Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old August 20th, 2013, 10:27 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Belfast
Posts: 823
Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

I do the standard basic of putting a mic on the grrom wired into my Tascam DR-05. This covers the vows for all three voices.

But a lot of my weddings are in old churches and chapels, often with marble interiors. Some priests choose not even to use mics. Basically my ceremony audio is atrocious. Do the rest of you guys mic up the officiator?

I know it would eliminate all issues, but I find a lot of them to be somewhat cold and intimidating. I usually only speak to them to receive my instructions about what all I'm not allowed to do and go.

Any alternatives that work well?
Clive McLaughlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 11:02 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 236
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

We used to only mic the groom (and any podiums where readings are taking place) and just pick up the officiant from the groom's mic. However, I hated the disconnect there was in the amount of echo from one to the other, so we started mic'ing the officiant too. It is intimidating (They are intimidating) but I always ask our couples to mention it at rehearsal, or even before hand so there are no surprises. And since we've started doing it as a standard, we have not had anyone tell us no, even the old grumpy Catholic priests. On top of the disconnect in the actual sound...they are not always close enough to the bride and groom, especially during their homily...and there's the issue of dealing with the groom clearing his throat, or whispering to the bride, etc. that makes us not want to rely on the groom to pick up all three. I emphasize to our couples that mic'ing the officiant is not absolutely necessary, but yields the best end result (citing the examples I mentioned), and like I said, they haven't said no yet. That way if I get a priest who refuses, at least I've let them know what the audio results might be.

The only other option would be to discreetly place audio recorders as close as you can to the action. I know a lot of people on here use that option too.
Katie Fasel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 11:11 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Reading Berkshire UK
Posts: 827
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

Lav'ing the groom and celebrant is somewhat of a last resort for me rather than a first resort. I lav the groom quite often but think of it as a safety net rather than as a main source, then if the track turns out nice ..... yipee. But so often something can happen to spoil it such as noise from the movement of clothing, not to mention every sneeze or sniff is there in all its glory.

My preferred method is to hide recorders like Zoom H1's in flower arrangements or friction armed to furniture etc. If there is no way for the recorder not to look prominent such as on a lectern I may secure it hidden away and use a wired lav to it with the lav secured to the lectern using heavy duty black blutack. OK so this is not as good as a lav behaving itself next to the grooms breastbone but the resulting audio is more like that which the guests actually experienced rather than all clear like a car advert voiceover.

If the venue has a PA system I may put a recorder on auto levels on a lightstand a couple of feet from it and that can work well.

And I always have a shotgun mic on my main cam - especially useful for unscripted and unexpected events.

In the UK in my experience you're lucky if you can get access to the church's sound deck let alone have someone available who understands it. And even then they tend to be secured in cabinets and you can't get access to the appropriate sockets for a wired feed to a recorder. And of course all of this takes valuable time in those crucial minutes before kickoff.

At a wedding later this month there are various accomplished violinists playing in an Oxford College chapel at various points in the ceremony. That has the potential to be a nightmare as you know how good violinists ears can be :- (

Pete
Peter Riding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 12:14 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Crookston, MN
Posts: 1,353
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

We have shotgun microphones on three cameras.

We use three pocket recorders (2 tascams and an Olympus 520) to wire the groom at least, maybe the celebrant or record the output off the mixer, set at the podium, or in arrangements, like Peter. We're about to pick up a leg and back wrap so that we can mic people with no pockets, like the bride.

Shotgun mics get us the ambient sound, applause, and other general noise. Crucial if there is a laugh line.

Lavaliers get clean vows and hopefully some whispering between B&G.

Instead of using the clip on your microphone, use the tape (or whatever you want to call it) and put it under the groom's collar, behind the lapel, or even on his undershirt behind the dress shirt, firmly taped down (both the head, and the cord another inch or do down) with only the very top exposed. It will cut out the rustle of clothes and, even better, eliminate wind noise.

