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What to do when the choir director has mic fright?
Old 22nd August 2011
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathieujm View Post
Thomas, have a look on this
Grue Ã
Yoiks! Talk about some serious sightline distraction at a public concert...! Yes, I know it seems from the photos that the contraption was strictly for a recording session... but it IS one amazing use of carbon fiber and bungees...

And, in the US at least, I heartily agree with philper about the fire marshal. Dancing is also usually seriously discouraged, anywhere but onstage...

HB
Old 22nd August 2011
  #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathieujm View Post
Thomas, have a look on this
Grue Ã
WOW! I would assume that this was a no audience setup??? I don' t read French so maybe someone can let us know what it says???

Thanks for the link. No place on stage for something like that AND I know the director would have a COW if we used anything that large on stage.

I know Neumann/EMT made some really large stands that could go up to about 30 or 40 feet in the air because a place I worked had a pair. They could also suspend microphones over an orchestra from the sides. They were bronze in color and weighed about 60 lbs each. I wish on a lot of occasions that I could use something like this. With this particular director I could not.

Again thanks for the link...
Old 22nd August 2011
  #93
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How about using a dummy head? maybe make it into some sort of doll/puppet/person and fabricate a story for the children to have them except its presence?
Old 22nd August 2011
  #94
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Old 22nd August 2011
  #95
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I borrowed the torso version of that array....
That would terrify the kids ,parents and conductor.......
Old 22nd August 2011
  #96
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Originally Posted by heva View Post
How about using a dummy head? maybe make it into some sort of doll/puppet/person and fabricate a story for the children to have them except its presence?
We are doing stereo recordings not Binaural (Binaural recording - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) but thanks for the suggestion. I think the kids might get more frightened of a large doll or puppet than a mic stand.
Old 22nd August 2011
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
We are doing stereo recordings not Binaural (Binaural recording - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) but thanks for the suggestion. I think the kids might get more frightened of a large doll or puppet than a mic stand.
While binaural is technically a stereophonic recording technique, it is best reproduced with headphones.
This was, however, a tongue-in-cheek suggestion.

Have you tried distributing several omni's on straight stands within the choir, rather than a single pair between them and the director?
Old 23rd August 2011
  #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
While binaural is technically a stereophonic recording technique, it is best reproduced with headphones.
This was, however, a tongue-in-cheek suggestion.

Have you tried distributing several omni's on straight stands within the choir, rather than a single pair between them and the director?
No we have not as the director does not want ANY microphones or mic stands between her and the choir.
Old 23rd August 2011
  #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
No we have not as the director does not want ANY microphones or mic stands between her and the choir.
What if they were placed at shoulder height, below line of sight? For a medium size choir I imagine this could be done invisibly with about 4 or 5 mics. Something small, like MKH8020 or Earthworks type mics, aimed directly upwards, would disappear among the choir.
Old 23rd August 2011
  #100
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Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
What if they were placed at shoulder height, below line of sight? For a medium size choir I imagine this could be done invisibly with about 4 or 5 mics. Something small, like MKH8020 or Earthworks type mics, aimed directly upwards, would disappear among the choir.
Please stop your suggestions about additional microphone between the director and the choir they are not going to work.

NO MICROPHONES between the conductor and the choir means NO MICROPHONES <PERIOD>

Also if you read my earlier posts I am not going to go out and spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on additional microphones. I have what I have and don't want to go into debt trying to find microphones that will work when the director says no microphones.

I understand you are trying to help by proposing alternate solutions but NO MICROPHONE between the conductor and the choir means what it says!

Thanks for your helpful suggestions and I may get a chance to use them later with another conductor in another situation.

I really appreciate what you are trying to do.
Old 23rd August 2011
  #101
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Who cares what she thinks?
Old 23rd August 2011
  #102
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There's no need to get upset.

I was suggesting mics IN the choir, not between them and the conductor. And my suggestion was to place them low enough that once the choir is in place, you, or the director, or the audience, or the fire marshal wouldn't even see them. I was also assuming that after 20+ years you would already have all of the kit you need to apply this technique.
Old 23rd August 2011
  #103
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Tom-

I mean no disrespect, but you have to remember that we are providing a client-based service. No need to get cranky about the replies here. The answer is quite simple. She wants no mics in front of her, so no mics can go in front of her. It is up to you as an engineer to work around that. She is absolutely right- it is a live performance and not a recording session. Therefore nothing that we do as an engineer can interrupt that. If she isn't comfortable with stands in front of her, than that is the final answer.

My suggestion has been briefly mentioned, but perhaps overlooked. Work with mics whose pickup will negate the issues with being that far in the room. Perhaps a pair of hypercardiods on a stereo bar behind the conductor and a pair of figure 8 mics for flanks. Depending on her stand (assuming she doesn't have the music memorized), perhaps you could use one of those big manfrotto clamps attached to the stand with a stereo pair or stereo microphone on that. You may get a little noise, but it may be workable....

