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Old June 14th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #1
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A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Hey folks,

I have a wedding coming up in 10 days time. I was shocked when I heard they were planning to conduct a ceremony on an open rooftop tower (over 10m high), next to an ocean, and right smack in the middle of wet winter season here in Australia. To those familiar with Perth, its on the Bell Tower rooftop!

Now, I've done a very windy wedding last year on a beachside. Not FUN! My audio were all very badly muffled, my steadicam were rocky, and it was just too rough to shoot. As this time could be worst, I want to be more prepared.

To give idea of my audio setup, I used 2 voice recorders with tie-pin mic on the officiant and the groom (no furry windshield) and a 3rd recorder I plug into a mixer/soundboard if they use any. I will have 3 cameras all with RODE microphones, one of them with the furry windshield (which will probably be mounted on camera closest to the couple). There are also some side walls around the rooftop, so I might snuggle just behind it to reduce wind impact.

But I'm still not confident I will be able to get decent audio out of these. Anything I can do to improve my setup?
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Old June 14th, 2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

I hate wind BUT since those are the cards you're dealt....FIRST get some dead cats for those mics. They make a world of difference. I've made some over the years, they fit over foamys and while they weren't as good as store bought they did a passable job. Something is better than nothing. Forget the gain on the recorders you'll probably need some high end boost and some low end cutoff. Don't know if the recorders have that but...Lastly you'll need a decent noise reduction program in post. I did an outdoor ceremony 2 years ago where the wind was every bit of 30 to 40 mph. Groom was mic'd and a mic in front of the DJ speaker since he mic'd the officiant. Fortunately the wind was quartering off the B&G which put it right into the officiants face but a little off axis of the mic on the groom. As I listened from my headphones I shook my head and later mentioned to the B&G that because of the wind I couldn't guarantee the quality of the audio. They were very cool about it said they understood and even signed off a statement I had written that I had talked to them about it. (that's called CYA)...Bottom line was that thru the NR in post I was not only able to make it passable it was actually pretty good considering the conditions. However ALL of my mics, lav, drum mic in front of the PA speaker, shotguns on the cameras all had foam and furrys on them. The furries were all homemade and I still carry them today. While not as pretty or efficient as "real ones" they worked and that's all that counts. Get you some!
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Old June 14th, 2011, 10:41 PM   #3
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Thanks Don.. how do you make the furry? What sort of raw material you'd need?

And did you put furry on the lav mic or just a foam? I thought it will look pretty strange having furs on the groom's suit.

I was thinking of putting some earphone's foam around the lav mic, might help reduce the noise slightly.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 12:40 AM   #4
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Johannes, whilst I'm sure we've all balked at the cost of some of our gear and attempted work rounds, I've rarely found that in the end not buying the real thing is a sound investment. That's an opinion, nothing more.

But.

In this case, you're going to sink or swim because of your sound. People will remember and forgive the unstable pictures, they can see it was bad weather even if they can't remember, but they think that good sound comes as a given regardless of the weather.

Furries for lav mics are not expensive - and I seem to recall seeing some that came in different colours which might help.

I'd also recommend you do your best to shelter the mics behind the buttonhole flowers or behind the grooms tie. Your ingenuity will be tested today! In your situation I'd even consider double micing the groom or perhaps even better micing the groom and the celebrant. If you have enough mics to do all three I would. The key is to give yourself more options.

Finally I'd explain to the clients that you have a tricky task to achieve and you're going to need some time setting them up. It's not a job to be rushed.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 12:57 AM   #5
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Hi Johannes

The Swan Belltower is a awful venue on a windy day!!! The issue isn't with the wind hitting the mics but the wind howling thru the slots in the side walls. There is precious little you can do about it too...!!

For the basic wind in the area, make sure that the setup is traditional ie: when you face the couple the groom is on your left as that's where the wind comes from!! His back will provide an adequate shield BUT there is nothing you can do to stop the howling that is caused by the wind coming thru the slots in the side walls ... I guess keep the lav's as close as you can and pray!!!

Watch out too for fierce backlighting...couples tend to stand in front of the glass safety panel facing inwards and you are shooting straight into very bright light from the huge expanse of river behind them!! It's a nice venue in mid Summer when the sun is further South and tends to light the roof area more evenly but now you will have a dark venue and this bright background of the water so be sure to expose for the couple's faces!!

It's my least favorite venue from March onwards but hopefully you might have an overcast day which just might help....then again, it might pour with rain and you can then do the ceremony on the ground floor which is way better.

I certainly hope the weather and lighting (and most of all, the wind) is in your favour. Pray for a calm day!!

Chris
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Old June 15th, 2011, 02:12 AM   #6
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Chris, Johannes is lucky to have on-site experience because of course none us would otherwise have known about the slots you describe.

