Don’t forget that a loud band


Don’t forget that a loud band on stage is balanced to be heard from a fair distance. Even if you could put a stereo mic on the camera, you would not then be able to pan it – because the stereo image would move with the camera, sounding very odd. When we record bands we use 3 or 4 proper cameras and then go pros dotted about. The cameras in close when they point in the direction of the guitarists amp, pick that up, loud and clear. Mover to centre and you hear the drums, move again and it’s bass – the vocals are missing because they come from the left and right PA stacks only. We always record the stereo desk output, and normally now, multitrack the band, as we often provide PA service too – so we plug in a mac, and record every track. The stereo mix is pretty good usually, but drums can be tricky in the live mix – sometimes they’re so loud for real, they don’t have much gain in the mix. At our most common venue – one camera on the centre line – 10-12m from the stage gets the best sound, as it’s in the right places and doesn’t move being on a locked off wide shot. All the cameras that move have useless sound. Good enough to use for sync, but hopeless for audio quality. Also beware that some cameras simply cannot handle rock levels. One of ours has preamps that distort really badly on the built in mic, even when the gain knobs are very low – the preamps just distort, before it gets to the level control.

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