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Old February 9th, 2013, 11:31 PM   #1
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Dedicated audio guy for wedding?

soooooo... The guy I'm interning under is contemplating having someone be dedicated to sound first and video second. I wanna get into sound anyway so I volunteer. Anybody know how this can be possible?

My idea: get a mixer and plug in multiple wireless lav during the ceremony. For everything else, I can walk right next to the camera with a boom.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 01:07 AM   #2
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Re: Dedicated audio guy for wedding?

Hey Victor, not exactly sure what you're asking, to be honest. Are you simply asking about what a dedicated audio guy might do?

It probably wouldn't involve using a boom pole -- sounds far too intrusive...

I actually had a long discussion with my colleague today about audio setups, so it's very much on my mind. It normally takes us around 30 minutes to set up at ceremony and at reception. So, I'd love to have an audio guy, to save on this hassle, if it were possible budgetwise.

What being a wedding audio guy might involve:

-- arriving early to ceremony/reception
-- talking to priest/celebrant/DJ/venue AV manager/MC about how the sound system works and whether you can plug in. Often, at receptions, the venue will have its own sound system, and the DJ will have a separate sound system.
-- setting it up and doing sound checks (note: setting up can be very fiddly... might involve you doing creative things with microphone stands to reach high-up speakers, or attaching external batteries to recorders so they're not murdered by phantom power, or spending a while trying to work out where noise in the DJ's system is coming from, or even coordinating with each musician in a band so that their separate microphones are wired through the same system so you can record all of it in one go)
-- monitoring levels and batteries during shoot
-- collecting and packing up all the equipment before the priest drives home with your lav mic.

We only have four audio recorders; if you wanted to do a really good job, you might use eight or more different recorders. Why eight? Well, I'm sure many people reading this will think the suggestion is nuts, but if you want the best possible sound during a ceremony, that means a dedicated microphone close to each of the main sources, as well as backups of backups. Same as they'd do in TV/film. Pristine sound is, after all, part of what makes a video "cinematic". So you might have:

-- one lav microphone running into a small recorder in the priest's pocket
-- two lav microphones on the groom for backup, one at the bride's height, running into two recorders
-- one cardioid microphone near the lectern where they do the readings
-- one cardioid microphone near the musicians
-- one recorder plugged into the church (or reception) sound system, with left and right channels set to different levels, in case the sound peaks or is too soft
-- one recorder plugged into two dynamic microphones yielding different sound quality, positioned very close to the church's speaker (or the DJ's speaker)
-- one recorder getting ambient noise (including audience applause).

And there's lots of variations on this sort of setup. Eg: Sikh wedding -- three priests; Greek wedding -- often one to three cantors repeating the main priest; Armenian -- might have five priests and a musician; Serbian -- maybe different things said from different places around the church. Reception generally -- have a think about putting a microphone on the people doing speeches, or gaffer taping a small recorder to the main microphone, if you have to. During outdoor weddings, maybe the celebrant has brought their own speakers, and you can plug into the back of them; or maybe you want to plug into the DJ's speakers at reception. For some setups, maybe everyone is going to be speaking into a microphone on a stand, and you can split the feed from that microphone and run one half directly into a recorder. In other cases, for instance if people are too grumpy to wear microphones, maybe you just have to set up a shotgun microphone on a stand, point it in the right direction, and pray.

So, if you want to record really clean sound, there's potentially a fair bit for an audio guy to think about and monitor.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 01:27 AM   #3
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Re: Dedicated audio guy for wedding?

Thank you for your info Adrian. You know how before the wedding, there are intimate conversations between the bride and her bridesmaid or parent. It will be nice to capture those. So if I can't use boom then can I still handhold a Hyper-cardioid mic? What are your feelings on wireless?
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Old February 10th, 2013, 01:38 AM   #4
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Re: Dedicated audio guy for wedding?

I often have a steadicam guy waiting with the bride outside the church, and it's true -- there are sometimes interesting things said just before they walk in, "I love you, Dad", or last-minute jokes, or bridesmaids jumping around, etc. I remember one father gently making fun of his shy daughter, whispering to her "Oh no! Everyone's looking at us! What do we do?" to kind of lighten her mood.

