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Help! they want me to record a full orchestra in a gym!
Old 15th February 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Talking Help! they want me to record a full orchestra in a gym!

Nightmare!

The school I work for have opted to present their yearly orchestral performance in the gym (Flat walls, Glass windows and doors all down on side Basketball court size)

They want it recorded....riiiiight.......and they dont want to see the microphones at the front because it will get in peoples point of view.

I really need to mic up from the back of the hall which is gonna be 50-70 foot back from the orchestra. AGGGHHHH!

As I said...... Nightmare

Any suggestions?

James
Old 15th February 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Jim Kerr's Avatar
 

Jeez. I would opt to convince them that some mics up front wouldn't really be a sight line problem. Maybe some shotgun mics could help???
Old 15th February 2007
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
Bosskitty's Avatar
 

Just use 2 mics above the whole Orchestra!!!
Old 15th February 2007
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Directly above?

Facing the floor?

I could do that as I have some K&M stands that go real high with long booms.

Omnis?

How far apart?

How high?

Pointing at any angle?

Support Mics?

Cheers

James
Old 15th February 2007
  #5
Gear Guru
 

yeah how about suspending spaced omnis directly above? is there a grid you could hang them from? the school custodians must have ladders that can get up there.

the trouble with the stands is that even a long boom is not going to reach very far into the orchestra. if the stands are too far on the outside of the 'stage', the middle of the orchestra will not be picked up.



you should also post this question in the Remote Possibilites forum. Or ask a mod to move it.
Old 15th February 2007
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Bosskitty's Avatar
 

The best advice i can give is to use your ears & get the best balance of everything (different rooms= different scenarios)!
Its fairly standard practice in theatre to use two mics over the orchestra (im not saying this is "THE STANDARD") but the BBC have been doin it for years.

Quick google search gave me this:

http://www.discmakers.com/music/pse/stringso.asp

i hope it helps & let us know how you got on!!!!
Old 15th February 2007
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Talking Help! they want me to record a full orchestra in a gym!

Nightmare!

The school I work for have opted to present their yearly orchestral performance in the gym (Flat walls, Glass windows and doors all down on side Basketball court size)

They want it recorded....riiiiight.......and they dont want to see the microphones at the front because it will get in peoples point of view.

I really need to mic up from the back of the hall which is gonna be 50-70 foot back from the orchestra. AGGGHHHH!

As I said...... Nightmare

Any suggestions?

James
Old 15th February 2007
  #8
Gear Addict
 
edwonbass's Avatar
 

Again?heh
Old 15th February 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
taturana's Avatar
Cool

a pair of PZM mikes? a possibility?

you could try convice them to hang something like a curtain to reduce the reverb one bit...

if don't have pzm's try some of those auralex mic pads? to reduce the reflections?

it is a nightmare.. it would be trying out all kinds of things to make it sound less bad... even processing post recording ...

Old 15th February 2007
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by taturana View Post
a pair of PZM mikes? a possibility?

you could try convice them to hang something like a curtain to reduce the reverb one bit...

if don't have pzm's try some of those auralex mic pads? to reduce the reflections?

it is a nightmare.. it would be trying out all kinds of things to make it sound less bad... even processing post recording ...


Curtains may help a touch, good idea.

I was thinking of a pair of spaced omnis or a bluemline directly over the top of the orchestra about 15-20 foot in the air.

what sort of post production could you do?
Old 15th February 2007
  #11
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 

They need to know what they want. Either a good and "state-of-the-art" recording or no mics in the orchestra. Both isn't really possible, since for a good sound, you will always need at least a main pair somewhere near the conductor - and in a gym you'll probably need quite some more mics since you need to go closer. Try to explain that to them, and make it very clear that mics at the back of the hall will not sound like recordings one can buy in a shop.
You could, maybe, suspend something. Many gyms do have those ropes with rings on them for kids to do some strange stuff. Could fix your mics to these. Bring LOTS of cabling.
Old 15th February 2007
  #12
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taturana's Avatar
Quote:
Curtains may help a touch, good idea.

I was thinking of a pair of spaced omnis or a bluemline directly over the top of the orchestra about 15-20 foot in the air.

what sort of post production could you do?
try processing it with (one or more) an expander or multiband comp/exp or noise removal or even a de-esser (it will need some work though..) to reduce the ambiance...

something like waves LinearMultiBand is what i would reach for as far as plugins... sonalksis has a dinamic EQ that is pretty good for that too...

maybe M/S recording could also work ...
Old 15th February 2007
  #13
Here for the gear
 

recording in the gym

I've done this quite regularily. BUT I've never done it without mics in front of the band.

You need to try to convince them that one mic stand with a pair of mics up about 10ft. or so isn't going to detract from the performance that much. The gym itself and all of the athletic paraphernalia will be distracting enough that they won't notice a mic stand, especially once the performance starts. Tell them it's "cool" to have the mics there and they can even talk it up to the audience.

