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Old September 23rd, 2011, 07:09 PM   #16
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

The girls I work with here would not be OK with a mic hanging from the back their dress, and I can't even imagine asking them to hold the mics for each other. Where you are up there in Montreal if might be cool, and there are some occasions it might work here, I'm sure, but as a general rule, no way. Here in Cincinnati, the toasts are usually done from their respective side of the bridal party table, and it would just be awkward as hell. Now occasionally, they certainly do toast from the dance floor and stand together, but even then, I don't know.

I can see it working at a lower end wedding with less sophisticated groups, for sure, where they are more compliant, but with the higher end clients, not so much.

All in all, a good idea though, and I'll keep it in mind, thanks for sharing your methods.
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 07:54 PM   #17
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

I wouldn't know if it's related to the region but I did encounter more difficult people before too.

If this is an overall issue you often encounter with most of your clients' guests my suggestion would be to bring this up with your couples when you meet them before their wedding to explain the way you work and what it takes to capture good audio. If the couples pay you a fair amount to cover their wedding and they care about getting a good quality product, they'd hopefully push their guests to cooperate with you more.

But I would say that so far, all my edits are using audio from either the DJ board or DJ speaker as I normally get the cleanest file from those setups. I haven't found a proper way to get clean audio from the wireless lavs during the reception yet as I always get echoes and feedback. If anyone knows a better solution, I'd love to know too...
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 09:04 PM   #18
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

I can just see one of my couples telling 250 guests at their wedding, "OK you better co-operate with Don the video guy because we want a great video of our wedding". I would probably be knocked around at the very least egged. ;-)

Regardless of the type of finsihed product we produce, doco, cinematic, long form, short form whatever and I've done them all, we are there to cover the event not direct it or change it. When it doesn't go as planned for the couple well guess what. They know it. If the dance floor isn't full because the DJ sucked or the people simply wanted to drink more than dance and it's the same 8 people out on the floor all, the B&G know it. If everyone leave at 11pm instead of staying until the end of the night 12AM the B&G know it. Nothing we do or say or plan can change that.

My point is this. Put a lav on the best man for his toast? Not in this lifetime. All the reasons that others mentioned before will do. Try to mic the maid of honor. Hells bells man, by the time the toasts start so many of them are half lit that they'd either think I was coming on to them or sexually harassing them in which case I would either get beaten up, egged or arrested.

OK I'll be serious. Some plug into the DJs board (I don't anymore but thats me) other mic the DJs speaker(s) (that IS me) and frankly I haven't had any problems with audio at a reception in the over 10? years I've been doing that and for me thats about 600 weddings. I get good clean audio, I don't have to spend a lot of time in post with it (actually almost none except to sometimes adjust levels when the BM or MoH hold the mic down by their stomach) and I don't have to rely on anyone else for proper levels by plugging into the board or trying to get the BM or MoH mic'd.
Now bear in mind that 1) that's in THIS area. Maybe in other areas of the US you can, perhaps in other parts of the world you can, I know things are done differently in AUS than in Chicago. What I'm saying is find what works for you and use it until it doesn't work anymore then find another way.
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 11:18 PM   #19
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Thanks for the input Don.

I'm honestly pretty surprised to see that micing your guests seems to be such a big hassle in the US (or at least Chicago and Cincinnati). I've personally never had any problem asking people to put a lav mic on them before. It really only takes a few seconds to clip it on and off and people have never been unhappy about it (at least over here in Canada)

Like I mentionned previously, I normally do end up using the audio from the DJ board or speaker most of the time but I just like to have more options whenever I get the chance to.

I had quite a few guests who like to wave the mic around when they talk, resulting in inconsistent audio. Those are moments when I prefer to use the feed from my lav as the distance between the mic and their mouth stays the same and I get a more uniform sound.

I actually do talk about it with my couples during our meetings with them. I guess it's just me, but I like to explain and educate them about the way I work so they understand and know what to expect from me at their wedding. They're normally happy and excited about it.

Most of the time, the wedding planner or DJ would arrange that for me and before any speech or toast, they would give me a few seconds to mic them and we're good to go. I wouldn't really call that directing or changing the course of an event.

But again, I guess it really depends on the people you work with and your own preference on how to do things. We're simply here to share ideas.
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 11:34 PM   #20
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Now Don, on another note, would you mind sharing your audio setup for ceremonies?

I normally have more problems during ceremonies than reception and I'd like to know what your methods are.

Here's what I normally do:

- omni lav on the groom
- uni lav on the priest
- h4n on the church's sound board (if available)
- shotgun mic on the church's speaker
- shotgun mic on the podium, next to the church's podium mic

Am I overlooking anything?
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Old September 24th, 2011, 06:43 AM   #21
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Hey Long, I tend to keep it pretty simple. I use the AudioTechnica 1821 dual channel receiver now (for about 3 years I guess) so I can monitor both wireless systems. I use Countryman EMW lavs. One of course goes on the groom the other (for a typical church wedding-outdoor or hotel type venues require different setups) goes on the pulpit where the readers and officiant will speak from. I kill off the hypercaroid on my A camera in favor of the 2 lavs and use the AT897 on my B and C cameras to pickup the music being played in the church. Generally a shotgun would be the last choice but the music is played pretty loud and one of the cameras is usually close enough that the music track comes out really well. That's a pretty typical ceremony setup for me.
BTW, I admire the fact that you mic up the guests at a reception-frankly I don't have the time as a solo operator or the wherewithall (patience) to do that. Even trying to talk to the MoH and BM about holding the mic close, chin level, most times goes in one ear and out the other and while I might get some inconsistent levels because of that I live with it and, yeah, I fix it in post ( man I hate those words). Anyway I might have been a bit snarky with my response to your post and I do apologize. Old, sick and grumpy...not a good combo ;-)
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Old September 24th, 2011, 07:47 AM   #22
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Thanks for sharing Don!