But, to be honest, I think it might be a bit intrusive to walk up to them with a microphone and stick it in their faces. To record good sound, you really need that thing 30cm from their mouths. I just don't think it's worth it! Don't you think it would kind of spoil the moment? I generally don't record any intimate conversations at all during the day! Maybe a joke or two during the prep or something... but not things that people really want to keep private...

But since intimate conversation is not something most people record, maybe it could give your videos a different twist. I don't know. I guess it's your employer's decision...

Feelings on radio microphones -- I use them, but wish I had enough money right now to not use them. Personally worried about interference.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 01:59 AM   #5
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Re: Dedicated audio guy for wedding?

A boom at a wedding?? That would be ofcourse the best solution for anyone not carrying a lav mike but seriously, a boom? :) My clients appreciate it that they hardly noticed me throughout the day as that is one of their concerns, that I"m, together with the photog, on top of everything just to get our shot. It's their wedding in the first place, not our production that comes first. That's why adding lav mikes to whoever feels comfortable with that is the best option and for me that would only be the men, you can't place any mike onto a bride or bridesmaid.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 04:05 AM   #6
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Re: Dedicated audio guy for wedding?

Victor this is a semi planned out event, not a staged production. While you might think your mixer is set perfectly to grab the speeches, at the table one of the wedding party might be telling a joke in private that you really wanted but missed because you weren't ready for it. Same with those bride/bridesmaid convos while getting ready to march into church or any other of a number of priceless audio that happens at a wedding.

The boom, you are right and wrong at the same time. The right way to do it is boom it. The way to piss the bride off beyond belief, is show up on the alter with a friggin' boom pole over her head. :-)

My suggestion, get a crapload of DVRs and lav mics, recording everyone/everything involved. Then in post learn to master and mix all that audio via Adobe Audition or the software of your choice. Make Audition your mixer, it has one. Then pick and choose the bits and pieces you want in post, when you have all the time in the world to determine what is best for the video.
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Old February 10th, 2013, 05:23 AM   #7
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Re: Dedicated audio guy for wedding?

Hi Chip

Apart from space issues plus another person in the team issue (I can just see a wildly waving boom wacking the priest on the head) it would really turn a sacred event into a circus ...It's a wedding not a TV production studio so the less people the better in the team.

You also have to look at the business side! Another team member means a hike in costs which turns into a hike in prices. Something a bride really doesn't want to pay for unless she has to. Gosh, even the royal wedding had discretely hidden mics and you certainly never saw a sound guy hovering over the royal couple with a big boom. If they can do it discretely then our piddly little weddings should be a cinch without video and photog people everywhere outnumbering the bridal party

Chris
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Old February 11th, 2013, 12:59 AM   #8
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Re: Dedicated audio guy for wedding?

Chris I completely agree that although a boom will do the job very well, it's out of place for the event.

What I took the situation as was one member was going to concentrate on audio and be the "go to guy" for all audio, as well as a shooter at the event. Well there is no way a dedicated audio person should ever be leaving the board. Just like everyone else on the team, his butt is on the line to make sure he holds his portion of the event. We all know if there's a dedicated audio guy and while reviewing the footage, the audio turns up missing, the audio guy's butt is on the line. As the scenario discussed, with "go to guy" and shooter as one person, if it were me who's butt was on the line and the boss came screaming, my answer would be "well you were the one who took me away from the damn board!" All in all, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

In my suggestion, recorders everywhere and everyone/everything mic'd up, now you have a whole bunch of audio clips that can be dealt with in post. You would have to do it too excess, to make sure you caught everything and because you are going to use a "set it and forget it" mentality with it so you can also go shoot. Where a dedicated audio guy is really going to shine is not in the capture, but in the mastering, leveling and mixing of the streams. That's all post production work and it's the part the customer will finally get to experience when they view the DVD.

It's a great idea that would bring in another level of professionalism. But as you point out Chris, it's also another level of additional expense.
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