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Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc

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Mike Gee
Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:51:35 pm

Please help! A little new to the audio arena. But I need help on what the best way to go about this is. I have a few different scenarios I'm shooting in a staged environment.

The first scenario is I have one person speaking to a group of people sitting down in a room. Sometimes, one or two people from the group will have a line to say in response to the speaker. Or the entire group will laugh, or they'll all respond "yes" or "no" things like that. Or they'll get into groups and they'll start talking to each other once the speaker is done.

In the past, I've setup a lavalier (Azden two channel) on my main person, with the audio being recored on both channels (for stereo) into my camera (Panasonic AG-HMC150P). And either you pretty much don't hear the group, or it's really quiet since the lav is so far away from the group, so I had the speaker restate what the person said in the group.

So then I got a Sennheiser shotgun on a boom pole, and put the boom on ch1 for the group, and the lavalier on ch2. This requires me to mix the audio in post. Putting ch1 from the speaker into both L and R on a stereo audio track in final cut, and then adding in the second stereo track as needed, as mixed on a separate audio track in final cut.

Then I thought, wouldn't it be great if I just got a mixer. I could do the mixing of the audio on set, and then I don't have to manually edit the audio in post production. Would that work? What would I do on set? Have the boom audio level cranked down, and whenever the group was going to speak, turn up the levels on that channel on the mixer? Sometimes it's not rehearsed, and I'm not sure when I could predict if the audience laughed or something. If I had the audio turned up on the boom, I would still pickup the speakers audio in my boom, and it would sound very roomy. Can't really move the speaker away from the boom either.

I wish I could reshoot the group as a separate take with their responses separate from the speaker, but no matter how much I try and get it, it never happens due to timing and peoples limited schedules as extras. Plus sometimes it's better and easier to get a live reaction.


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Mike Gee
Re: Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 11, 2010 at 11:46:57 pm

The SECOND scenario is two people talking to each other. I've used my two mic lav system for this before. Person A has a lav mic and is on CH1 on the camera, and the other mic is CH2 on person B. But this again requires me to mix the audio in post (I've been turning CH1 channel into mono, back into stereo, replacing it in Final Cut as a stereo track, and doing the same for CH2 as a second track in FCP).

Even worse when I do this, the people are so close together, that CH1 mic is picking up the person B as they talk, and vise versa. So I have to manually silence when person B is talking, on the first channel, and vise versa. Hope that makes sense.

So again, thinking of getting a mixer so that I would get both person A and person B recored to the same stereo audio track on the camera. But I'm not sure how I would work the mixer effectively.

I can't separate the people any more. I've used my boom with a shotgun once in this scenario, but holding a boom for hours and hours is less fun then mixing in post, and directing the shotgun mic back and forth, anticipating when the person is going to speak, and sometimes they have a tendency to talk over each other also makes it difficult.


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Ty Ford
Re: Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 12, 2010 at 1:20:44 am

"The SECOND scenario is two people talking to each other. I've used my two mic lav system for this before. Person A has a lav mic and is on CH1 on the camera, and the other mic is CH2 on person B. But this again requires me to mix the audio in post (I've been turning CH1 channel into mono, back into stereo, replacing it in Final Cut as a stereo track, and doing the same for CH2 as a second track in FCP).

Even worse when I do this, the people are so close together, that CH1 mic is picking up the person B as they talk, and vise versa. So I have to manually silence when person B is talking, on the first channel, and vise versa. Hope that makes sense.

>>Import it as two tracks and simply go through and pull down A when B is talking and vice versa. I do it all the time.

So again, thinking of getting a mixer so that I would get both person A and person B recored to the same stereo audio track on the camera. But I'm not sure how I would work the mixer effectively.

>>>Yes, but you need a person and a device to do this well. This is what they call "Mix live to tape." The intention is to create a stereo master as you're shooting.

