Shotguns

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by John Stafford, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    I was just wondering if anyone here ever uses shotguns when recording choirs. I'm really thinking in terms of an MS setup.

    Cheers
    John Stafford
     
  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Threatening the performers really doesn't help in the end.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    I wonder, might the use of a shotgun mic isolate individual singers too much?
     
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Actually, I did use a pair of Sennheisers on a choir once...almost at gunpoint. (Pun intended.) We put up a bunch of mics in various positions in pairs, to prove and disprove a few things the client wanted to try for possible upgrades. We had to demo (and make test recordings) of the mic positions to show the advisory board what would and what would not work, in terms of upgrades and improvements to the sanctuary of the church.

    One was a pair of LD mics over the choir, looking down on them, as far away from the organ pipes as possible. The shotguns were split on each side, high up on the chancel walls, focused tightly on the choir (also to avoide the organ and soloists nearby). Somehow, it worked, at least in terms of getting the choir heard through the PA system.

    I still wasn't wild about 'em, at least in terms of recording quality.
    I found the sound of them too thin and one-dimensional, but it did placate the crowd that wanted to hear more of the choir during services with the pipe organ playing along.

    Interestingly, although the test did work, and proved my client's point, they opted to skip it all and just rebuild in 2-3 years.
     
  4. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Thanks gentlemen for the input. I can think of a couple examples where I might find it useful to isolate the organ in a couple of venues with a peculiar layout. Anyway, I need to get a suitable stereo setup sorted before even thinking about such luxuries!

    Luckily Sennheiser mics don't hold their value very well over here, so I'm hoping to get two MKHs second-hand. I missed the opportunity to get a MKH30 very cheaply on Sunday :evil:

    John
     
  5. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    For choral work, I'm not overly fond of shotgun mics. I find them to be sort of a "1 trick pony" that does the trick well, but for other uses questionable. Shotguns work very well on stage shows (like opera) where you need to isolate some sort of sound on a specific part of the stage. They behave like a laser beam to a given location. For that matter, I don't use mid-side on choral work very often for that same reason. The middle mic usually isolates part of the ensemble too much.

    For choirs, the thing is to get a unified sound across the entire ensemble. For that, I usually use omnis and wide-cardiods (like the Schoeps MK 21 capsule).

    --Ben
     
  6. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member

    Thanks Ben,
    I'd dearly love to be able to get some Schoeps stuff together. I've just read that they're dropping their prices in Europe, so they might become a little more affordable. I could have bought a second-hand pair last week from Germany, but I didn't have enough money at the time. Now they've been sold :evil:

    As always, thanks for your input. BTW I loved the photos of your rig!

    John
     
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey John! I'm a big fan of using shotguns during chorus performances and recordings. It tends to give more immediacy to the piece - not to mention, it makes the instrumentalists happy to see the chorus members under duress. However, I don't use shotgun microphones during choral recording under any circumstance. You will always hear too much of one or two individuals and not enough of the entire group.

    Plus, I'm a big fan of picking up the sound around the performer - you just can't do that with a shotgun mic.

    But, I want to re-emphasize, if you want your chorusters' attention, and really want to get their adrenaline flowing, bring a few shotguns to rehearsal, you won't regret it. :twisted:
     
  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    You guys are cracking me up; hehehe....nice to see INTELLIGENCE as well as a deliciously TWISTED sense of humor.


    Shotguns, indeed. Handgrenades sometimes work nicely, too.
     
  9. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    We did a recording for a GLEE CLUB a couple of years ago. Anyway they were led by a gentlemen by the name of Arnold. Arnold, besides being a choral conductor, was an amateur "audio engineer" so he decided that he wanted 21 shotgun microphones in a cluster in the middle of the group with one microphone picking up each member of the group. He did not want just any shotgun microphone he specified the brand and the model number for each one based "extensive research" he had done fitting the microphone to the particular singer in question. The cost for purchasing them would have been between 10 and 15 thousand dollars for the microphones and there was no where to rent them locally. I suggested a "better way" We finally did the recording with a Decca tree and three Audio Technica 4050 microphones and it came out exceptionally well. The use of shotgun microphones for choral recording is not something that I have done EXCEPT where I needed to isolate a soloist or small ensemble in the middle of a massed choir.


    -TOM-
     
  10. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    "Arnold and Arnold" sounds like one crazy mo-fo. :)

    Are there two of him, or is he just his own best friend? Keep him away from sharp instruments and Inspector Gadget reruns.

    Seriously, he sounds like someone who's been reading too much technical stuff and not having any "real world" practical experience. I still run into his type from time to time. (Moving dangerously close to more "Horror Stories" here... hehe)

    If he wanted THAT kind of separation, he'd have had better luck with individual clip-on (lav) mics and a stereo pair for the whole mess on top of it.

    Glad you were able to make it work your own way (the RIGHT way, in this case.)

    Is this guy still in your area, continuing such misconceptions and creating havoc, btw? (Just so I know where this guy is and can avoid him..... ;-)
     
  11. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Arnold and Arnold were suppose to be "Arnold. Arnold" but somehow the copy editor (me) goofed. I laughed a lot after reading your reply. Thanks for adding the the holiday cheer!

    Have a good Holiday Season


    -TOM-
     
  12. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Tom; glad you got the "humor" in my post....it was definitely meant that way! (It was my own blend of Arnold "The Termninator" & Darrel Hammond's "Hardball" character - Chris Matthews parody on SNL....)

    Believe me, I could just imagine the aggravation and insanity that "multi-shotgun" approach must have created for you.

    Perhaps we could have a separate post/thread on how to handle overly "Creative" (read: insane) clients.

    Murray Christmas, Happy Hollandaise!
     
  13. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Uhlein Hall in Milwaukee used to have a metal shell and plexi saucers over the stage. For grins we tried aiming shotgun (mics) at the saucers over the chorus. Didn't sound too bad but it sure scared the hell out of the aliens!

    Rich
     

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