Audio for theatre at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 27th, 2007, 09:43 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Charleston, IL
Posts: 231
Audio for theatre

First of all ... yes I've looked through the all the threads, but if my answer lies in there ... I missed it.

Stage performance by a local community theatre/single camera shoot. I've done tons of these, but my patience is gone when it comes to audio.

They all mic the central actors, but not everyone with speaking parts. They all run through the sound board and think that's the best way for me to get the audio, but in fact ... it's all armatures and it sucks.

Question one: I have three Shure PZM mics. If I use these three across the apron of the the stage and run them through my Mackie ... would this provide a quality sound? I realize I would probably have to put foam under them. This will be a musical.

Question two: Would I be better off using two or three short condeser microphones either across the front of the stage on mic stands (assuming that they can't be hung)?

Thanks for any audio suggestions you might have.

Scott
Scott Brooks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 176
I've used the PZM mics a ton in the corporate industry as head table mics, audio conference mics, even mic'd a kids choir onstage with them once. But, i've never used them in theatre. Foam under the mics would probably be necessary with all the foot vibrations and i think they would work out great. Of course, the farther away the talent is from the mic the softer he/she will be. The condenser mics would probably be just as good as well, but from my experience they don't have as long of a throw as the PZM's do. Plus, the condenser mics tend to be pretty hot and can peak pretty easily.

Only way to really find out which works best is to rent some from your local AV rental company and try it out. Your board will have to provide phantom power of course. Good luck.
Zach Stewart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2007, 12:14 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Charleston, IL
Posts: 231
Thanks Zach. I've got a situation coming up and I might experiment with it a bit. If I go with the PZMs then I don't have to spend any additional money. Phantom power is not a problem.

If I go with the short condensers then I have to invest in those and honestly ... I've cut back on some of those jobs so I'm thinking that it might end up being an investment that provides little in return.

The only other alternative would be to hang two lavaliere mics over the stage or put them at the front of the stage if hanging them doesn't work.

By the way ... I purchased the PZMs years ago when I was taping focus groups for our phone company. I loved them for that ... just never used them during a stage event.
Scott Brooks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2007, 05:54 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
Scott, try your setups well beforehand, a big problem recording stage musicals is always the voice clarity and balance between the vocals and the music. The closer you can get with vocal mics the better they'll sound.
Good luck.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2007, 01:25 PM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 1,997
this reminds me....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Scott, try your setups well beforehand, a big problem recording stage musicals is always the voice clarity and balance between the vocals and the music. The closer you can get with vocal mics the better they'll sound.
Good luck.
I have always wondered it a few sound guys with this type of setup would work to catch the moving actors...... Kind of like how ESPN & other sports shows have guys on the sideline with these mics so they can pick up the athlete sounds, crunches, etc. Of course they are asking $1200 and this one is even more. Not sure how the frequency response is on these sort of systems. This one is under $200 but I bet the sound quality will show as a result.

This site has an interesting discussion about how stereo recording helps the human brain filter out unwanted noises from a source recording where a mono source will sound more garbled.
Jason Robinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2007, 01:41 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bozeman, MT
Posts: 215
This is indeed a sticky situation, and one that is usually exacerbated by sound engineers who don't understand the difference between reinforcing an actor's voice to be adequately heard and trying to make them sound like a rock star at 160db. As an actor I have been on both sides of the miced/unmiced fence, and I don't like either one. No one wins in this situation.

Sound designers for professional theatre understand that they must do whatever they must to get everyone sounding the same. When I work local crew on the touring shows this usually means in the neighborhood of 30 or so wireless mics. (Really nice Sennheisers at about $5,000 per set!)

If you are able to isolate your sound from the natural reverb of the too-loud actors through the house PA, then your PZMs will likely do a good job for you. For stage use I prefer the Crown PCC 160 mics as they reject off-axis sound much better. I have used them both as reinforcement mics for performance and as recording mics and have gotten excellent results in both scenarios.
Frank Simpson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2007, 02:11 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Charleston, IL
Posts: 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Simpson View Post
This is indeed a sticky situation, and one that is usually exacerbated by sound engineers who don't understand the difference between reinforcing an actor's voice to be adequately heard and trying to make them sound like a rock star at 160db. As an actor I have been on both sides of the miced/unmiced fence, and I don't like either one. No one wins in this situation.

Sound designers for professional theatre understand that they must do whatever they must to get everyone sounding the same. When I work local crew on the touring shows this usually means in the neighborhood of 30 or so wireless mics. (Really nice Sennheisers at about $5,000 per set!)

If you are able to isolate your sound from the natural reverb of the too-loud actors through the house PA, then your PZMs will likely do a good job for you. For stage use I prefer the Crown PCC 160 mics as they reject off-axis sound much better. I have used them both as reinforcement mics for performance and as recording mics and have gotten excellent results in both scenarios.
Your first paragraph makes so much sense. The largest problem is that community theatre and high school theatre mostly rely on volunteers ... meaning someone's dad is running board. All they're thinking about is "making it louder." They have no regard to the blending that must be done.

For the last six years I've taken a feed from the board during the high school programs and for six years I've spent way too much time editing the audio. It's gotten to the point of being brutally painful. I just can't do it anymore.

I'm either going to find a way to make this work with my own system OR I'm going to work off a shotgun mic setup by the camera.
Scott Brooks is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:51 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network