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Best practice for recording 4 guys at a table.

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James Huenergardt
Best practice for recording 4 guys at a table.
on Aug 11, 2014 at 8:12:54 pm

Hi there,

I've produced two shows for a client that is very similar in look/feel to the Zacuto 'Film Fellas' program.

We use individually wired Countryman EMW Lav Mics that are peaked and we place them under the talent's clothing.

I'm recording to 4 separate channels on 2 different devices.

In the past, we've just set levels and let them be.
This works OK until one of the guys gets really low and because we're not 'riding' the faders, we end up with some really low recordings.

What is common practice with this type of setup?

Should we be 'riding' the faders on one of the recorders and set a lower level on another for safety?

Any pointers you can give me would be great.



Reel Inspirations -
Commercials, Dramas, Image Pieces, Documentaries, Motion Graphics

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Eric Toline
Re: Best practice for recording 4 guys at a table.
on Aug 11, 2014 at 8:35:03 pm

Adjust the levels to match in post. If it's always the same low talker than speak to him about speaking up.


"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"

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Ty Ford
Re: Best practice for recording 4 guys at a table.
on Aug 11, 2014 at 9:01:59 pm

Hello Jim and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Several thoughts here.

1. Voice elves can certainly be amazingly different. When that happens I usually ask the talent to be aware of their levels and that we need them to be closer to the same level. Sometimes this is all it takes. If you're shooting in short bits, if someone goes low, just stop them and redo the bit. Usually a few of these stops drives the idea home.

2. When mixing sound on a project, I'll ride gain even if only one person is talking. Especially if they are one of those Inhale..TALK REALLY LOUD FOR A FEW WORDS then taper off to the middle and finally end up really quiet at the end of each breath. Once I figure them out, I'll frequently pull the pot down as they breathe to even them out. Then as they begin to fade, I'll raise the gain slowly if the background ambience doesn't pull up.


Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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Peter Groom
Re: Best practice for recording 4 guys at a table.
on Aug 12, 2014 at 9:12:30 am

Ok my pov from a Post perspective.

If youre recording the 4 mics to 4 separate channels on the records then its not really feasible to ride faders (or rec level pots) live as its not the same as mixing on a mixer.
In this case id suggest spending a bit ore time 1 setting the optimum levels on the recorder and as TY says speak to the performers so thay are more aware of their projection levels overall.
Then, as a post mixer, Ill be happiest receiving uniform levels, all separate, that arent constantly moving.

Post Production Dubbing Mixer

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