I've never been able to remove all the reverb. I have gotten what the band director considered acceptable results, and even "we sounded that good?" comments. Micing as close to the orchestra with a pair of XYs SDC cardoids has given me the best results. You definitely want to stay away form omnis.

Depending where the audience is and how full the gym is will help a little too.

Hope this helps! GOOD LUCK!
Old 15th February 2007
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Roper-Kum View Post
They want it recorded....riiiiight.......and they dont want to see the microphones at the front because it will get in peoples point of view.
Walk away, no need to take that kind of work is my first reflex dealing with people like that. Generally the audience today could not care less if there are a few mics in place. Playing in a room with bad acoustics is the other reason to not do it, gyms are not generally known to be perfect in that respect. Recordings almost never sounds better than on location, generally much, much, much worse. The start you have seems like a recipe for disaster from a sound point of view. And is the performance really worth it beeing recorded?

Ok, let us put all that stuff away. Assuming you are doing it.

First, you forgot to mention what kind of orchestra. Instruments and number of players, level, type of music are sort of helpful. Lots of placing rearrangemants, maybe even marching makes things more difficult (not impossible though).

If the acoustics is a problem you will probably need several mics to cure that. Many mics means lots of work in post production. So you need to think about how much of your time to allocate to that. Even if you have many mics you need to be free to place them where they make sense from a sound point of view.

In a room with not too good acoustics it sometimes helps getting rather close. A Decca-tree can be the solution. It needs to be hanged above the orchestra, perhaps a little in front of the conductor. Three mics, omnis generally. Omnis are not a problem really when you get them close enough.

Alternatively, a main pair of mics in front of the orchestra, maybe ORTF. Add to that outriggers to get a little more width. And selected spots.

Gunnar
Old 15th February 2007
  #15
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mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosskitty View Post
Just use 2 mics above the whole Orchestra!!!
exactly

hang an xy pair above the conductors head - pointing at the orch - 10 feet up. done and done.

Old 15th February 2007
  #16
Gear Addict
 
RobMacki's Avatar
 

In the words of a DP friend of mine:
"You're screwed."
Old 15th February 2007
  #17
Lives for gear
 

I've recorded in a gym and hated it. The session was moved into a gym because the first location had too much road noise.

It was all about getting as little of the room sound as possible. The reverb had that "bootleg" sound. So i wound up moving the mics closer to the musicians, closer than I'd like just to get less of the room.

Also, I think gyms have a tendency to make any large ensemble sound like a marching band, as if the room is so used to marching bands that it's going to conspire to make anything sound like one. So i'd be careful about getting too much brass since the room may try and do that for you.

One last thought - if they want a decent recording (and they're having you do it in a gym rather than concert hall) I think it's reasonable that you get to put the mics wherever you like. I don't think they can get all prissy about what the audience might see. It's not like you're going to put a gobo between the musicians and the audience. (although.... that may not be a bad idea )

good luck!
Old 15th February 2007
  #18
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octatonic's Avatar
Could be interesting with just 2 omni's - you might just hear the airconditioner running full blast.
This could be the simplest job in the world or a complete nightmare.

I'd come with a load of gear and use what you need.
Make sure you can turn the AC off whilst tracking.
Bring some PZM's- definitely have a goffer there to do all your running about, setting up mics.

There really isn't enough information here to make an accurate assessment.
A theatre is going to be a much better venue- Gyms are just big rectangular boxes with lots of reflective spaces.
Old 15th February 2007
  #19
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
They need to know what they want. Either a good and "state-of-the-art" recording or no mics in the orchestra. Both isn't really possible, since for a good sound, you will always need at least a main pair somewhere near the conductor - and in a gym you'll probably need quite some more mics since you need to go closer. Try to explain that to them, and make it very clear that mics at the back of the hall will not sound like recordings one can buy in a shop.
You could, maybe, suspend something. Many gyms do have those ropes with rings on them for kids to do some strange stuff. Could fix your mics to these. Bring LOTS of cabling.
This is the (spot on) approach you should take or don't do it at all. It will not come out right doing it their way.

Good or bad, in the end it's all about you and how you recorded their performance.
Save yourself the grief and do it the right way or don't do it at all.
Old 16th February 2007
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Give them the old "You can have a recoding that looks good or a recording that sounds good" speech. Let them choose. If the room is live, you're going to end up with a recording that sucks if the mics are too far away and nobody will be happy. Hanging mics in most gyms is also a royal pain as there aren't good rigging points and they aren't very easy to get to....

If you can hang, get the mics in tight on the goup- I'd recommend an X-Y or ORTF pair at the back of the podium and a pair of subcardiod or omni flanking mics at about the 2nd row of strings- also at the edge of the orchestra.

