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Old June 7th, 2014, 02:48 PM   #1
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Dance Recital - Mixing Live sound with Mixing Board sound

I have in my timeline 3 sound sources:
#1 - On-camera microphone
#2 - Tascam recorder from front of stage
#3 - MP3 files from the actual CD's used during the performance (not the actual mixing board)

Obviously #3 MP3 files render the purest sound, and without any audience noise. The problem, as I hear it, is that it is almost too sterile; this is a live performance, afterall. You see dancers on stage, and you hear CD quality music, but my brain tells me there is a disconnect with the CD quality music

Going to the other extreme, #1: you hear coughs, shout-outs, and general murmur of the audience.
I'm leaning towards mixing in just enough of #1 so you can hear the din if you listen real close.
I also mix in a little #2 so I can hear the dancers tapping, etc.

Any thoughts?
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Old June 7th, 2014, 03:40 PM   #2
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Re: Dance Recital - Mixing Live sound with Mixing Board sound

Back 12+ years ago when I used to do these, I used to get a FoH feed (mono) and the barrier/tap mics at the front of the stage sent to me on a clean feed PFL'ed and record them separately. I'd mix in post until I was happy with what I heard, even with a little bit of phase cancellation. The mics picked up enough of the audience reaction in a concert hall (2000+ people) to make my clients and I quite happy with the result.
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Old June 7th, 2014, 04:47 PM   #3
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Re: Dance Recital - Mixing Live sound with Mixing Board sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Pachiano View Post

Obviously #3 MP3 files render the purest sound, and without any audience noise. The problem, as I hear it, is that it is almost too sterile; this is a live performance, afterall. You see dancers on stage, and you hear CD quality music, but my brain tells me there is a disconnect with the CD quality music

Going to the other extreme, #1: you hear coughs, shout-outs, and general murmur of the audience.
I'm leaning towards mixing in just enough of #1 so you can hear the din if you listen real close.
I also mix in a little #2 so I can hear the dancers tapping, etc.

Any thoughts?
If you don't mind me asking, why use MP3 files if the the music is coming from an audio CD? When recording this kind of event, I usually ask to borrow the CD and take a copy to mix in some of the original sound, but as AIFF files to preserve the quality. If the CD you used was not actually an audio CD, but a collection of MP3s it might not sound very good anyway, depending on the compression settings chosen for the MP3s.
It's not to hard to hear distortion in many of the MP3 settings people seem to use.
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Old June 7th, 2014, 05:11 PM   #4
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Re: Dance Recital - Mixing Live sound with Mixing Board sound

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Originally Posted by Colin McDonald View Post
If you don't mind me asking, why use MP3 files if the the music is coming from an audio CD? When recording this kind of event, I usually ask to borrow the CD and take a copy to mix in some of the original sound, but as AIFF files to preserve the quality. If the CD you used was not actually an audio CD, but a collection of MP3s it might not sound very good anyway, depending on the compression settings chosen for the MP3s.
It's not to hard to hear distortion in many of the MP3 settings people seem to use.
The CD were burned via iTunes. All of the files in iTunes were MP3 files at 320 kbps. The vast majority of those files were mixed from 256 kbps source material, while a few were mixed from WAV files.
At the point where I had access, I grabbed the MP3 files directly from their iTunes library.
So my source files = source files for the CD

Had I not had access to iTunes library, I would have ripped the CD to my laptop, but the resulting WAV or AIFF files will be no more hi-fidelity that the source MP3 files
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Old June 7th, 2014, 10:31 PM   #5
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Re: Dance Recital - Mixing Live sound with Mixing Board sound

You go through way more effort than I ever have. LOL

I just use the on camera mic. I prefer the "live" sound of recording in the venue. Never had anyone complain about sound issues or anything in the 7 or 8 years I've been filming these. I did try getting a direct feed and doing all the mixing in post, but didn't like it and it was taking too much time.
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Old June 7th, 2014, 10:35 PM   #6
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Re: Dance Recital - Mixing Live sound with Mixing Board sound

When I've done shows that involved sound from a mixing board (like dance), I try to record a continuous WAV file from the mixing board MAIN OUT.

In post, I use about 2/3rds board sound to 1/3rd camera mic sound (just enough to make it not feel canned/sterile) and then obviously bring up the camera sound for applause.
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Old June 8th, 2014, 12:27 AM   #7
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Re: Dance Recital - Mixing Live sound with Mixing Board sound

If you take a listen to this, you will hear where as they enter the room the on cam mic is phased down and the clean MP3 is phased in. Same thing in reverse when it gets to the end. I felt that was needed to give a nice "real" feeling to it.

I fully agree that "canned" from the board or MP3 is too sterile to the point of giving a piece a feeling of phony. When we did the bar band videos, we always mixed a portion of live with a board feed. The canned or board feed gives a nice clarity. But you are right, when you know there's more there, crowd - fans - guests etc, there should be some audio evidence of it too.

What I would be concerned with, that the CD could have been recorded from a source that had some drift to it. If you are using individual cuts, like I did with this one song, then drift shouldn't be any problem at all.

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Old June 8th, 2014, 04:51 PM   #8
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Re: Dance Recital - Mixing Live sound with Mixing Board sound

Yeah, thats' why the sound guy gets the big bucks <wink>... and why sound is a separate "discipline" on big productions.

Sound production is an "art", you have to have it "feel" right - the ears need to hear what the eyes are seeing, and vice versa, otherwise it will be too "sterile", or too noisy from "ambience".

The suggestion of raising and lowering appropriate "tracks" is the right approach - you want to add just enough "ambient" to "sweeten" the mix and feel "live", while not letting it overpower the parts that need to be the focus.

Remember too that the tracks played in a hall will "feel" different than if you listened to them through headphones - you may have to experiment with some reverb/delay on the "clean" tracks along with mixing the "room" audio to keep the "live" feel.
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