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I’m assuming that this will be edited in an NLE and the speakers will be sitting down…..
It sounds like you’re going to need a mixer with a good number of channels. For example, if you have 4 speakers and a large audience, you definitely need one channeldesignatedfor each speakers, and one or two channels for the audience. I suggest having a lavalier mic on each speaker and 2 hand held mics that can be passed around in the audience. If the audience isn’t too large, one hand held mic will probably be effiencent.
If you embrace this method, youdefinitelyneed someone to operate the mixer, which shouldn’t be too hard. Before the shoot, set the levels for each mic–speakers and audience. During the shoot, the speakers’ mic levels should stay the same, but the audience’s mic levels may change depending on how close they hold the mic to their mouth. That’s where the audio tech comes in. That person will have to monitor their levels as well as mute channels that aren’t being used at the moment.
Then you go out of the mixer and into a camera, but I don’t know how to get more than 2 individual channels. I’ve never don’t that before. I pretty sure you can’t get more than 2 on tape. You may want to look that up. Maybe hook the mixer up to a digital recorder and a camera. Then you can use the audio from the camera to reference while you use the audio from the digital recorder for the final edit.