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Old October 21st, 2011, 05:22 AM   #1
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Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

Hi
I was just wondering about peoples' methods for capturing the speeches audio. A way I've found works nicely is just placing my radio mic on the top table. I loosely wrap the wire round the unit, then I have a quick word with the people on the table and ask them to place the mic on the table in front of whoever is speaking.

Like I say, it works nicely but it's not perfect. You're relying on the guests remembering to pass it along to the next speaker, but at least I can monitor the sound from my camera position.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 05:38 AM   #2
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

We used to do that but it sometimes felt too 'distant'. What we do now is...

If they have a wireless handheld mic provided by the venue we try and find out the frequency its running on and tune our Sennheiser receiver into that frequency. We pick it up as if its the lav mic.

No frequency visible? Then we jack into the soundboard as they often have a headphone socket. Ideally we take it at source before its amplified so plug into their wireless receiver if we can.

No mic, no problem. We then put a Zoom H4N on the table in front of them, hidden behind some flowers or a wine bottle. Its on a little tripod and points towards the speaker. similar idea to the lav mic but gives much richer sound. We move it between speeches as you cant trust guests to. There is usually plenty of time as everyone claps.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 06:25 AM   #3
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

Hi Danny

I've considered getting the zoom but I'm always dissuaded because I wouldn't be able to monitor the sound from wherever my cam position is. Do you set it on auto or do you have an assistant monitoring?

I connected to the frequency of the house mic once but the speech makers weren't always holding it properly up to their mouths etc and I just felt it sounded terrible. You also miss any little asides when you don't have a mic on the table.

I've had one time where the father of the bride forgot to pass it down to the groom until about a minute in when the bride remembered. I just had to bump up the sound from the camera mic for that small section. Touch wood that's the only time that's happened.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 06:31 AM   #4
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

We always have the table top mic ready incase they decide that using it as a baton is more fun than using it as a mic ;)

We always like to have our primary audio as being monitored but sometimes you just have to take the gamble. We know that a H4N on the table at level 50 is perfect and the range the zoom gets means we can bump it up even if they whisper.

We dont use audio as on the zoom's it doesnt go up after it goes down. So we once had a guy tap the mic 'tap tap tap, is this thing on?". It knocked the volume down to 0.1. Open in the editor and a flatline soundwave. But, thankfully the zooms are so good I boosted the volume by some insane amount and we still had crystal clear audio of the speeches. So I know if I go under I can always boost it.

Were now finding more and more of the venues we do have a sound system and often have a mic we can tune into.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 01:42 PM   #5
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

Why not just do whatever will work best and not worry about monitoring the sound??? After all, you're not going to stop everything if the sound suddenly craps out.....are you??? I hope not.
Monitoring at an event such as a wedding is only worthwhile when setting up and up to MAYBE 5 minutes before the music starts. After that....if it goes out there is nothing you can do.

Mark
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Old October 21st, 2011, 02:43 PM   #6
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

We plug into the DJ's board first. Or plug into the speakers with a XLR. Or we take a zoom h1, attach a lapel mic and clip and mic the people speaking. This is the best method for sound quality. We have 3 zoom h1's so we can mic almost everyone and for the bridesmaids we have our H1 in a cheap cellphone holder.

Or you can get a Tascam digital voice recorder (small skinny one) and use electrical tape to tape it to the mic they are using.

I do find plugging a H4n into the Dj board and using headphones is the best way.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 06:22 PM   #7
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

Mark - Thanks for your input. Not sure why you say it's not worthwhile to monitor the sound. I monitor so I can adjust the levels on the camera if one speaker is quieter or louder than another. In a situation where they aren't using a house mic, and you've got a groom who projects well followed by a bride who's a bit nervous and a bit quiet, surely you have to monitor and adjust the sound then and there. Otherwise you'll be bumping the audio in post which is never as good as getting a good recording in the first place.

Kelly - Again thanks. I think everyone having their own mic is probably the best way of doing it, though I'm not sure I could ever justify the expence of 3 or 4 recording units just for the speeches.

BTW, do bridesmaids regularly make speeches there? Thankfully, it's still just dad, groom and best man usually in the UK....and even then it can still be too long!
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Old October 21st, 2011, 06:46 PM   #8
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

Tried something completely different for a wedding I did recently. I took along the gear I usually use for recording stage performances - two Rode NT3s, two M5s and an NTG3 rifle mike along with a Zoom R16 8 track recorder.

The NT3s and M5s were on desktop stands spread along the top table and the rifle mike was on a boom pointed at the guests. The downside was having to safely lay the cabling to the recorder, which was on a flight case tucked under the end of the table just clear of the bridesmaids feet. No power cables needed because the R16 is battery powered. From theatre experience I know the best trim control settings to prevent peaking on even the loudest sounds, and with the R16 set to record in 24 bit you get loads of headroom to play with, so there was no need to monitor the recording.

