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Old August 2nd, 2015, 04:16 AM   #1
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recording Sound in a church

If time allows I always supply a mike at the lectern, the altar and supply the groom with a lav and as backup I place a recorder in front of the soundspeaker which covers all audio and secures backup.

Eventhough the recorder in front of the soundspeaker is a back up I tend to use this as my main audio more and more if the soundspeaker is of adequate quality. The sound from that speaker is more nasal, you have more reverb but it sounds exactly how people where hearing it in the church.

The recorders I"m using on the other locations are very clean, there is little reverb and they all sound a bit different because I cannot place them at the same distance from the speakers, even during the vows there is a significant difference between the brides and grooms voice where the bride voice recording picks up the sound from the soundspeakers as well because she is further away from the groom. The volume is also different on every recorder and some I have to place on auto gain because I have no controll over the recorder during the ceremony and I don't want clipped audio.

With a good church soundspeaker I don't have that issue, everyone sounds exactly the same and I can control the soundlevels during the ceremony.

This ofcourse only works if the soundsystem of the church is good enough and if they use a mike to record all voices. If the priest doesn't have a wireless mike for the vows you need to fall back on the grooms recorder and lav on his vest anyway.

What I also notice is that with the recording in front of the soundspeaker the "feeling" of being in a church is much more present, you get to experience it the way it was which I find more important then having to add reverb to a sound recording that otherwise might sound it was recorded in a soundstudio and even then it would not sound "real" enough, are there others that prefer this less then perfect recordings to their squeaky clean recordings at the source?

Last edited by Noa Put; August 2nd, 2015 at 11:45 AM. Reason: typo
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Old August 2nd, 2015, 05:43 AM   #2
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Re: recording Sound in a church

Hi Noa

I normally put a lav on the groom and a lav at the lectern where they do the readings and where I fall short is when a priest wanders somewhere between the altar and the rear of the Church!! Speakers would be great and I usually use a shotgun mic pointed at the celebrant's PA speaker for civil weddings but with our Churches the speakers are almost always mounted up really high near the roof so even with a high stand your mic is usually still 5 metres away from them and you get horrible audio ... the best I can do with something like that is put a shotgun on a light stand and hoist it as high as I can to get as close as possible to the speaker system. With priests that know me I can normally convince them to do their sermon from the lectern which is great and I can get away with 2 lavs!!

Chris
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Old August 2nd, 2015, 11:43 AM   #3
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Re: recording Sound in a church

I'm with you, Noa. The most common for me is to dirty up the sound a bit with the feed from my on-camera shotgun mic.

My arrangement:
wireless lav on pastor which goes to my aisle cam
pocket recorder on groom
recorder on lectern
recorder.... somewhere
shotgun mics on cameras in front third of church

So, if the pastor's wireless mic comes through nicely, I'll add in audio from the shotgun mic at, maybe a third volume or so, just to hear the applause, echo, whatever.
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Old August 2nd, 2015, 10:41 PM   #4
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Re: recording Sound in a church

I recently started miking the speaker at the reception and I was advised to purchase a Shure SM58 for this purpose. I've been very pleased with this as it's only about $99 and I can just place it on a mic stand in front of the speaker and plug the mic into my Tascam DR-40. I'll put a couple of sandbags on the mic stand in case anyone bumps it, and this is a great way to get another source of audio. Part of my reason for doing this is that sometimes the DJ will give me an audio feed but then it turns out the audio from the microphone doesn't get sent to me, just the music. This way I can plug in to his system with one DR-40 and also mic the speaker just to ensure that I get the audio I need.
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Old August 5th, 2015, 01:00 PM   #5
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Re: recording Sound in a church

Noa, Mixing several sources together to make it sound natural is a standard audio post process. If you are recording the speeches from a board feed you will get a good signal but you will miss audience reactions, applause, laughter etc. So I always do multi track recordings. Often, recordings I make for back up tracks get mixed into the primary track to achieve exactly what you are referring to. Also, I record "room noise" to make sure I have clips to add to a mix if it is too dry. A seated audience waiting for an event to start can be a great time to catch a clip for use some place else.

Michael, I am glad that SM58 is working out for you.

Steve
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Old August 5th, 2015, 03:31 PM   #6
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Re: recording Sound in a church

I"m mixing ambient sound from my camera's because they are closest to the guests in church, especially when people are applauding or laughing it adds another layer of depth in the audio, what I was actually saying was that I sometimes don't use my good audio that was recorded at the source, like the recorder placed the closest to the readers or the mic on the groom. When the church has a good audio system I often use the recording in front of such a soundspeaker as my main audio, I only add some ambient sound from my camera's and from my point of view that gives the best experience of "being there".
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Old August 6th, 2015, 03:07 AM   #7
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Re: recording Sound in a church

Last week for some reason the vicar turned his radio mic off every time he went to the lecturn (which he did several times - Catholic wedding/mass) only he kept forgetting to turn it back on - the result was a dog's dinner from my mic on the church speaker - fortunately my other sources covered - it's not the first time I've had clergy forget to turn their mic on
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Old August 6th, 2015, 09:24 AM   #8
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Re: recording Sound in a church

Peter,

Many wireless mics have a very tiny nondescript switch on them that disables the normal on off switch and locks the mic in the ON position. That is what it is there for, to prevent amateur presenters from turning your mic off. Since your mic is not feeding the PA system there is no reason for him to turn it off at the podium or any other time.

I have miced over a thousand people so I do know some people are very resistive to having a live mic on them they cannot control. I find the closer it is to the performance starting the less resistance I get. I hate it when I have to count on someone to turn a mic on so I do not put myself there unless I have to.

Edit: On some belt pack transmitters the "lock on" is not a tiny switch, it is a secret procedure like holding down two buttons at the same time to activate it. Every manufacturer is different but it is usually there.

Steve
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