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Recording audio at a press conference

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Rebecca JabiRecording audio at a press conference
by on Oct 1, 2012 at 5:36:59 pm

I need to record video and audio at a press conference which will include a Q&A session. I'll be recording with my HVX-200 camcorder. The event will take place in a conference room that seats 100 persons. The speakers for both the conference and Q&A will be speaking into mics (provided by the location) that will pass through a mixer. I have basic sound equipment including a Sennheiser 416 boom and two Sennheiser e-100 lavs and will have a boom operator. Can you recommend the best approach to recording both the press conference and the Q&A session. Is it best to set up my boom mic on the speakers podium for the press conference then boom the Q&A session? Should I take audio directly from the mixer on the location (I can record the sound from the mixer onto a separate camera)?

Thank you!


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Richard CrowleyRe: Recording audio at a press conference
by on Oct 1, 2012 at 7:35:28 pm

What is your role here? Are you just one of dozens of reporters showing up for the press conference? Are you supposed to be operating the sound system for the press conference? Is this a place where press conferences are common? Or is this a unique experience?

How many reporters (or people asking questions) do you anticipate? Does the venue commonly setup microphones on stands for people to come up and ask questions? Do they have some other way of capturing audience questions? How important is it to capture the audience questions? Will the presenters repeat the question for the audience/recording?

There are many more questions here than you have answered, and it is difficult to recommend anything with so many remaining unknowns.


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Eric TolineRe: Recording audio at a press conference
by on Oct 1, 2012 at 9:06:37 pm

Call the venue and speak to someone who would know if you can get a feed from the house mixer into your camcorder. That would be the easiest way of insuring you get all the audio.

Eric

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Richard CrowleyRe: Recording audio at a press conference
by on Oct 1, 2012 at 9:19:58 pm

Proper press conferences typically have a "press box" where you (and all the other reporters) can simply plug in your (XLR) mic cable to an outlet and get all the sound (presenters as well as reporters) mixed for you. Like this...

http://www.thebroadcastshop.com/images/equipment/Audio/op-va16-ml8.jpg

I don't know why it is so fiddly to try to post an image to this forum. I guess they are just trying to discourage us from using up their hard drive space... Oh well.


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Ty FordRe: Recording audio at a press conference
by on Oct 2, 2012 at 12:27:24 pm

Hello Rebecca and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Good ideas from everyone so far.

Sometimes the house system audio is noisy and plugging in can result in a ground loop which results in a buzz. If you can live with the noise do that. Be aware that the operator may change the level and you may need to compensate for that in the moment. In a properly designed system, that won't happen, but you never can tell.

If that's the case (and you should get there early to hear what the system sounds like) you may want to setup another mic at the podium and grab clean audio.

Frequently the "line level" I am given from the house is somewhere between mic and line, forcing you to decide which setting (mic or line) to use on your camera. I try to get a sound check to figure out the best settings and use a mixer before the camera so I can more easily make adjustments if necessary.

I once attached a wireless lav to a podium mic on Capitol Hill because the house feed was pretty nasty. It worked, but you also have to be aware of cell phones that cut the range of the wireless. Putting the receiver as close as possible to the transmitter and cabling back to your audio input can help.

Do you need the audience questions? If so, how good does that audio need to be? Usually there are "runners", people with wireless mics who take the mic to the person asking the question. Will the question askers be on camera? If not, you may be able to get their sound from someone operating your boom mic to a separate channel or camera.

And, trust me on this, you will have to tell people to wait for the mic even if you announce ahead of time that you will be bringing a mic to the person with a question. A second plan would be to put a mic on a stand at the front of the audience and make people with questions come to the mic. Again, you WILL have to coach people to, "Please use the microphone!" because they will just start asking questions from their seat.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Rebecca JabiRe: Recording audio at a press conference
by on Oct 2, 2012 at 6:24:57 pm

Thank you to everyone for your helpful responses!!

Ty - I am grateful for your response. It seems like a good idea to get audio from both a mic on the podium and from the mixer. Given that I have two cameras I can manage this set up. I would like to have a good recording of the questions and the askers will be on camera. There will be a runner to give a mic to the speakers. Unfortunately having the speakers go to one set mic will not be an option. In this case, I assume the audio I get from the mixer will be useful if the buzz is not too great. I can also have the boom operator try and get the boom mic close enough to the askers that this may be useful as well. Does that sound like a good approach?

Is there anything that can be done to reduce the buzz of the sound coming from the mixer?

Thank you very much!
Rebecca


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Eric TolineRe: Recording audio at a press conference
by on Oct 3, 2012 at 3:18:26 am

IF there's a buzz most likely it will be a 60hz buzz that can be filtered out in post. If there's a buzz it will be heard throughout the system & over the speakers and will annoy all in the room. The odds are in your favor that there won't be any buzz.

Eric

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Ty FordRe: Recording audio at a press conference
by on Oct 3, 2012 at 9:47:47 am

Rebecca,

I forgot to mention that you're a lot more likely to encounter a buzz if your gear is running on AC. Sometimes, switching to battery eliminates the problem.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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