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Recording live acoustic music outside

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jeff richie
Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 9, 2012 at 3:25:16 pm

I've been trying to record acoustic bands and buskers out doors 'on location' and whilst i want a little bit of bird song etc and don't mind the occasional siren I'm having trouble with the ambient noise I'm picking up - it seems to be across the whole frequency range (so very difficult/impossible to EQ out) I've experimented with noise reduction filters however, with the amount of noise that needs filtering it sounds like the band is underwater before I get anywhere.

Is there a best practice or are there any techniques at the recording stage that will limit this unwanted 'noise'? I have found 'quiet' locations but the problem is still there.

Getting the Mic as close as possible helps but we are also filming and don't want the mics in the frame.

Any ideas or suggestions would be really appreciated

thanks,

JR


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Bob Kessler
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 9, 2012 at 4:12:02 pm

Why don't you want to see mics?

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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jeff richie
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 9, 2012 at 4:28:03 pm

thanks for the reply Bob.

Its for a film so mics will kind of ruin the illusion.

cheers

JR


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 9, 2012 at 6:33:16 pm

I would try to incorporate working microphones into the band's stage setup - maybe from shotguns and.or boundary mics on the stage lip or edge of the playing area. Use your on-board mic (if there is one) to capture the ambient sound as you get closer with the shot.

Wolf
<><


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jeff richie
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 9, 2012 at 6:53:57 pm

Thanks for the reply - 'hiding the mics' has been our best solution but sometimes its not possible.

I'm not sure if boundary mics will work for us as we're outside and have no flat surfaces for them, they would work best on a stage as you suggest but we don't have that luxury.

It's a tough one for sure.

JR


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Bob Kessler
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 10, 2012 at 3:24:29 am

If it's for a film you do it music video style - pre-record the music, play it back on the set and have the musicians play and lip sync with the playback.

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Peter Groom
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 10, 2012 at 10:37:28 am

I was just about to suggest that.
If it sounds a little iffy now, wait until you hear it in the theatre.

Pre record, mix, make it sound great, get band to to visual performance to playback.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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jeff richie
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 11, 2012 at 12:47:02 pm

totally agree Bob and Peter.

the trouble is these are one off performances - there's no way to fake it or do nice clean takes in a studio.

I have to record these bands outside. I've got some pretty quiet locations, I'll keep mic gain as low as possible and get the mics as near to the band as possible.

What I really want to know is if there's any trick I'm missing, is there anything else i can do to limit the ambient background noise such as recording from above rather than below? Using a shotgun mic instead of a stereo pair etc?

thanks again for looking at this

JR


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Peter Groom
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 12, 2012 at 9:39:23 am

In this "less than ideal" scenario.
Id probably multi track it, and then take it away and mix it.
If its acoustic guitars, get them to use internal pickups so you can get a direct feed of them.
Vocals will be a problem but Id probably try with a concealed personal radio on everyone probably in the hairline (preferably a COS11 as theyre really thin and sound great, and a professional Boom op or 2 to drop in a really good rifle mic "just" out of shot from the top. By just out I mean any lower and its in shot. Id have a stereo pair as an airy take at the front, and see how you go. Id record all mics sep onto a pro tools and take it away, clean up each track as necessary and mix it.

BUT i still dont really buy the "this is a one take perf thing"
Performers are there to do as theyre told for the film. Thats hollywood superstars and worldwide hit bands alike. If theyre any good they will understand the process.
is it not more the case that people cant be bothered to do it properly, or the people concerned dont really understand the issues and why the post process is the way it is. If thats the case theyre not going to buy into the multi track technique either (hassle, cost, kit, people).

If youre trying to do this alone, it will only ever be as good as you can make it, but dont kid yourself into thinking it will sound like it was done in a proper feature film. It wont.

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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John Fishback
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 12, 2012 at 4:47:01 pm

Can the "set" be dressed in some way that allows you to hide mics?

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.8 QT7.6.4 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.3, Motion 4.0.3, Comp 3.5.3, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.3)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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jeff richie
Re: Recording live acoustic music outside
on Jan 13, 2012 at 1:35:08 pm

Thanks for that Peter, really appreciate all the advice I'm getting.

I think that's probably the answer - multi tracking it, not sure if I'll be able to get pro tools (or similar) though as no plans to have a lap top on location, i can imagine it will be a monumental hassle putting separate tracks together if not though.

I'm sure it's possible to mix down three (or so) separate audio tracks, however I'm a bit concerned about possible phasing.

we have two zoom mics and the option of a shot gun mic.

we can probably get hold of radio mics and have them going into a zoom.

far from ideal as stated.

And just for the record, the problem isn't prima donna performers or a suicidal insistence on recording in the worst possible conditions!
These are set pieces that have to be done like this, sorry for not being able to give more details but I'm sworn to secrecy as its quite an original idea.

JR


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