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Recording a marching band

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Posted · Report post

I have this gig on Saturday where I have to follow and record a marching band and second line around Lafayette square. What would be the best way to mic this performance?

Jonathan

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Posted · Report post

As it so happened, I recently recorded the USC Marching Trojan Band for a 3D shoot a few weeks ago. At least in this case, they were confined to a football field. I'm not generally a music guy, but I modified my normal documentary approach and I think it came off OK.

I set up an pair of M/S Sennheiser mikes (MKH30 and MKH50) in a Rycote blimp, and it sounded surprisingly good. The biggest problems in a town square are going to be reflections and reverb time, which will really clutter up the recording. That, plus the issue of how big the band is, and where the band moves in relation to the microphones. You can never get a 100% satisfying stereo image if the band or the microphone is moving.

In my case, I moved the microphone in relation to our main crane camera, on the assumption that at least this sound "angle" will more or less match what the camera sees. We also had the benefit of recording several hours of rehearsals from different angles, and my hope is that this will give the re-recording mixer a chance to use different takes to emphasize certain groups of instruments for close-ups.

Be warned that a big-sized marching band can get very loud, so be prepared for changing levels and limiting. I think those bass drums can produce like a hundred dB of level at 100Hz -- enough to feel like a punch in the stomach at close range. Also beware of bystanders getting in the way of you and the band. Ideally if you can get over the crowd, that will probably be a better vantage point.

--Marc W.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks Marc. It's being shot on 5D's. Should I setup a shotgun on them as well?

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Posted · Report post

"Should I setup a shotgun on them as well? "

certainly, ??? why not ?

" follow and record "

... is really a bit vague to expect a relevant answer... what are the expectations?? what is this for? where will the cameras be?

following and recording means that your sound perspective is behind the band and moving with them... :wacko:

there is really a lot of "it depends" here...

" around Lafayette square "

are they going to be circling ?? you might need to "mic Lafayette square"

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Posted · Report post

I would be following closer to the front by the camera. If I had enough mics I would wire the square but it's quite large

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Posted · Report post

The Senator opined:

"Should I setup a shotgun on them as well? "

certainly, ??? why not ?

====================================================================================================

Because it will sound like crap and you'll need a special cable to go from an XLR-M to 3.5mm and it will still sound like crap and never ever match anything else that's recorded. How do you power a 48vp shotgun from a 5d?

Eric

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Posted · Report post

I

Was going to use cheap Azden battery powered short shotguns

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Posted · Report post

Ideally, going with multiple mikes to separate tracks on a standalone recorder would be the best approach. Trying to record good sound (let alone music) on a 5D is not ideal. Rent or borrow some decent condenser microphones and route them to separate channels. Schoeps, Sennheiser, Shure (the "3 S's") are all good if not great.

You can try to record a guide track on the 5D, which will aid in syncing, but I wouldn't trust the mike preamps in that camera for anything more than that.

You might look into what I did, which was to record a dress rehearsal(s). At least this way, you won't have to fight the crowds getting inbetween you and the marching band. A good editor might be able to mix and match between multiple sound sources, at least for certain shots.

Covering a big band will be hard with just one camera, too, but that's not a sound problem.

--Marc W.

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Posted · Report post

If he isn't sending a guide track to the 5D a plastic mic like the Rode "video mic" will work a lot better than the onboard mic.

phil p

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Posted · Report post

I was going to use the cam mic as a guide track and maybe 2 booms up front

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Posted · Report post

If they are going to be marching in a predetermined spot, then overhead mics might do you well. Last time I miked a marching band, i had 4 shotguns over the football field, suspended from lines running from goalpost to goalpost. It enabled me to record the band in "sections" so it made mixing relatively easy. When they marched, they still stayed within the predetermined "mic area". MKH50 and CMC641 actually sounded great for this setup. I also used 2 416's on the outer edged facing inwards to pick up some of the sound lost from the reach of the overheads. I kept 2 channels separate for the drum-line and the percussion pit respectively using a couple of NTG-3's. All went into a 788T.

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Posted · Report post

" How do you power a 48vp shotgun from a 5d? "

Well, I don't, but I'd use the Sennheiser camera-shotgun mic made for this sort of situation

" never ever match anything else that's recorded. "

it would match what the camera sees, of course quality is questionable...

I still don't have a clear idea of what the actual situation is...

it could be a parade passing by POV with stationary mic's or numerous other things....

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Posted · Report post

" How do you power a 48vp shotgun from a 5d? "

Well, I don't, but I'd use the Sennheiser camera-shotgun mic made for this sort of situation

" never ever match anything else that's recorded. "

it would match what the camera sees, of course quality is questionable...

I still don't have a clear idea of what the actual situation is...

it could be a parade passing by POV with stationary mic's or numerous other things....

Obviously you don't know WTF you're talking about. Why you keep on insisting to add some BS non helpful reply to every F'n post is an indication of your desperate need to draw attention to yourself. You really need to seek professional mental help. Get a life.

Eric

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Posted · Report post

If a good quality, static (not actually marching) recording could be useful, I think, if possible, I'd record a rehearsal using any one of several multi-micing techniques (MS, AB, XY, etc) appropriate to the situation, possibly an MS mic high and behind the (main) conductor, alternately using a cardioid high and behind each conductor (when marching bands rehearse, or play from the field, there are often 2 satellite or shadow conductors so all the musicians can easily see one while in position. This recording can replace actual "marching" recordings, which typically have a number of issues (movement, other noises, etc.), in a finished product, but as notes, there are a lot of variables which figure in...

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Posted · Report post

Last time I miked a marching band, i had 4 shotguns over the football field, suspended from lines running from goalpost to goalpost. It enabled me to record the band in "sections" so it made mixing relatively easy.

I asked about that from the LA Memorial Coliseum rep, and they told us, "sure, as long as the producers put up a $50,000 bond and have insurance in case any cameras hit it. And the lines have to be so high, there's no possible chance of the ball hitting it." That put a kibosh on that approach.

If it had been an empty stadium, no problem. Much harder to do when there's 50,000 people there. (It seats 93,000, but I think it was maybe 60% filled at best.)

--Marc W.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

" If it had been an empty stadium, no problem. "

that's the sort of additional information I mentioned not having, though we routinely used that "static" technique I mentioned for years during both college and NFL games.

" have insurance "

of course...

...your shoot didn't have insurance??

" the best approach. "

proper preproduction information, and preproduction planning and coordination !!

getting full information on the project, and situation in advance, being able to make plans and preparations in advance.... this is why it is so difficult for us, or at least for me, to provide a useful specific answer with the limited information provided. Without proper preproduction, you just do the best you can with what you have....

" Get a life. "

OK, Thanks... I wasn't going to, but will now, only because you suggested it :wacko:

Edited by studiomprd

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Posted · Report post

Thanks for the suggestions. It was 4 marching bands in washington square with 4 camera/sound crews. I used 2 booms and a cam mounted shotgun. Sounded great

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Posted · Report post

Thanks for the report! ::)

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