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What mikes should I use for an outdoor wedding?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by videoster, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. videoster

    videoster Guest

    I'm getting married in a couple of weeks! We're having amateurs do AV recording. I've got a PreSonus Firebox (shortly after the whole scandal where people found out it wasn't actually 96ksps, as advertised, but 48ksps and digitally up-sampled internally). It has six inputs, of which two are microphone inputs, and two are line inputs, and two are probably useless (S/PDIF and MIDI). I also have a swarm of USB sound cards. I'm wondering what microphones I should buy to use with it.

    The wedding will be outdoors, so we may have problems with wind noise. The key part will be the officiant giving a speech, as well as the bride and groom exchanging vows. We'd like to have this well recorded. There will also be a part where one of the bridesmaids plays a violin, and a song is song (likely, with audience participation), which is less important to capture.

    I don't care much about audio quality in the audiophile sense (good frequency response, low distortion, etc.), but I do care about having the voice be clear and audible -- adequately low noise and adequately

    My budget is fairly flexible, but I was hoping to spend on the order of $100-$200. If I don't need to spend that much, it's a bonus -- if a $50 shotgun mike would do the job, I'd be thrilled. If I need to spend a bit more, that's okay too, especially if the equipment is reusable for other purposes (I would plan to reuse the microphones with my video camera for other family events, but I'm not going to do any serious AV like music recordings).

    Any suggestions or recommendations? One person told me to go with a shotgun mike (without specifying which one), while another suggested wireless lavalier microphones, but then I'd need many. Cheapest solution I'm finding is ATR6550 at $50. I might need to rig a stand for it too.
  2. AUD10

    AUD10 Active Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    Mics for outdoors

    videoster - you may want to consider hiring microphones as you are likely to get better quality mics. for the same budget.

    I would recommend either Sennheiser (K6 or MKH 416) or Sony (ECM674) shotgun microphones or even lapel microphones in addition if you want to capture all of your speech in detail. Note that shotgun (condenser) microphones require phantom power - does your PreSonus Firebox provide phantom power to the two microphone inputs? If not, you have to ensure you have a battery capsule with the shotgun microphones that you use.

    If it is likely to be quite windy or you are out in the open, you will need some sort of windshield on the condenser microphones. I suggest having a look at Rycote windshields. Again, you'll be better off hiring this equipment as it is quite specialised.

    Depending on how clearly you want to pickup the violin, you can use a discreet clip-on instrument microphone. If you are not too worried about picking up all the detail, the shotgun microphones will pick it up if positioned correctly.

    Again, for the song where the gathering will participate the shotgun microphones can be used if positioned correctly however, it depends how many people there are. As the shotgun microphones are highly directional, you are most likely to only hear the voice(s) clearly of the people in line with it.

    Bear in mind that you'll need someone fairly competant to control all the equipment on your big day - you don't want to have to be adjusting microphones etc. yourself!
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Moderator Resource Member

    Dec 18, 2008
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Congrats on the wedding and welcome to RO!

    That sounds like a handful. That would be asking a lot of amateur videographers. (One camera?, Two cameras?, more?)

    Your $50 AT shotgun mic is designed to plug directly into the camera, in which case you won't need any Firebox or any of that other stuff. There's also a good reason that when you see a shotgun mic used on a video shoot or sporting event outside, it has a huge windscreen that looks like a fuzzy little blimp. Typical wireless lavalier mics are also notorious for picking up the slightest wind-noise. If it's a breezy day, it will be all whoosh and rumble. For a indoor wedding you can get a decent result with a lapel mic / headset mic on the officiant and one on the groom. If the officiant is holding a book or something with the vows etc. I've clipped the 2nd lapel mic on the binding of his book. Then it picks up both the bride and groom to some extent since he's generally standing between them during the vows. Then it depends on how close they stand together. It's usually not a problem clipping and hiding a lav mic on the groom's lapel and they are often facing each other holding hands during the vows anyway. It would be great to get a mic on the bride.... but I know better than to ask, so good luck with that. A good camera, or a so-so camera with the right interface, can mix two or more sound sources on-board. It's a whole lot easier than trying to do audio and video to separate recorders.

    At any rate, it's not easy indoors, outdoors opens up a whole new batch of challenges [problems].

    If the camera doesn't have aux audio inputs you're going to have to record audio and video separately and hope they sync up in your video editing software. If you want to use the Presonus and an assortment of wired mics to gather the sounds of the ceremony and mix them later that's entirely up to you. But, over the duration of a wedding ceremony it's very likely there will be some drift in the timing of the audio and video. If you're using two or more cameras, at least that gives some inconspicuous places to make some edits when you switch from one shot to the other.

    If you're in, or near, a largish city you might find a rental place that will let you rent a suitable rig for the weekend. Something like this wireless ENG kit is useful for field recording to capture good audio into a camcorder. I've seen them available for rent.

    Best of luck, I hope that gives you some ideas.

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