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Old April 22nd, 2014, 08:35 AM   #1
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Dj mixer vs Shotgun

Hi, I have a simple question, I appreciate if anybody can help me. I have to videotape a Bat Mitzvah for the first time, I have some experience with the camera but almost nothing with sound. My plan is to hook a wireless transmiter to the Dj mixer output line. My question is: 1)-am I going to get some sound from the crowd?,

2)-Is it a good idea to get the sound from the crowd with a shotgun mic throw the other channel?.
I can not afford right now to get new gear, so if there is any simple solution that would be great

Thanks!
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 09:13 AM   #2
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

Damian,
Your method will work IF 1) the DJ will let you plug into his board. Some will some won't. 2) IF you do plug into the board, be aware of the kind of connection it is and do a serious check of your audio BEFORE the event starts. IOW record some of the DJ speaking over music, the music playing, whatever you can. Play it back from the camera and listen with your headphones. BTW, make sure you monitor the sound with a decent set of phones while recording so you can fix a problem as you hear it.

I stopped plugging into boards at social events years ago and only do that at corporate events when I KNOW the audio guy and have worked with him before. I use another method to capture the sound that I have documented here probably a dozen times before, but the short version is a drum mic with a plugin transmitter in front of the DJ speaker and a hypercardioid on the camera instead of a shotgun.

PLEASE try your method before you just go ahead and assume the sound is fine. Do a test. Fixing crap audio after the fact is damn near impossible. Better to find out before the event than when you get home and can't do anything with it.

Just sayin'.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 10:01 AM   #3
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

As Don says ..beware of the DJ and his mixer simply by realising he is a "music player" and not a audio engineer so offering an output is often a dicey option unless it's well tested (and you know what you need) prior to the event.

Personally at weddings I just use the on camera shotgun for ambient audio but always a dedicated mic/transmitter setup for individual people who might make a speech. This can be a lav mic, my own desktop condenser mic on a podium with a transmitter or a boundary mic on the podium into a transmitter.

To be honest I stay away from the DJ desk ..he is a wiz with music but not so much a wiz with audio feeds which as Don says can totally screw up your soundtrack. I really and truly prefer my own mics as I can set them at a fixed distance from the person. If the person has the DJ mic they either hold it down near their knees or try to eat it like an ice cream cone which our DJ's never bother to control.

Chris
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 12:30 PM   #4
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

I'm with Chris. IF you don't have the right gear and can test to insure you are getting great sound from the mixer...skip it and just use a good mic on the camera and go from there. I would rather have average sound from the on camera mic than bad crappy sound from trying to use a setup that I have never used or tested. Average sound can be brought up to good with a bit of sweetening and proper touch but crap sound will always be crap sound.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 01:10 PM   #5
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

I prefer both methods. As a DJ, its very easy to let someone use the 'House' output - just be aware that some let you mute the microphone and only get music.

If you do, set your levels a little low. It usually keeps getting louder. Then check on your audio levels at least once.

However, the DJ mixer won't get ambient noise, or much applause, so I put the pocket recorder on the DJ mixer, and an external mic on camera, maybe mixed with a wireless mic. I like to blend the clean audio straight off the mic, and the crowd noise so it isn't too clean.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 01:27 PM   #6
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

Thank you guys, that was very helpful, Don, can you please send me the link where you describe the technique of the mic in front of the Dj speaker?, thanks
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 05:05 PM   #7
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

I'll explain.

FIRST; I tried many different types of microphones over the years. I found the BEST to use is a DRUM mic, specifically I use a Sennheiser E604, there are other out there but I KNOW the E604 works, I use my plug in transmitter on it and put it on a very inexpensive boom stand, I paid about $20.00 for it, and place that mic in front of the DJs speaker (about 4 to 6 inches in front) and NOT in front of the bass speaker in the speaker cabinet. I place it closer to the top or cone speaker. If placed too low then I get more bass than I want. SECOND, I use an AKG Blueline hypercardioid for the ambient sound of the room and a 2nd music track. I know what settings I need to have on the mic pak, on the hyper and on the camera so I can't give you those because each camera is different but I've been using this set up for many years, never had clipping or crappy audio and frankly cut my post time by a lot because using the right settings, I had little to do to the audio I got at weddings using this system. I used this system for receptions and outdoor weddings, and ceremonies that were anywhere but churches.
Again, this is something that IF you decide to use this system you must practice with it first. You need to know not only your camera but audio like the back of your hand. With the gear I used, I could control sound levels on the mic pak, the receiver, the camera and in the case of the drum mic by simply moving the mic a little further away from or closer to the speaker. I also ALWAYS wore headphones and watched the meters in the camera to gauge my audio levels.
HTHs
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 05:31 PM   #8
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

