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Sound in a cathedral

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Mark D'Agostino
Sound in a cathedral
on Jan 5, 2009 at 7:45:25 pm

I'm about to shoot a job in a large, (1000 seating capacity), cathedral. Naturtally, the ambiance is very "live". It has very high curved ceilings. There are no nooks to help reduce a extremely live sound. We are recording many segments with a single talent and the camera will be stationary. Fortunately the client is okay with keeping the shot relatively tight.

My plan is to use a lav mic, (countryman B6), and an MKH60 as backup. I was thinking of draping duvateen above the talent and hanging blankets and squares of Sonex wherever possible. I also plan to drape some duve below the talent. The key will be softlight through a 6x6 with gridcloth so that should help some since it's close to talent and is a soft cloth surface.

Does anyone have any tricks I'm not thinking of to help deaden the sound? This has a very small budget so we don't have any 12x12s to fly. My only available mics are the countrymanB6, sennheiser mke2 and the mkh60. Some liveness is okay because that's real so I'm not trying for a sound booth flat sound.

Thank you!

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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John Fishback
Re: Sound in a cathedral
on Jan 5, 2009 at 9:02:42 pm

All your ideas are good. My only suggestion is to get the lav as close to the mouth as possible. An alternative might be to use a head mic that would place the mic even closer to the mouth. The louder the voice is to the mic, the lower any ambient sounds will be.

John

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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Sound in a cathedral
on Jan 5, 2009 at 9:05:31 pm

I am planning to attach the B6 to her head. She has great bangs to hide it. Thanks for you response. I'm glad to know I'm on the right track.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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Ty Ford
Re: Sound in a cathedral
on Jan 6, 2009 at 2:17:48 am

Hello Mark and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

You have all the right ideas. If you can't deaden the environment, create a barrier around the mic so the talent's voice is knocked down a bit as it leaves the talent and it knocks the echo down a bit more before it gets back to the mic.

Treating the floor is good and yes, floating something overhead will also help. The more you can knock down the bounce, the more direct the sound.

You may find the lav, placed a bit higher to the chin (closer to the mouth) beats the boom mic because you can't get the boom mic close enough.

If the shot's really tight, the viewer may not get a chance to "buy" that the recording is being done in a big echoey cathedral.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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JC Boulay
Re: Sound in a cathedral
on Jan 6, 2009 at 4:59:51 pm

As usual, there is not much more to say after Mr. Ford has spoken. I would suggest that, while trying to get the tightest sound possible with the lav, also run a boom if that's workable at all. I love receiving tight production sound to mix, but having the boom track will give you the flexibility of adding as little or as much air around your subject as you want.

JC Boulay
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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Ty Ford
Re: Sound in a cathedral
on Jan 6, 2009 at 5:36:56 pm

Ah, such a warm breeze from Montreal!

Bette and I really enjoyed Quebec City (where the water narrows) very much a few years back in August.
How accepting of us yanks are they in Montreal? They LOVED it when we read from the "French For Dummies phrase book." I think I had a french accent by the end of our vacation.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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JC Boulay
Re: Sound in a cathedral
on Jan 6, 2009 at 6:05:56 pm

Montreal is accepting of everyone. English is way more widespread than in QC. Phrasebooks are still accepted, though. The beat is different as well, more active. Summer in Montreal is just crazy. Too much to see and hear and once.

Not too sure about that warm breeze part, though. It is not too cold a day today, but -6C is not warm by any standard I know of.

JC Boulay
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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Rodney Morris
Re: Sound in a cathedral
on Jan 6, 2009 at 10:39:42 pm

All the above ideas are great for deadening the sound, but as an alternative why not shoot wide and show that you are in a big, echoey cathedral. If it's a low budget shoot, then that's as low budget as you can get. I would still put duve down on the floor and you can spot treat where you please. But instead of trying to turn chicken crap into chicken salad (tight shot with echoey sound), take advantage of the location and the designed acoustics. I understand it may not work for the production, but it's still a thought anyway and that's what this site is about. Hope it goes well.

Rodney

Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Mark D'Agostino
Re: Sound in a cathedral
on Jan 7, 2009 at 11:09:35 pm

We did end up scaling back on the sound-deadening by eliminating the duv overhead and just surrounding the talent with sonex clamped to stands and leaning against stands on the floor. That gave us just enough "liveness" to get the feel for the space without too much echo. The host segments were mostly tight shots with just a bit of the altar behind her. Open and closing segments were MCUs of her but still seeing a lot of the expanse of the interior behind her. We still piled on the sonex but maintained some ambiance. I agree, dead sound wouldn't have made sense here but it was waaaay too echoey untreated. We did record with a countryman B6 nice and close to her mouth and a Sennheiser MKH60 from above. The shotgun actually sounded better, (I much prefer shotguns to lavs anyhow).

Thanks so much for your suggestions Rodney and thanks also to Ty, JC and John.

Mark D'Agostino
http://www.synergeticproductions.com


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