Only time we had a problem was when one "pastor" (who I believe drove a cab the rest of the week) told us no microphones. Why? Their vows are between them and god. No one else needs to hear them. I asked, 'Then why do the witnesses even have to be here?' She was not amused.
Robert Benda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 12:24 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 209
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

I try to mic the groom and the officiant if at all possible. I like the sound to be as good as possible. It's just another way to differentiate the wedding film from something that "uncle bob" could produce. I also put field recorders near as a backup.

The shotgun mics on my cameras are my last resort. Hopefully I don't need the audio going into my camera for anything other than a scratch track.
Daniel Latimer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 01:21 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

I mic the groom and the pulpit since the readings and gospel/homily usually take place there. I also use an AT897 shotgun on my B cam for music only. The music is generally loud enough that it works out. I use an AKG Hypercaroid on my C cam to get ambient and music (safety). So far it's worked. I've never met an officiant in a church yet that is willing to be mic'd so I haven't asked in so many years I can't remember the last time I did. Now if it's NOT in a church I will most certainly ask to mic the officiant with a lav/Tascom DR-05 while I mic the groom AND the speakers with my Sennheiser drum mic so what ever comes from the speakers, I get (speakers usually supplied by the house OR the DJ since we're not in a church-could be outside or in a hotel AND they generally supply a mic and stand back to that system)
I love the thought that in a few more weddings/months I won't be thinking about this sort of thing. Retirement is looking better and better everyday! ;-)
__________________
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
Don
Don Bloom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 01:40 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Scotland, Ayr www.amour weddingvideos.co.uk
Posts: 304
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

I always mic the groom, both radio mic and a back up recorder like the Yamaha c24. I also try to mic up the officiant if they allow it. Most do if you attend the rehearsal and ask nicely .
I then also place Sony digital recorders at the lectern or within flowers. you cant have too many recorders!
I don't believe you can properly capture vows if you don't mic up the groom, particularly if the Bride is nervous and whispers. I've only had one groom reluctant to wear a microphone, however he did agree to wear it once I told him that without it I did not guarantee to capture the vows.
__________________
john estcourt
www.amourweddingvideos.co.uk
John Estcourt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 01:49 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Posts: 858
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

Since audio recorders are so cheap, and a lav can be had for as little as $30, there really is no good reason (other than laziness) to not spread those little buggers everywhere. One on the groom, the officiant (I'll usually give him the wireless, so I can listen in to find out when things will start), podium mic (with lav wrapped around the reader's mic), mic for the musicians (not usually necessary with loud church organs which actually benefit from the reverb ambience). Everything but the bride is my motto.
Oren Arieli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 02:19 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Reading Berkshire UK
Posts: 827
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

For those who lav mic the officiant do you meet any resistance from female ones? In the UK the majority of weddings are civil ceremonies - at least the ones in which the couple employ a photographer and videographer - and the vast majority of the officiants at these are female.

When I asked one recently, from one of the busy and progressive offices in this region, she replied that she had never ever been asked to wear a lav. I can understand why female clergy may be more forthcoming as they tend to wear copious amounts of clothing in which all manor of devices can be hidden; but female civil officiants tend to wear just tight midi skirts with smart blouses and maybe jackets.

Pete
Peter Riding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 04:33 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: England liverpool
Posts: 1,310
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

I no longer ask or want anything to do with the priest, vicar, registrar or who ever!! I am sick to death of their stupid narrow minded rules and most of them are down right ignorant and I have had two brides nearly crying due to ridiculous vicars the past couple of weeks. So onto the question sorry rant over. Zoom h1 grooms inside pocket, lav mic on his jacket by the top button away from the button hole for fear of rustles. Zoom h1 as near to the three of them with out seeing on camera. zoom h1 on the readers pulpit. voice recorder on the best man and dad as they are very near until dad and best man sit down but I have used them due to the groom having a cough at the wrong time. Rode vid mic on camera. Speeches similar. steve
Steve Bleasdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 07:22 PM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,148
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

Hey Clive, I almost always mic up the officiant. If they're easygoing, I ask them to wear a second mic for backup. If there's multiple priests (Sikh, Armenian), they all get mics. This then becomes the main sound source during the long version for the ceremony, and sometimes gets used in highlights. If it's too good, too clean, then I mix in some sound from on-camera mics.