I deal with situations like this more often than I care to admit. Some can be remedied through the use of hanging mics, but otherwise often there is no good answer. When given too much flack about being allowed to place the stands where they need to be to get good sound, I either make them agree to release me from responsibility for how the recording sounds or I don't work for them.

Remember, you are only as good as your last gig so it is best to make it sound good. The folks doing the hiring need to be aware of the technical requirements for making a recording.

--Ben
Old 16th February 2007
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Barnabas's Avatar
 

I once put a stereo pair just in front of, and at the same height of, the conductor’s music stand. This kept the mic out of the view of the audience, and gave me a decent sound. At least it’s better then the back of the hall.

How about a spaced pair of those very thin gooseneck choir mics? (AKG GN 155 CHOIR, AKG GN 155 Set) They are so thin that most people would not even see them.

Hang a few mics from the rafters?

Heavy curtains hanging on the walls will help. It’s almost impossible to get reverb out of a recording.
Old 16th February 2007
  #22
Lives for gear
 

First of all, please only post in one forum... I answered you over in the "so much gear" forum here where you posted it also (Steve- could we perhaps merge them?)

Anyways, much of what I wrote there has been covered here, but here it is again for good measure:

**********
Give them the old "You can have a recoding that looks good or a recording that sounds good" speech. Let them choose. If the room is live, you're going to end up with a recording that sucks if the mics are too far away and nobody will be happy. Hanging mics in most gyms is also a royal pain as there aren't good rigging points and they aren't very easy to get to....

If you can hang, get the mics in tight on the goup- I'd recommend an X-Y or ORTF pair at the back of the podium and a pair of subcardiod or omni flanking mics at about the 2nd row of strings- also at the edge of the orchestra.

I deal with situations like this more often than I care to admit. Some can be remedied through the use of hanging mics, but otherwise often there is no good answer. When given too much flack about being allowed to place the stands where they need to be to get good sound, I either make them agree to release me from responsibility for how the recording sounds or I don't work for them.

Remember, you are only as good as your last gig so it is best to make it sound good. The folks doing the hiring need to be aware of the technical requirements for making a recording.



--Ben
Old 16th February 2007
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Thank you all for your wise words, I really appreciate the time and effort it takes to comment.

I have made a descision........

1. I will insist on using mics behind the conductor if what they want is a commercial quality product (if they are adamant that mic/stand in view is not an option I will refuse to record and have my name put to the recording)
2. I will use the SDC Cardiods I have already (rather than purchasing specifically)in an XY config with possibly 2 support mics from the sides.

I have found out from the conductor that the soloists will all be positiioned within the center of the orchestra and the brass and wind sections will be placed at the rear, with strings distributed through a central arc with piano to the left and percussion to the right. (Agggghhhh!)

Once again thanks for all of your kind words.

PS

If this actually comes off with any mentionable standard Ill send up a clip

James
Old 16th February 2007
  #24
Gear Nut
 

Im so tempted to point them towards using an Edirol R-09 and be done with it.
Saves me grief and trying to polish the unmentionables

Thanks for all your advice guys.

James
Old 16th February 2007
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Jim Kerr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
exactly

hang an xy pair above the conductors head - pointing at the orch - 10 feet up. done and done.

That's your answer.
Old 19th February 2007
  #26
Gear Head
Gym Recording

You have taken the right decision as to what to do. I have tried this situation last year with a degree of succes. The Burser at the school closed all the cricket nets in the gym, laid carpet where the band and audiance would be. We used an ORTF pair of fat cardiods right behind the conductor. All in all we had 13 mikes out for sections of the 80 piece wind band. I was feeling just the same as you even with their co-operation which was great. Looking foward to another go this year in their updated school theatre.
Old 19th February 2007
  #27
Gear Nut
 

I would love to hear the results so as to make a comparison

Thanks ( I think) for making feel less reluctant.

Regards James
Old 27th February 2007
  #28
Lives for gear
 

If you do it in their own way, in the end it will sound bad. And they will blame you!
Just do it right, or dont do it at all.




" hey, Im going to make a movie. I need your company to record it. But you cant get your cameras near my actors! They will get nervous and wont perform as they should! " tutt
Old 13th March 2007
  #29
Gear Nut
 

Just a quick update to all those who read this post.

I have told the school that I will not record them in the gym for a marketable recording.

I told them that if they wanted a professional recording that they should consider making an entire project out of the experience (i.e. get the kids involved, make a short documentry, sell the CD's, design a marketing campaign) and find a venue suitable for recording their best and most practiced pieces.

They agreed!

So im scheduled to record the orchestra next year in (hopefully) Exeter Cathederall.

On that note I would like to thank all those who gave their bits and i'm looking forward to chatting soon about making a PROPPA recording.

Gonna hire kit and go for a big deal.

I'll probaly start a new thread soon to discuss Good Logistics of such an event.

Cheers

James
Old 13th March 2007
  #30
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
James,

Outstanding news -- More power to you my man!
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