Recording audio in hockey arena

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by path, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. path

    path Active Member

    I make game videos of a local hockey team that plays in the lower tier league. I've got most of the video equipment sorted, but would like to improve the audio in the videos. Currently I just use the built-in mic on my Canon hf g30 and built-in mics on a few gopros.

    The 'arena' is small, with corrugated metal sheet walls. It's just big enough to fit a hockey rink and a wooden bleacher on one side. Players bech is opposite to the bleacher.

    I film from the top of the bleacher and the audio I get is conversations in the crowd people yelling and cussing loudly :p
    I would much rather get some sound from the ice.
    Anyone could give any recommendations on what budget gear could be used to improve audio.

    Im thinking a shure sm58 peeking over the glass or some kind of wireless omnidirectional mic to get rid of wires people can trip over.
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I would have a look at the range of camera-mounted shotgun mics available. One of the principal manufacturers in this field is Rode, but Shure, AT and others have offerings as well.
     
  3. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    "I film from the top of the bleacher and the audio I get is conversations in the crowd people yelling and cussing loudly "

    The farther you move up and away from the point of concern (in respect to an elevated area with a hard ceiling that continues to get closer to you the more you move up) the more the sound is pushed towards your recording device and the harder the surfaces in this upward push the more potential for a focused signal.. The metal roof isn't helping much. Can you get closer to the point where it is you are wanting to record sound?

    I do not know much about recording and mics btw, just the room you are in.
     
  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    If you have an SM58 to experiment with, that wouldn't be a bad place to start. A boundary mic on the ice side of the glass (with its back to the bleachers) might be worth a try. It would use the surface area of the glass to create a hemispheric collector for the sound. With the crowd in the null, it might pick up more of the rink sounds. I know of a couple wireless PZM mics from Shure and A-T, which I agree would eliminate a possible trip hazard. However, none of them will take a hit from a hockey puck. If you mounted one on the dangerous side of the glass, it would be just a matter of time until it got destroyed.

    The problems I would foresee, if the fans get rowdy and insist on pounding on the glass (like they do here), and pounding anywhere near your mic would drown out everything else regardless of what mic you use. I'd certainly rather hear the players than the fans, but the players don't hold anything back when it comes to cussing either.

    Is this a mic on top of the glass at an NHL game? It could be, there's one at each blue line, but I don't know of any that specific shape. Maybe someone else will be able to make a positive ID.
    IMG_1042.JPG
     
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The sm58 is a hyper cardioid. Not a good choice to record distant sounds.
    A piezo mic on the window (on the ice side) is a good Idea, so is a camera mounted shotgun mic.
     
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I was assuming that when the OP said he "filmed from the top of the bleacher", he meant that his position was sufficiently elevated to have an unobstructed view (and sound) over the top of the screens.

    Shotgun mics are the thing from back there. I know he is emphasising "budget gear", but a pair of mono shotguns positioned above head height on their own stands on each side of the camera tripod would give good A-B stereo that did not swirl around as the camera is panned.

    BTW the SM58 is cardioid; the Beta 58A is supercardioid.
     
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    OH ! my mistake !
    Thanks Boswell ;)
     
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    If you hear people at the camera position then so will any mic. The narrower mics just let you hear the voices of a narrow range of seats. If you want the ice action, then the mics MUST be placed to focus their performance on that area, and place the unwanted sound area in the mics nulls or dead area. Camera mounted mics also sound very strange when you pan, because your audience sound changes as the mic's capture area moves across the different people. I use a cardioid on the camera position for the crowd sound, and feed the other channel with sound from my close in mic, placed near the action, via a mic pack. You can blend them later on.
     
  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Coincidentally, during the game I was watching last night, one of the commentators made a comment about how he could hear the puck ringing off the crossbar all the way up in the press box even without 'the mics they have hanging over the ice'.

    Whatever they do at the NHL level of production is very impressive. You can hear some of the more subtle things like the sound of the skates when they cut hard, or when they snow the goalie, you can hear the puck hitting the stick of the person taking the pass, sometimes you can hear the bench yelling to countdown time remaining in a PK. It's really an impressive feat when you think about all the things working against them.

    They use noise-cancelling headsets for the announcers, I wouldn't be surprised they use a similar approach with some of the other mics too.
     
  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    TV shows and Sport channels put a high importance on sound. It gives a sens of reality. I hope they won't put lavalier on each players someday ! ;)
     
  11. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    When I posted that picture, I said I didn't know of a boundary mic that specific shape - but it had occurred to me that those could be antennas. But at the time, I was thinking the only wireless mic(s) in use were to sing the national anthem(s). However now that you mention it Paul , they do occasionally "mic-up" a player for a game. Thankfully, they don't mic every player. They probably never will, because the poor guy running the 'bleeping profanity button" would die from acute carpal tunnel syndrome after one night of world-class swearing in 30 different languages.
     
  12. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    "The 'arena' is small, with corrugated metal sheet walls."

    And in Finland...wow!

    I wonder, knowing of all the hard boundaries, if it has a round or vaulted roofing system? I am thinking that would focus sound, pretty much how I think it is focusing sound in the rooms that Dvdhawk is talking about.
     
  13. path

    path Active Member

    wow, thanks for all the replies!

