Hiding mic's for television

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Dcohoe, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. Dcohoe

    Dcohoe Active Member

    hello all
    This is my first post
    I am recording a string Quartet for a television production this week with a live mix
    and on the side I will be multi-tracking for a DVD
    My problem is ,I was asked to hide the mics `(cos they look ugly) I have got some ATM350 clip on mics for the violin s and viola and I am going to use a c1000 on a short stand for the cello
    THE BIG question is - how would a countyrman headset mic work in the cheek for the violin player

    Any thoughts?

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    This sounds all wrong for a classical quartet, particularly the headset mics for the fiddlers. The close-range sound of a violin is acceptable for PA use at ceilidhs, but does not bring out the distance sound of a string instrument so crucial in capturing the blend of a quartet. I think you need to negotiate a little more with the producer: do you want pretty pictures and horrible sound or can you compromise on slimline floor mics and good sound?

    Check the DPA website for miniature cardioid and omni mics. When these are mounted on a low-profile stand they will not look out of place in the video.

    As an aside, I think you may have problems with using a C1000 on a cello.
  3. Dcohoe

    Dcohoe Active Member

    Welcome to my world
    I agree with you completely

    I will have 2 u87's at a distance for an overall sound (depending where the cameras are?) I am a bit concerned with comms and noise from the cameras but they will just have to be quiet
    There big concern are the stands in the shot but I will try to fight for a bit of distance

    I thought the countryman might be a help to create a bit of distance even if it is a few centimeters

    If I have to go with this close micing technique I will just sick a whole bunch of rev on and see what happens :)

  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    U87's are not ideal at all for distance micing. You should be looking at small diaphragm condensers and you should likely be looking at hanging them in the studio. This means the studio will have to decide where they want the group and mark it off with tape for you. Typically in a television studio the mic's are on big booms that reach over the top of a group and at such a height that the somewhat tight video framing does not pic up the boom arm. If this is a concert production then you are definitely going to have to suspend the mic's and you need to dump the idea completely of the U87's. Not the right mic for the job.
  5. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Minimizing the visibility of mics, but still getting great sound means using the best and smallest mics like Schoeps using their known and stylish stands. Unaffordable, but maybe available for rent...
    Don't use the C1000 for the job, don't use the U87 too far away from the source. It picks up too much ambient noise.

  6. Dcohoe

    Dcohoe Active Member


    That mic looks perfect if iI can find them here in Darkest Africa :)

    Used to work for the SABC radio, and mics were freely available. now that I work for a low budget production house the last thing they think of is mics
    we used to use a shoeps stereo mic and 4 spaced omni mics on an orchestra and one KMF on the lead cello just to get some edge on it .What a huge sound we would get (in a theater )
    so i know what I am looking for
    I am working in an OB van with very little audio gear available in fact the camera mics are the best mic's I have at my disposal (fun hey :)) Might use them for a stereo pair out front
    Suddenly ! we are required to do something worthwhile (for audio anyway ) and they all go into a spin

    D MAKE A PLAN !!!!!

    They were not even going to multi track it ( lucky I have the Presonus )

    I will try to hang as much as possible - see what happens

    I guess this is what we do hey ( make a plan )

  7. 0VU

    0VU Active Member

    I'd say that the choice of mic for this job depends upon things like the repertoire, type of venue and style of the video production.

    If the repertoire is pop or 'crossover' then clipon mics are actually probably a good option. My preference is to use DPA 4060s on strings as they're quieter than 4061s and you don't need the extra headroom of the latter. If you can trust the players not to break them, you could take the grilles off for a flatter sound but it's very risky if the players aren't used to working with clipon mics.

    For classical repertoire as others have said, it's better to go for some distance, space and 'air' to let the sound develop and blend naturally. Here, micing on the instruments would probably be pretty low down my list of preferences. However, if the venue is horribly noisy or there will be lots of long shots and the director is absolutely fanatical about not seeing any mics of any sort then clip ons can get you out of a hole but sonically it's doing things the hard way!

    Of course, the nature of the venue, the desired sound balance and, to some extent the sound of the quartet itself will impose limitations upon your options, as will availability of equipment. A brightly lit stage in a minimalist concert hall setting would need a different approach from, say, a dimly lit church or furnished or heavily baroque decorated recital room in a private house. A cavernous reverb or high levels of background noise might limit you to working closer than would be ideal or dictate a choice of certain mic types and configurations. If you have a good selection of 'TV appropriate' high end gear from which to choose, it'll be a lot easier than having only a pair of huge silver RCA44s and pump up stands or a couple of SM57s. (Though you never know, they might work.) With video work I usually find that the expectations of the picture people are so much lower than my own that they're happy long before I am. It's quite rare, even on pure music jobs, for a video person to tell me that sound comes first and they'll work round whatever I need to do to get the best sound! It's nice when it happens, though.

