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-   -   A 360 degree microphone ? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/wedding-event-videography-techniques/522566-360-degree-microphone.html)

Arthur Gannis April 3rd, 2014 12:16 PM

A 360 degree microphone ?
Often in wedding venues when I aim the camera at different directions away from and towards the DJ, the recorded volume goes up and down as well as clear and muffled ( the muffled part due to being the reflected audio from the walls). I move around a lot on the dance floor and the best audio quality comes from having to point the camera towards the DJ speakers.I do not want to constantly manually adjust the levels. Is there a microphone that will get 360 degrees ? I was thinking of an add-on microphone "cone" that would attach on it as the microphone is facing directly UP. This way the audio waves would reflect off the cone from all directions and channel them down into the mic element. Any thing similar exists ?

Dave Partington April 3rd, 2014 12:52 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
Well, yes microphones do exist that pick up 360˙, including those used for virtual meeting systems etc.

The problem is you pick up so much handling noise when the mic is camera mounted, as well as more sound local to the camera than is ideal sometimes.

Why not just use a recorder near the DJ so that you have constant sound recording, both in volume and quality? What ever you do when moving around, things 'will' change.

Arthur Gannis April 3rd, 2014 02:15 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
Recorder is out of the question as later in post will require more work to synch etc. For the price I am charging, I would not even think of doing any extra work in editing.
I just need the DJ music to be at a constant level. Extra sounds like camera handling, crowd screaming, and any other audio is not a concern as the main issues is the lowering and muffling of high frequencies from the DJ area. Just last week I had a wedding where there was an excellent percussionist on stage with drums and cymbals, excellent audio when pointed at his direction BUT as soon as the camera was facing the opposite direction to the dancers on the floor, the cymbals and highs were gone and all I got was low quality reflected sound. I have a omnidirectional ( so it says) microphone that has roughly 120 degree coverage, but it is that missing 240 degree that I am looking for. I am sure that there are others that run into the same problem and such a 360 microphone would be great at the dance floor area.

Dave Partington April 3rd, 2014 02:59 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
Sorry to hear that Arthur.

The very problem I'm grappling with in my local area is all the new people offering wedding videos at stupidly low prices and good audio is one of the very first things to suffer.

Audio is at least 50% of video and if you invest in good audio then your post production is easier, not harder. When I get home from a wedding and know I have great audio then there's a smile on my face for the entire edit. If the audio is not so good then that smile becomes a frown and I'm totally frustrated.

You should be able to sync DJ output really easily, and I do mean really easily. It should take just a few seconds. You should also be able to sync bands with multiple mics & channels too.

But, if you don't want to, no problem, good luck in finding a solution that suits your pricing model.

Jeff Harper April 3rd, 2014 04:08 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
There is a reason event videographers do not use microphones with 360 degree pickup patterns, it would sound absolutley terrible much of the time, as Dave pointed out more diplomatically than I.

As said, it's ridiculously simple to add an audio recorder in the mix and very easy to sync, unless you are stopping recording every five minutes. With the probably very poor audio you're getting from a single camera that's moving around it's hard to imagine an easier way to improve your product. Put the recorder on a tripod if you must. How do you get decent audio from the toasts when pointing at the table when the sound is behind you?

The only other solution that I can think of would be to add a second camera on a tripod pointed at the dance floor. Running a single camera and then using the same audio for a wedding video sounds like a guarantee for poor audio for sure.

I feel for you Dave. I've seen your work and it's amazing, absolutley beautiful images.

There are guys offering three cameras here for $795 but if the customers would watch the sample videos I cannot imagine how those guys get work.

Arthur, consider simple ways, such as above, to raise your quality. With new and improved samples you can certainly charge a bit more. It's how it's done. It will take a tad more time but you'll become proficient at it and you will get much faster at it.

