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

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Old March 7th, 2006, 10:15 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Audio Question

I am new to this but my first project was a birthday/roast. Although the room was small with only about 50 people, they used a mic with loudspeaker. I was using a Senn wireless lav on the birthday girl and a Senn shotgun. The MC bellowed into the microphone and the distortion is terrible. The track on the lave may be salvagable but the shotgun is hopeless. Should I have just told them not to use it? Experience? Advice?
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Old March 8th, 2006, 02:02 PM   #2
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Location: Fremont,CA. USA
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I am also new and my first wedding video was pretty much in the same scenario that you mentioned but mine had a live band playing which really wrecked havoc on my on board mic. Good thing was that I had a second camera that was setup farther to get the full stage (being monitored by me)and that saved me.

1. What kind of camera did you use?
2. You should get a good set of headphones and monitor audio during the event. Adjust audio on your camera.
3. Hope that you can salvage in post.

Good luck. Just my 2 cents. I am sure there would be more experienced pros in here that can help you.
To be.....or not to be
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Old March 8th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #3
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Audio can be the death of videographers!

First keep in mind that for MOST uses a shotgun indoors is probably not the best choice simply because of the pickup pattern and sensitivity they really need to be within a couple of feet of the talent. Having said that however it sounds to me like you might have lost control at the camera. What I mean is depending on which Sennheiser mic you are using and what camera you are using and how you have the audio set on the camera can make a world of difference. As an example, when I shoot my PD150 with a Sennheiser ME66 I generally use a 10db attenuator between the camera and the mic otherwise for MOST indoor applications specifically a reception or party, it can be a very hot setup and overmodulate pretty badly. However if I use my AT897 I don't need the attenuator and can keep the audio within limits by listening on a good set of headphones and by watching the audio meters. When I use my JVC5000 with the ME66 I do not need the attenuator and can keep the levels right with little work but with the AT897- I need to crank it up a bit.
There are a lot of variables but the one problem you mentioned that is fairly common is DJs bellowing into the mic. I guess they forgot they have an amplified system and don't need to yell. Sometimes I remind them!
I wouldn't have told them not to use the amp system but with that in mind just ask them to hold it down to the level of a 747 taking off and drop the level of your shotgun. Doesn't help for this one but maybe for the next one. Also as you do more work you'll know how hot your audio can get in certain situations AND hopefully you'll do an audio check BEFORE the party gets started.
FIRST RECOMMONDATION::::: get a set of headphones-monitor the audio AND they will also save your hearing. After 20plus years of this my hearing has gotten much more "selective" than even my wife can handle. To much loud music! :-)
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Old March 8th, 2006, 05:32 PM   #4
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Posts: 419 much of the audio which was clipped? I have had a few grand entrances of the bride groom....where the DJ literally screamed into the mic....MR and MRS ABC.....not to mention the dj cranked up the volume on his mixer to amp for that part...essentially making his audio useless......and not because of my levels but because he was clipping through his own PA system. SO, what exactly is your situation?
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Old March 10th, 2006, 11:02 PM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Thanks for feedback

I appreciate your comments. I was using a Canon XL1 with the XLR adapter. I had the lav on one track and shotgun on the other thinking that I could choose the better track in post. I am embarrassed to say that I was indeed wearing good headphones made by Sennheiser. There was only one guy who bellowed into the mike while holding it inside his mouth. Everyone else who used it was okay. There were a couple people who refused to use it and, of course, they sound best. I was operating a backup JVC camcorder so I'd have cutaways and did run back and forth between the two cameras a bit too much. I finally just told the loud guy to hold the mike farther away from his mouth and he was okay. I have learned a lot from this. Next time, I will first turn their mikes down and then adjust my own levels. It never even crossed my mind that I could have turned the audio levels down right on the Canon. I have another project ahead of this so it is on the shelf for a while. But again, thanks for your help.
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Old March 11th, 2006, 01:27 AM   #6
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Location: Warren, Michigan, USA
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This is how I handle recording from the DJ board: I've burned a CD with 30 seconds of a 1000 Hz tone at 0 dB. When I arrive, the DJ is normally already up and running, so I give him the CD, have him turn off the amps (VERY IMPORTANT!), play the test tone, then redline the DJ board. Adjust your recording level to 0 dB, and you're all set. It helps that the DJs I work with are seldom strangers.
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