You'll have to use some creativity, but what the client wants has to go- whether you like it or not. As Steve Remote said, if you are that put out by it, then don't take the gig.

--Ben
Old 23rd August 2011
  #104
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There is no viable technical solution to such an irrational mental phobia. We are tilting at windmills.
Old 23rd August 2011
  #105
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Question

Have you tried boundary microphones on the floor?

Totally invisible to both choir and audience.
Old 24th August 2011
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Have you tried boundary microphones on the floor?

Totally invisible to both choir and audience.
Gee, John, you haven't been following this very closely. I've put in two posts on that very subject, which seems like a pretty obvious solution to the OP's problems.

There wasn't any reply, but I think his later statement that he wasn't going to invest in any microphones (and the likelihood that he doesn't own any surface-mount mics) probably tells us everything we need to know.

How anyone can consider himself properly equipped for location recording of live events and not have the option of such mics is beyond me.

Bob Amos
daivadisc
Old 24th August 2011
  #107
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by daivadisc View Post
Gee, John, you haven't been following this very closely. I've put in two posts on that very subject, which seems like a pretty obvious solution to the OP's problems.

There wasn't any reply, but I think his later statement that he wasn't going to invest in any microphones (and the likelihood that he doesn't own any surface-mount mics) probably tells us everything we need to know.

How anyone can consider himself properly equipped for location recording of live events and not have the option of such mics is beyond me.

Bob Amos
daivadisc
There is a solution to this.

I saw it at Frankfurt - a boundary adaptor that will take any 19/20mm diameter SDC and turn it into a boundary mic.

The mic. is shockmounted and is protected from people walking over it.

Great idea and you can use mics you already have and unclip them and use them as normal when you are not using them as boundary mics.

You don't need to buy any more mics., just a couple of the adaptors.

The perfect solution.
Old 24th August 2011
  #108
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Thomas, read your tagline:

"Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness."
Old 24th August 2011
  #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daivadisc View Post
Gee, John, you haven't been following this very closely. I've put in two posts on that very subject, which seems like a pretty obvious solution to the OP's problems.

There wasn't any reply, but I think his later statement that he wasn't going to invest in any microphones (and the likelihood that he doesn't own any surface-mount mics) probably tells us everything we need to know.

How anyone can consider himself properly equipped for location recording of live events and not have the option of such mics is beyond me.

Bob Amos
daivadisc
I have boundary microphones. I could use them. I will see if she will permit them to be used. Thanks!
Old 24th August 2011
  #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle View Post
Tom-

I mean no disrespect, but you have to remember that we are providing a client-based service. No need to get cranky about the replies here. The answer is quite simple. She wants no mics in front of her, so no mics can go in front of her. It is up to you as an engineer to work around that. She is absolutely right- it is a live performance and not a recording session. Therefore nothing that we do as an engineer can interrupt that. If she isn't comfortable with stands in front of her, than that is the final answer.

My suggestion has been briefly mentioned, but perhaps overlooked. Work with mics whose pickup will negate the issues with being that far in the room. Perhaps a pair of hypercardiods on a stereo bar behind the conductor and a pair of figure 8 mics for flanks. Depending on her stand (assuming she doesn't have the music memorized), perhaps you could use one of those big manfrotto clamps attached to the stand with a stereo pair or stereo microphone on that. You may get a little noise, but it may be workable....

You'll have to use some creativity, but what the client wants has to go- whether you like it or not. As Steve Remote said, if you are that put out by it, then don't take the gig.

--Ben
Thanks! for the suggestion. No disrespect felt.

I am trying not to get upset but when I say NO MICROPHONES between her and the choir and people keep suggesting them I don't think they understand the problem.The director does not want ANY microphones between her and the choir and it does not matter if they are are tall stands or short stands or if there is 1 or 16. Putting the microphone in the choir would not work as the choirs are constantly moving on and off stage and they are on risers and these are all kids.

I just did a recording of the Canton symphony with a large chorus and could use any setup I wanted including flown microphones which I did. The recording came off GREAT and was broadcast on WKSU-FM. I know how to record I just don't know how to do the best job with all the restrictions I have to work around in this case.

I am NOT going to go out and purchase thousand's of dollars worth of microphones when I can't use them even if I had them since I cannot put them where I want to.

I did have a meeting with the director and she understands the problems but still is vehemently opposed to microphones between her and the choir since she sees them as distractions for the kids. She has made one concession and agreed to have the piano lid opening facing away from the audience which was always a balance problem for me. So maybe things will be different.

Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.
Old 24th August 2011
  #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
Thomas, read your tagline:

"Doing what you love is freedom.
Loving what you do is happiness."
I know..I know! thanks for the reminder!!!!
Old 24th August 2011
  #112
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Thomas,

Couldn't you sort of hide a pair of dpa 406x attached to some good transmitters somewhere? Like in a decorative element, such a flowerpot + flowers (smallish not to obstruct) ?
I've seen it done in spy movies... no, but seriously.