There was the usual 'is it on' performance with the venue's radio mike and handling noises as it was passed around - I never trust radio mikes or venue PA mixers.

I lost an NT3 during the first speech due to a bad connector, but in the edit I pulled up the levels on the adjacent mikes to compensate.

Using 5 mikes might seem like overkill perhaps, but the resulting mix-down sounded very good - I shall do it again next time.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 08:24 PM   #9
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

Hi David

Just of of interest, all my speeches are captured with boundary mics either on the bridal table or on the lectern...they are awesome and more than anything else they give you consistent levels. I used to use a lav clipped to the lectern mic but people will either stand miles away from the mic or attempt to eat it!!!

In fact last Thursday at my wedding two of the speakers got up from the table, walked past the lectern they were supposed to stand behind and stood in front of it!!! so my mic was taped to the desk behund them and still produced some pretty nice audio!!

Not many people use boundary mics but they work amazingly well and and almost invisible, especially the little AKG's I have which are probably an inch long and 3/4" wide!!! I just plug them into a transmitter and I'm done!!!

Chris
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 08:13 AM   #10
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

The AGC on the Zoom H4N is awful. As noted above it sets the levels down but then never sets them back up again. Happily the AGC on the Zoom H1 is very good & you can buy three of these device for the price of one H4N so these are much better suited for standalone recording. Lack of remote monitoring is a drawback but they are cheap enough that you just need to put out 2 or 3 of them for redundancy. You can use the on-board mics or a cheap Lavalier microphone clipped to the lectern or a boundary mic sat in the middle of the table.
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Old October 23rd, 2011, 05:55 AM   #11
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

If I have time I have 3 Olympus digital recorders with lav mics that I'll slip into the pockets of the 3 main speakers because (especially the best man) they might wander a little from table top mics. I also position a couple of Zoom H2 recorders as backup

If the speaches are before the meal I don't always have time so I'll replace the lav mics with boundary mics and position them along the top table

I don't worry about monitoring as I've never really had an issue and the Zooms will cover if one of the Olympus recorders goes down

Also, as others have mentioned - If they pass around a PA mic then tap into the board

BTW can anyone recommend a good Bounday mic? I'm currently using Audio Technica ATR4697 mics but want something better

Pete
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Old October 23rd, 2011, 06:55 AM   #12
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

Hi Peter

I'm using a pair of AKG C400 BL's but often if a lectern is involved I just use one. They are NOT self powered so I use them straight into a transmitter and they work like a dream. The nicest thing about them is that they are totally out of shot as they are so tiny ( 45mm long, 25mm wide and only 15mm high) They look like a tiny computer mouse actually but do an awesome job!!! They actually come with a two channel mixer which also powers the mics if you need to use them in tandem but so far if I have needed two I just use two transmitters.

The range is remarkable and the speaker can move from say 1 metre away to 2 metres away without any level loss!!! I'm sure you know that a lav mic would truly suffer if you doubled the source distance.

You do have to push the lows a bit during editing and the sound is quite crisp but for me, the speeches need to be heard and lot's of low frequency noise from a lav mic clipped onto say, the lectern mic might suffer from that.

Chris
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Old October 23rd, 2011, 07:34 AM   #13
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

Hi Chris - them AKG mics look good but seem to be dicontinued over here - I'll try hunt some down - I'm guessing I'll need to convert the balance as my olympus have single pole 3.5mm jack

On a note about being inconspicuous, I've made little white pouches that fit my Olympus recorders and lav battery compartment - make it easier to fit in someone's pocket without wrapping up and stuffing the cable in - also they blend in with the top table cloth (99% of the time it's white)

Pete
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Old March 13th, 2012, 01:21 PM   #14
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Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

I use my G3 wireless receiver to tune into the hotels wireless mics frequency and have a good pair of cans on to monitor the sound, failing that I point my rifle mic which is on a tripod at the closest available speaker.

Does anyone know if there's a way of scanning a room for the frequency of the local wireless mics?

Many a time the staff have no clue of the the radio mics frequency.

I like the sound of the boundary mic, i'll have to get one.
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Old March 15th, 2012, 04:54 AM   #15
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Re: Speeches Audio - Anyone else do this?

if you use your wireless receiver to tap into same frequency as the mic does this cause any interference or is it perfectly ok for one transmitter to be received by two receivers (the venues and your own). Do you do this by trial and error cycling through frequencies while speaking into the mic if you can't get access to a visual display showing the frequency (i find many are self contained old looking units that don't display the frequency)
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