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-   -   basic audio question for XL2 (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/53132-basic-audio-question-xl2.html)

Irv Wilson October 21st, 2005 01:25 PM

mic kit for XL2
The company I work for does classroom style seminars in everything from 100 seat hotel meeting rooms to larger 1000 seat venues. A couple of times in the past they've hired video crews to film but for some reason have always tried to handle the audio feed themselves.

So far they have two strikes against them. First effort was audio/video and the second was audio only. I received a sample CD from the latter and the problems are easy to identify. One speaker really likes his PowerPoints and when he turns his head to point at them on the screen the audio on his lav goes away. They also have things like audience members asking questions and even though there's a roamer intended to mic them, for some reason that hasn't worked well either.

In short, it sucks and since I'm viewed as a "camera guy" (I've had some images published here and there) I've been picked for strike three. Problem is I don't want to strike out. The second problem is that the last time I tried anything audio-wise was when I was 12 and thought it'd be pretty funny to fart into a microphone.

With our soon to be delivered XL2 I think I can handle the lighting and camera controls with a little practice but I'm curious as to mic techniques. I'm looking for A) a quick and dirty reference and B) a recommend for a simple mic kit. I've been pitched a Sennheiser MKH 416 but if I go that route it's the only mic I can buy. I'm wondering if not smarter to go with two less expensive mics. I suppose I can angle some cardboard back at the mic if I want expand what it "hears", that sort of thing, but thought I'd post here first.

App is primarily roaming around shooting speakers, attendees during breaks, Q&A, 2nd camera during lectures, etc. Some outdoors but mostly indoors. Acoustics vary widely. I can handle 90% of the light situations for still images with what I carry in my roll along. Looking for that "magic kit" for audio.

Sorry for length of post but that's the skinny.

Thank you very much for reading (and hopefully responding)!


Irv Wilson October 21st, 2005 03:16 PM

bought mic, still looking for primer....
Went with the MKH416 but could still use a recommend for a field audio primer.

BTW, found the equipment at evsonline from ad on dvinfo.net so thanks for that as well. They seem like a great resource.



Mark Utley October 21st, 2005 03:24 PM

A line from a sound board is your best bet. If you run a line out from the board, the cameraguy would just have to worry about framing the shot. Hire a second person to take care of audio levels (lav and roaming mic) and you should be good.

As for types of mics, a shotgun will work if you can't get close enough to the person in the crowd who's asking a question, but a stick mic will give you better audio. The nice thing about a sound board is that you can have both.

Jay Massengill October 21st, 2005 04:12 PM

You've also hit upon the one scenario among all the activities discussed here that is probably the hardest to get good audio consistently. My rule of thumb for a presentation in front of a crowd, with both PA and recording, is to try and imagine the most bizarre way that your audio can go wrong. Then count on something much more bizarre actually occurring. You've got to have several contingency plans in effect. It also helps to use audio pathways that are totally isolated from the PA output. This is more complicated, but it gives more flexibility to get a good recording.
There's so many possible lines of discussion we could go over that it's impossible to cover it all quickly. Do you have anyone that's experienced in audio for both recording and live PA that could assist you? That and knowing the venue and the other equipment being used, as well as consulting with the presenters is all very important.

Irv Wilson October 21st, 2005 11:43 PM

The P.A. they've done pretty successfuly for several years. I think the term successful in this case, though, is subjective. A drop-out here and there, mic not turned on, etc. and nobody really notices. Put the same errors on tape, however, and everybody throws up their hands.

They've always just run some wireless lavs and maybe a handheld thru their Mackey and out to the loudspeakers. Sometimes it's house equipment but usually our board. I was just thinking of treating the audio like light. I can light where the speaker is supposed to be and then also where they're not supposed to be (we give them laser pointers for their slides and tell them to stay put but they seem to always want to walk over to the screen and stab at it). I was thinking of placing a mic over there as well. I just can't imagine that approach works very well for sound.

I've found some stuff online on shooting wedding videos and I think I'm just going to treat this go-round as a big 3 day wedding and see what happens. I can think of a dozen good books on lighting technique right off the top of my head. Someone needs to do the same thing for audio....

thank you for replying - irv.

David Ennis October 22nd, 2005 07:12 AM

The survival guides you seek have been written by Ty Ford (tyford.com) and Jay Rose (www.dplay.com). You'll find tips and tutorials on their websites to chew on while you wait for their books to be delivered.

The MKH416 is a fine mic to have in your kit, but that much money could have bought you more versatility. If you'll be responsible for coverage the types of events in your first post as well as those in your later post (which differ) I'd have gone for a good wireless kit that included a lav/transmitter for presenters, a plug-on transmitter for the roving mic or sound board output and two recievers. You could record those two inputs into the left and right channels resepectviely and do what you want with them in edit. I believe you'd still have enough left over for a camera mounted shotgun for backup as well as running and gunning.

Greg Boston October 23rd, 2005 11:09 AM

For the speaker who likes to turn head away from lav mic on his powerpoint slides. I recommend giving him a wireliess handheld mic so he can roam and point. The thing is, when a person turns their head and not their torso, they will always remember to keep the handheld mic under their mouth, but a lav mic as you have observed, is forgotten about.


Ty Ford October 23rd, 2005 12:00 PM


Originally Posted by Irv Wilson
Went with the MKH416 but could still use a recommend for a field audio primer.

BTW, found the equipment at evsonline from ad on dvinfo.net so thanks for that as well. They seem like a great resource.



Hi Irv,

I do this a lot.

My book will help. Check it out on my site.

I'd put a Countryman E6 on the powerpoint guy. Shure makes a copycat version that I have seen, but not heard. I think it goes for $250.

Depending on the room, I'd have a mic runnner who knows how to get to the person speaking, or know how to point the 416 from a distance and/or hang some overhead mics and have someone mixing the mics to keep the right ones on and the wrong ones low or off. Having all mics up is a disaster.



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