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Insights regarding an unusual recording situation...

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Steve Graves
Insights regarding an unusual recording situation...
on Sep 20, 2012 at 3:17:01 pm

Greetings audio professionals. We're going to be shooting an evening dinner, exterior (quiet upscale neighborhood), ten folks seated at a long table (4'x 11'), two cameras. It's unscripted, just casual dining and talking. The audio needs to be good and useable for documentary, but not necessarily Hollywood pristine, if that makes sense. Here's my tentative plan...

Since there's no planned dialogue (which negates a boom operator) I was considering more of a live theatrical approach: Hang two Behringer C-2 microphones straight down, basically 18" from each end of the table and fairly low, more or less just out of frame (cameras will be framed relatively low, seating level). This way the microphones will be at least 3 times the distance from each other as they are from the nearest speaker (not entirely sure if that's relevant). Each C-2 will run into an XLR input into a Zoom H4n recorder that will run continuously on AC power (an hour?). Each camera will roll intermittently and will have their own microphones (Rode NTG-1, Videomic). I was also thinking about hanging the Zoom above the center of the table, its on board microphones facing each end (not sure if this will cause interference). Lastly, I would like to place a Sennheiser wireless lav on the "lead" subject; the receiver can run into a second XLR input on the Canon XA10 which has two channel recording.

To minimize unwanted noise (especially w/mics straight down) we'll use a nice thick tablecloth, disposable dinnerware (to minimize clanking) and crutch tips on the chairs (to reduce scraping).

Does this strategy seem reasonable to you gentlemen? It seems to generate five (six if the Zoom onboards are utilized) potential tracks from which to draw for editing (thankfully the rest of our humble project is far, far simpler). I'm hoping that the C-2s will record a nice balanced over-view, and will be conducting a few tests (not at location) beforehand.

I guess my basic question is this: Are there any glaring problems with this approach? Certain things that I should simply avoid, or approach differently? Any feedback or ideas would be much appreciated!


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Peter Groom
Re: Insights regarding an unusual recording situation...
on Sep 20, 2012 at 3:46:50 pm

Im not convinced that the unscriped part "negates" as you say, the boom op. I think hes pretty valuable and Id have 2 of them, as you have 2 cameras. He can get his mics into the perfect place justa s quickly as the cameraman get get his shot, given that neither know where the next shot will come from?
I suggest that converstations will most likely be between smallish groups rather than all people at the same time, so the 2 boom ops could work together to cover each small group pretty comprehensively. Theyll be able to get in nice and tight above speakers heads, just out of frame and with a flick of the wrist can move between 3 or 4 people on 1 side of the table very swiftly.

Your fixed / slung mics might seem attractive, but theyll either have to be high to get coverage and therefore not be clean, or too low (to get closeness but then anyone else will be too off mic.

Im with 2 good boom ops and a recordist.
peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Steve Graves
Re: Insights regarding an unusual recording situation...
on Sep 20, 2012 at 8:54:15 pm

Thanks Peter, I get where you're coming from and will take that under advisement. This weekend I'm going to conduct some tests of the cardioid pattern to see if placing a C-2 18" above head height approximately 30" (laterally) from their heads will achieve a decent signal relative to the noise.


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Ty Ford
Re: Insights regarding an unusual recording situation...
on Sep 20, 2012 at 8:03:51 pm

Hello Steve and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I'm a veteran of the "go into a school with two cameras and shoot a classroom full of kids" event.

I very much like Peter's method for exactly the reasons he states. In addition, I would like to add a wireless lav on the host to one track of one of the cameras, especially if he/she will be herding the conversions. Even if he/she is not on camera at the specific moment his/her speaking begins, that's OK. You have solid audio and can edit around that in post.

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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Richard Crowley
Re: Insights regarding an unusual recording situation...
on Sep 20, 2012 at 8:41:55 pm

And if you DO still want to hang some general-coverage mics, hanging a cardioid mic pointing at the table seems like it is not very optimal for picking up the desired signal (the people sitting around the edges of the table). This is a prime application for an omnidirectional mic.


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Steve Graves
Re: Insights regarding an unusual recording situation...
on Sep 20, 2012 at 8:56:12 pm

Definitely with you on wireless lav. I have two Sennheisers set ups so will be using at least one of them. Thank you Ty.


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