Creative COW SIGN IN :: SPONSORS :: ADVERTISING :: ABOUT US :: CONTACT US :: FAQ
Creative COW's LinkedIn GroupCreative COW's Facebook PageCreative COW on TwitterCreative COW's Google+ PageCreative COW on YouTube
FORUMS:listlist (w/ descriptions)archivetagssearchhall of famerecent posts

Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Share on Facebook
Steve CrowGetting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Sep 28, 2011 at 5:07:37 am

In the past I've only mic'd two people at a time using lavalier microphones - one for each person.

Now I am anticipating the need to be able to record audio for larger groups - say 3 to 5 subjects recorded in a relatively quiet area.

I was thinking of using a boom mic stand to hang a shotgun mic over the group out of frame. My concern was that a shotgun might have too narrow a pickup pattern for a group of 5 people so that the two people seated furthest away from the mic would not be recorded as well as those seated closer to the "ideal" mic position.

How many people can you usually record with a single overhead boom mic? I'm a one-man band production dude so I have to come up with a solution that's easy and works....right now I run the wireless lavalier audio to a Zoom H4N audio recorder where I can monitor it....would something similar work under a group situation where no lavs are in use?


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Eric TolineRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Sep 28, 2011 at 1:04:34 pm

If you don't use a shotgun mic you can record quite a few. A couple of cardioids or hyper cardioids on c-stands can do the job very well. Now that setup will become more difficult if there's a camera involved due to lighting, size of the shot and how far apart the director wants the people to be.


Eric


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Ty FordRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Sep 28, 2011 at 3:38:45 pm

Hello Steve and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

While Eric's solution will work, the audio will sound more roomy because no one person will be close to a mic and each voice will be picked up by both mics, one farther away than the other. That will add to the roominess.

You have reached the limit of your singular capability. At some point in everyone's career, they need to take it to the next level.

Either you shoot each person serially and move the mic as you go, stopping and restarting, or you get a local sound person to mic all five and mix live to your camera.

You can try an automixer. and 5 lavs, but you still really need someone to attend to the mixer who knows how to help it do its job.

The final and mostly insane option would be to put a lav and small personal recorder on each person and sync it all in post.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Cow Audio Forum Leader
Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  


Steve CrowRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Sep 28, 2011 at 6:31:52 pm

Hi guys!
Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies.

Ty I agree with you i may be reaching the limit of what a one person crew can schieve yet I'd still like to stretch my capability to record 4 people in a sit down situation at least

2 more sets of wireless lavs will cost me about 1 grand plus whatever mixing/monitoring solution i can come up with - i don't know frankly if my Zoom H4N can stretch to supporting this situation and give me 4 SEPERATE audio tracks to work with


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Ty FordRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Sep 28, 2011 at 7:16:38 pm

Steve,

4 mics into two channels will sound bad unless you have an operator taking out the unused mics at the moment.

You don't need wireless. Go hardwired.

Proceed at your own risk.

Cheers,

Ty Ford

Cow Audio Forum Leader
Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Craig AlanRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Sep 29, 2011 at 4:42:08 pm

Do the mikes have to be out of shot? You could have two pairs of talent share a wired handheld mike on stands. You could have all four on lavs wired to
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/650181-REG/Sound_Devices_552_552_Port....
Unless you plan this kind a shoot on a steady basis it might be cheaper to hire an audio tech with his/her own gear. Riding four channels of audio while also shooting is really hard. Speaking of which, how do you plan to shoot this? One camera on a wide shot? I suppose if it's just a wide shot you can ride the levels. If it's a multi-cam production, I can't see riding audio levels and switching. If even one camera moves and reframes on the fly, no way can you also ride audio levels.

You'll get more bang for your buck with wired lavs than wireless. Plus you might run into locations where the wireless has interference. Audio techs always have wired backups in case. You can add the wireless kits later.

If you do float mikes on stands above the talent, say two mikes between each pair then you need to train them to keep their heads pointed in the direction of the mikes. It won't be ideal but you will hear the dialog. You can adjust the levels in post but at the price of quality.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  


Peter GroomRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Sep 30, 2011 at 8:36:44 am

Any reasone why youre not wanting to put personal mics on all speakers, and either record each separately to a multitrack and mix it later, or put them through a mixing desk and mix it live.
Seems to me that you want to hear clearly and crisply what everyone says, so thats the way to do it.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Steve CrowRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Sep 30, 2011 at 1:56:40 pm

Hi Peter,

Cost and the ease of operation for a one-man-band production crew are main factors. Yes, I could add 2 more sets of wireless or even wired mics to let me record up to 4 people but (for the wireless) that's $1,000 before I even consider mixing.

