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Thread: Opera in a Church with piano, but a recording compromise due to video

  1. #11
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    Went fine - apart from having hardly any time to set up - because they had a service while I was preparing. Trying to stuck down gaffer tape silently is amazingly difficult. Pianist needed to have the piano on short stick, so I needed to get the mic in closer than I intended, but the idea worked. I was quite pleased with the stereo mic - def better than the others which did a less ideal capture - despite the distance being about the same. The best blend is with the piano mic and the Blumlein, and the piano with a tad artificial reverb - it's nearly enough in the stereo mic, had the lid been up it would have been fine I think. This clip is the Blumlein and piano mic - no eq, just a blend of the two.
    http://www.limelight.org.uk/figaro.mp3opera-png

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  3. #12
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    "The client says the video actually is more important, while the performers want an audio recording as their main aim.."

    Which one is paying you? Both?

    You do the job the paying client wanted: video. If both, you have a problem.

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    Having worked in very high level live theatre (eg Sydney Opera House, etc) can I suggest that you go out and hire a very good quality radio mic system --- you will need a two channel unit or two separate units (eg Shure, AKG, Sennheiser) and get with it a belt pack and two VERY good "hair-line" mics (eg DPA) and using "toupe clips" thread the mics through the singers hair, so that the mic sits possibly just inside the front the singer's hair line. Use the toupe clips (you could possibly get a small pack of these from a good hair-dresser, wig manufacturer, etc) to hold the mic cable in place as it passes through the hair. Fit the belt pack inside the clothes of the artists at their back and secure the cable running down the artist's neck and back using clear medical tape (the tape I use is about 1 inch wide).

    If you do this setup using the type of radio mic system I have suggested and adjust the belt packs gain as required to avoid any overload, the sound should be excellent and from the camera's shooting position it will be virtually impossible to see the microphone. Just be sure to get microphones that suite the performer's skin colour --- most of the better microphones are available in three colours, Beige, Black and one that is suitable for persons with an Asian/Middle Eastern skin toning.

    Hope the above helps as it will/should give both excellent audio and video results. AND the mics should not pick up any/too much of the room's acoustics.

    Just think that when you visit the professional live theatre venues to see productions such as Phantom Of The Opera, virtually all of the artists are wearing radio mics, but you don't see them and if the audio operator is fully professional, you do not realise that you are listening to the singers amplified voice. When doing live opera performances today, it is generally essential that the audience do not realise that the singers are being amplified.

    David

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    Radio is NOT an option. One of our income streams is hiring out wireless systems, and we're very familiar with this kit, both digital and analogue. In this case, the event was a kind of tester, giving me a chance to experiment. Some things worked, some didn't. We're doing another event for the same client, who's very happy. In this case, the actual hierarchy was a bit unusual. The client in paperwork terms was the church. They organised the performers through a musical director, so in this case while the client would be in charge normally, in this example, the performers want some of the 'total' one wants hers and the duets, the other his and the duets. The musical director wants everything, but wants a short compilation not the full thing.

    This is, for this one, fine. The experiment worked. Two tracks, mics put up to capture the audience and space sounded dreadful, the two AKG 451s producing a mush. The outer cardioids were nice sounding but responded badly to the male performer who was quite mobile. The stereo image shifted wildly. The centre mic, which I was worried would not perform well in its low position, actually did. Another trick to put in the book when you can't get them into the usual high position. Never done it before, and didn't know how well it would work. The too close mic on the piano was much harder to blend. Just too up front and even with treatment didn't sound quite right. Mixed in lower I think it was ok.

