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Recording sound with 3 people on camera

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Michael Josefik
Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:57:47 pm

Hello Audio Community,

So because I can make motion graphics with after effects my company has decided to put me in charge of creating videos, except they want interview/discussion style videos. Needless to say I have been learning and when you answer this question please act as though I know nothing. Thanks!

My question is this. I have purchased a Canon ax10 for shooting the video and originally got a shotgun mic for it. This is working out alright, though there is some echo due to the fact that we do not have a room with walls that don't bounce sound at the moment. This has only been videos with one person talking directly into the camera. My newest project will have 3 people on screen and they will not be standing right next to each other. I feel like I need to use a lavaliere system, but I don't want to spend an arm and a leg.

While doing some research I came across these adapters (KV Connections) that can allow a battery powered mic to be plugged into an iPhone. I feel like that would be perfect instead of messing with a true wireless system with interfering frequencies. I know I will have to edit all 3 audio tracks into the video, but that is ok with me. The way I understand it, I would probably have to do that whether it was 1 or 10.

I feel like I have already written a book so I will end with this...

Has anyone had experience with these adapters?
What is a good "middle of the road" lavaliere mic that is battery powered?
Is there something I am not considering or possibly another technique that I should/could be using?

Thanks in advance for your responses.


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Ty Ford
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 17, 2012 at 8:02:07 pm

Hello Michael and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

There comes a time in every person's development when they bite off more than they can chew and choke on it.

You are very wise to raise the question here.

First, I suspect you are using an XA10 Canon, not an AX10. Please confirm.

Instead of using 3 mics, consider using a boom operator to move the mic to the person speaking. AS long as you have one person talking at a time you have one mic and many fewer hassles.Three omni lavs in a live room will be pretty nasty.


As for the room slap, that's partially because you're using a shotgun mic. For more on mics, here's a link to my video mic tutorial.







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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Peter Groom
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 17, 2012 at 8:59:47 pm

You dont have to buy unless youre doing it regularly, and then spending the money on the right kit wont be a problem

Id suggest hiring in 3 wired personal mics, or radios, but wired will be much cheaper and then recording them separately (say to the 2 camera channels and another camera for more tracks or a zoom etc, and then mixing in the edit, oR put all 3 mics through a small mixing desk and mix the three. Can be tricky if youre not experienced. Again this advice has been given before but if you havent got the expreience consider hiring a pro. 1 day max and it will be worth while.
No one will praise you for ruining the audio. They will for recognising your limitations.
Dont just wing it and hope, unless youve a very understanding employer.

Id try to address the acoustic also. Use a room with carpet floor, and soft furnishings, and a non reflective ceiling. Hang a large drape / curtain/ bedspread on an OOV wall (out of vision).

Great sound is great, good is ok but bad is so memorable.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Roger Van Duyn
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 20, 2012 at 2:44:39 pm

Hello Michael,

I'm not an audio pro, but the situation you describe is fairly common for a "one man band" style videographer. I'm inclined to agree with Peter's suggestion of using a mixer with 3 separate microphones for the 3 people speaking on camera because you mentioned they won't be standing close to each other. I have a field mixer, an older model bought used from a pawn shop, until I can afford better.

However, if you can persuade the three people to work a little differently, you could have one of them to act as the interviewer, like the tv news reporter, and use a single hand held microphone. (And if they suggest passing the microphone back and forth, don't do it, let just one of them handle the microphone). You could use the second channel on your camera for the shotgun. A lot depends on the room, and how used to being on camera the people might be. Are they alone in the room with you, or is it a panel discussion in front of other employees (captive audience) at a meeting?

If you're going to be doing this regularly, hope your employer will budget for some equipment to do it properly.

Roger


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Michael Josefik
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 21, 2012 at 6:45:55 pm

Apologies for the typo, but yes I am using an XA10. After watching your video I feel like running 3 lavs would be optimal as we are shooting in, essentially, a large office. I may be able to get them to take the drop-ceiling tiles out to create less bounce from above, but the walls will just have foam or something.

My concern with the lav system is the fact that if I run 2 of them through the camera I still have one that needs to be recorded. This is another reason why I like the idea of the battery powered lavs being hooked up to the iPhones.

The format of the videos will be sort of like the "Today Show" there will most likely be a couch and a chair for the 3 subjects so I feel like trying to move a boom around during the shoot in an office space is going to be tricky, or even not possible. Especially for an inexperienced person.

These videos will be happening once a month along with other videos that I have been doing here and there, so I would like to avoid bringing someone in. My employer is, thankfully, aware that there will be a learning curve with these.

And thanks to everyone who has responded so far. It has been most helpful already.

Michael


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Ty Ford
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 21, 2012 at 8:25:33 pm

Michael,

OK three mics. Also consider trying an auto mixer. A used Shure FP410.
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=shure+fp410

All three mics go to one track and it does take some ability to get that right as well as having someone ride the mix a bit, but the real advantage is it will turn down mics not being spoken into and open tham very quickly.

On The Today Show, the sets have very high ceilings and the use music to cover up some of the noise of the set and eat up some of the reflections, but mostly The Today Show is a big time operation and their space is very well designed AND they have someone riding gain actively during the show. They aren't doing anything in post. That tells you it can be done.

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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Peter Groom
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 28, 2012 at 3:56:49 pm

Just to add a final point.
If youre going to attempt to mix it live, and youre not 100% sure of your ability in that area, then it might not the best idea.

in mixing 3 mics you have to be able to
balance the levels of people live, whilst never missing the start of a comment from another BUT you cant have all mics open all the time or youll end up with
1) lots of background noise, and hiss
2) horrible colouration (where the sound from people is heard through more mics than their own)

Speaking as a post production mixer, Id rather have 3 separate tracks of good recordings of 3 mics that i can balance out in the mix. I know I can get it right as I can wind back as many times as necessary to get it right. Without that I am totally at the behest of the skill (or lack of it) of the recordist in mixing.
Actually id like 4 tracks (3 personals on sep tracks and a rifle mic on a stand about 6 ft away to allow some air to be mixed in as i prefer in the studio.

The question is
Do you equippe correctly for the job, or force the job into your existing equipment.

This is probably a key difference between a non Pro and a Pro.

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 28, 2012 at 4:01:49 pm

"The question is
Do you equippe correctly for the job, or force the job into your existing equipment.
This is probably a key difference between a non Pro and a Pro."

Yea verily, or as Clint Eastwood might put it, "Do ya feel lucky punk? Well do ya?"

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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Peter Groom
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 28, 2012 at 8:14:38 pm

Hi Ty
Dont really understand that. Must be a UK/US thing.
Doest that mean you agree or not?
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Aug 28, 2012 at 8:30:46 pm

Hahahaah!

Well, "Yea verily", which I thought I took from Shakespeare, indicates agreement.

The Clint Eastwood quote was used as a cautionary comment. You can try something foolhardy, but how lucky to you think you are.

Two countries divided by one language...and Bob's your uncle.

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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Michael Josefik
Re: Recording sound with 3 people on camera
on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:42:16 pm

I apologize for going dark, but I wanted to express my thanks for the help you all have provided. We decided to go with the lav system after much internal debate. Someone came out of the woodwork that has audio experience and feels comfortable working the levels on the fly for the 3 separate mics, and most importantly to the powers that be, we are under budget.

I will let you know how it goes...

Thanks again
Michael


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