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Old September 27th, 2011, 05:18 PM   #1
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Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

I have been needing to ask this question for awhile. Right now we are using Zoom H1's with Countryman mics. One on the groom and one on the officiant and a back up from the DJ, but all too often the DJ's wireless mics and sound are awful. So I resort to the H1 on the groom. So sometimes the the brides don't speak loud enough so I have to add gain to their vows in post. This creates a hissing and a lot of background noise. When I put the officiants track and the brides track on the timeline I have to bring in the brides voice when she speaks then cut her track out when the officiant speaks or the brides track is too loud when the officiant talks.

How can I get around this issue? I'm want to do it they way the big companies do it so I'm willing to invest great money in a new system if need be.

Note: I also own a Sennheiser G2 system which I'm thinking of going back to so I can monitor the brides vows from my H4N.

Any thoughts.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 07:10 PM   #2
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

I think that no matter how you play it, in my experience, unless the bride is VERY close to the groom and/or speaks up a good amount, you always need to tweak her levels (only on her words) when she speaks. That is, UNLESS you were to mic her, too. In my mind, it's a bit obtrusive to mic the bride :)
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Old September 27th, 2011, 09:15 PM   #3
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

I agree with Tim. In all of my time in this biz I have only mic'd 1 bride and she was a budding TV reporter and insisted she be mic'd.
For the brides vows I generally spend about 5 extra minutes in post to bring up her voice only and generally end up using some noise reduction to kill off any kind of floor noise from bring up her audio.
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Old September 27th, 2011, 09:46 PM   #4
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

Thanks for your comment guys. Of course I'm not considering mic'ing the bride, no way!

I'm wondering if more people find the wireless system to be better by putting it on the groom then being able to adjust levels or do you use Digital Voice Recorders like the Zoom H1?

AND, how do you fix in post?
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Old September 28th, 2011, 12:57 AM   #5
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

The problem you have Kelly is not the equipment, but the level of the sound coming out of her mouth is not much higher than the level of the "noise floor" itself. So if you monitor and boost the amplitude to hear her better, you also are going to be boosting all those sounds you don't want, too,leaving you no better off. If you whack out the entire "noise floor" in post editing, you are also whacking out a portion of her voice too, as it is mixed in with the "noise floor" because it is so quiet.

If you want chyrstal clear perfect audio, really your only options are, is to get her to speak louder, or get some very sensitive and very accurate recording equipment to record just primarily her. The best option that leaves you ready for any situation, you have already canned, and that is "mic the bride" too. A tiny lav pinned just inside the bodice of her dress, going to a small DVR pinned to the skirt, is going to grab more than any other option.After that there is "booming" the couple during the vows. Last options are some real super diect, super sensitive and super expensive shotgun mic aimed directly at her.

The long and short of it. If she's not going to speak up loud enough to be heard, there's no quick, easy and cheap fix, other than the one you already canned, mic'ing her up.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 01:53 AM   #6
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

I use G2's and always have to adjust for the bride's levels. The Bride will nearly ALWAYS talk softer than the groom or officiant. Changing mics isn't going to help. Putting a mic on the bride will help but won't completely eliminate the problem.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 03:30 AM   #7
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

Well I've never tried to wire a bride and wouldn't really want to. I have a small olympus digital recorder in the groom's inside pocket with an AKG lav mic on his left lapel (sometimes for part of the vows they are facing the officiant and she's always on the groom's left) and that usually suffices with a little gain tweak in post - only take 10 minutes or so to give her voice a little help :)
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Old September 28th, 2011, 10:02 AM   #8
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

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Originally Posted by Chip Thome View Post
The problem you have Kelly is not the equipment, but the level of the sound coming out of her mouth is not much higher than the level of the "noise floor" itself. So if you monitor and boost the amplitude to hear her better, you also are going to be boosting all those sounds you don't want, too,leaving you no better off. If you whack out the entire "noise floor" in post editing, you are also whacking out a portion of her voice too, as it is mixed in with the "noise floor" because it is so quiet.
I'm not familiar with an audio plug-in for "whacking" but it sounds like a primitive way to handle noise. ;->

Seriously, there are more sophisticated ways to reduce noise that don't "whack" out the bride's voice along with noise. The noise reduction routines provided by Sound Forge (Pro, not Sound Forge Studio) and Audacity (free, btw) are pretty good, the main problem being a "flanging" effect if you apply it too aggressively.
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Old September 28th, 2011, 11:26 AM   #9
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

With the Sennheiser G2's, you really need to play with the sensitivity setting on the transmitter and the RF Out on the receiver until you get it where it's sensitive enough to pick up the voices but doesn't pick up other ambient sound. Those settings will change with the environment at each wedding. I'd suggest doing a lot of testing so you sort if know exactly what the settings need to be when you show up at a wedding.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:59 AM   #10
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

I'm surprised that lavs and wired / wireless systems seem to get so much use now that miniature digital recorders with decent audio quality are affordable. I have the Senny G3 but seldom use it. I also have 5 lavs but likewise seldom use those either.