    One the wireless front, the most expensive wireless system is nearly as good as a $20 cable! In my pro shows, we employ a sound person who's job is to be stage side, tweaking mic positions, swapping damaged or half unplugged cables and using copious amounts of tape! Opera singers are in general quite anti technology unless the venue is so big it needs it. Anna, at Sydney Opera House, spends a lot of time balancing the singers against the orchestras and managing this kind of thing is a full time job. Most of my opera work is in a wonderful building with excellent acoustics, and most are in-amplified. For the small recitals, I need something more foolproof. Next one I might not use the Blumlein technique, and go X/y with maybe a couple of omnis? Not tried a pair of omnis before. Anyone like that one and have any tips. There won't be any radios, that's just not an option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    Radio is NOT an option. One of our income streams is hiring out wireless systems, and we're very familiar with this kit, both digital and analogue. In this case, the event was a kind of tester, giving me a chance to experiment. Some things worked, some didn't. We're doing another event for the same client, who's very happy. In this case, the actual hierarchy was a bit unusual. The client in paperwork terms was the church. They organised the performers through a musical director, so in this case while the client would be in charge normally, in this example, the performers want some of the 'total' one wants hers and the duets, the other his and the duets. The musical director wants everything, but wants a short compilation not the full thing.

    This is, for this one, fine. The experiment worked. Two tracks, mics put up to capture the audience and space sounded dreadful, the two AKG 451s producing a mush. The outer cardioids were nice sounding but responded badly to the male performer who was quite mobile. The stereo image shifted wildly. The centre mic, which I was worried would not perform well in its low position, actually did. Another trick to put in the book when you can't get them into the usual high position. Never done it before, and didn't know how well it would work. The too close mic on the piano was much harder to blend. Just too up front and even with treatment didn't sound quite right. Mixed in lower I think it was ok.

    One the wireless front, the most expensive wireless system is nearly as good as a $20 cable! In my pro shows, we employ a sound person who's job is to be stage side, tweaking mic positions, swapping damaged or half unplugged cables and using copious amounts of tape! Opera singers are in general quite anti technology unless the venue is so big it needs it. Anna, at Sydney Opera House, spends a lot of time balancing the singers against the orchestras and managing this kind of thing is a full time job. Most of my opera work is in a wonderful building with excellent acoustics, and most are in-amplified. For the small recitals, I need something more foolproof. Next one I might not use the Blumlein technique, and go X/y with maybe a couple of omnis? Not tried a pair of omnis before. Anyone like that one and have any tips. There won't be any radios, that's just not an option.


    yes
    skipping the blumlein would be a good idea

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    Ha! I'm certainly willing to try something different, but I've not changed my views on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    Ha! I'm certainly willing to try something different, but I've not changed my views on it.
    so the results dont influence what you think about it

    you know what einstein said

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    No exactly the opposite. The results encourage me to keep Blumlein as a viable and 'bigger' technique. However - the next one is a smaller building that doesn't sound as nice, so X/Y would be the simplest - but I might have the option to use multiple mics again - so maybe I could try M/S, and A/B? I know you don't like Blumlein - and that's fine if you don't feel it works for you, but I still have it in the OK column. I'm negotiating to be able to use a catenary wire, but the rules might make this impossible. Just nice to experiment. My spaced cardioids were worth trying but just ineffective with moving sound sources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    No exactly the opposite. The results encourage me to keep Blumlein as a viable and 'bigger' technique. However - the next one is a smaller building that doesn't sound as nice, so X/Y would be the simplest - but I might have the option to use multiple mics again - so maybe I could try M/S, and A/B? I know you don't like Blumlein - and that's fine if you don't feel it works for you, but I still have it in the OK column. I'm negotiating to be able to use a catenary wire, but the rules might make this impossible. Just nice to experiment. My spaced cardioids were worth trying but just ineffective with moving sound sources.
    blumlein is okay. just not for that situation you described in the initial post

    experimenting is good. sticking with failure not so much.

    moving sources need a wide stereo image space
    or wireless mikes that they wear.

  11. #20
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    Wireless mics are fine for PA, they're good for TV when used with lavs, but I don't like the look of headword mics in shot. I simply In this case the problem with moving, is simply that the singer moves too much across the centre line so the image shifts very quickly. I really didn't fancy close miking at all - the piano mic was too close for my taste, the voices I think about right.

    I'm definitely going to add low level Blumlein to my list of techniques that work in un-typical situations. The number of times we've had people say the same thing - they cannot get a mic in the usual position dead centre, but up in the air, and now I've tested this one - I'm happy it works fine.

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