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Groom didn't turn mic on

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Chris Bryan
Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 5, 2008 at 1:32:04 pm

Hello,

I shot a wedding this weekend and outfitted a groom with a sony digital audio recorder and a lapel mic so that I could capture the ceremony and sync it up in post.

I went through all the directions for the recorder which was essentially just hitting two buttons and left it at that.

After the wedding I tried to pull the audio off of the recorder, but its not there. The audio is there from me explaining to him how to start the recorder, but nothing after that.

I'm guessing either he forgot to turn the recorder on, or the recorder was too confusing and he thought he had turned it on.

Now I'm left with really awful audio from my two shotgun mics that were about 10 feet away from the bride and groom.

Anyone else ever run into this issue? How do you handle explaining the recorder to the groom. Or do you give it to him and just have it recording from the time you give it to him until the time you get it back?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



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Don Greening
Re: Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 5, 2008 at 5:57:17 pm

[Chris Bryan] "Or do you give it to him and just have it recording from the time you give it to him until the time you get it back? "

That's pretty much what you have to do. He's got a lot on his mind and the last thing he'll be thinking about is turning on a recorder just before the ceremony, nor should he have to. Murphy's law and all that. Before our video assistant leaves the groom's residence she wires the groom up with a wireless lapel mic and receiver and turns it on before she leaves. I always know when the groom has arrived at the ceremony site because I start to get audio from his wireless in my headphones.

I know you're not using a wireless lav like us but you should consider it so you don't have to worry about running out of recorder space or having the groom not turning something on.

- Don


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Rick Wise
Re: Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 6, 2008 at 7:28:54 pm

Don, what wireless system do you recommend?

Rick

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Carl Sundermann
Re: Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 6, 2008 at 8:30:17 pm

I use a Sennheiser EW100 G2 transmitter and receiver pair. Has worked nearly flawlesslly in about two year (had one instance of dropout but covered it with the backup shotgun audio). On Off switch is under a flap, so the groom can't shut it off. There's a mute switch on top, but I gaff tape that to on (and gaff tape the door flap shut too.) Works well.



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Don Greening
Re: Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 6, 2008 at 8:47:16 pm

[Rick Wise] "what wireless system do you recommend?"

We have a couple of Sennheiser EW100 G2 ENG sets which are not true diversity and therefore not all that pricey but they suit our needs for the type of shooting we do. One kit is the newer model and the other is the first model that came out.

Here's the link:

http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/icm_eng.nsf/root/21418

I also recommend getting the better "tie clip" style ME2 lav over the ME4 that's shown in the picture of the kit. The ME2 is smaller and more sensitive than the ME4 and is much easier for the talent to wear.

The link to the ME2 is here about halfway down this page:

http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/icm_eng.nsf/root/products_wireless-sys...

- Don








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Jeff Carpenter
Re: Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 5, 2008 at 7:42:17 pm

This brings up a broader point and a simple rule for wedding shooters: Never depend on anyone (other than your own assistant) for anything that is important.

And I don't just mean grooms. Planners, DJs, photographers...many of them will be very helpful and offer to do things for you. That's nice and all, but only accept that help if it's something you can live without if it goes wrong. If it matters, you have to make sure it happens yourself.

Following this rule is hard. It makes shooting weddings way harder than it might otherwise be. But it's the most important rule there is.




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Chris Bryan
Re: Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 5, 2008 at 7:49:21 pm

Thanks for the advice,

Much appreciated. In the future, I will get the groom set up with the lapel mic and then start it recording at that time.

This groom in particular seemed fairly concerned that I would be recording every conversation that he had from about half an hour before the ceremony onwards, I have to admit, that I would feel a little self conscious as well.

I suppose I can just explain that its the best way to do things so that he has good audio on his video.



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Jeff Carpenter
Re: Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 5, 2008 at 8:22:39 pm

Well, I use wireless mics, so I always say "Don't worry, the receivers won't be turned on until the procession starts."

That's actually true and it puts their mind at ease.

You can't truthfully say that, but I suggest saying something like "It's all set, we'll be getting audio from you for the entire ceremony. Thanks."

9 out of 10 times that will make them feel better (oh, during the ceremony? Ok!) because they're not really thinking about it and they just want to hear something positive. Give them that and they'll forget about it 30 seconds after you've left the room.

You'll sometimes have to explain the whole thing (it's safer this way) but I'm betting that won't happen too often if you're just positive and focus on the "it's for the ceremony" line.



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Don Greening
Re: Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 5, 2008 at 8:59:49 pm

[Jeff Carpenter] "You'll sometimes have to explain the whole thing (it's safer this way) but I'm betting that won't happen too often if you're just positive and focus on the "it's for the ceremony" line."

Exactly. We also get this out of the way during the consult. We tell the groom that his lav audio is recorded to a completely separate audio channel in the camera, so if there's anything he's said that may be deemed "off-topic" it doesn't have to be in the final mix. Problem solved as far as the couple is concerned. Anyway, most of the time, as Jeff has stated, after about 30 sec. the groom has forgotten that he's wired. The ones that don't forget are the ones that like to say "stuff" and are happy to have it on their lapel because they consider it to be a novelty: "Hey look everybody. I'm wired for sound!"

A lot of couples also have to be reminded that no audio ever gets recorded (in the case of wireless transmitters) unless I press the camera's record button. People not in our industry seem to forget that part and we never assume that they know as much as their video person does.

- Don


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Mark Suszko
Re: Groom didn't turn mic on
on May 7, 2008 at 4:11:51 am

Some of the best candid stuff I got in wedding coverage was just after they went out the doors and I'm still shooting the rest of the exit procession. They had completely forgotten the wireless and were saying some very cute stuff, nothing embarrassing, but along the lines of:
"Oh, I just can't believe how great that was, and now it's over". "Oh no, hon, it is just beginning!" " You are SO beautiful right now, MRS. so-and-so!!!" Stuff like that, my description doesn't do it justice. Clients loved it later. Yeah, I've caught grooms saying stupid, insensitive things in the waiting room, locker-room junk. I backspaced over it with a cut-away before handing the masters over.

As far as mics and recorders go, anything you hand to a client or guest, etc. should be already on and running and locked-off in every possible way. If it has a switch, they WILL try to work it, out of nerves or whatever. If it is not nailed down, someone will decide to move it. If you pre-set a height to prevent the "clown nose effect", somebody will wrestle the stand until they break it, just to adjust it a centimeter up or down, then eat the mic the whole time they are in front of it.

Murphy loves to attend weddings.


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