Arthur Gannis April 3rd, 2014 06:26 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
I am charging on the average between 1400 to 1700 USD. I am nor really cheap but affordable here in NY NJ area. I average about 60 wedding a year without any advertisement. Just referrals. I take a day to edit and not more. I enjoy going fishing in the summer weekdays, not like some other guys that spend their lives editing. I try to make my work very easy on myself as it will save me time later. I do not synch audio at all, I much prefer to have the audio already synched with the video. I never do 2 or 3 camera shoots, when the toast or speeches are going on, the background is always almost silent except for a few people talking or waiters passing by behind me. Even if there is a little noise in the background, so what? I am there to capture hat went on that day. After all that is what the couple wants, a documentary of their wedding and not a hollywood production where everything has to be controlled and perfect with bokeh, DOF, effects stuff. The one who undercut prices, and there are plenty in this area, are those who give a 2 camera shoot, all day coverage with all the bells and whistles including a love story before the wedding with a re-cap highlights of the day along with baby and honeymoon photo montage, all for under 1200 dollars. There are even those here who will do an entire wedding for 699 or less. I just want to improve on the audio as to be even in level as I am shooting. This way it will take less time in post to even up the volume.

Chip Thome April 3rd, 2014 07:22 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
It sounds to me like you are using a shotgun mic and if so what you need is something like the Rode Stereo Videomic. The Stereo Videomic is made for loud environments like music etc where a shotgun is best for spoken word like the vows. As far as syncing, Pluraleyes is the magic software for that.

Good luck with your situation !!!!

Warren Kawamoto April 3rd, 2014 07:44 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
Do you use a wireless microphone system for the ceremony? If yes, then put your transmitter somewhere between the loudspeakers and the dance floor. While recording, you can turn any way you want and the sound will not change.

Mark Whittle April 3rd, 2014 08:28 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
Do you have a radio lapel mic, Arthur? These are more often than not omnidirectional condenser mics which sound excellent for their size.

Also, if you don't already have one, invest $20 in a mic stand and attach the lapel mic to the mic stand just behind the mic clip (so the speaker doesn't cover your mic with a hand when they grab the other mic) and tape it down with some black electrical tape or a bit of gaffer tape. Attach the radio transmitter pack to the mic stand or hide on the lectern shelf if they have one. You'll get great audio of the speeches even if people are a bit "off-mic" as they tend to be, as condenser mics are more sensitive than the typical dynamic mics used for the PA system. Tell the MC that no-one is to remove the mic from the stand because if they wander off with it, your sound stays back at the stand! Gaff it to the mic clip if need be. Once the speeches are finished you can put the stand somewhere appropriate to pick up the DJ. (Probably need to lower the sensitivity first).

Your problem is that you are moving around, so the sound is changing as you get closer/further from the source. It wouldn't help if you had a 360 degree mic. By keeping the mic in one spot it will sound constant. The disadvantage of course is when you stop/start your camera you get a break in the music which makes it difficult to edit. If you had a separate recorder you can lay down a whole song and cut together a sequence of people dancing without "jump cuts" in the sound.

I can see that you want simple solutions - this is one way to get ready-synched audio that stays constant, and you can monitor it while shooting with headphones. I strongly recommend you also get a line out from the DJ into an H2 or H4 or whatever and record the whole night as a backup. Record in 48k/16 bit and it will sync up no worries. You don't have to use it but one day you'll be glad of it. The hard part is getting the level right. Some DJs have no idea about gain structure and overdrive the hell out of their desks so even if your record level is correct it could still be distorted. Both the Zoom H2 & H4 have compressors & limiters built in that can be used if need be.

I don't know what you edit on but Premiere now lets you sync your audio file to a video clip and treat it as one clip. New versions of the others probably let you do the same.

A little bit of effort with sound makes a massive difference to perceived quality I reckon.

Good luck

Don Bloom April 3rd, 2014 09:28 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
I ran my wireless system for many many years at receptions and tried different shotgun mics, different lav mics with placement from here to there and back again. Different audio settings on the camera were tried and adjustments were made checked, rechecked and checked again. The BEST system I found was a Sennheiser E604 Drum mic using the plugin transmitter mounted on a cheap mic boom stand placed about 2 to 4 inches in front of the DJs speaker (not the bass speaker) and using a hyper on the camera I got audio that frankly needed about ZERO work including people who were speaking or the music. I cut my post time sweetening of my reception audio easily by 95% or more. No matter which way I faced, how close to the :action" I got with the camera the drum mic (in manual mode-set the level and let it be) in front of the speaker in combination with the hyper in AGC mode (the camera is faster to make adjustments than I am).
This system worked GREAT for ME. I was willing to spend some money for the mic and take some time to experiment to get the sound I was looking for. I used a drum mic because it has the ability to get pouned by high SPLs where the shotgun or lav probably won't. YMMV.