Don,
That's a tried and true method. It's easy and the success rate is high.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 08:16 PM   #9
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

I am one of many who have taken Don's advice on this topic. I even bought the same drum mic. It works great - but as already mentioned, keep monitoring the audio. It does tend to creep hotter though the night. In a pinch when I did not have a stand for the drum mic (or asked not to have the stand there for aesthetic reasons, I hung the mic by its cord from the top of the speaker. I placed it in the top corner with it not facing into the speaker, but towards the middle of the front of the cone. There was a slight loss in sound quality, but it was still definitely usable. When mixed with the ambient noise from the mic attached to the camera, it was not noticeable.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 08:46 PM   #10
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

I'm sure that if you get a professional DJ like Robert who has an in-depth understanding of his desk then you could use a desk output but I have found that most DJ's here only know how to turn on the desk and drive it for music and have no idea if you ask them for a line out signal. Still prefer my own mics so I can control the position and levels.

I had a groom on Saturday (editing the video now) who was a "smart arse" ... he kept putting his mouth over the house PA mic and saying "check, check, check" which cause extreme distortion on the poor system. In my case I had a tiny lav on the gooseneck which avoided the abuse and survived but if I was relying on a feed from the house desk it would have been terrible!!! There is very little you can do about a drunk bridal party member who tries to swallow the mic he is holding and then makes highly distorted sounds thru it to be as annoying as possible ..but if you own mic is a little distance off, it can be avoided!

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Old April 23rd, 2014, 07:56 AM   #11
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I'm sure that if you get a professional DJ like Robert who has an in-depth understanding of his desk then you could use a desk output but I have found that most DJ's here only know how to turn on the desk and drive it for music and have no idea if you ask them for a line out signal. Still prefer my own mics so I can control the position and levels.
Ha, I've always said, its not that I think I do such an amazing job, its that so many DJs do such a crappy one.

If you are putting a mic in front of a speaker, you'll get a better sound the further away it is, up to 1 meter (not that it will matter too much as long as you don't put the mic right against the speaker). The further away, the more of audio out of each of the 3 cones you'll get, for a more balanced sound. Don is correct that centering your mic between the top 2 cones is best. Bass, on the bottom, is more omnidirectional, so mic placement is less important for it.

Option #2: IF the DJ speaker has a power cord, you can safely plug into an output from it, usually XLR, and get the full feed. Not all DJ speakers will have an output, but most should. ONLY if it's a powered speaker, though.

Option #3 Headphone jacks *might* have both music and microphones, depending on how professional the mixer is. This is more helpful in churches, I've noticed, than for DJs.

Option #4: Virtually every mixer will have a 2nd output, sometimes called 'monitor' output, often RCA. There may be a button to exclude the microphone. DJ cases have access hatches and all outputs are labeled, so don't be scared to look, even if the DJ is a moron who doesn't know his own gear (as long as you have his permission).
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 10:29 AM   #12
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

Robert, while I would generally agree with you I will disagree with you if one is using a drum mic. It is made for short range pickup and to take the high SPLs of hitting on a drum. With proper placement and using a decent mic on the camera picking up the ranges of the music and someone that might be speaking isn't a problem but learning how to use a mic in front of a speaker properly, does take trial and error. I found the best placement for my drum mic was within 6 inches of the speaker and in between the bass speaker and the cone of a typical JBL, Mackie or any other brand of speakers. If the DJ was using a separate bass speaker that was the absolute last place I would think of placing a mic but I was still able to pick up enough bass from the 2 mics I was running that the end result sounded quite good.
On the other hand, a shotgun mic or lav mic would benefit from being farther away since they are not made to take the extreme levels that typically eminate from the DJ speakers.
Just my experience from using this particular system for many years
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 10:43 AM   #13
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Re: Dj mixer vs Shotgun

Sorry, Don, I only meant the bass cone IN the top speaker, not anything to do with sub on the floor. My bad. Also my mistake not to account for your drum mike. Yes, my note is in reference to a typical shotgun or cardiod mic. For them, a little bit of distance allows for the waves eminating from the tweeter and woofer (and voice coil) to... join up, I guess is the best phrasing.

Most speakers have a 60 degree angle of dispersion (vertical), so placing a mic up high, close to the tweeter, will work fine, especially for getting voices, though exclude a bit of the sound from the woofer. I don't think it's essential, though the woofer (in a full range speaker) does offer some richness to the sound, especially a male voice, or a lot of music.

Any sub on the floor will only get you extremely low-end frequencies, rumble, but no real definition, and can be ignored.
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