I can't separate the people any more. I've used my boom with a shotgun once in this scenario, but holding a boom for hours and hours is less fun then mixing in post, and directing the shotgun mic back and forth, anticipating when the person is going to speak, and sometimes they have a tendency to talk over each other also makes it difficult."

>>>Right. Again, you could use your lavs, with an automixer like the Shure FP410. Put both lavs to both channels of the camera and mix live to tape. Auto mixers, as good as they are still need a bit of tweeking, but you may be able to do that in post.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Mike Gee
Re: Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 12, 2010 at 5:43:35 pm

>Yes, but you need a person and a device to do this well. This is what they call "Mix live to tape." The >intention is to create a stereo master as you're shooting.

Right, I was hoping to save time in post production by mixing live to the camera. So have person A mic on ch 1 on the mixer and person B mic on ch 2 to the mixer (both set to stereo), and then the output both channels mixed as stereo to the camera. Instead of having mono channels go to the camera and then having to mix in post. But it seams like I would have less control in the end.

As far as the equipment goes, I was thinking of going with the Sign Video ENG-44. That way I could plug my 2 lavs, the boom, and even a hypercardioid placed somewhere else if needed in the shot.

>Import it as two tracks and simply go through and pull down A when B is talking and vice versa. I do it >all the time.

Sounds like a necessary evil. I was hoping to get around this issue as well by mixing live. Is it possible?


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Ty Ford
Re: Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 12, 2010 at 6:02:17 pm

"Right, I was hoping to save time in post production by mixing live to the camera. So have person A mic on ch 1 on the mixer and person B mic on ch 2 to the mixer (both set to stereo), and then the output both channels mixed as stereo to the camera. Instead of having mono channels go to the camera and then having to mix in post. But it seams like I would have less control in the end.

>> As I said before, someone has to actively mix that as it's being recorded. You can't do that and run camera.

As far as the equipment goes, I was thinking of going with the Sign Video ENG-44. That way I could plug my 2 lavs, the boom, and even a hypercardioid placed somewhere else if needed in the shot.

>> Not anywhere as good as the Sound Devices 302. You can shoot with a VHS camcorder, if you get my drift.

>Import it as two tracks and simply go through and pull down A when B is talking and vice versa. I do it >all the time.

Sounds like a necessary evil. I was hoping to get around this issue as well by mixing live. Is it possible?

Don't know. How good are you?

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Mike Gee
Re: Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 12, 2010 at 6:39:35 pm

> As I said before, someone has to actively mix that as it's being recorded. You can't do that and run >camera.

I guess I should have mentioned, I don't run the camera. I work with a small crew, and we are all kind of new to the game. But there's a director, 1-2 camera operators, script supervisor, assistant producer (exec producer is off set) all on set. What do you mean by "actively mix"? I can't just plug everything in, set the levels, and listen?


> Not anywhere as good as the Sound Devices 302. You can shoot with a VHS camcorder, if you get >my drift.

I don't really get your drift. We are using a Panasonic AG-HMC150P AVCCAM for the main camera and it has a two channel XLR input. The original budget for a mixer was 150-300. Which was laughable, so a Sound 302 would be out of the question. I think I've got them convinced for at least 550 for the Sign ENG-44. It at least has 4 channels, a tone, a moderate UV meter, etc.


>Don't know. How good are you?

Considering I've never done anything like that before, probably not very good. I don't know what that would even entail. But I'm a youngster, and learn quick :D. And could practice. I just need some direction on what and how to do it. Kind of what I was looking for here.

But is it even worth it? Should I not waste the time/money on a mixer and just send the mics to the camera ch 1 and 2 like I've been doing? And do all mixing in post? I guess the only thing that would be limited here is the fact that I'm limited to two mics. Which so far, is all we have needed.

Thanks so much for your replies! You're awesome. Been lurking for a while now and searching the forums as needed. Really helped me out. Still learning.


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Ty Ford
Re: Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 12, 2010 at 8:53:37 pm

As I said before, someone has to actively mix that as it's being recorded. You can't do that and run >camera.