Given how dominant the wind noise is as a result I wonder if the slots also give it pitch - if they do have you tried a band pass filter? Usually wind is too broad a frequency to let these bits of kit work decently other than to remove the rumble element, but in this case maybe?
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Old June 15th, 2011, 04:32 AM   #7
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Thanks gents for the tips. Especially Chris for sharing your experience on the venue! They are starting the ceremony sometime before midday. I hope the sun won't be as harsh then.. *fingers crossed*

I think I'll buy a deadcat for my other RODE and one (or maybe 2) for the lav mic. Lucky there's a local online store that sells them.

They did tell me that if it rains they gonna have it inside the bell tower on the ground floor. At least they have plan B in place.. But I hope the weather is calm and nice as its been unpredictable lately.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 06:17 AM   #8
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

I agree 100% that its better to buy the real things but mine was a case of last minute necessity and luckily the fabric store had just what I was looking for. Still I would have given my money to a professional store if one could have had the good to me within a less than 24 hour time period which of course couldn't happen.
I did put a furry on the grooms mic, looks be damned in 30 mph winds. The idea in my head was "safe audio" so I in fact used foam wind screens made for the lavs then "installed" a furry over that. The shotguns and drum mic also had the same set up. Was it perfect? Not a chance, did it help you bet. Would I have preferred to have a nice quiet indoor ceremony? Oh yeah but...
Maybe it'll rain real hard, you'll go indoors and the wind issue will disappear.
Good luck
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Old June 15th, 2011, 06:29 AM   #9
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Hi Philip

Note that I have onsite experience but not all GOOD onsite experience!! I've actually done a few Summer ones where it was dead calm and the outcome was magic!! Sadly the slots seem to generate a band of harmonics so wide they just cannot be filtered out....the last wedding I did there in April my first thought (on hearing the good audio from the lav but the howling bansee wail overall) was "easy job for a bandpass filter" ....I cursed for hours and the frequency band seemed to extend from 1K to 15K (which would also kill the vows of course)

In Winter even dead cats/kittens/foam won't cure the "wail" so the next best thing is hope that it's dead calm (and we all wish that for Johannes) or a huge downpour which means a relocation to the ground floor which is a joy to shoot in!!!

Hopefully in 11 days we will have a positive report back from a happy videographer!!

Chris
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Old June 15th, 2011, 10:11 PM   #10
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Haha.. at this stage I am becoming more concerned of the howling. The weather forecast for 25/06 (Perth - Australia; Detailed weather forecast up to 14 days, UV index) is showing some clouds and showers with winds 6mph. It doesn't look good at all! I hope the couple will choose plan B and be glad they dont have to fight the wind and the rain at 12m high rooftop!

I shall put some orders in for the windshields and report back in 10 days.. Wish me luck!
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Old June 16th, 2011, 12:41 AM   #11
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

I don't think that wind that light will start the howling..mind you when we entered the tower it was calm on the ground and quite sheltered but on the 6th floor the wind was much stronger ... the slots are only in the "wrap around" walls in the tower so with a bit of luck an early wedding like yours shouldn't have the Fremantle Doctor (that's our afternoon breeze that keeps us cool in Summer) kick in until later.

If you do have the unfortunate howl then the bride must realise that it's beyond your control!!

We, of course. are all holding thumbs for a dead still day and no rain at all!!

Chris
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Old June 16th, 2011, 03:44 AM   #12
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

I have been very intrigued by this thread as the venue sounds quite interesting so I looked it up and it certainly is a very spectacular and stylish building.

Maybe if it all goes wrong you could do something like this with the mics:

YouTube - ‪The Swan Bell Tower Basketball Shot - How Ridiculous‬‏
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Old June 16th, 2011, 03:54 AM   #13
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Hi George

The bride and groom stand with their backs to the glass where the telescope is. The offending walls are not the ones you see in the video but the ones either side of the lift (elevator for you US people) They are long thin slots in the back of the side walls that produce the howl.

When the light is right and there is no wind it's really a stunning venue with fantastic views over the Swan river!!!

Chris
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Old June 16th, 2011, 03:02 PM   #14
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
... I've made some over the years, they fit over foamys and while they weren't as good as store bought they did a passable job.
Guys- in a similar situation. I'm doing a beach wedding on Saturday and just realized I'm missing the windshield for my lav mic. I won't have time to purchase so anyone have any material suggestions for a makeshift windshield?

Art
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Old June 16th, 2011, 04:31 PM   #15
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Re: A windy wedding (possibly rainy).. how to handle?

Find a fabric store. they should have a selection of faux fur. I bought some about 3 inches long and trimmed as needed. I fitted it around the foam cover I have for my lavs and threw a couple of stitches in it. Of course because it's so small, I also managed to get my fingers a few times but no major blood draw.
Like I said, not as good as store bought but they did the job. Had enough to make a few 100.
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