I’m prepping my first wedding shoot, and I can’t figure out the best way to record the audio.
1) Will the on camera mics capture good sound for the ceremony? (Specifically from the EX1 and a RODE VideoMic.)
2) Should I put a lav on the groom? If I did, would that lav also capture the bride? (I don’t want to try to figure out how to lav a bride.)
3) Would it be better to hide a mic somewhere around the ceremony where it wouldn’t be noticed?
Thank you all so much,
The shotgun mics are only good for a back-up ambient sound channel. DO NOT trust them for main audio.
Cheap wireless is worse than no wireless, IMO because you will risk success on an unreliable system that never seems to fail until the critical moment. Hardwire mics and planted recorders are generally more reliable on the low-budget end of things. But you can't hard-wire a groom.
You WILL need to lav mic the groom, either with a wireless, or a pocket sized digital audio recorder: they are not expensive today. Hide the lav under the flower on his lapel, tape the cables down exceptionally well inside the jacket, to keep them from rustling or tearing out. Turn on, then tape over the power switch so he can't turn it off by mistake or forget to turn it on again later. Ask me how I know about that one!
Yes, It WILL pick up the vows from the bride, the dad, and usually the officiant's words if he's within arm's length as well. Plant another recorder on the lectern for the readings and homily, or any songs etc.
Some houses of worship have a radio-based assisted listening system for the hard of hearing. They hand out little receiver boxes and ear buds that play back audio from the main sound system. This is a great back-up source for clean audio without all the echo and reverb. Usually you can tap into one of these boxes with a mini-male patch cord to one of your spare mic channels. Have AA and AAA batteries on hand in case the receiver boxes are run down.
If you can tap into the house audio, do so, for a good back-up. Worst case, you could run a mic up next to one of the house system's speaker cabinets.
Typically on runs a second b-roll camera on a wide shot for editing purposes, and this can be where you lead some of your extra sound channels to for redundancy and insurance.
Good clear sound is one of the key differentiators between Uncle Joe's home movies and a pro wedding shooter. Don't skimp on it.
I totally agree with Mark. Sure, you want a high quality on-camera mic. I typically use two shotguns, in a "run and gun" configuration, gain around 30dB apart, one to the other. But that's just the camcorder.
Little recorders are your friend. Even before today's compact digital units, I had grooms wired with Sony MD recorders, good for several hours if you dropped to the second compression level. These days, you can get 24-bit (ish) resolution out of a cheap recorder and a lav, and the groom won't even notice it's on him. I have also put recorders in plants, on podiums, etc.
And yeah, if there's a house audio system, get a tap on that. But don't count on it.... that was my only alternate to on-camera audio some years back, and the house audio failed during the wedding. I learned a whole lots of new audio tricks that next month. As with cameras, you want redundancy on audio for any event, but particularly for weddings.
We have experimented with loads of different configs over the years. We are also pretty lucky that 99% of our weddings are already mic'd up via PA systems with all live ceremony music going through the same desk. If in doubt always mic up the Rabi, Priest, registrar, **insert official of your choice** as it is them that really do all the talking. We use Audio Technica Lavs plugged into little Yamaha C24 recorders. The mics are omni directional so should be more then enough to pick up anything the couple say. If you want to mic up the groom then thats always worth going for too as it gives you a fall back. We generally end up with 6 to 8 tracks of audio from any given ceremony. I'll then do a mix as you don't want just one source. Too clean an audio track can make things seem a bit stale and devoid of atmosphere. There are a couple of example below of the above configs in use.
Thanks everyone! This was all very helpful; the audio recording was a great success! Thank you all so much!