I never mic up the bride.

Peter, if the officiant is female, doesn't usually matter, but, you're right -- could mean she can't just put the transmitter in her pocket or attach it to her belt, so that could cause problems. I remember one wedding where we scrunched up the material under her armpit and clipped it there. If it's really difficult, I wouldn't insist they wear it, but fortunately haven't been in this position. Not going to tape the transmitter to their thigh.

Only been turned down by an officiant around five times in the last 50 weddings, on the grounds that they were uncomfortable. And maybe rightly so. (To be perfectly honest, yes I have recorded priests urinating.) But you don't tell them this. Instead, you lay it on thick. What you say is: "Please wear a mic, sir. You say the most important things during the service, and we want to make sure you're represented in the best way possible for all the people who watch the video." And it's a give and take thing -- you have to also make sure you're very considerate and respectful of anything they want or might want, especially if you ever plan on shooting at that church again.

In terms of random concealed mics, I don't bother with that unless I'm desperate. The sound from that usually seems to me too dirty or echoey. Your mileage will vary.

In general, I go to extremes (compared to other people here) in terms of sound, though I know I'm not the only videographer out there doing this. It used to be about backing up in case something stuffed up, but now it's just as much about trying to record cleanest sound possible. Takes me 30 minutes to set up. General method is trying to mic up every relevant sound source, have backups of backups, and have the microphone as close to source as possible. Church's sound system, soundspeakers, musicians, cantors, readers' lectern, musicians' mixer...

Whether this effort is worth it is a difficult question :). My long versions have clean sound, but couples don't notice that -- they only notice when sound is bad, not when it's good. And if it's mainly your highlights that sell weddings anyway, and the only natural sound you're using for that is vows and reception speeches, then maybe all the fuss I go to is more about personal satisfaction than anything else. But anyway...
Adrian Tan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2013, 08:24 PM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,148
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

By the way, here's my setup. I know John Knight is going to take the piss out of me for the complexity, but maybe it takes the piss out of itself! I don't know. Anyway, here's a setup for a typical Catholic wedding inside a church. Repeat: don't try this unless you're willing to carry an extra bag of kit, have at least 30 minutes to spend on sound before ceremony, and preferably have a second shooter as well.

-- Groom and priest: Each gets two mics -- one wireless Sony UWP mic, one Tram TR-50 running into a Roland R-05. Transmitters from the Sony microphones run into a Tascam DR-100 with external power from a Tekkeon battery.

Reason for using wireless and wired: you can at least monitor wireless after you've attached them but before the ceremony starts.

Reason for double mics: mainly backup, but you can also set them at different levels in case of peaking. In the case of the groom, I put them at different heights on his shirt, since the bride is normally shorter, and it does make a difference to sound.

-- Lectern: one Tram TR-50, running into a Roland R-05.

-- Musicians and soundspeakers: each get a dynamic microphone placed on a microphone stand in front of them.

The sound from the soundspeakers is the main backup if the lav mics fail, or if someone starts speaking who doesn't have a lav. I usually use a Shure SM58 right against the speakers, but carry a NTG-1 shotgun in case the soundspeakers are out of reach.

If the musicians are set up close to the soundspeakers, both mics can run into a second Tascam DR-100 with external power (external power is particularly important if I'm using phantom power for a shotgun).

Musician sound I'd use during processional/recessional.

If there's no musicians, then I've got two channels to play with for the soundspeakers, and can set one a little high and one a little low in case of peaking/softness.

If you wanted to mic up the musicians really properly, you'd have a separate microphone for each instrument...

-- Church audio system: if I'm able to, I'll plug in a Yamaha C24, but usually: (a) I can't get access to the sound system in the first place; or (b) sound that I do get is crappy, for whatever reason (noise introduced by sound system or recorder, or, ironically, sound is too clean, and the lav mics are a lot more natural).