I guess I should have mentioned, I don't run the camera. I work with a small crew, and we are all kind of new to the game. But there's a director, 1-2 camera operators, script supervisor, assistant producer (exec producer is off set) all on set. What do you mean by "actively mix"? I can't just plug everything in, set the levels, and listen?

------No. You have to turn down mics that aren't being spoken into and turn them back up before they are spoken into. Active mixing. Leaving them all up won't work.

> Not anywhere as good as the Sound Devices 302. You can shoot with a VHS camcorder, if you get >my drift.

I don't really get your drift. We are using a Panasonic AG-HMC150P AVCCAM for the main camera and it has a two channel XLR input. The original budget for a mixer was 150-300. Which was laughable, so a Sound 302 would be out of the question. I think I've got them convinced for at least 550 for the Sign ENG-44. It at least has 4 channels, a tone, a moderate UV meter, etc.

-----If you were here and wanted to buy me lunch while yo picked my brain for an hour as to why a good mixer makes a serious difference in sound quality, that'd work. If you have budget for a tripod, you need to rethink your approach to audio. A ENG-44 is OK as an "I don't care if I fall into the creek" mixer, but you need the 302 and its features to get really good audio.


>Don't know. How good are you?

Considering I've never done anything like that before, probably not very good. I don't know what that would even entail. But I'm a youngster, and learn quick :D. And could practice. I just need some direction on what and how to do it. Kind of what I was looking for here.

But is it even worth it? Should I not waste the time/money on a mixer and just send the mics to the camera ch 1 and 2 like I've been doing? And do all mixing in post? I guess the only thing that would be limited here is the fact that I'm limited to two mics. Which so far, is all we have needed.

--------One more time. I'm not sure why you are not getting what I'm saying. A good mixer is not a waste of money. It's a valuable tool that'll last a lot longer than your new camera. At the risk of self-promotion...http://web.mac.com/tyreeford/Site/Ty_Ford_Audio_Bootcamp_Field_Guide.html


Thanks so much for your replies! You're awesome. Been lurking for a while now and searching the forums as needed. Really helped me out. Still learning.
"

You're welcome.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Ty Ford
Re: Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 12, 2010 at 1:14:40 am

Hello Mike and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Questions.

1. Why did you choose a shotgun mic over a hypercardioid? A shotgun is not the mic you want to use on interiors unless the environment is acoustically ver controlled, as it might be on a shooting stage.
Here's why:http://gallery.me.com/tyreeford#100038

Depending on the number of people and their seating arrangements, you might also consider a bunch of Shure SM58s on table stands and an automixer that only opens a mic when its spoken into.

2. It's not just about turning a mic up and down, it's also about making sure the mic is aimed at the person speaking. Do you have time to pay attention to the audience mic to mix it properly or are you talking about hiring someone else to do it? If not, I suggest you find someone to help do the job right.

With a boom person, you can stop the action and get them to make a comment or ask a question after the boom is in place and you have them in focus.

You need a good utility player (person). I do that sort of thing. Audio plus, grip, gaff, composition and exposure consultant . It'll totally raise your game if you find the right person.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Mike Gee
Re: Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 12, 2010 at 6:47:56 pm

That's a great a video, really shows the differences in mic types.

In the instances where people in the group say things individually, I've been operating the boom with the shotgun and going from person to person making sure it is pointed at the person talking (or at least as best as I can within the shot). Sorry I didn't specify.

When the entire group responds to the speaker and talks, I've just bumped up the levels on it in post if needed, and it's sort of a "better then nothing" scenario. Which is kind of what we had before, in the past we would use the audio from the lavalier on the speaker that barely got picked up on the group. We learned from that mistake :D.


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Ty Ford
Re: Multiple Mics, Mixing, Etc
on Aug 12, 2010 at 8:55:35 pm

Add an Audio Technica AT4053b as a boom mic for interiors and put the shotgun back in the case.

You greatly lessen the roomy sound.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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