I recently got a gig with a production company handling a commercial spot. The idea being to record shoppers shopping at one store and then have them shop at another and compare prices.
For this they require me to have 4 lavavier mics and a mobile recording setup tracking to 4 separate channels.
I am pretty familiar with in the studio stuff, and have an idea of what I should get to do his. I just wanted to get some opinions from people who have some experience with it. Especially with the lav mics since there are 1000s out there.
I was thinking about getting a USB interface for my laptop running pro tools 10. Just a decent 4 channel interface (I'm not sure if there is a better option for this type of thing). Then have the lavs running into that while the laptop/interface is on a table with wheels. Or if the shots are fairly stationary just set up in a spot where the lav mics wouldn't go out of range.
All I was told about what I needed for the commercial was "4 lav mics and a 4 channel mixer"
Most production sound mixers use a combination of a portable sound mixer and recorder, such as those made by Sound Devices. For your situation, I'd recommend renting out a Sound Devices 552 (or 442) mixer, and a Sound Devices 744T recorder. If you want to save on costs, the 552 even comes with a recorder built in, but I prefer having a screen and dedicated recorder.
The folks at jwsound are a great resource for production sound recording.
I wouldn´t recommend anything but lavs, wireless systems and recorders that you find in a rental place for film and tv work. I.e gear for field work. You probably need to be mobile and have equipment running on batteries. I´d also consider using a boom mic together with the lavs.
For recording there are a lot of ways to skin the cat, esp if you don't need TC. But with wireless you get exactly what you pay for. If you don't have much experience with wireless mic use on location I'd recommend renting for the job and getting some consulting help from the renter about choices of freqs for your location. Don't assume the range will be good--if you've picked a freq that is already occupied by another user then you won't have any range at all (and you'll be illegal to boot). Re recording--your laptop rig will work but it will be cumbersome on location without a cart, and requires AC power, meaning a cable run in what might be a high traffic area. I've found that for the kind of situation you describe being mobile and wireless is very helpful. By this I mean a "bag rig" with everything on battery power. It is also very possible that your clients may want a way to "listen in" on the wired subjects, esp if they are in a noisy mall or store and aren't right in front of you (Comtek or etc).. Good luck
If at all possible, record to isolated tracks as well as providing the mix your clients want for the camera. On-the-spot mixing of 4-mic adlib interviews is difficult even for professionals. And I suspect the client won't want something like head mics, which means you're going to either have background noise buildup or a flangy cancellation any time more than one mic is up.
If you record isos, there's a better chance of rescuing the good comments - and the commercial - in post. Besides, you might be able to bill a few more hours doing the post mix..