    Preferable, (even essential) would be some negotiation with the director over mic type/position vs. camera angle/shot and something in the way of capsule extension cables/tubes (like the Schoeps one shown above). The best ranges of these are available from Schoeps, with good, varyingly comprehensive, systems also available from Neumann (KM100 series and the new KM-D and KM-A ranges (also the older KM8x series)), Sennheiser (MKH 80xx series (though they're slightly different in their operation from the previous two), and AKG (C460/C480/C300). Schoeps, DPA and Sennheiser also do a range of 'compact' mics (Schoeps CCM/CCM-L / DPA 'Compact') which have similar low profile/discrete mounting systems. Schoeps have by far the most comprehensive ranges but the basics are well covered by all the above. If you can't get any of those, some other companies also make a few or a small range of 'discrete' mics of varying type and quality, such as the Audix Microboom range and various 'compact' things from AT, Rode and others. Don't write off the stuff normally considered in classical circles as 'oddball' or substandard as this is picture work and in any case it's better to get a perhaps less suitable mic into the right place, than to be stuck with a great mic in completely the wrong place.

    If you can't get away even with extension tubes and/or capsule extension cables, you could possibly try using the DPA clip mics I mentioned before. Hanging a pair or tree of 4060s with fishing line can lead to a very discrete rig indeed and can work very well indeed. You'll probably need to weight the mics with lead shot or something similar to help them hang straight on their cables but it can be done and the main problem I've had with such a rig is people not seeing the mics or rigging and hitting them with cameras, ladders, etc..

    Knowing the camera placements and shot lists to be used can make all the difference to how hard the job is. Making mics and their stands 'invisible' from all angles is very hard indeed, whatever equipment you have, but with some planning and discussion with the director and lighting cameraman you should be able to find a setup which is invisible enough from the relevant camera angles even if it looks hideous from all other points of view. Or you might find that the director is planning, say, one wide shot and a load of closeups. In which case with careful choice of size, colour and rigging, in the long shot(s) you should be able to visually lose/minimise the impact of a carefully placed main pair on an appropriate stand, or (preferably) hanging, and if really necessary be able to use other discrete mics closer in without needing anything that gets between the cameras and the close shots. If it's lots of jib work or steady cams and other moving cameras, it's harder to completely hide things but there's usually a compromise if you look hard enough and have enough gear options.

    Whether hanging or on stands you'll need to be aware of lighting and how any shadows are falling as they can give away an otherwise invisble mic position. Also, under full TV or concert lighting, mics which blend in during rehearsals can suddenly be thrown into sharp prominence.

    With TV/video, even things like the colour of the mic and it's mount/stand/cable and even the XLRs can make a difference to where you'll be able to put it. I once had to provide a sound recording for a film containing a string quartet who were dressed in white, playing white instruments, on a completely white set, with an opening shot being a slow zoom from a wide shot of the whole set to a closeup of the first violinist's bow on the string. For various reasons a pre-record wasn't an option and the solution eventually accepted was four white DPA4060s clipped to the instruments, with the cables mostly hidden inside the players' clothing then down the legs of their chairs, and through holes in the floor. When the shot was close enough, I could see the mics but the director was completely mystified how we'd got the sound until I showed him the mics. Not ideal but the client was happy on all fronts and the sound was about as good as I could get in the circumstances.

    And, worst case, if it's a recording session rather than a live concert, you could always pre-record the quartet then remove all the mics except maybe something simple and out of shot to capture a very rough guide track, then shoot the pictures and substitute the proper recording in post. You could do a playback for the quartet to play to or, if that's not an option, the director will just have to cut his pictures to sound rather than hoping to skip about all over the place in the edit. He can always cut to a long shot or some bland wild cutaway for a few seconds and pull the pictures a bit if things start to slip out of sync. Not a perfect solution but worse things happen and it can be made completely invisible to the viewer.
  8. Dcohoe

    Dcohoe Active Member

    This is how it went down.
    ALLL the mic's I requested did not arrive, so I borrowed from friends a Rode stereo mic which I placed about 5m away on a high boom (huge complaints from the jib operator)-He did bump into it a few times ,A c1000 on the cello on a short stand ,From the OB van I got 2 samson co3's on the piano (half stick)and now for the best one ........ on the 2 violins and viola I taped sennizer omni lapel mics under the chin guard
    Problem one - the piano was so loud from the group the stereo mic was no real balance to start with . the cello would disappear completely every now and then ( asked the cellist what was going on - he responded " If I don't know the notes I just make like I am playing" ) Ok that one sorted The rest of the strings on the lapel mics were a bit harsh to say the least, but the first violin seemed to be the only one who knew what to play ...so all round crappy group.
    A bit disappointing ! The program I mixed as best I could found a lot of piano in the first violin's mic OMNI But the producer was Very happy (standards???) But the DVD was canceled due to the performance. I still have the multi track and play with it every now and then just for fun
    Thank you for all the responses
    Pity the budgets here in South Africa don't match the products


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