Right now I record my wireless signal into a Zoom H4N but that only has 2 xlr inputs - not the four that would be ideal for me.

I did see a four input mixer on Amazon that got a good review for around $462 but I believe it only had 3 XLR outputs. (Azden FMX-42 Pro)

So I am just hunting around for solutions - as I believe you were suggesting, yes I could attach a small personal recorder to my subjects and then mix them together in post but there's no way to monitor that live and it's 2 more record buttons I have to remember to push before filming - that may not sound like a big deal but in the field when you are responsible for everything - it's easy to forget and then you are f*%#ed

Given all these issues, it's not surprising that everyone is suggesting hiring a sound guy and that might be my solution if I can't figure out a reasonable work around.


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Larry MackyRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Oct 1, 2011 at 5:11:21 am

Although my solution is probably amateurish, I am going to post what I have learned since might be useful to you or someone else wanting to record a group of people. In my work, I videotaped groups of 4 to 6 people. I cannot attach microphones to individuals without making everyone self-conscious and affecting the process. I have had very good results from using a Sony ECM- Hw2(R) Bluetooth microphone. It can record both from the wireless microphone and from the receiver which is attached to the camera. If I use both sources, however, there is a sense of "roominess" because it combines both sound sources into the one track. So I only use the wireless microphone input setting. Since people are sitting reasonably close together, these microphone placed in the middle of picks up everyone quite well. I have compared it to my wired Sony ECM MS907 and it picks up about twice as much. The fact that the microphone is wireless means that doesn't call attention to itself and it is rare for anyone to even ask what it is.


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  


Ty FordRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Oct 1, 2011 at 10:51:24 am

Hi Larry,

You said, "I videotaped groups of 4 to 6 people. I cannot attach microphones to individuals without making everyone self-conscious and affecting the process."

I have spoken of this before here. In every situation I have seen, the difficulty is in the person putting the mics on the other folks. If you are not confident, your discomfort is communicated. Once you get over that, you won't have any problems. It's also important to "make first contact" by introducing yourself to the person you're micing before you enter their personal space, e. g., With a smile on your face....."Hi, I'm the sound guy and I need to enter your personal space to put this mic on you so you sound good during the recording. Here's what I need to do...etc."

Before you do this, work with family and friends in a mock up situation where you practice this procedure until you become comfortable with entering their space and handling the mic.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Cow Audio Forum Leader
Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Peter GroomRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Oct 3, 2011 at 8:31:08 am

Steve
This might seem a little offbeat but bear with me.

If you want 4 channels on a zoom of external inputs, if it were me id open the zoom up and mod the onboard mics so they were disabled (or switched). Id fit 2 flying XLRS to the connections inside where the onboard mics fed their signal to so i could have 4 independantly adjustable and recordable mic inputs.
Ok so you trash your warranty, but these Zooms things are throw away money anyhow (only about £300 in the UK). Whats the worst that can happen.
If youre handy with a soldering iron and meter its an option.
NB IM NOT ENCOURAGING ANYONE WITHOUT ANY TECHNICAL ABILITY TO POTENTIALLY BREAK THEIR ZOOM RECORDER, but its a minor mod.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

Malcolm MatuskyRe: Getting Good Sound For Group Interviews in Documentary Setting
by on Oct 20, 2011 at 11:45:10 pm

The Zoom H1 can be used as a body pack for each person, with a "cheap" lav it's under $150 each, or go with the Zoom R16 with 8 inputs which you can mix later $400, there are naturally more expensive multi track recorders, but if you don't need the high quality then this may work. When "working alone" I always put each subject on their own track so I don't have to ride levels while shooting. Today it's cheaper than ever to to this. I use a Zoom H4, H1 and will be purchasing a few more H1's rather than more wireless units in the near future.

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com


Return to posts index
Reply   Like  

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Share on Facebook


FORUMSTUTORIALSFEATURESVIDEOSPODCASTSEVENTSSERVICESNEWSLETTERNEWSBLOGS

Creative COW LinkedIn Group Creative COW Facebook Page Creative COW on Twitter
© 2014 CreativeCOW.net All rights are reserved. - Privacy Policy

[Top]