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Old April 21st, 2014, 11:23 AM   #1
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Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

I need help with the plan to capture audio for an outdoor wedding. I was caught off guard. The wedding is this Saturday and I just now thought to ask. I got too used to knowing it was indoors due to the cold. I am already scrambling to get a couple ND filters to help with the video part, but I am more nervous about capturing the audio. I currently have a couple inexpensive lavs, 3 or 4 h1 zooms, and a H4n. I have a shotgun mic on a XA20. I do not have decent wind screens for any of it. DJ is supposed to bring a sound system with a mic for the officiant, but I'm unsure if it is a lav or handheld. What do I need to keep the wind from ruining the audio? Purchase suggestions and application tips appreciated.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 11:37 AM   #2
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Overnight some windscreens or Google "how to make a windscreen" and get down to your local Hobby Lobby or craft store.

Nothing will jack up your audio more than a slight breeze on an unshielded mic.

Ask me how I know this. lol

Condenser mics are super sensitive to windnoise... so I'd definitely try and get some form of wind protection before Saturday.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 11:50 AM   #3
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Forget the shotgun. At an outdoor wedding it would be pretty much useless. If you have wireless, mic the groom and then place a mic by the PA speaker. That way anyone that uses the mic on the officiant or a handheld for a reading will get picked up.

If you don't use wireless, but use recorders, you'll need to wire the groom, the officiant and again put one by the PA or DJs speaker to get readers and music.

Foam windscreens are a minimum, furrys are the next step up. I made furrys for all of my mics including my lavs, shotguns and hyper. For the many hundreds of outdoor weddings I did in my career I mic'd the groom and placed my drum mic with a plugin transmitter in front of the PA or DJs speaker (almost always a DJ to supply music and mic for the officiant) and the audio was almost as good as indoor sound. ALMOST. I couldn't do anything about the airplanes or very strong wind and a few times I got some loud noisy birds but as long as you tell the people that because it's outdoors you and you don't control nature you can not guarantee the perfection of the audio, most people will understand that.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 12:02 PM   #4
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Besides the excellent windscreen advice (also ask ME how I know this LOL), a few other tips -

Get a mic on the Groom
Get a mic on the Officiant
Record feed from DJ board if you can
Place a mic by the musicians (string quartet, etc.)

I have several of the iRiver recorders (no longer made) and I stick them everywhere for outdoor ceremonies, saved my butt many a time. Also have a Tascam recorder.

They might also have a mic on a stand for readings (or not). If so, that ought to be on a DJ feed, but I've also taped a small iRiver right to the stand for capturing that sound.

One of the outdoor venues I work at is a resort, and the wedding party will be positioned with their backs to the lake just feet away. Inevitably, boaters on pleasure craft will idle over to check out the wedding, so I have that noise plus possible wind, and with the multiple mic setup I can get amazing audio, far better than what the audience heard live (or did not hear!).

Good luck with it
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Last edited by Jeff Pulera; April 21st, 2014 at 03:07 PM.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 12:03 PM   #5
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

+ what Don and Jeff said.

You can buy windscreens for Zooms. Put one zoom near speakers on ground if necessary on one of those tiny tripods, use auto gain. I've done it but do not rely 100% on that sound source. You'll also want to find a furry for your lav or buy a new lav and furry for the groom.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 12:58 PM   #6
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Agree all around. A mic on each person speaker, especially placed to help shield it from wind, is really big. We did a windy lake wedding, and I ran the mic cord through his collar, and the mic didn't quite poke out. It was discreet and shielded. Also done it, on a groom with no tie or jacket, in his shirt, so the mic head was just barely out from between the buttons.

Lots of fabric tape help keep the wires/mic from moving.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 01:07 PM   #7
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Some other options to think about:

1. Plug into the back of the soundspeaker
2. Strap a recorder to their microphone/microphone stand
3. Mic the readers as well as the officiant
4. If you really care about audio, mic the bride. Ray Roman would. The H1 is a little big for this, but it's possible to get a slim recorder, attach a lav to it, coil the wire around the recorder, leaving the lav pointed upwards, and slip the whole thing down her front.
5. Stick something on a mic/light stand in front of the musicians, preferably with levels set to manual with a limiter.
6. Split the feed from their microphone and run one end into a recorder.

One more thing: high-pass filters. Some recorders/microphones will have an option for this built in, eg Rode VMP (can't remember if H1s, H4Ns do or not).
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Old April 21st, 2014, 03:01 PM   #8
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Thanks guys! From what I have read, fuzzy/furry windbreakers work better than foam, correct? I have looked online and thought I was set for my lav mics until I saw a user-posted picture. It was huge. I doubt a wedding client would be ok with her groom wearing a mouse on his jacket. Wow! I will use the shotgun for sync audio only (per Don) and I will quickly order a couple fuzzy things for the zooms and use as suggested with the h4n getting a feed from the DJ and a drum mic on the speaker, but still unsure about the lav on the groom. I just don't think a fuzzy thing that big will fly.

Any other thoughts? Could I put the mic inside the vest (no jackets being worn)? Would the vest serve as a decent windbreaker without muffling the voice? Anyone try this? I worry that it would create rustling noises from the clothes moving.

