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How to record audio on a show like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

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Nicholas Leo
How to record audio on a show like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
on Mar 24, 2015 at 5:22:21 am

A friend and are I planning to make a Guy Fieri or Anthony Bourdain style web show, going to different local restaurants, interviewing the owners and chefs, and having a host ask questions and taste the food.

How is the sound recording done for a show like this? Is there a separate boom operator? Would it be possible to get quality audio with just one person manning the camera and the mic?


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Richard Crowley
Re: How to record audio on a show like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
on Mar 24, 2015 at 6:38:56 pm
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Mar 24, 2015 at 6:39:33 pm

It seems unlikely that they are wielding boom microphones in such close quarters as restaurant kitchens (much less food carts, etc.) The most likely solution is a wireless body kit for the "host". With either a clip-on microphone, or a "headset" mic. Although a headset type microphone might get in the way of eating and drinking on-camera.

And for interviewing "guests", it depends on whether you have the luxury of doing a full set-up. Coming in ahead of the shoot and setting up lights, etc. If you have the luxury of pre-production preparation, then you can put a wireless body mic on the guest also.

But if you are doing "run-n-gun" guerrilla production, then a hand-held microphone is often used with the host holding the mic up to the the guest's mouth. Of course, the host has his own mic so he doesn't have to go back-and-forth with the microphone. This is the technique used on TV game shows, news coverage, etc. since perhaps before you were born.


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Nicholas Leo
Re: How to record audio on a show like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
on Mar 25, 2015 at 3:36:26 am

Thanks Richard!

So would this be an omnidirectional body mic, that can pick up sounds from both the host and, say, the chef he's talking to as he demonstrates how to cook something?


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Richard Crowley
Re: How to record audio on a show like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
on Mar 25, 2015 at 11:59:17 am
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Mar 25, 2015 at 12:27:50 pm

Yes, omnidirectional. But that DOES NOT mean that you can use a body mic for more than one person! The reason is not DIRECTIONALITY, but PROXIMITY. By definition, a body mic is very close to the subject, and quite FAR away from anyone else. Way too far away to expect any kind of quality audio pickup.

If you expect more than a casual 1-2 word interjection from someone, you MUST cover them properly with a microphone. That means their own body mic, or a mic held up to their mouth (or a mic on a boom).

Remember that normal working distance for a boom mic is 2ft (60cm) By the time you get out to 3ft (1m) you are getting marginal levels and poor rejection of ambient noise. Especially in noisy kitchens or restaurant dining rooms, this just doesn't seem practical, especially if you don't have a dedicated audio person on your crew.

And a "shotgun" microphone can be used effectively only in the absence of nearby reflections, for practical purposes that means outdoors. For use indoors where there are reflections from ceiling, walls, etc. the microphone of choice is a hyper-cardioid.

And a microphone mounted ON the camera will give you nothing useful except environmental sound effects which would likely be useful later in editing. But it will NEVER give you useful dialog recording unless you have the camera literally in the subject's face.


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