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Sports Broadcast audio/mic technique
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
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Sports Broadcast audio/mic technique

I’m a bit out of my depths here and I thought I’d ask for some advice. I’ve been asked to provide audio for a series of baseball live streams - nothing major in terms of the athletics but they have a very high production value. I have a vague idea of what I’d like to do, but I thought I’d ask around and see if anyone has any thoughts on the matter. What kind of mic techniques and mic placements would you use to capture the sounds of a baseball game?

(Apologies if this is the wrong forum to ask this in)
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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I do about 30-40+ TV sports OBs a year over many sports, and believe it or not, they are all very similar.

You have 4 main areas to think about...
1. Commentary / Hostings etc
2. Crowd Fx
3. Field Fx
4. Other audio to make a broadcast (Music, playouts, etc)

1. Commentary / Hostings, normally done on headsets the listen side is normally fed via a IFB (Interrupted Fold Back) system.
Hostings could be hand mics, Rf wireless mics, lapel mics or over the ear (Madona) mics.
There would also need to be a IFB system feeding the talent.

2. Crowd Fx, I have always worked on one thing....What would the venue sound like from the best set in the house? What would you hear?
Big full sound, groups of people, single people chattering etc.... Thats what you need to create.

3. Field Fx, the 'sound of the game' normally done with shotgun mics or spot mics of some sort, either cable or Rf systems.

4. Playouts, probably no need to go into this area at this time. (unless you need to)

Thats a start for you..... what exactly would you like to know?
Old 3 weeks ago
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Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
Thats a start for you..... what exactly would you like to know?
Wow that’s awesome! Thanks!

What kind of mic techniques would be used for the crowd sounds? Is that normally done with a typical stereo technique, like an ORTF or M/S? Or is it usually done with something unique to broadcast that isn’t typically used for, say, classical recording?

For baseball, the only “sound of the game” that I can think of would be the crack of the bat hitting the ball, which I would just capture with a shotgun mic, but I’m sure there’s more to it than that, right?

I hadn’t considered the possibility of using wireless mics, but now that you mention it, that sounds like a really good idea.

Thanks!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
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Sometimes people swear at sporting events, both players and fans. How do you keep swear words from reaching the airwaves?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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Originally Posted by Given To Fly View Post
Sometimes people swear at sporting events, both players and fans. How do you keep swear words from reaching the airwaves?
That’s actually one of the problems I’ve been asked to address. The client currently just uses the audio from shotgun mics mounted on the cameras, and so when players come near the cameras, we can very clearly hear every single word that they say, good or bad. They don't currently mic the crowd, so that hasn't been an issue yet.

That's yet another thing to consider, I suppose...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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For crowd Fx at sporting events I use 2 setups, firstly I use a single XY point source mic (Rode NTG 4 'crab claw' stereo mic) or AKG 552 stereo mic (no longer made).
This give a VERY wide wash of Fx when placed near the rear of the seating stands but it has very little definition of individual people.....

The second stereo set is 2x 416 short shotgun mics placed 'at least' 1- 1.5m apart (the width of a wide screen Tv) normally facing slightly outward to point to the crowd areas. This gives the sounds of 'groups' of people but normally without hearing individuals talking. Normally positioned at the wide shot camera platform using the camera chain to get the signal back to the truck. Panned in the mix 80% L and 80% R. But have often gone to 100 % L & R

Ok this will often confuse the purists and yes it does have a 'hole' or 'dip' in the sound image, this is then filled with the commentary voices.

To get a good coverage you DO need both sets of Fx mics in the mix, combining both.

Do I use MS setups..... NO I hate them.... Why?
Well when MS is pushed with you end up with out of phase components which has and often can cause problems in the broadcast Tx path. XY and other methods don't have these problems.
MS also when combined with commentary + Hosting mics tends to go very narrow and bland, lacking excitement.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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Brilliant! Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
The second stereo set is 2x 416 short shotgun mics placed 'at least' 1- 1.5m apart (the width of a wide screen Tv) normally facing slightly outward to point to the crowd areas.
I don't understand what you're describing here. I get that it's a 1 to 1.5 meter spaced pair, but then you lost me. When you say that it's facing slightly outward, does that mean the mics are splayed apart slightly?

I'm also not a big fan of M/S, I just used it as an example of a standard stereo technique.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albinotuba View Post
That’s actually one of the problems I’ve been asked to address. The client currently just uses the audio from shotgun mics mounted on the cameras, and so when players come near the cameras, we can very clearly hear every single word that they say, good or bad. They don't currently mic the crowd, so that hasn't been an issue yet.