    Boswell, you are correct. Im standing on the rop row, others usually sit just next to me so not much space for more gear. Also the roof and rhe walls meet just next to my head when standing. The roof is straight, not domed. in the center it lies quite flat but then at perhaps 25% of the roof it gets a sharper angle.

    I might have possibilities for a fixed mounting, but cant risk anything breaking down on the ice. (had a gopro peeking over the glass that almost went over once)

    The arena has a rectangular footprint, like a big metal barn (very nice for a barn though)
     
  14. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    For securely mounting a camera in an odd location, these Ultra Clamps are hard to beat for a little over $30 USD. They have a standard ¼" 20TPI thread for most camera mounts. And there are adapters available to step it up to a standard mic thread. Extremely versatile for virtually any angle, and really hold tight exactly where you put them.

    Parabolic mics are another staple at pro-sporting events, but they are insanely expensive for the average videographer. And a parabolic may require a separate person to follow the action around the rink.
     
    bigtree likes this.
  15. path

    path Active Member

    Space, can't really get any closer to the action since i need to be where I am to shoot over the glass.

    I suppose I'd need a wireless mic or a shotgun mic to get less crowd sounds. Another option would be to run a long cable along the roof and have a mic dangling down somewhere above the rink.
    Not sure however if that is a viable option since the hf g30 doesn't have xml, just one of those mini mic inputs.
     
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    They actually did try something similar to that, for a short time in the NFL back in the 60's, putting mics on the ref's; I think it was ABC that I tried it; they were a newer network on TV at the time, and they were trying to target a younger audience, and they thought the younger TV audience would really like the "grittiness" and the "rough and tumble" "you are there" kinda thing - the sounds of helmets smacking together, guys grunting and stuff. Some were even able to occasionally pick up the voice of the QB calling a play in the huddle.

    That worked for jussssst about 1 minute of one quarter of a network televised football game. Apparently, ABC censors never thought about what was really said down there on the field. ;)

    LOL

    God *****it, Ref! Are you ******g blind! You stupid Mo***r ****r! What the **** was that, Bob? You don't know the difference between a ******* slant and a ******* post pattern?

    Obviously, referees still have lav mics, but these days, they have the ON / OFF switch, too.... LOL ... to filter out most of what is being said and shouted on the field... although you can still hear the occasional F-Bomb being dropped from time to time.

    And, I don't think people care quite as much anymore. Cursing is far more accepted in our vernacular now than it was back then. We've been jaded. LOL
     
  17. path

    path Active Member

    Yeah, I guess there will be plenty of cussing on the ice too, but I prefer that over the cussing from the crowd.

    Usually i try to keep a tight zoom and audio from the rink could really help with the "being down there with the players" feel.

    If one would buy a zoom recorder for example, and wire it to an omnidirectional mic close to the rink, would that work without adding too much work to my existing workflow?
    Would it be possible to start the recorder just before the game and let it run on its own all the way until the end, and still be able to sync audio to my videos, which I stop at the breaks?
    I have no idea how good final cut pro x is at stuff like that, and I really don't want to complicate my workflow.
     
  18. A simpler approach might be to simply sling the 58, over the glass, Midfield, so as to just be pointing towards the floor/ice. Then tape down the cable on the audience side of the glass. And put a piece of tape around the XLR on the microphone so even if it is hit, the microphone won't pop out of the XLR. And then run that cable either up to your camera or into one of those miniature, cigarette pack sized ZOOM H 4.

    Because if you do try to use something like a microphone from Mount, it could crack the glass if overly tightened?

    You could then use the sound coming from the camcorder to synchronize that with the solid-state recorder, in a video timeline, within a video editing program. Turn down the camcorder microphone to either off (once you have synchronize everything) or just mix in a little bit of that audience ambience along with the 58. The sound from the ice, the skates, the hockey sticks would be picked up by the 58. And the crowd excitement would be picked up by the camcorder. And when you mix that together, you might get a far more interesting sounding soundtrack?

    Graham Bell Hertz
     
  19. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    If you record to two separate devices (with no sync or timecode), be prepared to deal with slight discrepancies between the clock of the Zoom and your NLE program. It's going to drift, even if you set both to 48kHz. It may be noticeable and need realigned within a minute or two - it may run a lot longer before it's obviously out of sync.
     
  20. path

    path Active Member

    Thanks everyone for your opinions!

    I'm starting to think an external recorder with a properly placed sm58 might be a good choice.


    dvdhawk, Ok, not sure whether Final cut can sync audio properly to several film clips if the audio is just one giant clip
    (not sure how the zoom works, perhaps it cuts the recorded audio to smaller clips?)
    Anyways I will have to look into FCPX audio sync capabilities.

    Graham Bell Hertz, mixing them together is a good idea.


    When it comes to Zoom audio recorders, can one get acceptable results with anything cheaper than a H4? Or perhaps it's the cheapest one with XLR?
    I know one shouldn't just look at the price, but since this is just a no income hobby thing I'll have to consider the $$$ - or €€€ to be exact.

    ...Then again it would be pretty neat with an affordable Shotgun mic connected to the iRig pre connected to the camcorder and a Zoom H4 with a SM58 :)
     

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