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jwill

recording 90-100 folks singing!

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To the collective braintrust, a group of approximately 100 are going to be positioned on three risers

and sing to music only of Rocking around the Christmas tree, no solos and we shoot three takes ( Wide Medium and cu) with them holding sheet with lyrics, so mics can be i the shot.

Then all cutaways and associated shots.

The final product lives in house on the companies computers!

I have  3 MKH 416s, 2 MKH 50s and 3 RE 50s,and multiple Lectors with COS 11 lavs  any advice on where to position mics, which ones to use/avoid?

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What's the room like? Does it have acoustics worth saving?

--

FWIW, I've had very good luck in this kind of situation with a kind of pseudo m/s. Cardioid or hyper pointing at the choir (from whatever distance is appropriate for the room and grouping), co-located omni or even a PZM on the floor. Treat the omni like an s channel. 

 

Biggest advantages:

1)  Absolutely mono compatible - the omni disappears - which may be handy if people are listening to the company server on their desktop computers.

2)  Width (in the stereo decoded version) without firm L/R locations. So any MOS cutaway against it still seems right.

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I would do a single stereo mic of your choice. Or sometimes what I do is put one in the centre, panned straight down the middle and two on either side panned to taste. Most of the time I use cardiods since there is an orchestra behind them, and it seems like doing the same for this project might be a good call as well because of the non ideal acoustics. The less mics the better tends to be my approach....

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Hi

I would use a stereo mike on a stand above head height

and about 5 feet away

Group the singers so they are about 10 to 12 feet in a row with

taller singers behind

Remember singing can have a wide dynamic range so rehearse if possible

 

mike

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I'd go a single ORTF pair of hypers pretty high up but close in.  The main issue will be building HVAC and accumulated BG traffic roar and the splill from the speakers being all over your voices.  Try to get the speakers out of the mic pattern and as at a low volume as they can live with.

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Hi again, firstly I would use what you have (two sets of excellent mics for stereo) assuming you have a recorder that will record 5 channels easily - and just as importantly some kind of setup that could later mix down three channels into two for a two channel stereo master mix.

 

Secondly I would download (from rycote) The Stereoscopic Zoom which deals with recording angles for two channel setups over different mic types: your MKH50 is a ‘narrow’ hyper. I would then look again at the presumed (and possible) setup of the performers and predict a decent performing angle - based on a pair of MKH50s - to record them. ORTF in theory demands a pair of ‘perfect’ cardioid mics so simply putting two MKH 50s in the same setup will give very different results (and the MKH 40 also is a tight pattern compared with theoretical cardioid).

 

Third, I would use the three RE50s (mics I have no experience with) as a secondary ‘Decca Tree’ omni arrangement, totally separate from the MKH pair - both as a backup and as a potentially interesting set. With that kind of volume and a kind acoustic the dynamic omnis (?? they are omni like the 20s I believe ??) might even behave better than the condensers. I might point the Middle mic slightly upward to even out HF directionality but that’s me pontificating before the day.

 

I would concentrate on the two MKH 50s though, which, being hypers will be very closely positioned anyway to get any stereo recording angle, as on one stand / stereo bar. The room might well be too loud with that many singers and reverb so prepare to put the cut on both mics: this could be crucial to consider for any even minor rehearsal, and bear in mind if there is any mics/amplification already set up which might kick in only after any rehearsal. I would start ‘flat’ however and only pad when I knew there was a problem if any.

 

Your main question (if you go with the MKH50s as your main recording pair) will be how far to pull them back to have the ratio of recorded to diffuse sound - and this may be dictated largely by the auditorium itself. After that, adjusting the recording angle will be what is needed, but fairly quick to do - it’s very much a case of planning ahead in intention and making the best use of any rehearsal time (partly why I also advocate setting up a decca tree, plugging it in and leaving it before concentrating one’s efforts on a main stereo pair).

 

Finally, fwiw, I would ignore the 416s completely (and the lavs) BUT - if an audience reaction would be favourable to capture as well as the performance (and for ‘live’ the audience often is ‘the performance’) then a couple of 416s pointed into the audience recorded onto their own tracks might also eventually help out assuming you have the extra separate tracks. But set them up with the Decca and forget about them. Concentrate on a main pair.

 

Hope some help, best, Jez Adamson

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12 hours ago, jwill said:

 ... we shoot three takes ...

Then all cutaways and associated shots. ....

 

Addendum (hopefully not merged but if so then so be it - read separately)!

 

Just reread on cutaways, filming, etc (and hence editing ... around no ‘complete’ playback, though presuming music is always a playback and hence some base). I would definitely make sure that after the three “master” takes are filmed / recorded that each camera closeup take is married to a new on camera (mono ok) sound capture for editing / mixing boost. MKH 50 taken off stand and put on boom would be best but if time is an issue one of those 416s mounted onto the CU camera would do the duty.

 

End of addendum.

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K.I.S.S.  A stereo pair (50s in this case) in the mono compatible configuration determined best for the acoustics of the space and positioning of the singers.

 

Concentrate on a good mix rather than a complicated one. 

 

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I'd focus on main image with mono compatible stereo placement of the MKH 50's, then add some number of the RE 50's as spot mics assuming you can multitrack and see how they are (or are not) useful in post.  

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Far from area of expertise but had a happy client with my recording of choir in King's college chapel (admittedly a more forgiving space than the 1 described by OP) with a fairly simple set up of 2 cardioids in an rough ORTF suspended on a long, highish boom (it couldn't be in shot). I also ran a binaural pair as a back up as we didn't have a long time to tweak and understood the output would be online and so some of those interested in the choral content would listen with headphones. If you've got 1 hour, definitely K.I.S.S and if you can, get an assistant to help fine tune the mic placements in the short rehearsal time you have (if at all).

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