Wouldn't work in stone cathedral (looks odd) but then there are maybe some other, either structural or decorative, elements where you could 'sneak' a pinpoint size mic, and run the cable as far as possible out of sight.

Just be there an hour before her, and she'll never know...

P.
Old 24th August 2011
  #113
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what about using
pzms in the far upper corners of the room
Old 24th August 2011
  #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I am trying not to get upset but when I say NO MICROPHONES between her and the choir and people keep suggesting them I don't think they understand the problem.The director does not want ANY microphones between her and the choir and it does not matter if they are are tall stands or short stands or if there is 1 or 16. Putting the microphone in the choir would not work as the choirs are constantly moving on and off stage and they are on risers and these are all kids.
Is there room behind the risers to place one or two mic stands? If so, you could boom a pair of mics over the top of the choir from behind. The kids might not be as aware of them, especially if the mic are up high enough overhead, and if the stands could maybe be hidden by whatever background decorations are part of a holiday display.

I've used the "mic from behind and above" idea a few times for small ensembles, where there was a requirement to avoid breaking audience and video sight lines with mic stands. It helps to use the smallest possible mics for the job, so you can use small-diameter booms and stands.
Old 24th August 2011
  #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldeanalogueguy View Post
what about using
pzms in the far upper corners of the room
PZMs are Hemispherical polar pattern microphones and I have used them in other venues (mostly cathedrals) to pick up a choir when the orchestra is in front and the soloist are in front of the orchestra.

In this particular case there is no place to put them due to the nature of the walls in the venue I am recording in. All the walls have vertical wooden slats that are over speaker grill cloth and there is a space behind the walls for absorbance of bass frequencies so there is no hard surface to mount them on unless I get way away from the stage. I want some more presence form the choir not more room sound. Thanks for the helpful suggestion.
Old 24th August 2011
  #116
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Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Who cares what she thinks?
I for one since they are paying me and she makes the decisions on who to work with.

I always try and work with clients to get the best possible sound for them and to make their job and mine easier.

Thanks!
Old 24th August 2011
  #117
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Is the choir SO far away that near-coincident hypers + flanks behind the conductor (say row 1) won't work? Kinda doubt it, since then the kids couldn't see the conductor! This just seems like a lot of discussion about something that might have a simple and reasonable solution ... or maybe it's just me...

How about posting a pic of the venue?
Old 24th August 2011
  #118
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Thomas,

I'm a relative newcomer both to location recording and to the forum, but I want to say that I feel your pain. I record for one particular director (now retired-I've heard) who seems to have no interest at all in her kids being heard by the audience, much less whether the recording is worth listening to. I could put the mikes anywhere, and it was destined to be a poor recording just because of the arrangement of the singers, piano etc. I realize this is of no help, I'm just commiserating.
Old 25th August 2011
  #119
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I've been down this road many times, having been the sound director at a large church with a christian school attached to it. Lots of kids choir stuff.

The best solution for me was to use this huge boom stands we had. They had a huge base and could literally extend 20 feet in the air. The kids were on choir risers, so anything behind them could not be seen. I put the boom directly behind the riser, and then flew a small diaphragm condenser over the back of the riser. The mic ended up 4-5 feet away from the kids, pointing down. Since 90% of the stand is obscured, it is not unsightly. On top of that, the mic was pointing in a downward direction... directly away from the PA, for maximum gain before feedback. I had one of these setups for each riser.

In this case, are they "between" her and the choir or not? They are over everyone's head. Would she not find that acceptable? If not, my next best advice would be to do your best with what you are getting and don't lose sleep over it. I definitely lost a lot of sleep of choir micing at that point in my career. If the results are already acceptable, you may choose to live with it. Perhaps you are the only one dissatisfied.
Old 25th August 2011
  #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
PZMs are Hemispherical polar pattern microphones and I have used them in other venues (mostly cathedrals) to pick up a choir when the orchestra is in front and the soloist are in front of the orchestra.

In this particular case there is no place to put them due to the nature of the walls in the venue I am recording in. All the walls have vertical wooden slats that are over speaker grill cloth and there is a space behind the walls for absorbance of bass frequencies so there is no hard surface to mount them on unless I get way away from the stage. I want some more presence form the choir not more room sound. Thanks for the helpful suggestion.
Hi, Tom!

Well, I'm glad to hear that you have at least some PZMs. I had in mind, however, (a) directional and (b) floor-mounted mics ... and in particular, the Bartletts, which are very small, and extremely indestructible -- much tougher than regular mics used with floor-mount adaptors. They're the same shape, but a little smaller than, Crown PCC 160s; but they're designed for high-quality music recording instead of PA reinforcement.

They've saved me on a number of occasions. Give Bruce Bartlett a call (Bartlett Microphones) and see if he'll loan you a pair to audition -- although I do predict that you'll want to own some after you/ve heard what they can do for you.

By the way, when is this concert taking place?

Bob Amos
daivadisc
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