this in the audio section. I'm not expert enough to tell you why but I am 100% sure you can't split the output of a microphone as you describe. Apart from anything else both the zoom and the radio transmitter will be pushing phantom power at the microphone.

There are devices which can do the job for you but I don't think I've ever heard of them being suitable for the pockets of a groom's jacket. I have to admire your thoroughness though and if you're idea proves insoluble at least you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you're no worse of than the rest of us.
Philip Howells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2010, 08:36 PM   #3
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You could probably use a self powered electret lav mic and put in into a mini mixer (passive) and then feed outputs to the transmitter so phantom power isn't used. However that sounds like a lot of gear for the poor groom to carry!! It would probably be better to convince the officiant to wear another lav and recorder or just hide a mic and recorder near the couple.

My main cam is always pretty close to the couple (about 10' to 15') so I use a Rode on the cam to capture audio just in case the radio mics fail (never happened yet, thank goodness) Some audio is better than none!!! The person conducting the vows ceremony is usually close to the couple so having them wired is often a good option!!!

A second mic in a different location is often better than trying to rely on just one lav!! it might fall off or the nervous groom might even pull out a plug!! (All my transmitters are now hardwired!!) I did have a wedding where the groom was perfectly wired unless the priest put a thick ceremonial robe over his shoulders which essentially covered the lav!!! Weddings are always full of surprises!!!

Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 8th, 2010, 11:06 PM   #4
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Chris' remark about some audio is better than none prompts me to admit to learning a lesson about not scrimping on decent quality kit - even after 30 years I can still learn.

Normally I buy XLRs from either RS Components or Farnell, both reputable professional dealers in the UK, and invariably choose a quality brand, Neutrik. However, at the last minute I needed three XLRs and went to a retail outlet with shops in most cities, Maplins. Their XLRs were of the very earliest Cannon design with strain-relief collars secured by two screws, nothing like the modern, well designed Neutrik product which has no screws at all.

Worse, the manufacture was shoddy and frankly I should have replaced the Maplins XLRs as soon as I could have.

Inevitably I didn't and a few weddings later I discovered a silent gap of about six seconds in one of our signature interviews. These are recorded with a single short gun microphone and thanks to Sony's decision not to allow one channel on the Z1 to be XLR and the other its on-board (and generally useless) microphone, I had no sound whatsoever - the Chris Harding horror!.

Fortunately the interviewee was loquacious and I was able to get enough relevant comment from the remaining recording.

My wife, the camera op for the interviews remarked that the sound dropped out but I foolishly thought it was the minijack connector for the headphones. In fact, it was one connection piece in one leg of the cheap XLR which had become detached and pulled off the solder connection. Another lesson learned - buy decent quality kit.

Incidentally I returned the faulty connector to Maplins who were only prepared to offer a replacement since the problem had occurred outside their 45 day refund period. Under the circumstances I declined but at least they didn't try and evade responsibility. That's why I'm comfortable naming them here and I still use them for non-mission-critical gear.
Philip Howells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 12th, 2010, 06:15 AM   #5
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I mic the groom with wireless lav transmitting to the main camera on one xlr channel. Shogun mic on the main camera goes to second xlr port. I hide a Zoom H4N recorder where the vows will be spoken. Second camera has a shotgun mic. If possible, I hide a third small camera also with shotgun mic with camera set to wide focus as near where vows will be. So have a variety of audio sources. Main thing is, fresh batteries for wireless mic transmitter and receiver, and Zoom H4N hidden nearby.

Hope this helps. If you are a one man operation like me, you won't have time for fiddling with audio mixer while you're trying to shoot with main camera. I find that I really need to focus (concentrate on what I'm doing, includes monitoring exposure, focus, framing of the shots, and monitoring audio with headphones) with the main camera while the ceremony is taking place. Everything else is just left running unattended until I can get back to it.
Roger Van Duyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 12th, 2010, 11:52 PM   #6
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Sigmund, splitting the mic to two receivers isn't giving you redundancy. Your recording capability is redundant, but not your complete audio set up. If that mic shoots craps, you got two matched sets of recorded garbage.

Also, IMO, two pieces of gear in the groom's pocket is going to be way too bulky and possibly stick out like a sore thumb.

I agree with your idea of redundancy, as anything can go wrong. I shot the wedding of a very dear friend, and she wore a lav and recorder, the groom did also and we had a wireless for the celebrant. The celebrant flat out refused to wear the wireless, the bride's recorder got shut off somehow, we ended up with just the groom and a shotgun on a cam. As Chris already mentioned, any audio beats having none.
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