Audio question about person playing the Harp

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    • #37485

      I got a call today from someone wanted me to film her playing the harp for her to send out to schools for college.

      My question is, any advice on what kind of microphone I should use? A boom or should I put a small lapel microphone on the harp itself or on her?

      I have no experience on this and I want to have some sort of idea before I agree to do it.

      Thank you.

    • #166115

      You might be able to hide an omni-directional lavalier mic on the harp close to the strings. No need to clip it to her since she won’t be talking. You’ll want the mic as close to the strings as possible to capture the cleanest sound possible.

    • #166116

      No do not place any mics directly on the harp, it will pick up viberations and depending on where you clamp it, it chould change the tone of the harp.

      You will want a good Condenser mic and quality preamps. Best case is to goto a local recording studio, they range from $30 to $800 an hour.

      if not then buy or rent a good Condenser and build a quiet room and pad it to remove reflected sound. I have a EV RE-20 for most of my insterment micing. pipe that into a Art Voice channel “Channel Strip” and don’t forget clean power, a lot of people over look this part“Monster power center Pro 3500”

      I setup a small studio in my back yard, it’s a 12 X 14″ shed that I insulated and installed a very quiet A/C, I carpeted the floor, walls and celining. I also have moving pads that hang about 8″ from the wall, Works very well.

      If you plan to do a lot of recording of insterments, vocalsist, or band you may want to conciter building a studio, if not then renting a studio may be a better route.

    • #166117

      as far as distance from the harp about 14″. having the studio mic in frame may add flavor to the shot. a condenser micat high gain can hear a mouse pass gas at 100′ if you get it too close you will lose color. also too close and you will pick up her fingures on the strings.

    • #166118

      Quiet, not necessarily sound proof, location and strategically placed Zoom H2 standalone digital recorders. There are a host of options, from degrees of angle (90 & 120) to proximity, levels, etc., and even a great “normalize” option if you need to get your levels up a bit after recording.

      You can certainly spend the bucks and take the time to generate concert quality audio/video, but I get the impression that this potential client is seeking something more utilitarian rather than entertaining, and that good quality sound and visuals is sufficient. If the person was seeking to, say generate a commercial quality CD for sales, or seeking to join the local philharmonic then that would be another story.

    • #166119

      Lav on harpist might work; although wonder about varying distance of harp strings; strings on far side of arp perhaps 20X farther away from mic than closest strings. If improvising with whats on hand, good position for quality lav might be hanging it from rafters.

      Routine solution would be singlecondenser mic on mic stand, withcable feed to cam through a basic mixer. Try out different positions for mic to find optimum audio.

      For a single moderate fee gig, probably not worth the time and $1000 +++ to build a studio edifice !!

      Use the rehearsal hall or whatever environment harpist customarily employs.

      Seems likely that audition school would be asking for CDs as part of application package. DVD might be proof that applicant/harpist is the one actually playing those chops. If this is the scenario, might not be critical that DVD audio is not 10,000 bit sound.

      (Note. If shooting HD, a problem for many consumer level HD cams is dramatically inferior sound compared to SD cams. Remedy in this case might be one of the many handsized digital audio recorders that are everywhere in musicianland. Did recent gig with condenser mic feeding though mixer directly (single cable, r+l) into my SonyPD170; plus right and left cables going from mixer directly into my Microtrack II audio recorder. The condenser mic was about a foot away from the cam, with cam and condenser mic about 12-feet in front of band on elevated stage. Both the PD170 and the mini audio recorder captured superb sound from the condenser mic. The PD170 on camera mic also picked up very good audio, not as good as the condenser mic source, but quite usable for a stereo mix.)


    • #166120

      Fan-Tom: “Lav on harpist might work;” Eh, no it won’t.

      I do not claim to be a pro at video, just started working with video about a year ago. However, I have been a Professional audio engineer for the last 20 years. The only way to record a harp is with a Condencer Mic 90 Degrees from the artist right side at eye level at about 14″ away, Adjust your preamp to get the sound your looking for.

      Sorry for my frankness but nothing short then perfect for audio is good enough for me. Now if I can jut get my videos to look as good as my audio sounds.

    • #166121

      Hey NBP,

      No problem with frankness; I defer to experts !!!

      I think overall there is good advice here, esp yours, for oc6088 and the harp gig.

      Now when it comes to BLUESharps, that’s a different story. Lavs on the ‘arpists work well unless they are into thrashing around duringperformance. Actually, for this sort of a gig I prefer to be wearing the lav myself as I crouch about two-three feet in front of the performer.

      Take Care … TOM-SCRATCH

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