Sound advice required

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    • #49366

      My last wedding job bombed because of serious audio problems encountered. I’ll sketch the background as briefly as possible.

      This wedding was in a game park in the outdoors. From the main lapa, where all the guest were sitting, there was a short flight of stairs leading down to a jetty that jutted about 50m into a lake, ending in a small island with a thatch roofed gazebo on it. Here is where the wedding ceremony was conducted.

      The pastor was using a cordless mic, which had no wind protection. I was using the XR500 handheld for the close ups from behind one of the gazebo pillars. The XR500 was fitted with a shotgun mic with grey fluffy wind shield. The missus was handling the NX5 which was placed on one corner of the main lapa, shooting down at the ceremony 50 meters away. The NX5 had a shotgun mic with black foam cover.

      It was a sunny but unfortunately very windy day. All the soundtracks (Sony NX5 with shotgun mic, Sony XR500 with shotgun mic plus dead cat windshield as well as the pastor’s cordless mic) caught a lot of wind noise. In addition, the pastor’s mic was broadcasting to stereo speakers placed inside the main lapa. This created bad echo/feedback on the recordings of the two cameras.

      This shoot had the potential of being truly exceptional. The ceremony
      took place during the golden hour resulting in some awesome video with
      blue skies mottled with orange and gold clouds painted by the setting sun. The odd giraffe and antelope drinking from the lake a hundred meters behind the ceremonial gazebo simply added to the wonderful scene.

      This shoot was a freeby for friends. However, I was hoping to “graduate” with this one but sadly, I will have to practice some more.

      To close off, I have to add that the video recorded by the two cameras were really great, but they didn’t cut well together during editing. I simply couldn’t colour match them. But that is a topic for another post.

      EarlC, composite1, Doubleham, Charles Schultz and all the other pros out there….. if this was your shoot, please tell me how you would have set up for the audio.

    • #202162

      ” EarlC, composite1, Doubleham, Charles Schultz and all the other pros out there….. if this was your shoot, please tell me how you would have set up for the audio. “

      I’ll bet that their solution would have something to do with those little Zoom recorders, yes?

      Sometimes the audio gods don’t smile on you regardless.

      Just remember that the more directional a mic is, the more susceptableit will be to wind. Omni lav’s under clothing might be a bit muffled, but they wouldn’t be as susceptable to wind.

      Rick Crampton

    • #202163

      A standalone digital recorder close to, and focused on, the sweet spots at each of the speakers taking the minister’s audio as backup, in spite of the evident wind issues. But, as Rick says, probably, in this case, with the outdoors/winds conditions, the only way to really get around those issues is to record with a good wireless, lapel mic placed as he suggested. However, even the little foam things you get with your lapels are a bit more effective than the bigger directional mics even if you put a REAL dead cat around them … just sayin’

      Anyway, instead of recording audio to cameras for anything other than purposes of syncing audio reference points in post, I’d probably run wireless (more than one if I have them) to standalone digital recorders, taking the chance that multiple backups and acquisition would bail me out even though I couldn’t possibly be monitoring all those sources in progress.

      Again, as Rick notes, Murphy, moreso than any audio gods, might have a hand in mucking up the audio on an outdoor venue. Not to mention planes, trains and automobiles and other noisy elements. Had one once where the stupid greens keepers were driving small tractors around some of the course, distributing sheep manure (yes, we could all SMELL it) and attracting flies like I experienced without the manure on a visit to Australia, but mostly making these sweet, enhancing tractor engine and mechanical noises that carried all over the golf course, especially to where we were recording an outdoor wedding.

    • #202164

      Hi Rick,

      Yes, I buy into your advice. Zooms or similar it will be henceforth. Never did like those camera mounted directional mics. Personally I like the quality of the cameras’ onboard mics better for ambient sound. I do have an omni directional lavalier mic but which I didn’t use because the clip is broken. I shall have the clip replaced.Thanks for the advice.


      I have already ordered another lavalier. I remember now from some of your previously writings that you are a firm believer in the Zoom recorders. Zoom H2, if I remember correctly?

      What I didn’t mention is that there was a single prop plane fly over during the ceremony, which briefly brought proceedings to a halt. In addition, next to the lake was a windmill which made this rythmic, squeaking noise as it was turned by the wind. It just wasn’t my day. Murphy came a visit’n.

      Thank you both for the response.

    • #202165
      Luis Maymi LopezLuis Maymi Lopez

      I have record backup audio to my computer using (believe it or not) a handheld mic pointing directly at the speakers of the venue I’m recording. This had save me dozens of times when the camcorder audio just don’t work. Also, when possible, I try to connect a direct line to the audio mixers of the activity to get near perfect audio. I use my Macbook Pro with an Audiobox USB, one XLR with the handheld and the other with the direct line. This may not be the most professional solution around, but it really works and the best thing is that the handheld mic with a wind screen doesn’t get as much wind noise as other mics (also you can block the wind by sealing the mic inside a cardboard or something else). I also have used a cheap Radio Shack lavalier mic with this method and it records a wonderful ambient sound. Of course, you will need someone monitoring the audio at all times, checking if the audio clips (which always happens) and you will only be able to capture the sound that comes out of the speakers. That when having a good wireless lavaliers comes to play.

    • #202166

      Thanks Luis. It is clear that I need to invest in some more audio equipment.

      Eugene Rohland

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