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Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested

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Al Yoshi
Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Oct 28, 2012 at 9:50:02 am

Hello community,

I will be working on a documentary-style film shoot which will have approximately 10 people sitting around a table. There will be multiple cameras, but my main concern is the audio.

What would be the best way to go about recording the audio for a situation like this? I've got to wondering how they mic the poker you see on TV... In those situations, there are up to 10 people sitting around a table. The audio always seems good, and they seem to have the ability to "turn down" ambient noise or people talking who aren't on camera. No crew are usually visible in the background, either. A similar type set-up would likely be useful to me.

Some ideas I have had to try to optimise quality and flexibility but keep gear reasonable:

1) 10 lav mics - no thanks.
2) Shotgun mics? - but would this require boom ops? I would like to have a static set-up as although I have a 4-person crew, they will mostly be on the cameras...
3) Some sort of omni mic on the table? But this would make it difficult to "focus" on one person talking, as everyone's audio would be on one channel.

Ideas/advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you,
Al


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Oct 28, 2012 at 10:27:53 am

Boundary layer microphones might be the answer... for 10 people put a mic between not in front of each person on the desk. That means 10 mics.
Minimum number would be 4 mics one in each 1/4 of the desk.
There is lots of stuff available now days for 'Teleconferencing' that would suit your needs.
ISO record each mic, put a Lav mic on the main presenter (if there is one) and a boom pole for extra FX.
Feed a guide mix to one of the camera audio channels and a camera FX mic to the other channel.
If it needs to be mixed 'live' Shure auto mixers (410 /810) give good results in setups like this and worth the hire charge.

If you don't want to ISO to a separate recorder then direct feed each camera with 2 mics (directly opposite them). Slate and or time code lock ALL the cameras.

There you go that should get your brain whirring for awhile.


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Peter Groom
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Oct 29, 2012 at 11:24:09 am

I have done tv poker and lots of similar situations.
If its transmitted live then 10 radio labs and an experienced mixer, if not live- 10 lavs each ISo record and 2 operated booms and mix it on the dub.
If there's no dub- id get one . That's how you get the results you've heard on poker.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Al Yoshi
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Oct 29, 2012 at 6:49:42 pm

Thank you for your responses!

I will definitely look into boundary mics - I've never used them before.

As for 10 lavs, while that will definitely produce the highest quality audio I don't think it is really feasible unfortunately. I guess I was looking for a solution with flexibility to ISO and quality sound but minimal gear. Maybe I'm dreaming!!

-Al


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Peter Groom
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Oct 29, 2012 at 7:35:51 pm

Hi again I know this isn't what you want to hear, but why isn't 10 lavs feasible . You'll be providing 10 chairs no doubt? If you were holding a children's party would you make them share a cake rather than give 1 each.
Simple rule
If they speak, mic em.
These things are readily hire able .
There are no short cuts on sound , just audible compromises.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Richard Crowley
Golden Gem!!
on Oct 30, 2012 at 4:40:18 pm

"There are no short cuts on sound , just audible compromises. - Peter Groom"

That is GOLDEN! May I quote you? May I use that in my sig (with proper attribution, of course)?


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Peter Groom
Re: Golden Gem!!
on Oct 30, 2012 at 9:56:32 pm

Feel free Richard
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Richard Crowley
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Oct 30, 2012 at 4:38:23 pm

Certainly not for everyone, but a rather novel approach. Cut-n-paste from another audio forum...

"Looking for an inexpensive means to capture audio from a dynamically moving crowd, I sampled many MP3 players' recording capabilities. Ultimately the best bang-for-the-buck was refurbished SanDisk Sansa Clip+ devices ($26/ea) loaded with (open source) RockBox firmware. The most massively multi-track event was a thorium conference in Chicago where many attendees wore a Clip+. Volunteers worked the room with cameras, and audio capture was decoupled from video capture. It looked like this. Despite having (higher quality) ZOOM H1n and wireless mics, I've continued to use the RockBox-ified Clip+ devices ... even if the H1n is running, the Clip+ serves as backup. There's no worry about interference or staying within wireless mic range. The devices have 4GB capacity, and RockBox allows WAV capture. They'll run at least 5 hours before the battery is depleted (with lots of storage left over). I would suggest sticking with 44kHz (mono) capture, as 48kHz is unreliable. To get an idea of their sound quality, here is a 10-person dinner conversation (about thorium molten salt nuclear reactors) in a very busy restaurant. I don't know how else I could have isolated everyone's dialog for so little money. (And I would NOT recommend Clip+ with factory firmware... they only support 22kHz and levels are too high for clipping on people's collars.)"

RockBox Firmware

Thorium Conference






Example video of dinner/conference






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Malcolm Matusky
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Nov 1, 2012 at 6:58:37 pm

If you want to have the minimum amount of audio gear used; drop an omni from the ceiling and have one shotgun on a boom with a good operator with his own headphones. Record to separate tracks, a slight improvement would be to use multiple carotid mics to split up the group, and the shotgun. You will have overall sound and the shogun can isolate individuals if the operator can get there fast enough.

Frankly, for a lively discussion, 10 lavs all isolated on separate tracks and mix in post. I have a Tascam DR680, 6 tracks, you can gang two together for 12 and one set of controls. If I'm going to an edit I never mix anything on set, I save it for post.

Good luck,

Malcolm

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Nov 2, 2012 at 9:42:22 pm

We had a huge room with lines of desks in a giant U shape. Probably had 20 people in all.

We rented a pile of PZM mics, ran em into the house mixer, fed the room monitors for the rest of the room and line out to the cam.

Worked ok.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Al Yoshi
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Nov 2, 2012 at 11:27:16 pm

Thanks for all the great input/ideas folks. I decided to go with a mixed method, 3 PZMs in conjunction with 4 NTG-3s. I'll let you know how it goes!


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Jim MacD0nald
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Dec 5, 2012 at 1:24:29 pm

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. How do they do it on the Today Show or Nightly News? Sit down interviews with a jury or in a classroom. Shure Bros has our answer. Its called a FP 10. It has 8 inputs. Faster than any hand out there. Two of these and you are set


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Jim MacD0nald
Re: Challenging mic/recording situation - advice requested
on Dec 5, 2012 at 1:40:04 pm

Al its my mistake . Its the Shure FP410. Fast Fast and nobody is off mic.


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