Mark Whittle April 3rd, 2014 11:00 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
Hi Don, yes that would work too, but for more of a "close up" sound with hardly any ambience I guess. Good for speeches & music both. Maybe not so good if you wanted applause etc but you could get that on your camera mic.

Yes that close the lapel would not handle the SPL at all, but from a few metres away you get some ambience as well. Depends what you're after. I might try your method myself, Don, thanks.


Peter Riding April 4th, 2014 03:01 AM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
Arthur, I'm guessing that you haven't tried syncing with Pluraleyes using a separate audio recorder; if you did chances are you'd be an immediate convert as it really is so easy. I'm sure it would reduce your editing time rather than increase it because you wouldn't be having to sweeten the parts of clips where as you've explained the in-camera audio jars.

If you really do want to keep everything in-cam and if you can get permission to use an output on the DJ board then a neat but more expensive solution is to have a Sennheiser G3 transmitter connected to the board and the receiver delivering to one channel on your cam. Use the cams other channel for either the cams own mic or an attached shotgun. You'll get lovely clean consistent sound from the G3 channel and if you need to add a bit of ambient just use the other channel for that. This also means that - unlike using an unattended standalone recorder - if the DJ pumps up the output to such a point that you're getting clipping you can adjust it there and then on the cams appropriate channel.

You don't really need to carry a truckload of board connectors as nearly all DJ boards would have available left and right phone sockets; you have a cable with red and white phono's on one end and terminated on the other with a 3.5mm stereo jack to go into the G3 (or most audio recorders).


Don Bloom April 4th, 2014 05:02 AM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
Mark, I get all the ambient room sounds I need from the hyper on the camera. The drum mic get's me a clean track of whatever comes from the DJs speaker and the hyper get's me fill, room and the music or speeches so it's a nice combo. Having the music without room fill....ugh.

Arthur Gannis April 4th, 2014 04:44 PM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?
Thanks everyone for all the advice. I will see if I can source out a true 360 degree mic. It is for the reception part only. I am OK with the ceremony as I have wireless for that. I have seen PluralEyes at work and it is not for my workflow as it requires extra steps especially when I have over 50 takes/clips/pauses on the average at the reception. I really like the MINIMAL amount of work at the edit desk.

Bruce Watson April 5th, 2014 10:17 AM

Re: A 360 degree microphone ?

Originally Posted by Arthur Gannis (Post 1839710)
Often in wedding venues when I aim the camera at different directions away from and towards the DJ, the recorded volume goes up and down as well as clear and muffled (the muffled part due to being the reflected audio from the walls).

Well, sorta. Shotgun mics do attenuate off-axis sound; that's a design function. Due to the interference tube design, it can also muffle sound at various frequencies when you are in a "fast reflection" environment. That is, when the sound's initial wave front reaches the mic just fractions of a second before the first reflection (ceiling or walls). This is why a shotgun mic is normally not recommended for use indoors.

Shotgun mics are not equivalent to zoom lenses on cameras; completely different physics.


Originally Posted by Arthur Gannis (Post 1839710)
I move around a lot on the dance floor and the best audio quality comes from having to point the camera towards the DJ speakers.I do not want to constantly manually adjust the levels. Is there a microphone that will get 360 degrees?

Well, yes. They are called omnidirectional mics. I wouldn't use one for this duty, but you might want to try it and see. Might work for you, IDK.


Originally Posted by Arthur Gannis (Post 1839710)
I was thinking of an add-on microphone "cone" that would attach on it as the microphone is facing directly UP. This way the audio waves would reflect off the cone from all directions and channel them down into the mic element. Any thing similar exists?

Not much demand for it. What you're describing is a hat. It'll do for your mic what your fishing hat does for your ears. Walk through the woods with your hat on, then take it off. Listen to the difference. This really what you want at a wedding reception? If so, you can always make one.

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