Thanks Don for letting me know to warn the client about nature sounds!

Robert, could you give a bit more detail about the collar idea and how it sounded? Was it windy that day? Look OK in pictures?
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Old April 21st, 2014, 03:09 PM   #9
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Put a smile on your face and just mention to them that because it's outdoors you might have some unwanted sounds or wind and depending on how bad they are you may or may not be able to clean them up.
People will generally understand IF you let them know of the pitfalls beforehand. Be gentle and smile when you talk to them.

If you hide the mic behind the vest there is a good chance all you'll get is muffled sound. Put it where it can work. Trust me they'll be happier with good sound than not being able to see the mic and bad sound. Same goes for the dead mouse on the mic capsule. At the very least use a foam screen on any lav. Something is better than nothing.
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Last edited by Don Bloom; April 21st, 2014 at 03:12 PM. Reason: forgot to add
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Old April 21st, 2014, 03:28 PM   #10
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

The good news is, the guests to the wedding can easily fly in as a search showed several airports in your area.

luckey, ohio airports - Yahoo Search Results

The bad news is ..... well, Grandmother always said "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say it."

Here's an idea: Maybe there is an audio guy with some gear that could help you out for this shoot? It would cost but on the plus side, it would salvage a future reference.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 03:49 PM   #11
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

I bookmarked these Gigwig H1 windshields after they were recommended:

Zoom H 1 Windscreen | eBay

Haven't got any yet but I really ought to.

As soon as you try to conceal a lav you increase the chances of a dud recording enormously but of course you cannot really monitor and do anything about it mid-ceremony. You can't even do a visual check as you cannot see it :- ) Any textile friction on the head will be horrible. You'll also have the extra time and client objections if you start taping everything in place. And no you cannot have a mouse sitting on the clients lapel unless they are very understanding. And the photographer will hate you.

You may get lucky on the day and have no breeze in which case use a plain lav. I'd lav up any way because even if it is windy you often get large segments that are usable in between gusts.

Best bet for weddings though is probably a hairy H1 hidden close by in flowers etc. I used one in the roof of a pergola above the couple with some success.

Also, switch on the low cut filter on the H1's as this will help reduce some low frequency wind rumble.

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Old April 21st, 2014, 08:03 PM   #12
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

No thanks, John. I'm more likely to buy gear that will help me in the future than to pay someone else just because they have gear. Your comment wasn't too helpful or encouraging. I'm also not that scared of audio. I worked in a recording studio for years. The wind is my concern. ...and I have no intention of needing to salvage a reference. There are plenty of knowledgable people giving helpful tips on this site. Feel free to take grandmother's advice.


Edit: Sorry John. Caught me during an already trying time. I imagine you just meant to add humor. At this point, discouragement is far from needed.

Last edited by Byron Jones; April 21st, 2014 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Added Apology
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Old April 21st, 2014, 11:30 PM   #13
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Jones View Post
Edit: Sorry John. Caught me during an already trying time. I imagine you just meant to add humor. At this point, discouragement is far from needed.
Add humor - yes I was.

A couple years ago I picked up a new shotgun mic and did a little shoot in the backyard to see how it would do. Came back indoors, booted up the computer, transferred the file, and to my astonishment it did really good .... picking up a jet that was probably at around 10 to 15,000 feet as it was on approach to SeaTac. They have to follow a pattern, go south, make a U-turn, then final so over our place they're still up pretty high. At the time I was shooting the jet was barely noticeable.

Noticing the number of airports nearby made me cringe. If it is a nice day, probably a weekend, the single-engine crowd will be out getting some hours in after the winter months. Besides being into video I've got about 1,000 hours of Pilot in Command. The last couple days locally would have been a good time to be "up there". Sold the plane, though.

Not knowing your audio background I figured that would be a "quick-and-dirty" way to deal with the problem. Locally I know a sound guy who would do something like that if I was in the same situation, but certainly if one can handle it this is a really good excuse to grab some recorders, softies, or what ever. A little wind is one thing but aircraft and car noise, that's something else.

Hope everything works out okay.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 11:47 PM   #14
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Byron, one more thought -- if you're really worried, do a test. You know, just go into your backyard, and see what sort of sound you're getting.

Edit: and one more: it's possible to create a windshield around your mic. Particularly thinking of dynamic mic pointed at sound speakers if you're going down that route. Just any sort of shield that creates some dead air.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; April 22nd, 2014 at 02:29 AM.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 05:00 AM   #15
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Re: Help!! Audio for outdoor wedding.

Hi Byron

A little trick I use with the groom's mic is to ask the officiant (if needed) to reverse the guys and girls so the groom is on the windward side ..that creates the perfect bit of dead air that Adrian is talking about as his body acts as a wind shield, provided, of course, you can position him so his back is against the wind. I have done beach weddings in 35 knot winds and this really does work. Also in this case clip the mic on his tie rather than on his jacket lapel so it has maximum protection. Also if they decide to have any sort of flags in the area to make the whole thing look cool, they can flap and vibrate and cause unbelievable noise that you cannot remove so if there is anything that can flutter or create a noise try to get it subdued for at least the vows.

Attending a rehearsal and looking for issues then might be a wise move too!!

Chris
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