And don't worry about the reply, I rather prefer to hear from other pros what the challenges are so I can get ready to face them if it ever happens to me. Micing my guests is something I do only when I can afford to, but I do try to do it as often as I can. It simply gives me an extra option to choose from. But I do agree that micing the DJ speaker is always a very safe way.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 08:04 AM   #23
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

You know it just occurred to me, that using a microphone designed for capturing loud sounds without distortion (might be very expensive, I don't know) and finding a way to suspend it directly in front of the djs speaker, from some contraption hanging off the top might be a good way to go, but it would take some ingenuity. I wonder if the speaker magnets would pose an issue, they might.

Or hanging a GH1/GH2 camera (very tiny) or any recording device with microphone from the ceiling from about 10 feet out when you have the ceilings that you can hang things from, might be another way. Our DJs here routinely hang lights from ceilings so it could work for sure. Use a wide angle lens, point the camera downward at the floor, and you'd also have a potentially very cool shot. Downside would be battery would have to be changed out every 90 minutes with my camera, unless they had electric in the ceiling, which some do.

Easier to run from the DJ board of course, but I'm thinking of those cases where it's not feasible for whatever reason.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 08:31 AM   #24
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

When I mic the DJ speaker, I normally put a rode videomic on a lightstand with a hotshoe mount. This way I can angle it properly. The mic would be plugged to a Zoom H4n so monitoring levels is really simple. I haven't tried hanging anything from the ceiling yet as most receptions I've been to have given me enough room to put a lightstand in front of a DJ speaker. But I've read about someone putting a recorder on top of the DJ speaker and hanging a lav mic down. I personally haven't tried that method yet.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 08:38 AM   #25
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Great thread!

I see a lot of people here using the H4N, which is what I've used, I've posted about this many times before but have never gotten an answer. I use a 40db pad on my H4N in hopes that the audio levels won't clip, but 50% of the time they do. The toasts are always fine as they usually speak pretty quietly, but half of the time, the emcee's voice clips because they are shouting into the mic. Also, songs with heavy bass clip a lot as well. How do you guys get around this?

I've written it off as awful DJ's that don't know how to set their levels, because every now and then I get a dj that seems to know his boards well and all of the audio is beautiful with no clipping.

Thoughts?
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Old September 24th, 2011, 08:53 AM   #26
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Hey Chris, I normally talk to the DJ before the reception starts and ask him to do a soundcheck with me. I ask him to talk and shout the same way he would when he talks to the crowd so it allows me to read the H4n's LCD screen and make sure nothing's clipping. Then I simply adjust my Rec Level accordingly. I sometimes I have to bring it all the way down to 0.1 if I have to. Since toasts are normally not as loud, I'd simply boost the vocals up in post and I still get a clean audio. I'm no audio expert but it's been working for me so far.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 10:22 AM   #27
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Hey Long,

I always do a soundcheck with the DJ, but it seems that they rarely actually boost the audio up to what it will actually be when the reception gets going. I generally put my audio level at -9 and it still clips, if the sound is bad coming out of the dj board, then no matter how low I set my levels the audio still clips. The end result is that I just have quieter clipped audio.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 01:15 PM   #28
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Over the years in my quest for a way to capture audio at a reception I tried what felt like every microphone made by man and beast. Someone here recommended a Sennheiser E604 Drum mic (or equivalent) and honestly I haven't looked back since. At about $125.00 give or take a couple of bucks, it has saved my butt more thimes than I can count.
I hang it on a stand install my plugin transmitter which is set to minus6 db and am able to control levels on both the receiver and camera. It has never clipped on me once. I watch my meters and monitor thru cans of course.
The drum mic is made to take the SPLs that you'll get from DJs and bands. Especially when they don't know any level except 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.
For the money it has been one of the best investments I've ever made.
As for placement I never place it towards the bass speaker if the DJ is using one. AAMOF I place it above the center of the speaker (usually on a stand) and keep it about 6 to 8 inches from the speaker grill. The drum mic picks up the lower end of the spectrum very nicely and the hypercaroid I have on my camera picks up the higher end and the room noise. In post I simply split the track and adjust levels individually of the 2 tracks. Played together they go left and right as one would expect.
Lavs and most shotguns aren't made for the levels the DJ puts out and clipping will almost always happen unless you're recording device (Zoom or what have you) is set properly.
I have a 600W surround sound that I've used in the past to learn what a mic can and can't do-some good old rock n' roll set to about 9, camera with media to record the sound, headphones and it's off to the races. Play around with the levels on the cam and receiver until I found the sweet spot and it's worked great for me ever since, about 4 years now IIRC.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 01:25 PM   #29
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Most DJ's use speakers that have an XLR out which is used to connect runs of speakers so you don't have to run a cable for each speaker to the board. However, very few DJ's use that output. I just plug in my Sennheiser G2 100 beltpack transmitter and lay it on top of the speaker. Channel one on the camera is the DJ board and channel two is the on-cam mic. Works great. Just apply some gaffer tape to the wireless or it will vibrate off the speaker.
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Old September 24th, 2011, 06:20 PM   #30
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Re: Capturing audio from DJ board

Michael,
I've thought about that for quite a while now but have always backed away without some "practice" to know what my levels will be but the idea is sweet. I think over my slow time (December) I'll hook up with one of my DJ friends and use his gear as a "try out" and see how it works out.
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