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audio for classroom shoot

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Donald Cherry
audio for classroom shoot
on Jan 10, 2009 at 2:43:17 pm

Hi all, and happy new year. I am new to this forum, and relatively new to video production. I am sorry if my questions seem to basic, or suggest I have not done my research. I have searched and read some posts on this forum and others, but I thought I would just explain my situation and see if anyone would like to jump in.

I will be shooting about 18 hours of an intensive class of about 12 students. They will be seated facing me. I will have perhaps four cameras, two on the students and two on the blackboard and charts behind me. The most important sound is that from the students, not from me. In fact, I hardly speak at all. I have done something like this, and relied on the audio from the cameras, but I thought I might want to improve the audio a bit on this next one. On at least one of my cameras, I have an external mic plug. It is for the pin/jack thing. I am looking for something not TOO expensive. Possibilities that have occurred to me so far are:

1. run a wired omnidirectional/conference type mic from the camera up to the ceiling and have it hang from there over the students heads.

2. run a wired shotgun mic from a camera and point it at the students. But will this only get a few of them. How narrow a band are these shotgun mics? It is not a large classroom, so I can't really back the mic up too far from the students

3. label mics. But this would be expensive and require a mixer or something, right?

4. something else?

Thanks in advance!


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cowcowcowcowcow
John Fishback
Re: audio for classroom shoot
on Jan 10, 2009 at 8:30:07 pm

Your omni mic idea might work better if you seat the students in anc arc rather than a straight line. If they are equidistant from the mic each will sound about the same (assuming they all speak at the same relative level). Using 2 mics might be better. You still might need a mixer to optrimize performance. It's also possible the omnis will pick up your voice as well.

You are correct in thinking a shotgun will have a tight pattern. These patterns vary among different mics. Also, good ones are expensive.

Is there an av dept. in the school? It's possible they'll have some equipment you can use.



John

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Ty Ford
Re: audio for classroom shoot
on Jan 10, 2009 at 9:42:30 pm

Welcome to the Cow Audio Forum, Don.

Mr. Fishback has some excellent advice. If you can arrange to desks to make the distance to the students more equidistant AND closer together, your audio job will be easier.

I don't understand "pin jack." Perhaps if you give us a link to which camera you're talking we can help you better. Six in front, six in back and you should be able to cover it with two shotguns.

While having two boom operators would result in the best audio, your fall back position would be to lock down two mics, each pulled back a bit to get half of the students and split each mic to a different channel. I'd prefer hypers like the Schoeps cmc641, but you probably can't afford them. The Audio Technica 4053a is a good one.

Regards,

Ty Ford




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






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Donald Cherry
Re: audio for classroom shoot
on Jan 11, 2009 at 12:40:48 am

Thanks, John and Ty, for your informative responses. I really do appreciate the time and thought you put into your posts, especially since I am sure you have plenty else to do than educate a beginner like me. Ty, what I meant by that pin/jack thing is a socket for an external mic that is like the socket for headphones on, say, an iPod or walkman. So the external mic would have a pin type input, like headphones for an iPod.

I've taken a look at the Audio Technica 4053a, and even that looks a bit beyond my price range. The students WILL be sitting in a sort of arc, so maybe I will try to get one or two external mics that can plug into the video cameras, and hang them over the students. Or maybe I will just go with the mics in the cameras. It is a fairly quiet, small classroom. The sound in previous shoots wasn't that bad. What I did wind up doing in Final Cut Express is going to just one audio from one camera, since it seemed hard to have all audio EXACTLY in sync. Anyway, I'll play with it some more, and maybe stop by the local electronics store here in Hiroshima and see what they have.

Anyway, thanks again for your help guys!



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Donald Cherry
Re: audio for classroom shoot
on Jan 11, 2009 at 12:53:16 am

One more thing. Ty, you mention splitting mics to different channels. Do you mean something like using a mixer? I have come across posts that talk about using a mixer with several microphones. Would these microphones all run into this separate mixer? And then the mixer would . . . run into a camera? record the audio separately and be added as an audio track to something like Final Cut Express?



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