That's yet another thing to consider, I suppose...
Eventide has several broadcast delays. This is one place to start: https://www.eventideaudio.com/produc...p-button/bd960
That is about all I know on the subject. I figured I would pose the question since I knew it would need to be addressed at some point anyways. I'm also curious what solutions work best.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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Originally Posted by Given To Fly View Post
Eventide has several broadcast delays. This is one place to start: https://www.eventideaudio.com/produc...p-button/bd960
That is about all I know on the subject. I figured I would pose the question since I knew it would need to be addressed at some point anyways. I'm also curious what solutions work best.
Oh cool! I've always wondered about devices like that. If I delay the audio so that I can bleep it, now the audio is 8 seconds out of sync with the video. Wouldn't it make sense to make a device that delays both audio and video? What would be the benefit of a device that only delays the audio? Maybe it's just meant for radio?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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For baseball the Fx you would need are....

Home plate; crack of the bat, sound of the catchers glove etc.
Put a S/G mic on a short stand/s at right angle to that batter rather than from behind and it will pick up voices better. If you have a good cupboard of mics place one on the Left and one on the Right and use the one that would face the batters mouth.

A long S/G mic facing 1st base (hopefully through a camera)

2nd base is often a problem.

3rd base similar setup to 1st base.

Short S/G mics facing into the players bunkers + warm up areas.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albinotuba View Post
Brilliant! Thanks!



I don't understand what you're describing here. I get that it's a 1 to 1.5 meter spaced pair, but then you lost me. When you say that it's facing slightly outward, does that mean the mics are splayed apart slightly?

I'm also not a big fan of M/S, I just used it as an example of a standard stereo technique.
Stand at the wide shot camera platform at the camera position, look at the field, stretch your arms out wide to where crowds will be, probably 45deg to the L and 45deg to the R..... thats where the 416's should be mounted (approx) and the direction they should face.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
Stand at the wide shot camera platform at the camera position, look at the field, stretch your arms to where crowds will be, probably 45deg to the L and 45deg to the R..... thats where the 416's should be and the direction they should face.
Got it! Thanks!
Old 2 weeks ago
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What size / Make of mixer are you using and do you need an 'World Fx' feed?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
What size / Make of mixer are you using
None of the gear has been spec'd yet. That will probably happen next week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
do you need an 'World Fx' feed?
I'm not familiar with this term. What is a World Fx feed?
Old 2 weeks ago
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Ok....
I use 2 trucks (2 different companies) one has a DiGiCo SD Ten mixer the other has a DiGiCo SD 9 mixer.

I need to supply mixes to.......

1. Main program for Broadcast (stereo)

2. 'World Fx' a Fx only mix (stereo) (must be the same as the main mix but minus commentary or playouts) To be used for commentary of another language etc.

3. Mono version of main program for archive recording.

4. Mono version of 'World Fx' to feed the EVS recording for highlights.

5. ISO feed to EVS recording for off line interviews etc.

6. Feed to IFB commentary.

I have at times fed a 'Radio Fx' mix to radio stations.... this is the crowd only and no field Fx. (normally stereo)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
What size / Make of mixer are you using and do you need an 'World Fx' feed?
Quote:
Originally Posted by OzGizmo View Post
2. 'World Fx' a Fx only mix (stereo) (must be the same as the main mix but minus commentary or playouts) To be used for commentary of another language etc.
Oh I get it. No that isn't something I've been asked to do for this project.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albinotuba View Post
Oh I get it. No that isn't something I've been asked to do for this project.
But for any sport it makes sense to record clean fx.
Do they not record the show in the truck? Are highlights edited later on?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
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Originally Posted by huub View Post
But for any sport it makes sense to record clean fx.
That's true. I'll add that to the list of things to discuss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by huub View Post
Do they not record the show in the truck? Are highlights edited later on?
The current solution is to record the show in its entirety, and highlights are edited later.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albinotuba View Post
Oh cool! I've always wondered about devices like that. If I delay the audio so that I can bleep it, now the audio is 8 seconds out of sync with the video. Wouldn't it make sense to make a device that delays both audio and video? What would be the benefit of a device that only delays the audio? Maybe it's just meant for radio?
The NBA. Although, with basketball, it seems like more of a "mute" button.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
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As an aside, the sort of specific tips that OzGizmo is providing are very hard to come by online. Most sports mixers will be happy to share in person but are, in my experience, not the type to hang out on GS often. Albinotuba, if there are any major league sports in your region, see if you can shadow an A2 (the audio folks placing the mics and working in the stadium) They often work for several A1s across multiple sports and can give you a variety of mic'ing approaches.

-Jim

Related to the above: Thank you OzGizmo for sharing.

Last edited by soundthinker; 2 weeks ago at 05:25 PM.. Reason: Thanks
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
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The "wide 416 pair" is a brilliant idea--great for TV!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
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My office today....An old truck but nice to work in.
The production was a Australian Rules Football match....Live to Air (3 hrs)
6x Cameras
3x talent in commentary
2x Field talent
3x wireless hand mics
4x IFB circuits (2x RF)
4x Field Fx
2x stereo mic rigs for crowd Fx
2x EVS machines (each 4 channel)
Attached Thumbnails
Sports Broadcast audio/mic technique-tasa-truck.jpg  

Last edited by OzGizmo; 2 weeks ago at 12:38 PM..
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