A Capella raw recording in a venue

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by jorX, Nov 16, 2018.

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  1. jorX

    jorX Active Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm new to this forum so forgive if I'm not posting this in a right place :whistle:

    Situation: I need to film and record sound for an artist who will be singing a capella (all done most likely in one take) in an acoustically great venue with some natural reverb at the end of Nov.

    I'm looking for tips on what is the best equipment to rent out ( no time to buy ) to get a crisp beautiful sound of an a cappella performance. I'm planning to shoot this on Blackmagic 4K camera and wonder if I need something more complex in terms of the sound set up? Where would the mic(s) have to be placed? What type etc?

    Would Tascam DR-701D be good also? I know it prevents a drift between sound and picture and is generally a great piece of gear to use.

    I know little about sound recording so any tips would be hugely hugely appreciated. :X3::D
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Hi and welcome! A few questions:

    Is your artist is one of an a capella group, or is (s)he singing solo?
    If solo, is the vocalist male or female?
    Are you allowed microphones in shot or do they have to be hidden?
    "Acoustically great" can mean different things in different circumstances, so what type of venue is it, and what is the type of material to be sung?
    Will there be an audience, with or without applause?
    Do you get a opportunity to mix the recorded tracks before mating them up with the video?

    The DR-701D is a good recorder, but, depending on the type of microphones, you may want to consider using a separate external pre-amp and go into the recorder at a higher level.
     
  3. jorX

    jorX Active Member

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    Hi! Artist is a female and she will perform solo. I would say main mic can be seen, the one she will sing into (actually haven't discussed that yet with an artist, good point, but I assume so anyway), probably would prefer everything else to be hidden. Venue is Brunel Museum in London which is more like an underground tunnel.
    There will be no audience, just her with a spotlight singing - it's more like a music video type of live recording if that makes sense.
    I would like to be able to record it as it happens and do few takes then choose one with the best video and best sound. Since it will be all done with one take, its a challenge. We do have a track we can add on top of the video later but would prefer to do it 'live' - both music and video in real time.

    Hope this makes some sense :) and thank you for tips in advance
     
  4. jorX

    jorX Active Member

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    that's the space
     

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  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Interesting. I've not visited the Brunel Museum, but it is something I have always intended to do ever since it opened as a public space in 1961. At that time it was called the Brunel Engine House.

    Judging by your photo and the ones on the Museum's website, it doesn't look an easy place to get a decent recording in. I would be trying both a stereo pair of condenser mics (cardioid pattern) positioned reasonably close to the singer, and also moving-coil (dynamic) microphones, as these tend to pick up less background and reflected sound. I hope your video script does not involve the performer moving around as she is singing.

    Other than "music video", you haven't mentioned the type of material she will be performing.
     
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  6. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

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    Welcome!

    Nice camera, by the way!

    I don’t have much time to go into any detail, but there’s a reason the pros lip-synch this sort of thing.

    • High quality video -without any visible mics
    • High quality audio -without a bunch of extraneous background noise
    • The artistic integrity of not lip-synching
    Pick any two. Something will have to be compromised (in my opinion) if you want this to be anywhere near broadcast quality.

    It’s virtually impossible to get all three with a huge budget and experienced field recording engineers.
    DIY, you really need to pick your battles and/or temper your expectations.
     
  7. jorX

    jorX Active Member

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    Thank you! I actually found out the artist wouldn't want any mics in sight and wants to use the reverb of the museum to sing. What would be your suggestion with that setting?
     
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Make a sound recording using the microphone choice and positioning needed to get the best sound in that venue, then replay it through an out-of-shot loudspeaker while the video is recorded with her singing along to the sound recording. She should stay still in one position during the sound recording, but can move about as much as she wants during the video shoot.

    Doing it this way wins you the freedom of mic positioning, and for the singer the freedom of expression through movement during the shoot. The downside is that she will need some training or practice in lip-synching, but that's much easier for a song than for natural speech. Some performers are natural at this technique, and some never get it. I hope she is at least somewhere in the middle of the range.
     
  9. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    I always like to ask them what is the most important thing they want. A really high quality audio recording of them or a really good high quality visual recording. They can't have both. Wonderful sounding spaces need specific mic techniques which rarely look good and always get in the way. The best camera shots always reveal the works. If she wants both, then Boswell is right on the money. Mime. The trouble is without any backing track, her timing will be fluid making lip-sync damn hard. The only other course of action is to use some opera type mics - using extension tubes. Old AKG 451s and things like Shoeps - condensers on visually pleasant tubes. You can hire these, then record with an X/Y or M/S Configuration for a 3 track recording you can then sort in post. Is the BM camera yours? I only ask because they're very dependent on lighting to get good results - I'm sure you've spotted this if it's your camera, so in a big space, how do you light it? I've been recording live audio stuff for years and drift is not an issue.

    The miming thing will also be better if you are planning on shooting single camera - master shot, then closeups. In fact, without miming, I don't know how you'd actually be able to get lip sync from multiple takes with an a Capella performance.
     
  10. jorX

    jorX Active Member

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    Thanks!
     

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