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Audio setup for outdoor-ish group discussion

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chon teck
Audio setup for outdoor-ish group discussion
on Feb 7, 2015 at 10:06:59 am
Last Edited By chon teck on Feb 7, 2015 at 10:12:29 pm

Dear All,

I'm making an indie documentary and part of it involves a group discussion of 12 people. The discussion will take place in this space for 2 days:





The area is a sheltered space on the ground level of the house situated in a residential area. I'm planning to put the black sofas to one side and arrange 12 chairs in an arc.

For one day, the participants are each designated turns to speak, but there will also be Q&A, so it's not possible to predict in advance who will ask and who will answer. The second day is more unstructured, and participants speak as desired about pre-selected topics.

For shooting, I plan to use 2 camera operators and 2 boom operators. The boom mics will be mounted on boom stands.

Does anyone recommend a better setup, such as boundary mics instead of or with boom mic? If only boom mics, will the MKH 416 be adequate or would you use something else?

Thanks in advance!
ct


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio setup for outdoor-ish group discussion
on Feb 7, 2015 at 6:34:14 pm

Hello Chon and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Thanks for including the photo. Acoustically, I see challenges. I don't know where the couches and chairs will end up but you have lots of parallel hard floor and ceiling. I'd put down a carpet or lay out multiple sound blankets on the floor to reduce the bounce. Using C-stands to suspend light weight blankets above the group will also reduce the bounce.

It's difficult to tell much about the side walls and/or how much glass or hard wall there is. Maybe some C-stands and more blankets hung vertically to create a barrier to horizontal sound bounce.

Hyper or super cardioids (Schoeps, cmc641, Audix SCX-1, Audio technica AT-4053b, Sennheiser MHK 50) would be preferable to any shotguns mics due to the bounce from the interior.

You might be able to use stands, but a lot would depend on you much coverage each boom op has. I would think that the two booms will have to be manually operated to get the proper distance and coverage. One one each side of the frame may be all you can do to keep them out of the shot.

You might not be able to provide good coverage that way. It all depends on where the boomers are and how far away the talent is. If you had principal speakers, I might lav them and boom the rest.

I doubt you'll find PZM useful. They aren't bad on table tops, but you appear to be using chairs, not tables.

Actually, the very best audio results would be to hard lave everyone and use a Sound Devices 664 with CL-6 side car. This would provide 12 individual iso tracks and a stereo mix. I have done exactly this with a dozen people sitting around a large table. They were speaking extemporaneously. I did the best mix I could, but also recorded isos of each person.

In post they simply turned on the mic of the person speaking and turned off all that were not. The sound was great. It wan't until that shoot that I recognized how nice it was to have paid the extra amount for the CL-6.

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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chon teck
Re: Audio setup for outdoor-ish group discussion
on Feb 8, 2015 at 12:04:31 am

Edit: Added 2nd photo

Ty, thanks for your reply.

If I'm stuck with a hypercardioid like the mkh50, how close do I need to be in order to get "acceptable" sound? - [I know, closer the better, and "acceptable" is highly subjective, but what for example, would be a working maximum distance? - something like not more than 6 feet?]

Thanks in advance!


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio setup for outdoor-ish group discussion
on Feb 8, 2015 at 12:59:39 am

Hi Chon,

A lot depends on the reflectivity of the space, but for normal speech, I like mine no farther than 12-18"

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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