Instead I use several Zoom H1's. At most weddings its very easy to hide these close to the action e.g. within a flower arrangement, or to place them on little stands or clamp them to suitable nearby fixtures or furniture.

Here are a couple of illustrations from a wedding a few days ago at which I shot both stills and video.

In this one the H1 is on a mini stand in between the candlesticks. It records the priest whilst he is in that position and also each of the three readers who stood at the lecturn to deliver their pieces:

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/525-hm...22-03_hmke.jpg

In this one an H1 is clamped to the woodwork in between the bride and groom with just the mics protruding. Barely visible and certainly not intrusive (look just below the groom's right hand). As a fulltime photographer with hundreds of weddings to my name believe me I am very switched on to keeping video equipment unintrusive. This H1 picks up the bride and groom plus the priest whilst they are making the vows etc and it doesn't matter whether the couple are facing each other or facing the priest.

The sound quality is very acceptable. Not the same as lavs 9 inches from mouths but actually more appropriate in many ways as its even and it includes the room ambient sound without that being attention grabbing or distracting.

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/525-hm...64-03_hmke.jpg

Obviously this sort of arrangement will not work with every wedding because of the physical layout and availability of "props" but mostly its fine.

The speeches are of course easy as they just involve placing recorders on tables under each of the speach makers. And so long as the person doesn't wander around alls well - I ask them not to do that!

This arrangement is also very quick to set up and that matters a lot to me as I work alone and shoot both video and stills.

I seldom bother taking a feed from the venue board as the quality is so poor on most occasions.

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Old September 29th, 2011, 12:49 PM   #11
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

As Don Bloom says, boosting the bride's voice in post is usually necessary, and after some noise reduction, is generally OK. This only works, though, if the room is not too boomy and the bride is not miked for the PA system.

If a church microphone is used for the live sound, then things change. In Belgium, the majority of the weddings I shoot are in a church, and if they use a hand-held mike for the vows you had better get the sound from the church mixer, or at least near a speaker. Otherwise the echo and reverberance is pretty heavy, even from the groom's lav.
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Old September 29th, 2011, 02:52 PM   #12
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

If you're looking for the best sounding vows, the best way is to wire both the groom and bride with mics. Here's the smallest transmitter that I know of, it's terrific for professional applications. It's easy to hide, and water resistant too. Keep in mind that you'll also need the mic and receiver. Get a white countryman B6. If the dress is tight and there is absolutely no place for the transmitter to stay invisible, strap it to her thigh right above the knee and run the wire up the dress. Expensive system, yes, but once you have it it'll last decades! You'll also have the best sounding vows, I can't think of any way to make it sound better.
Lectrosonics SMV Super-Miniature Microphone Transmitter SMV-21
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Old September 30th, 2011, 03:17 AM   #13
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

What does the bride actually say as a wedding vow in the 21st century?

If it still includes 'I do' ? Why not get her to say it all as a separate audio clip and lay it in in post?

Yes I know most are mostly overwhelmed but you could even try it as a close up on cam and see if you can cut it in.

Cheers.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 12:34 AM   #14
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

I agree that it would be rare to find a bride you can mic. I put wireless lavs on both the groom and the officiant. I have never had that not work. One of those two mics is going to get a decent feed even if you have to pull the volume up when she is speaking when you edit.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 05:57 PM   #15
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Re: Capturing Brides Vows without using wired mic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
What does the bride actually say as a wedding vow in the 21st century?

If it still includes 'I do' ? Why not get her to say it all as a separate audio clip and lay it in in post?

Yes I know most are mostly overwhelmed but you could even try it as a close up on cam and see if you can cut it in.

Cheers.
Allan,
I've actually had success having the bride/groom voice-over the vows at a quiet moment, in a separate quiet room, in the reception. No, they weren't viewing the footage as they spoke, but they were a couple who had memorized their vows and it had happened to be a noisy church (fan blowing, etc.). They were more than thrilled to record onto my mp3 recorder and thanked me for it. The vows synced perfectly (maybe one or two cutaways needed) and sounded beautiful. Obviously this takes special circumstances to work and the right couple. There was another time when a reader read from the wrong lectern (meaning my mp3 recorder didn't pick it up because it was sitting on the correct lectern). The reader re-reread her passage later in the day into my recorder and that, too, synced up nicely in post -- with a cutaway or two. So... this is another method to get clear results for the right situation.
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