Main reason for carrying Yamaha C24s at all: they're convenient to gaffer to a microphone if necessary, which I often do during receptions, and maybe taping them to a microphone is a better backup than plugging into the sound system, but anyway...

-- Musicians' mixer: if they have one, I'll plug in a second Yamaha C24, but this is more a reception than ceremony thing.

-- On-camera Videomic Pros if all else fails (which does happen from time to time!), and to mix in audience sound if the other sources are too clean.


And that's about it.
Adrian Tan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 21st, 2013, 04:02 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 3,445
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
For those who lav mic the officiant do you meet any resistance from female ones? In the UK the majority of weddings are civil ceremonies - at least the ones in which the couple employ a photographer and videographer - and the vast majority of the officiants at these are female.

When I asked one recently, from one of the busy and progressive offices in this region, she replied that she had never ever been asked to wear a lav. I can understand why female clergy may be more forthcoming as they tend to wear copious amounts of clothing in which all manor of devices can be hidden; but female civil officiants tend to wear just tight midi skirts with smart blouses and maybe jackets.

Pete
I have never felt the need to mic up a registrar. With civil ceremonies here in the UK the registrar stands close to the couple usually across a table. I put a lav on the groom & then hide a digital recorder in the flower arrangement on the table. They don't go wandering off to the altar or pulpit. Unlike many churches the rooms used for civil ceremonies aren't vast stone buildings full of echoes.
Nigel Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 22nd, 2013, 01:55 AM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Belfast
Posts: 823
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
By the way, here's my setup. I know John Knight is going to take the piss out of me for the complexity, but maybe it takes the piss out of itself! I don't know. Anyway, here's a setup for a typical Catholic wedding inside a church. Repeat: don't try this unless you're willing to carry an extra bag of kit, have at least 30 minutes to spend on sound before ceremony, and preferably have a second shooter as well....
And that's about it.
Holy crap Adrian, I'd love to see one of your timelines. Must be about 15 tracks on it!

Thanks to everyone for your input. I'll definitely up my game here!
Clive McLaughlin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 22nd, 2013, 02:20 AM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,064
Re: Ceremony audio - What lengths do you go to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Main reason for carrying Yamaha C24s at all: they're convenient to gaffer to a microphone if necessary, which I often do during receptions, and maybe taping them to a microphone is a better backup than plugging into the sound system, but anyway...
I do that as well if I have no other option to get good sound, only problem I have had so far was a guy holding the mic like beatboxers do meaning he covered the recorder completely with his hand giving me muffled sound.

I used to place a mic at the lectern, the altar, on the groom and a backup at the church soundspeaker but I am changing that as it is very stressful setting that all up in a matter of a few minutes meaning mistakes are bound to be made.

Now I just supply the groom with a mic (a yamaha c24 with clipon mic) before he goes inside the church and place a tascam dr40 on a lightstand next to a church loudspeaker, I also attach a zoom h1 to that same stand as backup.

If the grooms recorder would fail I always have the tascam's recording (there is always a microphone used in our churches) and if the tascam fails I have got the zoom and if that fails it's time to go home...:)

The sound I get from the church soundspeaker is not as good as what I get with a recorder and clip on mike at the source but still a lot better then what my camera picks up, I used to have lot's of work in post making every recorder sound the same, some had lot's of echo and some sounded very clean meaning I had to add echo to make it "feel" like a church recording.

If there is live singing I try to use the tascam to tap into their system directly but if that's not possible or if there is no time I just place my zoom h1 on a mini tripod in front of their speakers.

I also have a small sony recorder that has a lav mic which I can use if necessary, but in general I try to keep it as simple as possible.

With a recording at the church soundspeaker I don't have much issues and I can edit much faster, these recording contain more echo but I actually like that because it recreates the mood since the sound you are capturing is the same as what the guests where hearing in the church, it makes it sound more real. Since I do docu style with a hint of cinematic I prefer to have as "real" sound as possible.
Noa Put is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:36 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network