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


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Old October 20th, 2006, 01:03 AM   #1
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Audio for Live Events

I see at some live events there are what look like shotgun microphones place across the front of the stage as set intervals. What type of microphones would these be and would it be possilble to use these type of thing at a wedding?
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Old October 20th, 2006, 05:42 PM   #2
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Most likely these are directional condenser or phantom powered microphones with less directionality than shotguns. Most reputable microphone manufacturers have a specific product line of high quality microphones specifically for non-amplified live concert recording. I, too, often see these mics suspended high in the air above the proscenium arch of a concert hall, but have never had the opportunity to use them. I've not seen them in a church as yet, but in my little world of churches, live recording is a concept a bit beyond the horizon of imagination.

Very generally speaking, no more than two or three microphones are needed for live concert recording. One article I read some years ago featured a then well known audio engineer (whose name escapes me) who simply said something like, "if you need more than two microphones to record a symphony, you have a problem". The message between the lines to me at the time was something like, "so just how much does one have to know to efectively use just two microphones?". The answer is, I believe, a lot. Indeed, producing video is rather a simple process. One just has to know a lot.

However, placement of these microphones is more of an art than a science. There is also the practical logistics of just how one gets a mic in the right place in a very short amount of time. I've personally wired theatres for specific tasks (recording not being one of them), and those experiences were a nightmare of pulling wires through attic crawl spaces full of the mummified bodies of long dead pigeons, not to mention the time involved.

In any case, effectively using microphones like these would involve a significant amount of trial and error as one builds a body of experience that would prove useful.


For "grins", I visited the Shure Microphone website http://shure.com/ProAudio/index.htm to see what they had to say. I found the most extensive library of information I have ever encountered. There is a lot of information regarding live concert recording in a lot of different kinds of venues. Interestingly, doing a search on "Wedding" brought up a host of articles dealing with wireless mic systems, but not much in regard to suspended microphones. I suspect you are in for a good amount of research which, if my personal experience in endeavors of this kind has any value, should give you a wealth of information upon which to build a viable approach to capturing good audio.

I hope you find your research rewarding, and look forward to hearing what you discover.
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Last edited by Waldemar Winkler; October 20th, 2006 at 08:21 PM.
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Old October 31st, 2006, 07:07 PM   #3
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Would these across the stage be shotgun mic's? Would it be like using standard handheld mics? Would they be sufficient?

In two weeks I will video a small concert, all the stage instruments/mics will run thru the mixer and I will get a direct feed (same as last year), but one thing I noticed is there was nearly no audience noise and after each item it just went silent. What would be the best way to get a feed of the main desk and also intergrate an audience mic (or two)??
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Old November 1st, 2006, 05:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Fraser
Would these across the stage be shotgun mic's? Would it be like using standard handheld mics? Would they be sufficient?

In two weeks I will video a small concert, all the stage instruments/mics will run thru the mixer and I will get a direct feed (same as last year), but one thing I noticed is there was nearly no audience noise and after each item it just went silent. What would be the best way to get a feed of the main desk and also intergrate an audience mic (or two)??
I believe just about any quality microphone would allow you to record ambient house sound. The question is, where would you want to send that audio signal? If you are using more than one camera, I would suggest one of the cameras, but an isolated recording device would likely work as well.

I may shoot a live performance event maybe once a year, and I always use three cameras. Two are manned and the third is stationary. I get feed from the house sound system for the manned cameras and pick up ambient audio on the third camera's built-in microphone. In post, I synch all three cameras. Then, when appropriate, I can blend audio from the third camera.
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